Haggis captures Foothills' musical taste

Best of the Foothills: Band’s pubadelic sound a combo of East Coast and classic rock

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 11:38 am

Haggis, from left, Jeff Graham, Mike Deurbrouck and Todd Martin, have entertained foothills music fans with its unique pubadelic sound since the late 1990s.
Haggis, from left, Jeff Graham, Mike Deurbrouck and Todd Martin, have entertained foothills music fans with its unique pubadelic sound since the late 1990s.
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The popular band which can play anything from Great Big Sea to Abba was second in the 2014 Best of the Foothills Best Local Band/Musician category.

“We play what I call ‘pubadelic,’” said Haggis lead guitarist Jeff Graham with a laugh. “It’s an Atlantic East coast kind of band, but then you can insert anything else.”

There is no such thing as a typical Haggis set list. It can consist of the Beatles, Abba, Neil Diamond, Neil Young, the Stones and if there were any more East Coast music, new fans would have to kiss a cod and take a shot of Screech.

The band got started as a duo with Newfoundlander Todd Martin and George Canyon.

“He was playing at the Black Diamond Hotel and he was singing Farewell to Nova Scotia and I said ‘Hey I’ve got a Celtic drum and he said ‘bring it up,” Martin said.

“We played a couple of songs. He was from Nova Scotia and I was from Newfoundland so it was a natural fit.”

It was Canyon who came up with the band’s name and its first gig was for St. Paddy’s Day at an Okotoks pub in the late 1990s.

Mike Deurbrouck, now a music instructor at Westmount School, was playing bass with Canyon at the time, he would join Haggis.

When Canyon moved out east, Deurbrouck and Martin brought in Graham, a music teacher at Highwood High School.

“Mike knew Jeff and we wanted to keep this thing going but we needed a new guitar player,” Martin said. “So Mike talked Jeff into joining us.”

The Maritimes called again however. Graham moved to his native Nova Scotia in 2007.

However, when he returned to teach again at Highwood in September, the Haggis was warmed up again.

It was Rylie’s Cattle Barn in Okotoks that got the Haggis cooking.

“Rob Bolton at Rylie’s gave us the platform to get us going again last year,” Martin said.

With an East Coast party band influence, it’s always a celebration wherever Haggis plays.

There last gig was at a High River block party on June 20.

There’s nothing like Haggis to put a jig in a person’s step — even if it is the anniversary of the massive flood.

“Our goal is to get people up and dancing for 45 to 50 minutes straight and it usually happens,” Deurbrouck said.

Haggis’s next gig is Canada Day at the Dawgs’ game. Haggis is: Deurbrouck — vocals, bass and banjo. Graham — vocals, lead guitar, six-string guitar and bass drum; Martin — vocals, mandolin, 12-string guitar, bodhran and tin whistle

For more information on Haggis go to their facebook page at www.facebook.com/musicbyhaggis


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