Music

Genre Fluid.

Yes, some of it is funny, but not all of it… and, yes, some of it sweet, but it’s not just that either. Some of it is weird… because… cantaloupe!

All of it is lyric driven songwriting at the core from a well-traveled musician based in Kemptville, Ontario who is widely known for playing at Farmers’ Markets in exchange for free vegetables.

Will work for beets.

Here is the story of Bruce’s Music, or, at least part of it…

“Enloe dug into the dark corners of his life, and came up with diverse, rootsy songs about falling off the wagon, dealing with messy breakups and other personal stuff […] songs range from the bluegrassy twang … to the defiant rocker … to the cosmic boogie …”  -Lynn Saxburg, Ottawa Citizen


Bruce Enloe is a musician from Ontario by way of San Francisco by way of Texas… Starting out in the DIY Texas post-punk scene that produced eclectic contemporaries like …And You Will Know us by the Trail of Dead, Glorium, Gut, Paul Newman, and Windsor for the Derby; he left music for some time before returning to produce a series of albums and songs that are genre defying (Americana, Beatle-pop, novelty, folk, rock…), lyric driven, unique, and combine a mix of comic wit and thoughtfulness.

Bruce was born and raised in Bryan-College Station, Texas; the town where Lyle Lovett met Robert Earl Keen…  He has since added California, Europe, and Canada to his list of both musical influences and travels. 

At the age of 15, he was kicked out as the singer of his first band, a thrash metal party outfit named ‘Shit Happens’, because he had good ‘range but not enough sustain’… This began a pattern of mixed successes and failures in the music industry (wink), tempered by healthy dose of… well… more realistic career choices (chef, business owner, local foods advocate, writer)  Bruce is at heart, however,  that rare creature– the unflappable optimist, and the relentless craftsman.  Over his many years he has written hundreds of songs; from the early punk, metal, funk-punk, noise rock, indie, novelty country, and Beatle pop outings of his high school and college years (many with songwriting partner Kevin Allen of Merge and Interscope’s “…And You Will Know us by the Trail of Dead”) to a resurgence starting in the 2010’s as frontman of an Ontario based sprawling folk/country/rock band ‘The Burning Sensations.’

With this,’Kemptville Ontario’s Largest Band,’ Bruce released two full length albums; 2012’s ‘Bonfire’ and 2015’s ‘Unseasonably Cool’ that chronicle an evolution from a bedroom to a main stage singer-songwriter.  Produced by guitarist Ben Mullin and open source music pioneer Brad Turcotte (aka ‘Brad Sucks’), on those two albums, the talented band backs him on journey through genres far, wide, big, and small but always swirling, coalescing and returning to the dense, well-aged and artisan crafted lyrical center.  

More recently, in March 2022 (in association with Victoria BC’s Surkeus records), he released The Escape Plan, a lysergic, Covid-fever-dream of an album produced and recorded entirely solo in his basement. This album has been very well received critically and even peaked at the number 2 position(!) on an Earshot college radio chart in British Columbia. In his words…

“The songs for ‘The Escape Plan’ were mostly conceived and written both alongside and as a follow up (‘Book II’ or ’Part II’) to my 2019 album ‘A Perfect Cliché’. Unsurprisingly (pandemic?) it has been a slow process… Originally intended to be a studio album with the full band, I’ve instead taken on the recording myself, a process that was started and aborted many times (with widely varying results…) Recently inspired to revisit the multiple attempts, I realized that the mishmash of ideas work as a pastiche or collage. Production-wise, the result is a weird, eclectic cross section of the best (or at least most interesting) of the varied approaches, ranging from excessive, densely multitracked psychedelia, to simple ‘boy plus guitar’ acoustic takes…”

“The lyrics cover themes of transition, growth, escape, art, political consciousness, and spirituality. The narrative follows the story of a ‘lost song’ and a quest along an imaginary river to recover both the song and the freedom that the protagonist feels it represents. The redemption comes from an acceptance of cycles and an understanding that there is only one river and that it is the sea. Or something like that.”

