EXPRESSION - Winnipeg-based band Sweet Alibi plays The Hideout April 17.

Winnipeg-based folk/blues band heads to City

Sweet Alibi performs tomorrow evening at The Hideout

A critically acclaimed trio has joined forces with three other musicians and has recently set off on tour across western Canada.

Sweet Alibi plays The Hideout on April 17. Doors open at 8 p.m. with the show at 9 p.m.

The stop in Red Deer is part of their tour to promote the band’s sophomore release We’ve Got To.

The Winnipeg-based band, which was formed more than four years ago, includes Jess Rae Ayre (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Amber Rose Quesnel (vocals, guitar, ukulele) and Michelle Anderson (vocals, banjo). Hitting the road with them is Alasdair Dunlop (bass), Alex Campbell (keyboard) and Jake Bell (percussion).

Multi-instrumentalists Sweet Alibi are no strangers to national touring, spending more than half the year playing clubs and festivals across Canada. This time, they are heading west as a six-piece band for a series of dates in Alberta and B.C., Red Deer included. Armed with ‘fortress-like harmonies’, this Winnipeg-based band ‘grabs your heart and won’t let go’.

Their new album entitled We’ve Got To, which was produced by Rusty Matyas of Imaginary Cities, is a folk-pop opus which includes soulful beats, bluegrass instrumentation and powerfully introspective lyrics.

Their live performance is anything but somber, though. Expect to be singing along long after the show is over. Each of the three core members brings their own musical influence to the table including Ayre’s soul-blues, Anderson’s jazz-classical and Quesnel’s folk-bluegrass.

Recently, Sweet Alibi has had a number of accomplishments including their single I’ll Wait peaking at number four in the CBC Radio 2 top 20. The single remained in the top 20 for nine weeks. They were also International Songwriting Competition semi-finalists for I’ll Wait and they also received a Canadian Folk Music Awards nomination for their self-titled debut album.

As for Ayre, she said she has always had an interest in music.

“I was shy when I was younger so I got my first bit of experience being on stage in drama class and theatre and I would sing in choirs in high school,” she said, during a recent chat. “Right out of high school Michelle and I had another little band with another group of friends. We would pick up instruments and got our first taste of the band setting and we played our favourite cover songs – it was a fun little time in our lives.”

Inspiration for new songs comes from a variety of areas for the band, but Ayre said it’s through their peers that they see the most inspiration these days.

“I would say recently in the last couple of years, the more we have been touring we meet a lot of independent artists and we’ll get their CDs and we’ll play them in the car when we’re on tour. We actually listen to a lot of other independent artists and together that is a big percentage of what we listen to as a group,” she said.

Ayre said what makes Sweet Alibi unique is the different sounds of each musician in the band.

“We all have our own style. I would say I have more of a bluesy-soul voice where Amber is more on the folk side. It’s nice to have the variety in our influences because it gives it that excitement of different sounds of voices and different styles of singing. It’s not just one distinct sound that we have,” she said. “Now that we’ve been touring I think our sound has developed a lot more.”

Meanwhile, Ayre said Sweet Alibi is excited to be on tour.

“I can speak for all of us and say that the people we meet along the way and the audience that we get to perform for night after night is what keeps us going,” she said. “We love to get the crowd involved if we can and because we’ve toured western Canada a few times, now you start to see familiar faces come out to shows and you see people sing along. You can feel really interactive with people you have just met for the first time or that you don’t see that often.

“We are so excited to be on the road. We’re excited to bring the new CD out this way.”

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