The Central Music Festival Society presents the Front Porch Roots Revue May 13th at the Elks Lodge.
With bassist Ron Rault, harmonica player David ‘Crawdad’ Cantera, guitarist Gord Matthews and drummer Thom Moon as the current core members, Front Porch continues to work from the premise that there is strength in numbers.
“We are actually going to amalgamate a whole bunch of different shows that we have been presenting to the Red Deer crowd,” explained Rault during a recent chat of the upcoming gig. “We’ve been there several times doing shows that were tributes to groups like The Band, for example, plus our country/rock shows. We’ve also done some original work – the Front Porch Roots Revue put out another CD called Sugar Cube – so we are going to do pieces out of all those different shows,” he said.
“It’s really the brainchild of our producer Peter North. I’d been given the task of putting together the group and putting together the music for it, and in that process we really began to quite love the music we’ve been playing in these shows (over the years) and we’ve kept these songs around in our live sets even in our small group.
“So it was not hard to incorporate it into the upcoming show.”
Such variety indeed points to something of what this acclaimed band is all about.
The guys feel that there is no reason to not explore both the music written by band members, songs found in the discographies of great artists that make for great theme-based shows and traditional music – whether it be blues, country, gospel and/or folk.
“You could catch three Front Porch performances in a month and there’s a chance the they’d all be completely different,” said Rault. “You could see Crawdad, Gord and myself doing an acoustic trio in a coffee house one night, hear us with Thom playing a mix of originals and electric Chicago blues in a nightclub and then see a seven-piece version of Front Porch working as Up On Cripple Creek where we dive into the songbook of The Band.
“We’ve tried to incorporate that variety into our shows – we never really know which way we are going to go from one time to the next. And it depends on who we have onstage with us too, because we have drawn on talent from right across Canada and down into the United States to come and help us put on these shows,” he said. “We’ve got players from literally all over the place. And when they come, they bring a wealth of material themselves and other influences, and we are quite glad to incorporate all of it into our shows.”
Collaboration itself offers a constant stream of fresh inspiration, too.
“I get a lot of original material from these guys, and they in turn influence our playing and our writing and so we’ve been able to incorporate and instill a lot of that music into our own stuff. So when you listen to our (most recent) CD, it really does come from all of those influences, too.”
Feedback on that particular project has been tremendous as well.
“People are really happy to take home a piece of the band,” he said of the CD. “And it’s full of original music. We got together in 2015 and decided that we really should just do this material that we’ve been playing in our own way,” he explained, adding that Barry Allen oversaw production.
“He was the guy who could just let everything happen, and then sort of just nudge it one way or another when it was needed,” he added.
“We were surprised as anybody at the quality and the writing in this stuff – we didn’t really know that we had incorporated so many different influences. Each of us also comes from kind of a different background, too. And then when we get together, that little melting pot is what comes out of it.”
Tickets for the Red Deer show are available online at www.centralmusicfest.com or at the door.