“And in the end, I will forgive myself, and learn to love again…”

Released March 4, 2022 – The Escape Plan

His 2019 album (A Perfect Cliché, co-produced by Ben Mullin and Brad Sucks) called back to his eclectic art rock roots and is described as a ‘fake concept album’, complete with a nonsense narrative, his own art design, and music that combines indie rock, pop & folk, with dashes of electronica, psych and noise.

Released June 4, 2021 – A Perfect Cliché – De-Lucked Addition (expanded re-issue with linking narrative) also available on cassette from Surkeus Records

A Perfect Cliché, released in January 2019:

Prior to that, the two ‘proper albums’ were recorded with The Burning Sensations… and those folks are…

Bruce Enloe; Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Songwriter

Ben Mullin; Lead Guitars, Back-up Vocals, Studio Instruments & Production

Mark Ettinger; Drums

Jay Williams; Bass

Shawn Brown; Pedal Steel

Shawn Yakimovich; Fiddle, Mandolin, Trumpet

Tom Graham; Piano, Organ

Doug Hendry; Back-up Vocals, 12-string Guitar

Past Members/additional instruments/voices:

  • Brad Turcotte (Producer), Matty McKechnie, Steve Pelehos, Steve Gaw, Heather Mullin, Tom Brown, Greg Kelly, John Dillabough, Josh Hofmann, Amanda Giles, Keith Glass

BONFIRE:

“This album started when my mom asked me for another copy of the same crappy demos of my songs I’d been passing around for years, they were supposed to be placeholders, just for me and the band to learn their parts with–I decided on the spot that I would quit screwing around and just record the album, live, warts and all, invite all my best friends to help out and that I would release it. Now. Before Christmas–so here it is. The Branch (my restaurant, where this was recorded and where a fair amount of it was written and hashed out…) is all about community, working together, playing together–this album is a testament to that spirit–they are my songs, but this thing is the work of the whole community–‘the Burning Sensations’ is a cute band name I came up with a few years ago and just liberally apply to whoever is around to join in at any given moment–as you can hear–it has some pretty talented members at times–so thanks to them, especially Jay and Shawn Y., the two longest standing and most consistently participating members. I want to also especially thank Ben Mullin and Brad Turcotte–they, along with Steve Pelehos are members of a studio project I have popped in and out of over the last couple of years ‘The Belarus Racing Team;’ two songs here, ‘Starting Over ‘ and ‘Another Way to Smile’ both live double lives here and with that crew in slightly different forms. Ben and Brad are also the magicians who conceived of this concept, spent lots of personal time on it and followed it through to the end, I will be forever grateful for their efforts…I am also grateful to my wife Nicole LeBlanc, the ‘best thing that ever happened to me’, of course, for her patience, of course; Matt Scott, my sous chef–I couldn’t have done it without his help covering me on the line. And my mom, for asking for another copy…there are lots of other folks I am forgetting, I’m a grateful guy–listen to track twelve, you’re in there somewhere, I love you all!

I call this album ‘Bonfire’ specifically because of the line in Track 11, ‘All the Time,’ that I wrote for my daughter Abigail–she is on the autism spectrum and I love nothing more than watching the bonfire that therapy and life sets in her eyes. I named it ‘Bonfire’ in general because fire and smoke are big themes in my music and my life, and I like the idea of a ‘bon’ or a a ‘good’ fire. But it also got that name because, I have to admit, as a native of Bryan, Texas, and having accumulated about 70 credit hours at Texas A&M…I am still a bit of an Aggie at heart. To an Aggie, there is a lot of spirit, community, even emotion wrapped up in the idea of a bonfire, of THE Bonfire, to anyone who has ever spent a moment or two in that culture–the bonfire to me is the sense of being at home–there, here, wherever, and whatever that is.

