Band offers taste of new release
Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 08:33 am
A musician with a southern Alberta bluegrass band is a little nervous about her upcoming performance.
With The June Bugs releasing a new album in just a few months, band member Renay Eng-Fisher said the band is debuting its lineup of new songs at the On the Edge Concert Series March 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Red Deer Lake United Church.
“It will be pretty much our first time out with some of those songs,” said Eng-Fisher, adding the CD should be released in late summer or early fall. “We are a bit nervous. When somebody writes a song, your heart’s on your sleeve because you’re really not sure that people are going to like that song.”
The June Bugs gave fans a sneak-peak of the upcoming release when it performed two of its new melodies at The Nickelodeon Music Club in Calgary earlier this month.
Eng-Fisher said the band is now ready to reveal its hard work in this weekend’s concert as a prelude to its new CD at a venue it has been eager to perform at for years.
“A lot of people we know played there and we have gone to the venue and heard them there,” she said of the Red Deer Lake United Church. “It’s a beautiful venue.”
The upright bass player said The June Bugs spent the last several months writing half a dozen new songs and are now spending much of their days in the studio recording their album.
The June Bugs plan to enter their songs in various songwriting competitions including the Calgary Folk Music Festival annual songwriting contest, Eng-Fisher said.
She said fans can expect some differences from their typical melodies. For instance, their harmonies are known to be low tenor and baritone, yet the band’s singers are reaching a higher range this time, she said.
“In a couple of the new songs I’m way up,” she said. “We wanted to stretch our voices a bit. We just wanted to change it up and change the sound a little bit with our vocals.”
Although all of their new songs reach Eng-Fisher on an emotional level, she said one of the most touching is the band’s new country song Legend Unsung.
The song was inspired by Eng-Fisher’s foster uncle, a former rancher.
Eng-Fisher said the song is a tribute to ranchers and farmers like her foster uncle who rode the ranges in harsh weather. She said their sacrifices should not be forgotten.
“He writes me letters about how he loved life as a rancher and farmer, but it was so difficult for him,” she said, adding his foster uncle is now 93 years old. “It was a labour of love. Sometimes they didn’t make a lot of money.”
Eng-Fisher said Legend Unsung is a song she expects will touch many Albertans.
“There are so many people who have given their life up to being a rancher or a farmer,” she said. “They are our unsung heroes.”
Another of The June Bugs’ new songs is a country bluegrass tune titled Cowboy, I’m Just Here to Sing, about a country singer going to a rodeo event just to sing.
Providing a more humourous tone is the song Enough’s Enough, a tongue and cheek melody that has The June Bugs’ female performers reminisces about their younger years dating young men who can’t stop turning their heads when a pretty young lady walks by. Also looking at life with a humorous twist is the band’s new bluegrass song Little White Lies, which Eng-Fisher said was inspired by the recent actions of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
Although The June Bugs offer many messages and much humour in their songwriting for the album, Eng-Fisher said fans will also enjoy a light-hearted instrumental called Buggsy.
She hopes all of the songs will touch listeners in some way.
“Who knows what makes a hit song,” she said. “That’s not what we’re aiming for. We’re aiming for a really good song and a group collaboration.”
The June Bugs are known for their upbeat gospel, saucy bluegrass, traditional folk, swing-grass and contemplative original instrumentals and harmonies. They travels across western Canada to perform at concerts and music festivals.
In the foothills, they performed at Okotoks Christmas concerts, A Room Full of Sound Concert Series and The Stop Coffee House and Gathering Place in Black Diamond.
Tickets to see their upcoming concert cost $21 and can be purchased at www.rdlunitedchurch.org/concert-series/