Joel Cossette 7


With more talent in the room than people, Thursday night at Broken City hosted a warm and welcoming acoustic set for those brave enough to face the cold.

In another life, Cold Water Hotel could have been a barfly sharing a bottle of vodka with Bukowski, or wandering the lonely woods of Thoreau’s Walden. Instead this strumming storyteller floats above scenes and time to deliver his mind in musical form.

Cold Water Hotel 3Haunting and beautiful, Cold Water Hotel delivers a full package in his performances. Clever stories tiptoe between comedic, scathing and insightful themes, while simple chords showcase a character that brings songs to life with sincerity, heart and an air of strange. This man is an anomaly that needs to be witnessed.

Samantha Savage Smith, Calgary’s darling songwriter, graced the stage as the second act of the night. Even without a band or a massive crowd, this woman puts her lips to a microphone and something special happens.

Society loves to watch their heroes fall. Maybe I’m a sheep, or just an asshole, but I wanted to watch one of the mighty fall. The problem was that the snow was sparkling lightly, the beer was dark and I closed my eyes. That was the perfect recipe to fSamantha Savage Smith 2all in love with Samantha Savage Smith and her incredible voice. Bless you for being so damn wonderful, Samantha.

Can I get an amen for Joel Cossette!? Probably not, because no one in this damn city seemed to know this guy existed. Cossette is the real deal. Sincerity is his trump card and every word that comes out of his mouth sends shivers down my grown-up pop-punk spine.

Sitting somewhere between Bright Eyes and Dashboard Confessional, Cossette is a lyrical genius that would speak to the all-ages crowd just as much as the 20-somethings. I believe the term for what I heard was “timeless.”

By Sean Hamilton
Photos by Justin Wilson

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