UNSEASONABLY COOL:

43 years of writing and two years of part time studio effort has finally hit the home stretch for this ‘Unseasonably Cool’ new batch of tunes… This is my second album, and much like the first (Bonfire, 2012), it features a new batch of original, lyric driven songs written over the course of a well traveled life; and it continues to explore my favourite themes of life, love, hope and even loss… But right about there is where the similarity starts to shift…

The recording of the first album was a great moment for me– I reached out and asked for help and got it–a core band was formed that centered around the production efforts of my good friends (and wildly talented in their own right) Ben Mullin and Brad Turcotte… Others came as well– many folks that I met through the restaurant and music venue that I own(ed… sold in August of 2016…), book music for, am the chef of, and run with my wife and partner, Nicole LeBlanc (The Branch Restaurant and Texas Grill). I invited lots of people to help, to be honest, many more than I thought would have any desire to stick around and see it through. But to my surprise, not only did almost everyone I asked say yes and help record the album, they also all decided to stick around and I ended up with a line-up that included a regular crew of 8 (?!) players. That group, mostly intact, has continued to back me up several times a year ever since. It has become one of the greatest honours of my life to work with this incredible team, a group that, for some silly reason, we named The Burning Sensations.

Although I am still amazed at the ambition it took to accomplish the recording of that first album, the truth is that after we continued to play together (and get better at playing together…), the experience also left us all wondering… “What if?” What if this band–all these talented players and studio wizards actually had the time and space to stretch out? To explore? To bring their full talents to bear on a new batch of tunes? This new album, Unseasonably Cool, attempts to do exactly that. Our goal was to create a fully realized studio effort, paying tribute (not comparing, mind you, just a tribute…) to my studio heroes from Brian Wilson and George Martin, to Dave Fridmann, Robert Schneider and Jim O’Rourke– We set out to honour the genre of the classic studio album, and, (ironically?) in the process, we stepped out of the conventions of genre altogether– Our experiments ending up taking my songs as a guide and using them to test the waters of everything from power pop, acid rock, old time, blues driven soul, to indie rock, cosmic country, folk rock and even a tip of the hat to new wave pop… The product of these efforts is a very different sounding album from the first on the surface– Shiny new sounds, louder and harder rock than Bonfire in several places, and then quieter and softer in others– And yes, in the process, Stones were Rolled, Beatles were Byrded, Simons were Garfunkeled and Neutral Milk Hotels were Wilco-ed… and we had fun, and we worked, and we played… and the final judgement? Does it work? Well, for that, I will have to let you decide for yourself… 🙂

And, oh yeah, Christmas is Awesome!

…and kids are cool too!

And… ALL the way back…

“Once upon a time I was young, VERY young, and yes, I did have bands/make music… And now, for basically no good reason at all, I have decided to put some of that bandsmusicstuff on the internet.”

“This ‘album’ is a coulda-been-album/mix of tunes and recordings written and performed mostly with my two best pals, Brandon Crowe and Kevin Allen, in the late 80s/early 90s. We had a band that we felt very good calling ‘NME’ because in a small city in Texas in the pre-internet era, we had almost no awareness of and/or consideration for the naming rights of British publications. In a nod to the punkish mode of the times (DRI, MOD), we rotated the meaning of the acronym from time to time, often from show to show… Starting out with the naively proto-political ‘New Moral Establishment’ (a dig at the Swaggart-ized conversation in the air in those days) and rotating through chestnuts like ‘Nude Messiahs from Egypt’, ‘Neon Mucus Eggplant’, and finally ‘Naked Monkeys Eat’ (among others…)”

