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Slocan Ramblers

Contact

Emily Ginsberg
ginsberg@bighassle.com
3193210919

Biography

The Slocan Ramblers are Canada’s young bluegrass band to watch. Rooted
in the tradition, fearlessly creative, and possessing a bold, dynamic
sound, The Slocans (2015 Edmonton Folk Fest Emerging Artist Award
recipients), have quickly become a leading light of Canada’s roots
music scene, built on their reputation for energetic live shows,
impeccable musicianship and their uncanny ability to convert anyone
within earshot into a lifelong fan.

On their new album, Coffee Creek (2015) The Slocan Ramblers blend
lightning fast and devilishly intricate instrumentals with the
sawdust-thick vocals of singer Frank Evans, who takes lead on songs
ranging from rowdy old-time numbers like “Groundhog,” to a Dustbowl
classic like Woody Guthrie’s “Pastures of Plenty.” “Toronto audiences
don’t respond to a clean, polished Nashville sound,” tune composer and
mandolinist Adrian Gross explains. “They dig a lot of energy in their
music, a rowdy bar vibe. They’re hard to win over.” But The Slocan
Ramblers have won them over, moving from a young ensemble of bluegrass
pickers to one of the best known Canadian roots bands. They’ve done
this by staying true to the roots of the music, not seeking to revive
anything but rather to tap the rough and rowdy heart of the music.

Coffee Creek was produced by the band’s friend and mentor Chris Coole
(The Foggy Hogtown Boys), a well-known banjo player and community
leader in Toronto’s bluegrass and old-time scenes. Like Coole, The
Slocan Ramblers bring the live, collaboratory aspects of the music to
the fore, and they understand that if you polish up the music too
much, you lose the raw excitement that makes it so vibrant. In the
liner notes, Coole breaks it down: “What really impressed me while we
were working on this album, was that, while they can pull off the
precision and virtuosity that is at the backbone of bluegrass, they
understand the power of the fragile moment in music. The fragile
moment used to be a big part of what made an album cool–Monroe singing
just beyond the edge of his voice, the moment right before you realize
Vassar isn’t lost–the moment on and beyond the edge.” Listen to Evans’
worn vocals and you’ll hear some of the edge that great singers like
Keith Whitley brought to the music. Or try Gross’ powerfully
discordant and innovative mandolin solo on “Groundhog,” or Darryl
Poulsen’s counterpoint Lester-Flatt-runs towards the end of the title
track, or the rumbling beats of Alastair Whitehead’s acoustic bass on
“Call Me Long Gone” (or Whitehead’s beautiful, world-weary original
songs like “Elk River” or “Angeline”) to get a feel for how The Slocan
Ramblers are pushing the envelope.

This is roots music without pretension, music intended to make you
feel something, music to get you moving in a crowded bar. The Slocan
Ramblers recorded Coffee Creek the same way they perform on stage:
standing up, leaning into the music, and pushing harder and harder for
that edge just beyond.

The Slocans are:
Frank Evans: Banjo
Adrian Gross: Mandolin
Darryl Poulsen: Guitar
Alastair Whitehead: Bass

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