The Niagara Region isn’t somewhere you just wind up; it’s the kind of place you visit on purpose. It’s not on the way to anywhere other than the U.S., so travellers passing through aren’t necessarily prone to wandering its pastoral backroads. It takes some effort, but if you make your way out of whatever decaying urban wasteland you’re living in and head in whatever direction Niagara is for you, there’s a freakishly large natural phenomenon awaiting your discovery that has nothing to do with water falling over a cliff.
The Comfort Maple is a tree hugger’s wet dream. It’s a 500-plus-year-old sugar maple tree standing alone in its own small cordoned off conservation area in Fenwick, Ontario. Estimated to be one of the oldest of its kind in Canada, lightning, wind storms, and human intervention haven’t been able to knock this ol’ tree down. Its massive canopy, like a mystical nesting ground where ancient legends were born, is rivalled only by its unequivocally broad and solid trunk. It’s called the Comfort Maple after the family farm that it stands on, but the name is apropos given the feelings the tree evokes.
Much like Daniel Romano and the band of merrymakers he gathers around him in Ancient Shapes, the Comfort Maple is a stalwart, steadfast pillar that continues to flourish and add new branches season after season. The Comfort Maple is the sublime destination for Julianna “J.R.” Riolino and band member Roddy Rosetti — the road-trippin’ romantics featured in Ancient Shape’s video for “A Flower That Wouldn’t Bloom”. It’s a rollicking, power-pop song of long-distance loving that feels like a love letter itself to music itself. “A Flower That Wouldn’t Bloom” is rooted in classic rock tropes, nurtured by punk attitude, and, paired with the gorgeously filmed visuals in the video, blossoms into a syrupy sweet preview of Ancient Shapes’ forthcoming third full-length.