“Over time, we lost several bassists to explosions, fires, loose morals, college, girls, boredom… you know, all the usual stuff, but the two mainstays featured on this record are founding bassist Jonathan ‘X’ and final bassist Derek Phillips (the exalted, long may he reign). For the record, these precociously amazing musicians are responsible for every single cool note, performance, chord progression and solo found here-in as I was ‘pre-guitar’ in this period, and, conversely, none of these fine gentlemen can be blamed for a single one of my shitty adolescent rhymes, vocal tics, bum notes, or poorly formed nascent philosophy expressed in the lyrics, as we often played so loud that they couldn’t even hear them anyway. The comedically hormonal sexuality in some of the songs, however, was definitely encouraged if not dictated to me by this subhuman gang of perverts and monsters and I take no responsibility, NONE, for any of it. OK, maybe a little…”

“Three songs on this collection were demos recorded after (written and performed during) the time that band was active, (Photograph, Built a House, and Come Around). Kevin Allen did most of the heavy lifting on those and I showed up, sang, and took all the credit. I have compressed and edited those a little, but other than that, all of these recording are from the time and from the band without any updates… Kevin, who did most of our recording in those days, went on to an actual career in music for some time and even in this early stuff, his guitar solos scream with bluster and confidence. Brandon has played with approximately 7, 289 Austin bands at this point and if you have ever had a beer on sixth street there is upwards of a 94.28 percent chance that you have met him. (Britannica, 2019)”

“Jonathan ‘X’ went on to work for the CIA and is currently working in the Los Angeles underground with a group of ragged misfits called the ‘A Team’ (or something like that, I have gracefully not dragged him into this re-opening of old… tunes), and Derek stayed with the band through it’s next evolution into an acoustic mock country outfit called ‘Odus Krumly’… “

Speaking of…

At last, thanks to something called a “statute of limitations”, the true story of Odus Krumly, everyone’s favorite raunchy-acoustic-porch-cowpunk-party band of all time, can finally be told…

Officially, it all began in a house on the flight path in Austin circa 1991-2…

Unofficially, it began near the turn of the century with the brief and tortured career of Odysseus “Odus” Colostemen Krumly Esq., musician, Crowleyan mystic, mustard gurgler, saint, poet, checker grand master, and child-buddha. It has often been reported at least 2-3 times on an Instagram thread, that the band’s name was inspired by the band’s coincidentally homonymical landlord, “Odus Crumley”, owner of Odus Realty and the house on Koening where most of the band usually lived and played, this, however, is not the case.

And yes, there is even one more beginning, long after the story of Krumly, and long before the move to the house of Crumley…. This other beginning was when an intrepid young man named Kevin “K-Bob” Waynes; blue-eyed bandleader, sideburn rancher, multi-instrumentalist and skilled producer of novelty answering machine jingles; came across a book of songs he found, one day, in the attic of his grandparent’s home. Or, as he describes it, in his own, exact words:

“One day, I found a book of songs in the attic of my grandparent’s home”.

He went on to reveal the contents of the book… a series of disturbingly vulgar tunes, all written in densely coded musical language. By luck, Kevin was able to decipher the book using a combination of native wit, extensive musical training, and the Fostex 4-track user’s manual. Kevin has never shared this story with anyone to this day, I’m not even sure how I know it. I’m probably having a peyote flashback or something.

Decoded, what the book revealed was much more than just a series of horny, cornball, and comedically violent ditties, it also named and told the story of their creator, the afore-mentioned Odysseus “Odus” Krumly (again, not to be confused with their landlord’s sound-alike name, ‘Odus Crumley’, although the mistake is easy to make and completely understandable… possibly even likely…)

According to the book, the canonical Odus Krumly (with a “K”) first started writing his tunes during a darkly puritanical time in the East Texas, Southern Baptist, bible-belt community where he was born… Writers of his nature were loathed by mainstream culture, usually beaten, killed, or worse, and always relegated to a life on the fringes of society… playing at saloons, brothels, and even some incredibly unseemly places like the Methodist church. Odus had plied his trade in the darkest of these corners, mastering his craft and refining his skills, all while secretly recording the greatest of these works in his book. The same book that K-Bob now held.

