Submitted by Sandy Graham
Hot off the heels of their most recent single “Hey Mona!”, Toronto’s terrific trio Redpath Traffic is striking a different chord with their latest release, “Do You Love Me Now?”, featuring the legendary Chris Birkett on lap steel, keyboards, and backing vocals. Both tracks will be available on the group’s debut LP Under The Crimson Sun, available everywhere this October. Check out “Do You Love Me Now?” on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-wZOn5bgFw
The electrifying brainchild of drummer Kerem Balci, bassist Mark Fernley, and guitarist/vocalist Rick Todd, Redpath Traffic creates genre-agnostic music that fuses blues and rock with a touch of punk, while weaving through their personal narratives of love, loss, redemption, and change.
Chris Birkett brings also his rich musical legacy and exceptional talent to the single– his illustrious career as a producer, singer/songwriter, composer, and sound engineer has included collaborations with such renowned international artists as Sinead O’Connor, Alison Moyet, Dexys Midnight Runners, Talking Heads, The Pogues, Bob Geldof, Quincy Jones, Mel Brooks, and Steve Earle. His singular artistic vision has earned him four Canadian Junos, a Grammy, a Polaris Music Prize, and three international AMPEX Golden Reel Awards.
On the surface “Do You Love Me Now?” speaks to the agonizing self-sacrifice one may find themselves making to win the seemingly unrequited love of another. However, on a deeper level, it’s also a song about self-acceptance, with the singer asking the person in the mirror how many changes it will take to reach a more elusive self-love. For Todd, the song’s writer and composer, the track is also reminiscent of the struggle his adoptive dad faced accepting himself as a gay man.
Listen on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/track/6p9iR1gJGCFvrlMKSZtWxA?si=e8428d4feaaf45e7&nd=1
“Being gay in the 70s was much more scandalous than it is today, especially as a married family man,” says Todd. “He struggled to be what society expected him to be, but it caused him unending strife and sadness. His fear of being found out was real, as were the potential effects on his family, career, and social standing.”
Todd remembers that Toronto was a much different place when his dad’s secret was finally out. In an era where gay men were targets of violence in the shadow of the Emanuel Jacques murder, his dad found he had to sever ties with his “old” life to manage his truth better and protect the people who mattered to him.
“Dad found a partner with whom he lived for decades,” Todd says. “But he had to sacrifice his relationship with his children to do so without fear. I didn’t even find out he was gay until years later.”
Todd was reunited with his dad in 2001, after 16 years of no contact, and the two maintained a relationship until his dad’s death in 2004. Even after years of pain and sadness, Todd was happy they had the opportunity for redemption.
“I understand how frightening it must have been to admit to me that he was gay,” Todd says. “I would have been okay with it. You can’t be angry at someone for being who they really are or loving who they love.”
In “Do You Love Me Now?” Todd alchemizes this story into three minutes and forty-eight seconds of jam-worthy bliss. Balci, Fernley, and Birkett’s contributions are also evident in the beautifully crafted instrumentation that perfectly complements the song’s emotional depth. The opening guitar chords create a gentle and somber atmosphere, setting the tone for the introspective journey ahead. The rhythm section, consisting of drums and bass, establishes a steady and comforting pulse that drives the song forward.
Redpath Traffic continues to push boundaries and defy genre conventions with their soulful storytelling and captivating melodies. “Do You Love Me Now?” is a testament to the band’s artistic versatility and future in the music scene.