Real tunes with Coffey

  • Aug. 23, 2010 6:38 p.m.

Folk/rocker Steve Coffey performs at the Central Music Festival Aug. 13.

Few capture the moods and rhythms of prairie roots tunes quite like the Vulcan-based Steve Coffey and The Lokels.

The band has been offering up their unique version of folk/roots tunes for several years now, and local fans can check out what Coffey has been up to creatively when he performs at the Central Music Festival the evening of Aug. 13.

It will be a stripped-down version of The Lokels, as Coffey will be joined by multi-instrumentalist Dave Bauer (who has been with him as a Lokel since day one) for the set.

Coffey said the guys often perform with varying numbers, depending on the venue and the event they’re heading to.

For this year’s Festival, a duo seemed like the ideal combo for what Coffey wants to present to audiences. “It’s cool, because I can go out with these guys as a duo, or as a trio or a four-piece. It’s an interesting dynamic.”

Musically speaking, Coffey has indeed been influenced by the likes of Cash, Fogerty, Dylan and Haggard. You won’t find today’s country/pop fluff in his stellar collection which serves up tunes best described as earthy, grounded and authentic – lyrically and musically. It’s been evident since his first offering East of East Coulee back in 2002.

Twirlin’ Girl Boogie, the band’s latest project, was released in 2008.

Raised in Innisfail, Coffey is also an accomplished and acclaimed painter. His works reflect much of the world around him captured in both strong and soft colours and dream-like sensibilities. Portraits are often punctuated with dramatic, sweeping skies of swirling clouds as well.

It was the visual art that first surfaced in his youth, although music was a constant at home.

“All kids are visual, and I was really into that,” he explains of his early attraction to art.

But while he was an avid drawer as a kid, a desire to explore music wasn’t far behind. Coffey picked up a guitar at 14 and his creative talents really took off.

Although working as an artist on both fronts may sound exhausting, Coffey says the two genres actual fuel each other. “Painting can be so intensive, that I find myself using music as a form to relax.”

Of course, songwriting can be a pretty intensive process in itself. But it’s something Coffey revels in. “For me, it all comes from the same place. So I don’t see much difference.”

As for what he comes up with these days, it’s fair to say Coffey is always looking to grow. He doesn’t feel like he’s fully ‘arrived’, and doesn’t expect to in his lifetime. That’s just fine with him.

“I hope it keeps happening for the rest of my life,” he explains of the concept of artistic progression and expansion. “If I’m not progressing, than I might as well stop.”

Meanwhile, organizers of the fourth annual Central Music Festival are hoping for at least a thousand fans to settle in and enjoy the music this year.

The Friday night and all day Saturday family-oriented, outdoor festival takes place on farmland just north of the City on township road 392 (directions on web site). There will also be a beer tent, a kids’ show with Trent Tinney, crafts for sale and local vendors selling food and beverages. Artists run the gamut from the Backwoods Roots Revue, the Ron Hubbard Band and John Rutherford to Great American Taxi and The Trews.

Tickets are available at the Black Knight Inn ticket centre or on-line at the festival web site.

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