Chisel Creek one of a kind
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 08:53 am
A Bragg Creek performer says his band’s sound is unlike anything anyone has heard before.
The diverse musical talent amongst Chris Sandvoss and his four Chisel Creek band mates makes comparing their ensemble to other artists difficult. The group comes from a background in a variety of genres including roots, folk, country, rock, jazz and blues and this influence is obvious in their music.
“Our spirit is around creating something new, but not so far off from the norm,” said Sandvoss, a singer, songwriter, guitar player and violinist. “Everybody brings a unique experience to the band. You don’t get something that sounds like a standard commercial product.”
Chisel Creek is giving Okotoks and area residents a sample of that sound at the Rotary Performing Arts Centre (RPAC) on Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
The band is returning to the area after performing at a First Saturdays event on Aug. 3. Although not his first visit to Okotoks, this will be Sandvoss’ first performance at RPAC.
In fact, a friend of Sandvoss’ was one of the residents instrumental in transforming the former church into a performing arts centre.
“When that was getting put together I always thought it was nice to one day play there,” he said. “We love the town of Okotoks and we are very excited to play there and share our music and share wonderful intimate evening of song.”
Sandvoss said foothills residents are in for a pleasant evening this weekend.
Chisel Creek’s Keith Smith offers his blues influence on the guitar, bass player Jamie Newsom has a background in jazz and roots, drummer Robin Tufts also has a jazz influence and Sandvoss’ wife Beth offers her classical origins on the cello.
Sandvoss is the songwriter of the group and Smith writes the instrumental portion. From there, each band member takes on his or her role musically.
“We leave room for the cello to soar and bass player Jamie brings his influence as far as the groove is concerned with Robin on the drums,” he said. “They set what they think is the right kind of style. We just weave around that.”
Writing and performing with four other musicians is new for Sandvoss, formerly a solo act.
“I get to play with people who bring their unique take on what I’ve written,” he said. “I come with a song that was formed on the guitar. Then how do you convey the message of the song in a more compositional or musical way? You rely on the band members.”
Sandvoss said each member of Chisel Creek strives to perform music that is straightforward and simplistic.
“It doesn’t have to be ultra complex or clever in order to deliver a good message,” he said. “What we do speaks to everyone. It’s a signature sound just because of who we are as musicians.
“Our music is universal because we bring honest songs and bring honest music and it’s not beer drinking music, it’s not music to dance to; it’s music to listen to and appreciate.”
When it comes to penning the lyrics, Sandvoss only does so when he’s inspired.
“I don’t write songs for the sake of writing, it has to come from a very meaningful place,” he said. “All the songs that I write and perform, each one has a particular message.”
Much of Sandvoss’ lyrical influence comes from his own backyard just outside of Bragg Creek where he lives with wife Beth and their children.
“The whole connection with nature provides great inspiration for songwriting,” he said. “Not just Bragg Creek, but southern Alberta, attracts a certain type of person who is drawn to the land. I think people in this part of the world are particularly tough, strong people. It’s a great inspiration for songwriting.”
The area is so inspirational Sandvoss and Beth plan to build a musical retreat for music and songwriting festivals and seminars.
“We plan to invite singers and songwriters from across the globe to participate here,” he said.
A violin maker by trade, he said his career is what gave his wife the idea to name their home Chisel Creek Ranch, which they since carried forward to name their band.
To purchase tickets to see Chisel Creek perform call the Okotoks Art Gallery at 403-938-3204. Tickets cost $15 in advance and $20 at the door.