In that tables turned episode of The Advocate Podcast, Cambray-based musician Marc Novoselec asked me who my favourite classic rock band was. With little hesitation, I offered British progressive rock group, Yes.
It was the rapid-fire portion of the interview, so there was no need – or time – for me to elaborate on what initially drew me to Yes. Next question, please.
But the reason, interestingly, is similar to what’s now drawing me to Dwayne Gretzky, a band fronted by Dunsford area-raised Tyler Kyte, which plays mostly other artists songs.
Kyte and his Dwayne’s music are featured in the most recent episode.
You see, Yes does a version of The Beatles’ Every Little Thing.
Much like Yes offers a fresh take of that Fab Four tune, so does Dwayne with The Cars’ “Just What I Needed.” Actually, Kyte – an I.E. Weldon grad who returns frequently to lend his talent to causes like Downeyville’s Raise The Roof – and his band do one better; they actually made me like a Cars song.
I was a fan of the Beatles when I discovered that Yes version of their song – so, by default, my curiosity was piqued.
The Cars, on the other hand, are a band that has me super-fast abandoning that 10-to-two steering wheel position to super-faster hit the mute button when any Cars song comes on my vehicle’s radio.
But researching Dwayne’s music for the interview with Kyte, required listening to their version of many songs – including that Cars classic. Happily, I discovered Dwayne’s version was very good. Exceptional, even, in its stripped-down, acoustic feel. It’s actually now on my playlist.
It’s not that all of Dwayne’s songs are stark departures from the original versions. Most aren’t, in fact. And that, too, can pose a challenge for any band, which can lead listeners to wonder “What’s the point?” when hearing a note-for-note rendition of an already popular song.
But even when Dwayne’s 10 members stay true to the original, they still manages to put a stamp on it that’s all their own. Give a listen to the their adaptation of Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes – a song that I previously would have thought was sacrosanct for any artist to cover – and you’ll understand.
Kyte, who still has family in Norland and Fenelon Falls, isn’t all about playing other artists’ music. In fact, he’s co-written a song for the recently released Fog and Lasers 2, a compilation album that features contributions from various musicians and comedians.
It’s how Kyte interprets existing songs, however, where his unique talent especially shines. And it’s that skill that allows Dwayne Gretzky to not be your average cover or tribute act.
Denis Grignon is the producer and host of The Advocate Podcast: Stories from Kawartha Lakes, sponsored by Wards Lawyers. All episodes are available to stream and download, for free, by subscribing on Spotify or at Apple Podcasts.