Slocan Ramblers take bluegrass to another level
Steve’s Guitars continues its tradition of bringing world-class musicians to Carbondale when it hosts Canadian bluegrass band The Slocan Ramblers on Monday night.
The Juno Award nominees (Canada’s Grammys) are “rooted in tradition, fearlessly creative and possessing a bold, dynamic sound,” according to their website.
The Slocans have a reputation for energetic live shows that feature impeccable musicianship. As such, they’ve gained a reputation for turning casual listeners into lifelong fans, and winning over audiences at big-time festivals such as Merlefest and RockyGrass.
On Monday night at Steve’s, you can expect to hear The Slocans cover everything from rowdy, old-time bluegrass songs like “Groundhog,” to classics like Woody Guthrie’s “Pastures of Plenty.”
The Toronto-based band consists of lead singer Frank Evans, who plays both clawhammer and Scruggs-style banjo; Adrian Gross. who brings speed and aggression to the mandolin; Darryl Poulsen, whose guitar playing is said to be like a steady, rolling train; and Alastair Whitehead, who brings a big thump to the bass, and adds soft vocal harmonies to the mix.
The Slocans actually take their name from British Columbia’s Slocan Valley, and their sound is said to reflect that area with its picturesque mountainous and natural landscape.
Their album “Queen City Jubilee” was a 2019 Juno Award nominee for Traditional Roots Album of the Year, and showcases The Slocans’ unique style, which combines bluegrass, old-time folk, rapidly played instrumentals and gritty vocals by lead singer Evans.
The album was produced by Chris Coole, one of Canada’s pre-eminent folk musicians, and marks a profound step in the band’s growth as songwriters and interpreters. It features traditional folk-influenced originals like “Makin’ Home,” “Mighty Hard Road” and “First Train in the Morning,” as well as rippin’ bluegrass tunes like “Mississippi Heavy Water Blues,” “Sun’s Gonna Shine in my Back Door Someday” and “Riley the Furniture Man.” There also are three dedicated instrumentals on the album, “Down in the Sugarbush,” “New Morning” and “Shut the Door.”
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