East Kootenay men, singer/songwriter Johnpaul Smith and arranger Dino Scavo and their band the Coal Creek Boys have just released an 18-song country/rock album.
‘Hard at it in Old Town,’ (an old Fernie reference meaning when a resident from Coal Creek went to Fernie to have a night on the town), explores the Elk Valley’s rich and vibrant, colourful coal mining history.
It is a hard hitting album embracing the traditional outlaw country sounds of today and yesterday.
For example, the song ‘May 22nd 1902’ tells the story of a father and son who perished in the explosion at Coal Creek and remain as spirits in the town the band adopted their name from.
The special, limited edition CD has been released across North America.
Smith, who has toured and fronted bands professionally throughout Western and Central Canada for 15 years, was born in Fernie and raised in the Elk Valley.
The album keeps alive some of the fading stories and memories of the area’s diverse and dark past. Having worked in the mines himself off and on over the years, it is hard not to feel the passion and love Smith has for the area in the music he writes and performs.
‘Hard At it in Old Town’ takes the listener back to a time where hard work and dedication were not only a necessity, but a means of survival which is a direct reflection of what this band is doing.
Touching on both American and Canadian history, Smith crafts his songs around actual historical events. It is a unique and different approach to what is now being considered country and western music. ‘Hard at it In Old Town’ takes the fans and listeners of Coal Creek Boys back to the roots of country music when it was a traditional way of storytelling.
Bassist/ accordionist/mandolinist/ saxophonist Dino Scavo was born and raised in Cranbrook. Smith and Scavo have been touring together for the past five years. After Scavo earned a degree in music composition they met up and haven’t stopped performing together since. Along with Smith, they build these songs from the ground up. Scavo incorporates a variety of instrumentation into the Coal Creek Boys music.