And so it came to pass that Waynes learned, played, and recorded the first song of many from its yellowing, brittle, urine-stained pages; the important, philosophically complex and powerfully emotional “Me and Billy Jim Bob (Got a Nail Gun)” – a song of hope for troubled times with the rousing, fierce call to arms, “We’re gonna kick your ass! We’re GOOOONNNNAAA KICK… YOUR ASS!” It was an instant classic, a masterpiece, a hit that took the world by storm, instantly propelling him into the spotlight, and changing his life, and the lives of all those around him forever.

With his new-found fame and glory, Kevin was left with few options other than to form a band, learn and record more of these magic spells from the secret grimoire, and to unleash their power onto the world.
His first recruit was a drummer, the mysterious Crowe Brandon, a master of the arcane polyrhythms of yore, weaver of mysteries, and inventor of the ‘pizza bone’ diet… Crowe heard Kevin’s tune and immediately set fire to his be-stickered and duct-taped punk rock drumset, and even while the crimson flames yet rose above them both in that furious pyre, Crowe screamed in possessed voice the words that still haunt us all to this day: “Fuck that punk rock bullshit! Let’s form a goddam country band!” Keeping only his singed and battered snare drum, the two then set off on a quest to expand their army of true believers…

It is fortuitous to note that Odus Krumly (not the landlo… oh dammit, you’ve got it by now) had not been completely relegated to the fabled and oft-discussed ‘dustbin’ of history… in fact, a single recording of one of his tunes had escaped, somehow unscathed, from the ravages of time… Passed down through countless hands from silver acetate to wax cylinder, from wax cylinder to vinyl record, and finally to a single cassette recording. By some weird chance of fate, this lone artifact somehow managed to find its way to the longly named Eric Bruce Elanor Northgate Goober aka “E. B. E. N.”, or, “Eben” Goober, a distant cousin of the original Odus, a bean eater, and the former singer for Waynes’ and Crowe’s first band, a Fishbone-World Party tribute act that had traded publicly under the legal name: ‘ENEMA’.

This cassette, assumed to be the last remaining vestige from the life of Krumly, was a portal for the intrepid Goober, and from the first time he heard those generation-warped steel guitar notes ringing out from the scratchy tape, from the first line of silly yet thought provoking lyric, Eben knew he had found a new calling.

That song was “Honey You Think We’re in Love (But We’re Still in Texas)” a tear-jerking divorce song that speaks frankly about the perils of involving the bottle in matters of the heart. The song came to Eben at the exact moment when he needed to find a new path, having, coincidentally, just experienced a divorce that had involved a somewhat perilous bottle…

As fate would have it, a new path would appear very soon in the form of a phone call from his old band-mate, Kevin “K-bob” Waynes, where-in the discovery of their shared connection to the forgotten icon Krumly was revealed… And after that, it was only a matter of weeks until Eben moved to Austin to join K-bob and Crowe at the house on Koening.

That house was key. Some believe that the original Odus may have lived or visited the house during his travels, and the legends are all true except for the ones that aren’t. There is, however, one who knows the truth, and he ain’t talking. I’m speaking of course of Chips Pasterson, the thousand year old hermit who has lived in the basement of the legendary house since before the dawn of time, emerging every generation or two for a few brief moments to impart the wisdom of the ancients, share a hand-rolled cigarette, and to teach his practice, called “the way of the peaceful tube amp,” to a new generation of acolytes.

As Kevin and the disciples of Odus began to congregate for the song ceremonies on the porch in those early days, it was Chips who brewed the first of the two sacraments (the hot, caffeinated one, not the ice-cold ‘Yellow, Bubbly, Water of Tang’…) for the gathered faithful, before pulling up his own chair and joining the reverie with a P-bass plugged into a mysterious rodeo amplifier.

