Coasting Notes

by Three Metre Day (2011)
The Crown (Michelle Willis, Hugh Marsh, Don Rooke. Lyrics by DR)
Stay That Way (as above)

ALL RECORDINGS: Paydirt (2020)Quiet Industry (2015)Is This Tomorrow (2009)Joyous Porous (2002)Desert Cure (1998)Chasing Grace (1996)Puerto Angel (1994)The Yearly Ears (dig.comp.’94-98) • Coasting Notes (2011 by Three Metre Day)Atlas Travel (2003)

“Very close to roots perfection.” – The Musical View

“Defunct.” The Realist

Three Metre Day was an original, now disbanded, Canadian roots music trio whose members were Hugh Marsh, Don Rooke and Michelle Willis.

Marsh, violinist, recorded and toured extensively with Bruce Cockburn, Loreena McKennitt, Jon Hassell, Don Byron and Mercan Dede, as well as playing on the soundtracks to countless Hollywood films. Don Rooke is a lap-style slide guitarist who also leads cult Toronto band The Henrys. He has recorded with Mary Margaret O’Hara, Iggy Pop, James Williamson, Sylvia Tyson and Gordie Sampson, as well as for movies and TV. And Michelle Willis, whose singing and portable pump organ playing are the cornerstone of this original band.

Willis, leader of her own band, sang with The Henrys at Luminato in Toronto in 2009, on the same bill as Derek Trucks Band, Daniel Lanois and Debashish Battacharya, among others. The event was called The World of Slide Guitar. Don and Hugh, who met much earlier, recorded and toured together in Mary Margaret O’Hara’s band in support of the CD Miss America in the late ’80s. They have worked together in concert and in studios many times since.

The trio started working on new material in late 2009. The sound of the band and of Coasting Notes, the new recording, features these original songs performed on old instruments, which blend to form a strong, identifiable texture. At times the sounds are so interwoven it’s hard to distinguish one instrument from another. It is rare to see three musicians in one group who demonstrate a real command of their instruments, but have devoted themselves to making uncommonly organic, consolidated music. On the recording, Rooke wrote the lyrics and played guitars; Marsh violin; Willis vocals and pump organ.

In support of the CD’s release in the USA, the band was in California in early November 2011, playing a series of dates that were arranged, for the most part, through the generosity and dedicated hard work of James Williamson.

James Williamson, guitarist, Iggy and The Stooges.

“Three Metre Day’s ‘Coasting Notes’ is a heartfelt album that has you leaning in closer to the music as the voice of Michelle Willis warms you by the fire.”  Laurie Brown / The Signal: CBC Radio
Kerry Doole, Tandem:
It is always exciting to come across a new group that emerges with a fully-formed and original sound and vision. That’s the case with this terrific Toronto trio. They’ve emerged from the much-loved The Henrys, with that group’s leader, slide guitarist/composer Don Rooke, and violin virtuoso Hugh Marsh, now joined by young vocalist/pump organist Michelle Willis. They’ve just released a superb debut CD, Coasting Notes, and its songs sounded even better at the Hugh’s Room launch performance.

The group expanded to seven for the gig, and the backing vocals of Joanna Mohammed and Marla Walters helped add soulful depth to the material. Willis’ vocals occasionally recalled Beth Orton in their purity, though she could also get sultry (as on “Honey Drip”). The beautifully poetic “Left At The Prairies” showcases Rooke’s real talent as a lyricist (The Henrys were primarily instrumental). No surprise to see plenty of musicians in the appreciative audience. Three Metre Day are now off on a California tour, and their next local gig is set for Fontana Swing (a loft space at 245 Carlaw) on Nov. 12.
Highly recommended.