Look for Vancouver based outfit No Sinner at 92ZEW Countdown to Hangout Fest Free Concert Series, opening for 28North
No Sinner, lead by 26-year-old Colleen Rennison is a force of nature, a post modern soul belter and queen of rock, a hard-singing, hard-loving, hard-drinking, hard-working throwback to those her and the guys grew up listening to, including Nina Simone, Tina Turner, Rolling Stones and Diana Ross.
Rennison learned from a cousin that her name was â€œNo Sinnerâ€ spelled backwards, is now the singer of a raucous rock band with guitarist Eric Campbell, drummer Ian Browne and rotating bassists Bradley Ferguson and Parker Bossley. Their debut album, Boo Hoo Hoo, includes six tracks from a 2012 EP released on Vancouver indie First Love Records.
Boo Hoo Hoo travels from the juke-joint jump blues of its title track and the Delta swamp of â€œRunninâ€™,â€ with a chugging Creedence beat, to â€œLove Is Madnessâ€ with a Motown bass line and a Dusty Springfield â€œSpookyâ€ vibe. Other highlights include a cover of Nina Simoneâ€™s version of Nat Adderley / Oscar Brown Jr.â€™s â€œWork Songâ€, the soaring, affirmative gospel revival of â€œRise Up,â€ the sensuous plaint of â€œIf Anythingâ€ and the feedback-charged â€œDevil on My Back,â€ a band composition that features Black Mountainâ€™s Matt Camirand.
No Sinnerâ€™s music is about the clash between the sacred and the profane, the preacher and the devil, the sins of Saturday night at the local watering hole being washed away in the redemption of Sunday morning in church; in short, the very contradiction at the heart of rock â€™nâ€™ roll.
â€œItâ€™s a consistent theme in my life to negotiate between being animals and yet righteous,â€ explains Rennison. â€œHow we need a healthy dose of both good and evil in our lives. Music itself is very much a medium between us and the spiritual world. The things we express in our songs run the gamut from sinful to celestial.â€
On returning to her hometown from New York, Vancouver, Colleen started writing with Parker Bossley (formerly of Hot Hot Heat) and joined up with a rotating backing band, for a weekly Thursday night residency at Guilt and Company, a new club in Vancouverâ€™s Gastown district. â€œI honed my chops, my stage confidence, my style and versatility,â€ explains Colleen. â€œI also learned to play with other musicians.â€
â€œLay down your burdens â€¦ And rise up!â€
â€œSo much of the music I started listening to as a girl came from churches and gatherings where people congregated and sang their blues away,â€ she says. â€œItâ€™s a dirty business loving me / Itâ€™s going to be hard sometimes,â€ she warns on the sultry â€œIf Anything.â€ â€œThatâ€™s a disclaimer for anyone who wants to get involved with me,â€ laughs Colleen. â€œIâ€™m warning you now.â€
With her in-your-face stage presence and down-to-earth T-shirt and shorts (â€œIâ€™d like to think Iâ€™m bridging the gap between trash and class,â€ she says), Rennison is an old soul, wiser than her years might suggest. â€œI love the idea of these women who very much lived in a manâ€™s world, touring on the road,â€ she says. â€œJust the idea of the things these women must have seen, the lives they led and how it came out in the music has always inspired me.
â€œIâ€™ve always connected with folklore and history, a simpler time of life. Since I was a kid. Iâ€™ve always felt a little out of place in the modern world.â€ You can hear that reverence for the past in Boo Hoo Hoo, along with a desire to drag it kicking and screaming into 2013.
â€œI just want to play music with people I love and respectâ€ says Colleen. â€œI want to see the world. People who come to our shows leave happy. And as long as you keep making music that people want to listen to, how could you go wrong? Colossal success would be nice, but right now weâ€™re just concentrating on the quality and, hopefully, the rest will fall into place.â€
No Sinner donâ€™t mind you comparing them to other people, but they remain true to their own instincts.â€œWe just write whatever comes to us,â€ insists Rennison. â€œWeâ€™re fans of a variety of different sounds and kinds of music. Weâ€™re inspired that artists like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, early Kings of Leon and Lucinda Williams brought it back to the basics and breathe in new life. Luckily, weâ€™re in between so many styles, we have the liberty to do what we please. We really donâ€™t have a formula. Weâ€™re not here to be the next anybody. Weâ€™ve got our own mark to make.â€
â€œBoo Hoo Hooâ€ hits stores in North America on June 24, 2014