Duet celebrating summer success
Music: Wildflower releases first album, music video
Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 11:08 am
An Okotoks musician is riding the road to success following the release of his first album and music video this summer.
Dean Selby and Calgary musician Jennie Clarke, of the country/folk band Wildflower, are basking in the afterglow of the band’s full-length album Long Road, released on Aug. 19. Their hit single of the same name was picked up by more than 20 Canadian radio stations while their music video has almost 3,000 hits and climbing on YouTube so far.
“It truly has been a long time coming for the two of us,” said Selby. “This has been a dream for the two of us to release an album of original material that we have written, with the exception of a co-write on one of the songs. Not only can we promote the album we can also use the album to promote ourselves.”
The musical duo met while working at WestJet three years ago and started writing for the album six months after they connected musically.
“It’s about two years in the making,” said Selby of Long Road. “The title in and of itself is quite fitting given the amount of time it’s taken to finish this album. The more we wrote and the more we performed together the more we realized we had a little bit of a unique sound.”
With Clarke’s background in jazz and opera and Selby growing up listening to The Rolling Stones and The Beatles and later delving into rock, the duet’s various musical influences is evident in the Long Road.
Country music became a big influence for both musicians when they moved to Calgary, Clarke from Ontario and Selby from Saskatoon.
“It’s a little bit of a departure from contemporary country music,” said Selby of their style of music. “We’ve got more of a stronger folk or roots influence in addition to country. There is also an element of rock and blues.”
Clarke said Wildflower does not fit into a specific genre. It’s a conglomeration of all types of music in one dynamic duo.
Selby recalls being introduced to various genres of music growing up. When he picked up the guitar he started to discover singer/songwriters and more traditional style country with influences like Johnny Cash.
When the duo met, both were passionate about country music.
“We had both participated in the Nashville North Star competitions at the Calgary Stampede,” Selby said. “That was the path we were both taking as far as solo artists go. We had this conversation and discovered that we had mutual interests as far as music was concerned. Once we started writing together we very quickly discovered we had something special.”
Wildflower recorded a small acoustically-driven six-song EP about eight months after the band was formed. Those familiar with the EP will notice a difference from this month’s album, he said.
Although it’s also acoustically-driven, Selby said the songs are infused with the talents of other Calgary area musicians.
“We’ve had the opportunity to play these songs acoustically for a long time and now people buying the album are hearing the songs built up a lot more,” he said. “A lot of the songs we perform acoustically now have some meat to it. The heart of the song is there, it’s just complemented by some of the amazing musicians that we had to work with.”
Selby said the album is also complemented by a music video for Long Road, which was filmed throughout the Okotoks, Calgary and Airdrie area.
“Jennie and I had gone around High River and Okotoks scouting to figure out what it was we wanted to do,” he said.
The musical duo decided on some shots on Highway 7 and throughout Okotoks. The beginning of the video is filmed at the back of the Royal Duke Hotel.
“We captured some fantastic footage of the foothills and surrounding area,” said Selby. “There is nothing overly recognizable because we didn’t want to make it that obvious.”
Looking back at all the hard work accomplished over the last two years, Clarke can’t help but feel a sense of pride.
“I feel very proud and excited that we’ve worked so hard to accomplish something that’s been a dream for the both of us,” she said. “For me it’s been a dream since I can remember. I’ve been doing this since I was seven or eight-years-old.”
Selby said great things could happen as a result.
“An album has a tendency to open doors for you, if anything, to let people listen to you and have more opportunities to play,” he said. “We’re lucky to have the support of the local community, and as long as that continues and we get a similar type of reception when we start spreading the music in others areas that’s all we can ask for now.”
Wildflower performs at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards in Edmonton in September and returns to Okotoks for a performance at Rylie’s Cattle Barn Cookhouse & Saloon the first weekend in October. The duo also plans to expand its fan base with performances across Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan in the near future.
Long Road is available for purchase on iTunes. To learn more about Wildflower check them out on Facebook, Twitter and www.wildflowerduo.com