Triple bill offers unique variety
Music: A Room Full of Sound brings foothills and Calgary musicians together
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 26, 2014 08:23 am
Three very different sounds in just one sitting will delight listeners this weekend.
A Room Full of Sound Concert Series is bringing Okotoks’ Wildflower, High River’s Karla Adolphe and Calgary’s The Bow Djangos to centre stage for its March performance in the Okotoks United Church on March 1 at 7 p.m.
Okotoks singer/songwriter and guitar player Dean Selby and Calgary singer-songwriter Jennie Clarke with Wildflower are returning to A Room Full of Sound Concert Series after performing last in 2012.
The duet of almost three years is becoming well known in the southern Alberta music scene for its unique combination of folk, roots, rock and country harmonies.
“We are known for strong vocals and for our vocal harmonies,” said Selby. “We’ve been compared to bands like Sugarland and The Civil Wars.”
Selby said Wildflower’s harmonies evolved during the last couple of years to a more folk roots sound intermingled with country, which is evident in the duet’s first full-length album Long Road, scheduled for release this spring.
As songwriters, Selby and Clarke often tell stories about relationships, families and events they witnessed or were a part of.
“We write from the heart, whether it be personal experiences or experiences of those around us,” said Selby. “It’s things that we are familiar with and things that we have experienced throughout the course of our lives. We like to consider ourselves storytellers.”
Selby said Wildflower’s listeners often relate to their lyrics as they are not written in a way that’s literal, but rather more open to interpretation.
For this duet, much of their success is a result of their onstage show.
“We pride ourselves on our live show,” said Selby. “We love to perform. We love to have fun and engage the audience as much as we can. We want to connect with people through music. We want to invite folks in for the half hour or hour that they are with us and have some fun.”
Arriving in Okotoks from east of the foothills this weekend is solo performer Karla Adolphe, of High River.
The singer-songwriter and guitar player shared the stage with such big names as Patty Loveless and The Fugitives at various folk festivals across Canada.
Adolphe was once part of a duet called Jacob and Lily from 2005 to 2010. She continued her music career as a soloist, later settling into High River after touring across Canada for years.
“Playing in southern Alberta is wonderful,” she said. “The audience is mature, attentive and there is a commitment here to live music, which I really enjoy and I feel I get a quality audience when I play here.”
This weekend’s performance for A Room Full of Sound is Adolphe’s first Okotoks concert series and the singer-songwriter is eager to get on stage to share her stories.
Among the stories are those from her 2012 album Honeycomb Tombs, which is devoted to and inspired by people’s stories of grief. These songs are available for free download on her website at www.karlaadolphe.ca
“Most of my songs are written directly from people’s stories I’ve heard,” she said. “It’s more reflective. It stirs up emotions and thoughts for people.”
Adolphe said she’s all about getting her audience involved. She often invites them to sing along and talks about her music and what influenced the lyrics for her songs.
Bringing a unique flavour to the evening is The Bow Djangos from Calgary who specialize in hot swing and gypsy jazz of Django Reinhart’s Hot Club de France, complete with blues and swing standards from the ’20s to the ’50s.
“We’ve got a variety of things from up-tempo swing songs and some originals in there,” said singer-songwriter Tess Bassie. “It’s intricate and it’s up-tempo, it has a lot of energy to it. It’s got that kind of Baltic feel, the European feel to it. That’s a real hook for me.”
Bassie, who plays double bass for the five-piece band, said their gypsy-style music has a haunting melodic sound that captures the heart and ears. This type of jazz music originated in Europe in the early 1900s and was built around a blend of lead and rhythm guitars, violin and double bass.
“It’s quite accessible by everyone,” she said. “You don’t have to be a real jazz lover to really enjoy the music.”
When performing at festivals and public places across southern Alberta, The Bow Djangos are often accompanied by their following of swing dancers, said Bassie.
For those more confined audiences, like the Okotoks United Church, where the band also performed in 2012, there is usually a high level of foot action, she said.
Tickets are available at the Blue Rock Café and Sobeys, can be purchased online at www.aroomfullofsound.com for $26 or purchased at the door for $25.