In those heady days, song after song was transcribed from the tattered tome… harmonies were added, lyrics learned… Crowe keeping time on the half burnt snare with two paintbrushes he had rescued from a paintbrush retirement community, and singing his middle harmony in a clear, loud voice… Waynes strumming the guitar, singing the third part, and giving direction… Goober singing lead and attempting to divine the cryptic meanings of the phrases provided by the transcribed words of their prophet… Pasterson thumping out a low rumble and singing a fourth part in his clear, plaintive second tenor warble… only occasionally pausing to share a bit of his ageless wisdom.

It was a special time… some of the songs learned in that era are, alas, lost to time, songs like “(I Sure Love) Driving Drunk”, and “You’ve Got Holes”, but many have survived and are recorded in this collection. “My Name is Mud (and I Love You)” , “Dammit (I’m Just Too Hammered For You)”, and “If You Always Hurt the Ones You Love (Why the Hell Ain’t I Hurtin’ You?)” are among those carefully transcribed tunes.

Eventually, it became clear that the band would need to expand beyond the porch to share the gospel of Odus as they understood it, as it was clearly too important not to share. But even as they realized this, they also realized that there was a piece of the puzzle missing, indeed there was a Dirk Fillerup shaped hole in the heart of the band.

Dirk Fillerup had been a wizard for generations before the beginning of time, and was also the last surviving bass player for ENEMA, the aforementioned previous band… More than a mere time-keeper, DF was a fellow melodicist, an advanced guitarist, and was also quite skilled in the necessary, enigmatic art of ‘entertainment’ or, in the vernacular, ‘making an ass of himself onstage’, certainly a critical element should this congregation choose to expand from the porch and into larger venues…

It took some sleuthing but eventually Dirk was found, bailed out of his incarceration in a high-paying dead end job, stripped and scrubbed down, then brought into the fold, making a bed on the porch and borrowing instruments until he could steal his own like a grownup. His voice became the badly needed bass note in the multi-part assemblage, filling in the gap, and making the harmony whole.

These pastors of cowpunk’s original prophet now ventured forth, singing the sacred, filthy words of Odus, fighting under his banner, and conquering nations in his name. Famous gigs included opening spots for any band playing inside the club on whose sidewalk they chose to play on, any party with a fair amount of free beer and collection of pots and pans that could stand in for a drumkit, and any punk-club that did not vet the acts before hiring them. Sadly, the well-publicised but ill-fated “You’re-a-Peein’” tour of 6th street bathrooms was never realized when K-Bob got into that Interscope band and Eben moved off to Cali.

Postscript: There are a couple of songs on here written by Odus Krumly, but actually recorded at different times by K-Bob (“Is it Hard Enough?”) and Eben (“I’ve Got a Dipstick”, “Hello, Penis (It’s Me Again)”) alone, and two recorded with other converts (Brian Something and Josh Whosit) in a briefly-lived band called The Cornfritters (“The Greens” and “Cornfritters”). They are all included in this collection because this is a tribute not to the eponymous cowpunk porch band, but to Odysseus “Odus” Krumly, the muse…

And finally, in the immortal words of Crowe; “Fuck that punk rock bullshit! Now, y’all go form a goddam country band!!” 

Almost all songs written, performed and recorded at various times and locations in the Austin, Texas area the early 90s by Odus Krumly:

Kevin “K-Bob” Waynes, Crowe Brandon, Eben Goober, Chips “R-Down” Pasterson, Dirk Fillerup (aka Kevin Allen, Brandon Crowe, Bruce Enloe, Chip Patterson, Derek Phillips; with guests on 10 & 12: Josh Lindsay and Brian…something…)

“I hope you enjoy all these for what they are… a time capsule, a snapshot in an… album… you could say… It is not meant to make any statement, usually they are all just something that made me smile today, and that seemed like, for whatever reason, something worth sharing. Enjoy!”

Creative Commons License


This work by Bruce Enloe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.