NEW DIRECTION- Armed with an all new slate of tunes

NEW DIRECTION- Armed with an all new slate of tunes

Jake Ian & The Haymakers launch new disc and tour

New disc features upbeat, ‘country’ feel as band’s style evolves

Fueling the momentum behind a brand new CD release this month, Jake Ian & the Haymakers are gearing up for a City show April 3 at The Matchbox.

Doors open at 7 p.m. with showtime at 7:30 p.m. Local songstress Donna Durand is opening the performance.

Jake Ian & the Haymakers are in the midst of introducing the new project Honey I Lost My Way to audiences and are enjoying every minute of it.

“We’re all happy to be on the road again, meeting new friends, hooking up with old ones and spreading our music to a bunch of new fans — and having a lot of fun while doing it.”

An accomplished guitarist/singer/songwriter hailing from the tiny community of Warspite, Alberta, Ian started his music career in high school with the launch of punk/rock band PiND which released four CDs during their nine-year career.

In 2007, he opted for a different creative path. PiND was winding down, and Ian was heading off to Hinton to work. That meant he had lots of time to spend playing his acoustic guitar, and the simplicity and honesty intrinsic to that kind of musical expression really started to grow on him.

Inspired by the likes of John Prine, Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt, he also began penning alternative folk songs. It was a world away from his punk days, but he found the genre a welcome shift in direction.

Not that he has abandoned his taste for punk/rock altogether. “I still like punk/rock music a lot – don’t get me wrong,” he explains with a laugh during a recent chat.

In 2008 Ian released his debut Sunset Estates, the name of the trailer park where he lived while writing songs for the project. Folks were quick to tune into what he had to offer, and a nationwide tour followed the CD’s release with Ian landing at a smattering of festivals and sharing the stage with artists like Gordie Tentrees, Hawksley Worman and Bill Bourne.

The final track on the album, Take It From Someone Who’s Been There, was picked up for release on a Los Angeles based indie label 272 Records as a single.

In late 2009, Ian released An Awful Sky which proved to be a major step forward in terms of song quality and instrumentation. He recorded both CDs as a solo artist with musicians joining in here and there. But after a while, he grew weary of being primarily on his own. “I wanted to find a solid, permanent band.”

Currently Ian, who is now based in Edmonton and works as a high school teacher, is performing and touring as Jake Ian & The Haymakers which consists of himself on vocals and guitar, bassist Tony Mellor, drummer Shane Oranchuk and lead guitarist/steel guitarist Dave Johnston.

Looking back on the earlier solo projects, Ian describes them as relatively laid-back and more folk-oriented than Honey I Lost My Way which has more of an upbeat and decidedly ‘country’ feel.

“These are definitely the strongest songs that I’ve written to date,” he says. “On top of that, I have a great group of musicians working with me.”

Meanwhile, local singer/songwriter Donna Durand, who is set to open the concert, is known for her sweet vocals and skillful knack for constructing charming tunes as is reflected on The Road Back, released last year.

Durand’s pretty voice fits with virtually any kind of music she puts her hand to. Wild Roses and Winter of 1943 further showcase this – she knows much about writing real, authentic lyrics and tunes that reach the heart. She’s also a compelling storyteller through her music, a gift that really shines through in the haunting Winter of 1943.

For the recording of The Road Back, Durand was joined by a stellar group including Dave Grobe (percussion/vocals), Tony Mellor (upright bass), the aforementioned Gord Matthews (guitars/mandolin), Justin Stewart (electric guitar/banjo) and Byron Myhre (fiddle).

Tickets are available at The Matchbox box office by calling 403-341-6500 or online at