Offering up a steady stream of searing blues, Calgary’s bluessmyth continues to carve out their own distinct niche in Canadian music.
The trio performs at Alberta’s Own Independent Music Festival on July 17. Their set is scheduled for 3:15 p.m.
Since their self-titled release a few years back followed by the powerful and compelling 30 Pieces of Silver, the band has been building a loyal fan base clear across the nation. Their latest disc, Sola Gratia, was released in 2009.
These days, they’re scaling back on the summer performances in favour of working on their next CD – a concept album that will be like a continuation of their self-titled project, explains singer/guitarist Chris Yaholkoski.
Rounding out the band are drummer Celene Yohemas and bassist Jason Yaholkoski.
bluessmyth’s style could perhaps best be described as thoroughly authentic and unrestrained rock/blues, and singer/guitarist Chris couldn’t have picked a better genre to apply his tremendous vocal abilities to.
He and his brother weren’t raised in an especially musical home – except when the extended family gathered for reunions and such. Out would come the instruments and the creativity would flow.
Chris also recalls being drawn to the charms of the blues early on. The genre is rife with the deeply entrenched richness of telling stories. Needless to say, there is a universality to it that doesn’t fade and it therefore easily connects to folks and has since its earliest days.
“There was also lots of choir singing in those years,” says Chris, pointing out how his vocal skills were honed at least in part. It proved a great time of learning and growing.
“The blues and gospel – that stuff endures.”
As the years passed, Chris found himself searching for like-minded musicians to hook up with. It was never about being a solo artist – for him, collaboration carried the most appeal.
“I always wanted to be a part of a great band,” he explains. “I love playing with great people.”
At last, bluessmyth came to be and the cohesion amongst the group is remarkable, he says. In essence, bluessmyth creates beyond the confines of a single genre.
The name of the group melds the words ‘blues’ and ‘smyth’ (or smith) as the symbolic forging and fusion of the roots of blues music with heavy, metallic overtones, and gospel and soul influences.
As the records have come along, the band grows tighter and more sophisticated in sound without losing that engaging, gritty and accessible ‘live’ feel.
And looking ahead, the focus is all the more on following their own path without being concerned about outside pressures to exude particular musical characteristics.
The band is also excited about a lengthy stint in Europe next year. Chris says they’re hoping to spend several months touring the continent and seeing what doors open as a result.
It’s a plan that has been floated a couple of times before, but the timing wasn’t right – until now. Any feedback they’ve received from European fans has always been encouraging, he adds.
For Chris, the highs and lows of life as a musician offer a constant challenge, but a welcome one. “There is nothing else I can compare it to,” he says.
“I think it’s also the satisfaction of doing your own thing and creating something that is totally yours. You really take pride in that.”
This marks the 10th anniversary of Alberta’s Own, and headliners include Our Lady Peace, Starewell and Social Code.
For more information, check out www.abown.com.