There seems to be a resurgence in old-time, bluegrass music, and one Toronto-based band is gaining popularity as one of the best up-and-comers in the genre today.
The Slocan Ramblers, made up of four young musicians, including Frank Evans (banjo), Adrian Gross (mandolin), Darryl Poulsen (guitar) and Alastair Whitehead (bass), have recently released their sophomore album, Coffee Creek, and will be playing at the Fernie Arts Station next month.
The band’s publicist, Linda Bull, with Heather Kitching Artist Services, said the young musicians are quite well-known in the bluegrass world and are building on their popularity by playing a regular gig at Toronto’s Cloak and Dagger and by touring Canada’s west coast this summer, including a stop in Fernie.
“They’re definitely an up-and-coming band. I don’t think everyone has heard of them yet, but in the genre they’re definitely known, and they’re becoming a bit more known around in general,” Bull said. “They’re a bunch of very dynamic young guys who are sort of like the new generation of bluegrass and old-time music.”
The boys have a variety of styles and sounds they incorporate into the bluegrass-style of their music, including taking elements of vintage country music and elements of old-time music, making them an exciting group to watch, Bull said.
“They’re not a one-trick pony, they don’t have just the one way of playing,” she said, adding the fact that they get to play with well-known bluegrass artists, including Toronto’s multi-instrumentalists Foggy Hogtown Boys, has encouraged them to also use a variety of instruments.
“They’re pretty fun, high energy, but they can also play slow as well, they play waltzes and do wonderful vocal stuff too, they’re a cool band.”
One of the members of the Foggy Hogtown Boys, Chris Coole, produced the band’s latest album.
Coole, a well-respected and skilled banjo player, has performed with many Canadian artists, including Jim Cuddy and David Francey, and has been a positive influence on the Slocan Ramblers, Bull said.
The band will be playing at the Fernie Arts Station on Aug. 5 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.