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Bent Roads Tavern Serve Up Last Round of Vintage Tracks

The B.C. indie outfit look back with the final volume in their archival series.

Bent Roads Tavern continue to retrace their steps with the fifth and final volume in their ongoing archival reissue series — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

Formed at University of British Columbia in 2001, Bent Roads Tavern packed local venues to sell-out crowds. For years, band members — including Collen Middleton, Christian Stokkmo, Bradley Dean, Graham Langridge, Lis Campsall, Anthony Lee, Brian Lynch, Jim Riecken, James Cook and guest musicians Mark Langridge and Heidi Noel Langridge — delivered flashes of protest punk mixed with modern jazz, folk and roots with an “unapologetic sound,” Middleton recalls. This year, the storied Canadian collective have mined their archives to remaster, reimagine and reissue their work in The Legend of Bent Roads Tavern series — with Volume 5 out now.

The Legend of Bent Roads Tavern roughly follows the chronology of the band’s writing, including early recordings of songs by Christian, Graham and myself recorded in a single marathon session between midnight and 6 a.m.,” Middleton says. “The recordings were very crude, though; limited microphones and mixing capabilities meant there were so many audio issues that made them virtually unlistenable by contemporary standards.” Sadly, they never got the chance to redo them. Last year, Stokkmo passed away at age 38, while Dean died in 2016 at age 33.

The revival of BRT began after Stokkmo’s passing. “The remaining members wanted to pay tribute to Christian and Brad, and also to this band that came together in a pivotal time in our lives. The Legend of Bent Roads Tavern is as much highlighting the legacy of Christian and Brad as it is a reflection on the life-long pursuit of musicianship of the remaining members.”

The result was a mix of remastered reissues, stripped-down solo versions from Middleton and new tunes. They arrived in Volumes 1 & 2, 3 & 4, and now 5. “With the anniversary of both Brad and Christian’s passing approaching in early November, I wanted to conclude The Legend of Bent Roads Tavern with Volume 5,” Middleton offers. “It features Brad’s bass playing and a recording of Christian’s Monologue, and allows for the chance to really showcase their talents as musicians as well as for us to pay homage.

“This started as a tribute, but with the completion of The Legend of Bent Roads Tavern in sight, I’m realizing this has been a cathartic project for me too,” Middleton reflects. “I have always been so proud of this group and what we accomplished in a short amount of time as a bunch of misfit minstrels at school, away from home, and belonging together in Vancouver. We found brotherhood in each other and I realized that one way or another, I needed to put this project together and out there. These songs have been stuck in my head for so long, I needed to ‘finish’ them — we may have started in 2001, but The Legend of Bent Roads Tavern Volumes 1-5 are the first official and commercial releases we’ve ever put out into the world as that band.”

Listen to The Legend of Bent Roads Tavern Vol. 5 and watch the video for Rainstorm above, check out the entire set below, and learn more about Bent Roads Tavern via their website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Collen Middleton.