Trews will reveal acoustic skills during festival

  • Aug. 23, 2010 10:24 p.m.

Having been dubbed Canada’s ‘hardest working band’, The Trews are gearing up for an acoustic set at the Central Music Festival Aug. 13.

With four CDs in seven years, 10 Top-10 singles, awards for best single, video and live group and close to 800 live shows under their belt, including support stints for the Rolling Stones, Robert Plant, Guns N’ Roses, Nickelback and KISS, this is a band that clearly rarely rests.

Meanwhile, The Trews – (lead vocalist Colin MacDonald, his brother guitarist John-Angus MacDonald, their cousin drummer Sean Dalton and bassist Jack Syperek) – keep pushing forward creatively.

Their latest CD, 2009’s live acoustic Friends & Total Strangers finds the guys performing at Toronto’s Glenn Gould Theatre. They backed it up with a 30-date sold-out acoustic tour as well.

John-Angus said it wasn’t intended to turn into an actual CD/DVD release, but the fan response was so strong that it seemed the natural course to take. “How well it did surprised us,” he explains. “The whole thing came to life really organically – in stages.”

The stellar disc features old cuts, rarities and three new songs captured in glorious and authentic acoustic simplicity.

Everything that’s so solid about The Trews shines through in even bolder ways from the raw, infectious blend of guitars to the never-once-diminished power of Colin’s voice. Being mixed in just three days also means there were virtually no touch-ups or overdubs applied. Judging by the results, there didn’t need to be.

“It was a great way to reinterpret our songs, and shine a whole new light on the tunes,” explains John-Angus. He recalls the tour as rather mellow compared to when they usually hit the stage in full-force ‘electric’ mode, but it served as a creatively rich season. “It really inspired us.”

It also has a strengthening effect on one’s musicianship, he says. “You have to try harder, stay in tune, be more articulate.”

Prior to that, the guys released the groundbreaking No time For Later which was fueled by the blistering hit Hold Me In Your Arms.

The group’s powerful artistry has been honed over the years of working together with the original lineup. They formed as One I’d Trouser in 1997 in Antigonish, Nova Scotia when the four were still in high school.

The guys then moved to the Niagara region of Ontario and the band’s new moniker was Trouser. In 2002, they signed with Bumstead Records and were about to release a second EP, when it was insisted their name be changed. The Trews were born.

In 2003, they released House of Ill Fame which yielded hits like Not Ready To Go and Tired of Waiting. Moving next to Toronto, now their home base, their follow-up project Den of Thieves hit shelves in 2005.

Meanwhile, Sing Your Heart Out from Friends And Total Strangers was nominated for Best AAA/Alternative Song at the 2010 U.S. International Acoustic Music Awards as well.

Fans will also be clamouring for the guys’ next disc, slated for an early 2011 release. It’s pretty much a done deal except for about a week’s worth of post-production. “We certainly feel like we’ve reached new levels on this disc.”

For now, they’re reveling in the opportunities that continually come their way. Demand keeps on growing for whatever they have to offer – electric or acoustic.

“What keeps me excited is the feeling that our best work is ahead of us, that the best songs and the best shows could be right around the corner.”

Organizers of the fourth annual Central Music Festival are hoping for at least a thousand fans to 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 website).

Besides the slate of tunes, other highlights include a beer tent, a kids’ show with Trent Tinney, crafts for sale and local vendors offering food and beverages.

The Friday night line-up opens with the Half Chance Heroes and includes Ross Stafford, St. James’ Gate, the Backwoods Roots Revue, the Ron Hubbard Band, Great American Taxi and Steve Coffey.

Saturday’s line-up starts with The Doll Sisters from Rocky Mountain House and includes Dick Raidek, the Black Pioneer Heritage Singers, Lisa Heinrichs, F & M, The Command Sisters, Chris LeBlanc and winds up with country singer Shane Yellowbird.

Tickets are available at the Black Knight Inn ticket centre or on-line at