By Kerry Doole
Begonia - The Bus ( Rex Baby Records): In late February 2020, Begonia (Alexa Dirks) hosted five sold out shows in her hometown of Winnipeg, which capped off the Fear Live Tour supporting her acclaimed new record, Fear (out via Rex Baby Records). Those concerts are now available as the Fear Tour Live Album, out this Friday (Jan. 29).
In a press release, Dirks notes that the album “comprises my favourite performances from those five nights. I'm beyond thrilled that we recorded all those shows, and now I can put this album out as a way to bitter-sweetly bid farewell to the Fear era. I was really looking forward to bringing this show on the road this last year and as much as I'm sad we weren't able to, I'm so happy that we get to put this live album out now.”
Begonia is known as a powerhouse performer, so the arrival of a live record is welcomed. Along with the album, Begonia is also sharing a b-side, Bus, that didn’t end up on the Fear LP. “I recorded ‘Bus’ in the same sessions as all the other songs for the Fear album but in the end when I was putting the track listing together it just didn't seem to fit in with the other songs like I originally planned,” says Dirks.
“This song has always held a special place in my heart though, and I've been performing it live for a while, so I'm super happy to be finally putting it out on its own. It's a song about going out with your friends to try and feel something which I wish I could do right now more than a lot of things... soooo it's kind of a party song and kind of a sad song, haha...my favourite.”
Bus showcases her signature blend of pop and soul elements. Though comparatively restrained here, Begonia still shows she possesses one of those force of nature voices that can pin you in your seat. Alison Moyet and Adele are suggested reference points.
Dirks co-wrote and co-produced Fear with a familiar team of Matt Schellenberg (Royal Canoe) and Matt Peters (Royal Canoe) along with Marcus Paquin (The National, Arcade Fire, Local Natives). Fear was chosen as one of Exclaim!’s Most Underrated Albums of the Year, though it spent 10 straight weeks as the #1 album in the country on Earshot’s Top 50 chart.
Let's hope Begonia gets to strut her formidable stuff on stages again soon, but this will tide us over in the meantime.
Publicity: Ken Beattie, Killbeat
Management - Mighty Cypress, Stu Anderson
Booking (Canada) - Paquin Artists Agency, Todd Jordan