Featuring songs from their superb debut disc Love Aches, Red Deer’s own Wiklund vs. Wiklund performs Nov. 10th at The Krossing. Showtime is 8 p.m.
The event also marks the release of a brand new video and the couple can’t wait to showcase both projects.
Special guests that evening include Justin Mundy, The Vintage 45’s and The Klamdaggers, with tickets available at the venue.
Wiklund vs. Wiklund (Dan and Melody) hail originally from Manitoba, and opted to carve out a new life which included merging their musical talents out here in the west. They relocated to Red Deer around 2001.
Influenced by southern country, soul, roots, blues and rock n’ roll – it’s tough to imagine two artists more committed to putting their all into every single tune they produce and perform.
“We were pretty much kids when we met,” explained Melody during a recent chat. “I was 18 – he was a little older at 23,” she added, smiling at her husband. “Music really was the thing that brought us together around the jukebox.
“Me and my girlfriends went to have drinks at a bar and I was at the jukebox just playing some old music – perhaps The Doors or something like that. So here I am, this young kid playing these older songs, and I think that struck him right away,” she said.
“And she was cute, too,” added Dan with a laugh. The couple said there was a connection pretty much right away.
Dan was in a band at the time, and Melody was finding her own voice. And what a voice it is.
“One night I went to my hometown bar and I got up the nerve to get up there and sing karaoke,” she recalled.
”I had never sang in front of anyone before by myself.
And then (that night), a friend of my dad’s was pounding on the door of my dad’s house. Dan woke up and answered the door, and my dad’s friend said, ‘You’ve got to get her in the band.’
“The next morning, Dan said, ‘So I hear you can sing?’ He brought his guitar and said, ‘All right, sing something for me’.”
Dan recalls the moment vividly. “I was blown away. I was floored and excited. And maybe a little bit more in love than to begin with.”
So Melody joined Southern Thunder and the group moved forward with the addition of Melody’s powerful, expressive vocals.
“My very first show was in front of 900 people,” she said, chuckling at the memory of having to get over her stage fright “pretty quick.”
For Melody, an appreciation for music was sparked early on in that her folks both loved music.
But it wasn’t until she heard Janis Joplin on the radio one day that she was truly inspired – blown away by Joplin’s signature fierce, no-holds-barred delivery. “I felt like I had that kind of voice, but I was very timid to let it out because I thought nobody sings like that around here.”
For both, music has proven a healing agent through some dark times, including the death of Dan’s father and even some struggles they’ve worked through in their own relationship.
“I feel like this new project is very much us,” said Melody, referring to Love Aches, which was recorded and produced at: STUDIO 57 Music Production House.
And as Dan pointed out, an artist can’t be afraid of just putting it all out there. This is the very stuff that everyone on some level can relate to, and it’s this approach that really makes Wiklund vs. Wiklund such compelling, accessible and engaging performers and artists.
“I also have to give huge props to Dan, because he has played every instrument on the album,” said Melody. It’s also a true collaboration, including the crafting of the songs themselves. “It’s very intertwined.”
Dan agreed, reflecting on his own personal love for music.
“There was always something fascinating about the idea of just playing music. I was always around it. For one, it was something that not every one else in the world could do. So when I started with it, I thought, this is something special that I can excel at. Music just sang to me early on.
“The fire just burns all of the time.”
“I just remember being that 11-year-old girl sitting in the car listening to Janis Joplin. I thought, this is what I want to do. I want to sing, and I want to sing like that,” she said. “I want to sing with some whiskey and grit in my voice. I also want people to feel something (through our music).
“It’s such a beautiful, universal language.”