With roots that include elements of folk culture, traditional African-American blues and jazz, and traditional English, Irish and Scottish ballads, the musical genres of country, roots and bluegrass are steeped in lyrical storytelling backed by emotionally evoking, often toe tapping instrumentation.
The Revelstoke Arts Council’s Street Fest line-up for August features an array of talented Canadian musicians who’ve taken the traditions of roots, bluegrass and country and made them uniquely their own while still staying true to the origins of the music.
Mariel Buckley takes her crunchy, roots alternative sound and layers it with depictions of everyday life painting the highs and lows with unflinching honesty. The Calgary-based musician compels an audiences attention with her combination of heartfelt lyrics and the authenticity of classic country music filled with grit and truth. She’s been compared to the likes of Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn and Bruce Springsteen for her straight-up, no-BS approach to her often nostalgic variations on traditional country ballads.
Buckley takes the stage at Grizzly Plaza on Friday, August 2.
Sarah Jane Scouten
Three-time Canadian Folk Music Award nominee Sarah Jane Scouten’s music mixes vintage folk and country with modern sounds and subjects. Drawing on her Bowen Island upbringing, where her harmony singing with her musical family played favourite to watching television, Scouten’s commitment to roots music can be heard through her warbling voice and captivating storytelling. Her sound ranges from honky tong to Western-swing, indie-folk rock and traditional Western Canadian.
Scouten, who is releasing a new song on Light Organ Records August 16, creates a world of characters who come alive in ballads that have been described as often haunting and equally whimsical. A traditionalist at heart, Scouten pays homage to the roots of roots music while writing from her own perspective about subjects she is profoundly connected to.
Catch Scouten at her Street Fest performance on Tuesday, August 20.
Stretching the limits of bluegrass, Viper Central wanders to the outer limits of the genre while still remaining true to their roots. The group rips through classic and original blue-grass tunes at fiery tempos on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo and dobro. Made up a decade ago of a group of then 20-somethings intent on shaking up the bluegrass scene, Viper Central has earned its status as a bluesgrass band at festivals throughout Western Canada.
A decade since forming, Viper Central’s sound has honed itself with a sound that evokes both confidence and maturity. Lead songwriter Kathleen Nisbet’s skill as a storyteller is shown in songs like “The Spirit of God and Madness”, which takes on the persona of her ancestor, Louis Riel.
Viper Central perform at Street Fest Thursday, August 22.