Stage fright won’t be the problem for the Lakeside Ramblers when they hit the Art Space stage. After all, this Cluculz Lake band is a regular on the festival circuit, carries the title bluegrass band of the year in B.C. and is a competition winner.
But for all that there is one form of performance the Ramblers have never explored: the concert.
“This will be our first concert,” says George Garbutt. “We’re played a lot of festivals and that’s our main course for playing. But a concert is something we’ve always though we’d like to try.”
The Ramblers will be trying out their concert chops on February 3 at Art Space and they will be joined by BX Express from Quesnel. And George thinks the intimate setting provided by Art Space will serve the bands well. “A lot of bands do shows there and it’s a nice atmosphere,” he says.
An often misunderstood music form, bluegrass is slowly starting to make its way back into the radar of music listeners. As well, musicians across the board are starting to recognize the way traditional bluegrass instruments (think banjo) can create a lusher sound.
“If you don’t know it, it can be a very difficult art form,” says George. “There’s a lot of three chord progressions and how you do it. There are different styles and tempos.”
The image most have of bluegrass is Bill Monroe, the father of modern bluegrass. And for many it’s not a particularly hip image.
However, George notes there are many forms within the bluegrass tent. “There are the traditional bluegrass bands and they all have different styles, they don’t all have the same sound.
“The music can be bright, sorrowful or very mellow. You can be doing the high lonesome sound. It’s all over the place and there’s something for everyone.”
The other segment of the art form that appeals to George is the harmony. “You can have two, three or four part harmony and that’s what makes the sound so unique.”
The Lakeside Ramblers, according to George, play some traditional bluegrass and mix it in with some contemporary stuff. The BX Express, he says, play traditional, with a blend of celtic and touch of blues. “They lay down some pretty hard driving numbers,” he says.
With so much travel involved in making their music, the Lakeside Ramblers have taken to creating their own niche. The band hosts two bluegrass festivals a year out at Cluculz Lake and is now venturing into concerts. “We’ll just see how it goes,” says George.