If you’re one of the many folks who’s had to move out west to find work and are stuck out there thinking about home and maybe even wishing you were here, this may be your lucky week. Besides “young people”, one of Cape Breton’s greatest exports is music, and since getting together late in 1999, one of the island’s most successful musical exports has been Slowcoaster.
The popular, critically-acclaimed, award-winning, world-touring band (Steven MacDougall – guitar/vocals; Mike LeLievre – bass/vocals; Brian Talbot – drums/vocals) released their latest album, The Girls Downtown, in December 2013, and set about touring around the Maritimes, introducing The Girls to all their old friends and making some new ones in the process.
The Girls Downtown is Slowcoaster’s ninth recording. [CLICK HERE FOR SLOWCOASTER CD REVIEWS FROM WGO ARCHIVES] From as far back as Jody’s Garden (2000), the band has had a knack for sticking a catchy phrase, rhythm, or melody in your ear, and their latest is no exception. It’s easy to see how tunes like “Flip Flops” and “The Girls Downtown” are destined to become fan favourites at live shows, but songs like “Fortune Teller’s Heart” and “Karma” go beyond what you’d typically expect from Slowcoaster. Lead singer Steven MacDougall says, “This album is the culmination of sadness and happiness, victory and defeat, posh dance halls and dirty pedways all rolled up and smoked at once.”
Slowcoaster has always been a touring band, anxious to share their music with fans wherever they may be, from their earliest days touring the Maritimes by thumb, to successful tours through Canada, Japan & China [WATCH VIDEO OF SLOWCOASTER IN CHINA HERE]. For the past week, the band has been making their music in Alberta.
After opening in Edmonton on February 20, Slowcoaster spent the weekend in Fort McMurray. This was the band’s second time playing in Fort McMurray. “This trip we played three nights, one was a fundraiser for boys and girls club, then a CD release show and an acoustic show on Sunday,” says bass-player Mike LeLievre, who checked in as the band was preparing to head to Jasper for a show Tuesday night. “Then we go to Slave Lake for two days, followed by another couple of big drives, down to Calgary and up to Grand Prairie.”
Although Alberta in general, and Fort McMurray in particular, seems to be overpopulated with Cape Bretoners, LeLievre says it’s not just the ex-pat Capers coming out to the shows.
“People are liking the new music a lot. Singing along already, on the dance floors and not missing any dance moves. There are lots of Capers, and Maritimers in general, but also many other fans in this international melting pot of Alberta. People are people and if there’s fun to be had everyone joins in on it. So the shows are great!”
Slowcoaster will be in Slave Lake tonight and Thursday at The Tap House, Friday night in Calgary at Dicken’s Pub and Saturday at Mad Hatter’s in Grand Prairie. You can find Slowcoaster’s music on iTunes.
Check out Slowcoaster playing the title track from their new album onstage at CBMIC’s Cape Breton Embassy during ECMA 2012 in Moncton, captured by Shot on Site Media.