By Lethbridge Herald on January 9, 2015.
Winter. Embrace it or run from it. For a Canadian musician, the latter is impossible so they tour across this sometimes frozen wasteland of a country, playing venues small or large, but often small so they can get their music heard.
Northwestern Ontario native Sage McBride is no stranger to winter. Her hometown of Kenora, two hours east of Winnipeg, knows all about bitterly cold winters and this one is no exception.
So being Canadian, McBride and the rest of her Fernie, B.C.-based band Shred Kelly, are hitting the highway for a winter tour. It is, after all, the Canadian thing to do.
That tour brings the so-called “stoke folk” band to the University of Lethbridge on Jan. 17.
The band will be promoting its new album “Sing to the Night” which comes out on Jan. 27. The Lethbridge stop is one of 20 on Shred Kelly’s tour which will take them to the east coast and back with a stop in McBride’s hometown in between.
“There’s a lot going on at the moment; we’re looking forward to it,” said McBride in a recent interview.
“We’re kind of nervous about driving across Canada in winter.”
The new album will be the third for the band which has earned acclaim and performances at some top Canadian music festivals since its 2010 debut “Goodbye July.”
The five members of the band were all drawn to Fernie because of skiing and snowboarding and to each other because of music.
The band includes McBride who plays keyboard and does vocals; Tim Newton on banjo, vocal, guitar, lap steel and ukulele; Ian Page Shiner on drums; Jordan Vlasschaert on bass and acoustic guitar; and Steve Polit on electric and acoustic guitars.
The band’s music, while folk oriented, is “upbeat and danceable,” says McBridge.
While the latest album is lyrically more personal than previous efforts, she says “it’s still fun overall.”
Newton’s songwriting was perhaps the glue that brought the band together — “he had original songs that were upbeat and footstomping. We loved to get people to dance and we stuck with that theme. That’s how we got the biggest reward,” says McBride.
While based in our neighbouring ski town, Shred Kelly’s members all hail from various places across the country.
“We all moved west for skiing and snowboarding and realized we had music in common. . .we all met on a jam night and had no idea we’d still be going five years later.”
A supportive and patient musical scene in Fernie allowed the band to develop and grow, McBride says.
“For us, it was great starting in Fernie because we weren’t great when we started out but the community was really supportive. That gave us the confidence to grow and the town is still really supportive,” she says of the band which plays more than 100 shows a year.
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