Baby Eagle's known to be Steve Lambke, and Steve Lambke's known to be many things: a founding member of The Constantines, co-owner and operator of indie label You've Changed Records and construction worker for a builders' co-operative. Before that, he was a physics major at the University of Guelph, but is uncertain how his science background influenced his creative endeavours.
"What I think about now when I think about that stuff are things like the uncertainty principle: the idea that you can't know everything about a particle; the more you know about its energy or momentum, the less you know about its location. So there's a limit to knowledge. You only hope to know the answers to certain questions," he says. "Or entropy: that without work or effort put into a system, it'll run towards disorder and uselessness."
Lambke knows the value of hard work, but still incorporates enough disorder to keep things interesting. Baby Eagle's latest Bone Soldiers---a metaphor for teeth---is occasionally tender, often brazen, and always blunt, with a sound swept into a punk-influenced undertow.
Lambke's a prodigious lyricist whose poetic imagery is undeniably vivid amidst the steady 4/4 time and intrepid guitar interplay provided by The Proud Mothers. His gently etched voice has apparently gone from storyteller to that of someone within the story; he feels what he sings, vaulting between murmurs and howls. Thematically, the veteran musician jettisons the sunnier, idyllic tones found on Dog Weather for grimmer topics.
"The military imagery is used to talk about ideas of duty, loyalty and commitment," he explains "Vulnerability, frailty and failure, too, are a huge part of that. Then there's a lot of lust and desire as well. Like life! And an acknowledgement of the unknowable and mysterious---tarot cards, astrological signs and meanings, holy prophecies. That desire for sense to be made of it all."
Baby Eagle doesn't claim to know the answers. Instead, he proves the uncertainty principle. Certain, however, is Lambke's status as a musician of distinction and honour.
Baby Eagle & The Proud Mothers w/Jon McKiel, Quaker Parents, Woolly Leaves, Thursday, April 12 at Michael’s Bar and Grill, 6100 Young Street, 9pm, $8
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