The Divorcees | Music | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

With their music suited to barroom brawling, it's fortuitous that this Saturday, January 12, The Divorcees with Ryan Cook and Sunny Acres provide the rollicking framework for good times at The Attic (11pm, $6), one of the last shows scheduled for the closing venue. Last year was big for The Divorcees, what with showcases at Canadian Music Week, performing at the ECMAs, touring Canada, and some notable festival slots like the Dauphin Country Fest, the Calgary Stampede and an opening slot on the only outdoor stop of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's summer tour. The Divorcees play straight-ahead country music in the style of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. Do not call them alt-country, or new country, or they will punch you.

The band's made up of Jason Haywood, Alex Madsen, Danny Roy, Denis Arsenault and Brock Gallant, and it looks like 2008 is shaping up to be just as eventful for them. "We're very excited to be working on our second record. I think our fans are going to be real happy with the second album. I know I am!" says Alex Madsen. "With a second release comes a lot of touring, so we're looking forward to seeing all our friends across Canada-—and possibly a little further out." One of The Divorcees' goals is to make a "big presence" at this year's SXSW. "Some of the guys from that event had seen us in Saint John during the CCMAs a few years back and really liked the band. More than a few of us are looking forward to going to Willie's neck of the woods—it's certainly been a dream of mine for many years," says Madsen. Since the American South is the birthplace of the music The Divorcees treasure, their trip to Texas will involve several pit stops at some legendary landmarks. "Clayton Bellamy (from The Road Hammers) invited us to hang out in Nashville for a few days so I think Haywood and I might...check out Graceland and a few other fun spots like Tootsies, a legendary bar where our heroes used to drink, and see who we run into while we're there," says Madsen.

The Divorcees' brand of authentic, traditionally themed country music makes for a good drinking buddy. "It's decidedly North American; we can relate to it because it's by us and for us," says Madsen. "Also, I think it's because the emotion of a country song is right there, out in the open. It's not cryptic or vague—it's just straight-up. I'm heartbroken; I'm mean; I'm restless; I'm homesick; I'm drunk or on my way to getting there. There's very little mincing of the words and the music is subtle enough to let those words just ring out."

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