Local band Junkman’s Quire are the fruits of a collaboration of several members of the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra, Lethbridge Community Band and various local bands bringing a cornucopia of musical influences to the table.
They just released their debut self-titled EP and will be playing the Lethbridge College Cave for the Lethbridge Folk Club, Saturday, Nov. 25.
The band members, cellist/guitarist and vocalist George Fowler, violinist/guitarist/vocalist Megan Brown, saxophonist/guitarist/vocalist Ross Samuel, violinist Tom Scott, bassist/vocalist Steve Martin and drummer/percussionist Isaac Neufeld, not only play in several different bands but also bring a variety of influences and interests to the table.
“Lethbridge’s music scene is very vibrant and active, so there are lots of opportunities to play and for people to listen. So there is a lot of crossover,” observed Fowler, who also performs in a duo with cellist Kris Hodgson and who was also involved with Gabriel Thaine’s Family And Friends Lethbridge Food Bank Fundraiser, Nov. 18.
“It’s an exciting time to be a cellist. The Moulettes have a lead cello player and people are starting to form folk chamber groups with cello,” Fowler observed, noting Matt Walker originally brought the band together over six years ago after noticing Brown and Fowler while performing with the Lethbridge Symphony and wanting to play more with them.
Fowler noted the rest of the Junkman’s Quire also play in different bands and bring a variety of influences as Junkman’s Quire.
“Isaac Neufeld also plays with the Global Drums and Taiko Drummers and is a metalhead. Steve Martin is a busy bass player who plays with everyone. And Tom plays a lot of Celtic fiddle,” Fowler said.
“And I lived in Russia and France, so I bring a lot of Eastern European influences and traditional Scottish music,” Fowler added, noting part of “You Got the Moves” is sung in French.
“I’m a French translator. That’s my gig,” quipped Fowler, noting as a result, bilingual singing comes naturally.
“It’s pretty incredible. We all come from a lot of different musical backgrounds,” added Brown, who also plays in several different musical projects including her own band Makiisma, with local indie rock band the Silkstones, and in Burning Bridge with Steve Foord. She also teaches violin and viola at Long and McQuade.
The band members have a lot of material to choose from, but chose their five favourites for the CD.
“I picked a couple of my favourites,” Brown said.
“Most of our writing is done individually, but we do a lot of arranging together,” Brown said.
“We should try writing together and see how it goes,” Fowler added, noting a couple of their songs include excerpts from a couple of other traditional songs. “Junkman’s Fancy” includes an excerpt from Woody Herman’s “Apple Honey.” And “Swing in Five,” one of the EP’s jazzier numbers, includes Grey Larson’s jig “Thunderhead.”
Brown noted the EP is a snapshot of where the band is.
“Having a CD is a placeholder and helps us find our sound and how we’ve changed,“ she said.
Fowler added the band members know when to play and how loudly to play
“In an orchestra where you have 50-60 people, they make some people play quieter; if everyone plays loud, you don’t get to hear everyone. In an orchestra, the conductor will tell you,” he said, noting Junkman’s Quire doesn’t need one.
They recorded the CD in Leeroy Stagger’s Rebeltone Studios with Leeroy Stagger and Ryland Moranz.
“It was great,” Brown said.
“It’s great to have a state of the art facility here,” Fowler enthused. “They have all of this equipment and know how to use it.”
“All of the instruments were segregated but we wanted to sound as close to howe we sound live as possible, though we recorded some of them later,” Brown added.
They have been lucky enough to play some pretty high-profile gigs in the past year including South Country Fair an Word on the Street, and are excited to play for the Folk Club, Nov. 25.
“We’ll be playing the songs from the EP for sure, and some traditional traditional fiddle music. It’s a nice audience for us,” Brown continued.
“We’ll also definitely be playing some French tunes,” Fowler said.
“We also do a little country music like Patsy Cline,” said Brown.
“The Folk Club is a great gig for us,” she added.
“We’re glad to be part of the Folk Club and show people what we can do. So come on out to the Folk Club and see.”
They don’t have any plans to tour with the EP.
“We’re going to take some time in December to re-evaluate,” Brown said.
“And I’m going back to France in April for a few months,” Fowler said. “But I found the last time I was away, it ended up being a really good time to write.”
Junkman’s Quire just filmed a video for “Drone” from the new EP.
More information can be found at http://www.junkmansquire.com.
Tickets for the Lethbridge Folk Club performance are $25 members, $30 guests with membership $20 students, $10 Children 6-14.
The show begins at 8 p.m. with John King.