Rose City Roots ready to rock for another year
Lion, Bear, Fox will be back at the Bailey Theatre for Rose City Roots on Oct. 20. File/ Camrose Canadian
Rose City Roots has become a Camrose institution over the past decade, and this season’s lineup has the promise to build on its reputation.
The schedule, released this past week, is packed with old favourites and new additions, bringing the best of roots music from across Canada to the Swan City.
The season kicks off on Sept. 15 with Edmonton group Altameda. The four-piece group pulls hard on Canadiana sound and alt rock and country rock influences. Their debut LP Dirty Rain is one of RCR board member Geraint Osborne’s favourite albums of the summer.
“It’s one of those kind of albums where you have to listen to the whole thing to get a good feel for them,” said Osborne. “It gives you a sense of their style, because there’s some songs that are a bit slow and others that are bit edgier.”
RCR is lucky to get Altameda on that day, as they are double booked with a show at the BreakoutWest Festival in Edmonton at the Starlite Room on the same night. But Osborne says playing RCR was a priority for them.
“They’re helping us out a lot,” said Osborne. “I said, why don’t you go to the festival and you can do us another time, and they said ‘No, no, no, we really want to do Camrose.’”
It is the kind of response Osborne and Co. are hearing more of from artists and was one of the goals they had when they started the concert series 11 years ago.
“Camrose is getting its name out there among all of the music agents, when they’re sending their bands out and trying to book them, they realize they don’t just have to send the bands to Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, there’s this other stop now, there’s Camrose,” said Osborne. “Back in the day I was having to reach out to all these music agents and now they’re getting in touch with me. I’m getting inundated with all of these emails from these agents, ‘can you fit this band in?’”
The second show of the campaign on Oct. 20 features a Vancouver band that won over the Bailey last year: Lion Bear, Fox. The band features Christopher Arruda, Ryan McMahon and Corry Woodward.
Their latest self-title album was crafted while the trio spent 10 days in the Vancouver Island wilderness, describing the effort as “a pinch of gospel and a dash of growl.” The group leans on their strength as song writers to create music that is easily relatable but with some soul.
“Usually we skip a couple of years before we ask a band to come back but they did such an amazing job, they’re so much fun and did an incredible show last year that we had to have them back,” said Osborne.
“They’re just a high-energy, danceable kind of band.”
On Nov. 24, The Once will be coming to Camrose all the way from Newfoundland. They are one of the top folk bands in Canada, earning three Canadian Folk Music Awards, numerous East Coast Music Association awards and have two Juno nominations under their belt. They have previously played for the Nordly’s Film Festival and it was requested by local fans for RCR to bring them back.
“We like to get that East Coast style into our lineup,” said Osborne.
Lindsay Beaver & the 24th Street Wailers will bring some rock and roll to the stage on Dec. 16. The Nova Scotia group features lead singer, songwriter and bandleader Lindsay Beaver on the drums. She clearly has set the tone for the rest of the group — currently consisting of Michael Archer on stand up and electrical bass, and Marc Doucet and Josh Fulero on guitar — as they tour heavily across North America. They have collected a long list of national awards and nominations including a Juno nomination in 2015.
“It’s got that 1950s rock and roll sensibility to it, but they also mix it up and it’s a bit soulful and a bit of blues in there as well,” said Osborne, adding they would make a great Christmas party for local businesses or groups.
Martin Kerr is one of the hottest up and comers coming out of the Alberta capital. The indie artist burst onto the scene this past summer when he opened for Sarah McLachlin at the Winspear in Edmonton. He will be playing the Bailey on Jan. 27.
“His sophomore album (Better Than Brand-New) has gotten a lot of acclaim from the critics,” said Osborne.
The final show announced so far is Ontario’s Union Duke on April 13. They are another fast riser on the Canadian roots scene, and are also a band that Osborne has been working hard to get for a couple of years.
“They do kind of bluegrass country but with kind of an indie take on it,” he said. “This is another band that is getting a lot of critical acclaim.”
All shows are at 8 p.m. with doors opening at 7 p.m.
RCR has played an integral role in the development of the Camrose cultural scene since its inception. They have played a wide variety of venues throughout the city since 2006 but have settled into their home at the Bailey Theatre in downtown Camrose.
But they are always looking for way to improve their offerings. Osborne has a long-term vision of a city-roaming festival where a wide variety of acts will play at different venues throughout Camrose, similar to some of the festivals in the U.S. where patrons will buy a passport that will get them into any of the shows they want.
“It’s good for the local economy because you have people walking around to the different venues, but you also have people taking in the sites, the stores, the shops, the businesses,” said Osborne. “It’s a been a pie in the sky for a while … we know there’s an interest in doing it. It’s just a matter of coordinating with the city and all the other entities and picking a date that will work well and getting a lot of volunteers on board.”
For now, RCR is content with bringing some of the top roots acts in Canada to the Bailey.