Okotoks rare visit for Edmonton band
Music: 100 Mile House to share tunes from new album
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013 10:48 am
Tough times in 2012 inspired a slew of melancholy tunes an Edmonton folk band is sharing with Okotoks residents this weekend.
With guitars in tow husband and wife duo Peter Stone and Denise MacKay of 100 Mile House are bringing their tales of overcoming struggles and hardships to the Rotary Performing Arts Centre Feb. 2 at 7 p.m., one month before the release of their new album “Wait With Me.”
Scott Zubot, who plays fiddle and mandolin, joins the duo for the Okotoks Arts Council event. “2012 seemed to be a hard year for a lot of people, ourselves included,” said Stone. “This album is a reflection of that. When times get tough there is always hope that can be found somewhere with someone at your side.”
Their last album “Hollow Ponds” won the Edmonton Music Award for Folk/Roots Album of the Year 2012 and the track “Better Still” won the Calgary Folk Festival songwriting contest which earned 100 Mile House a gig at the 2012 festival.
Stone said “Wait With Me” is evidence of the band’s evolution.
“It’s developed a bit from the last two albums,” he said. “Everything is still pretty lyrically driven, but it’s slightly more melancholy.”
Stone said 100 Mile House developed a large fan base in Calgary so visits to rural communities have been few and far between. That is until this year, when the band will tour across Alberta to promote its new album.
Even 100 Mile House, the bands namesake from when MacKay was browsing an Alberta map, is on the band’s tour list, said Stone.
“We haven’t even been there,” said Stone. “This year is the year we’re going to do it.”
Stone said performing in new locations for new audiences gives them freedom to tell stories without worrying they’ve told them before. It also gets them back on the stage after months of recording.
“We’re looking forward to playing after not playing for a few months and being able to share our new songs and meet some new friends,” he said.
Stone said he also hopes to head to the mountains, which have been an inspiration for many of the band’s songs. The United Kingdom native can’t get enough of their beauty.
“The mountains are a great influence in our music,” he said. “Quite a few songs mention the mountains. They are these powerful pieces of nature.”
Before moving to Edmonton, Stone lived in Toronto where he and MacKay met. He worked and played covers at a bar in the city and she had just released her first single.
The two musicians hit it off, moved to MacKay’s hometown of Edmonton and have been together ever since. Their careers have taken them to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the Calgary Folk Club and the Canmore Folk Festival.
When Town of Okotoks cultural and historical services team leader Allan Boss first heard 100 Mile House on CBC, he was blown away.
“They are multi-instrumentalists and it’s just such simple and beautiful music,” he said. “I was really impressed.”
Boss said he knew immediately 100 Mile House would be a great fit for their venue.
“It’s such an acoustically great venue,” he said of the Rotary Performing Arts Centre. “It’s also very intimate and big bands don’t do well in there. They overpower the space.”
Boss said he expects the folky pop sound of 100 Mile House to resonate with music lovers of all types this weekend.
“What I found with their music is it’s very folksy, but incredibly meditative,” he said. “There is a calmness to it. It’s almost like a folk version of Pink Floyd in that it’s thought-provoking and interesting.”
Although Boss has never seen the band perform live, he said he has no doubt the husband and wife team will captivate its audience.
Tickets to see 100 Mile House can be purchased for $20 by calling 403-938-3204. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $30.
For more information go to www.okotoksculture.ca