Brockley trio at Cumberland Hotel

Guitarist Steve Brockley performs with his trio June 19 at the Cumberland Hotel.

Each year, MusicFest introduces some great new artists to our community who often end up becoming many people’s best new finds.

Last year, Steve Brockley was just such a find and he is returning to the Comox Valley on June 19 for a full night of music at the Cumberland Hotel.

Born in B.C., formed in Montreal, and currently based out of a Buick wood-panelled wagon, Brockley has somehow convinced Kevin Bertram (upright bass) and Leon Power (drums, mandolin) that this is a good idea. Maybe it helps that the numbers of the convinced have been growing since beginning a relentless tour schedule in March 2010 in support of their first full length album.

After winning audiences over in Montreal, the musical brothership wasted no time taking it to the road.

At the root of what’s going on here are the songs — songs that other songwriters are already covering. And if you come for the songs you’ll stay for the musicianship.

You’ve got a lot to choose from between Bertram’s percussive double bass swagger, Power’s grunt-worthy beats and Brockley’s finger-picked electric guitar tactics.

“Hypnotic songwriting, a voice to melt you from the inside out, all supported and propelled forward by a trance-inducing rhythm section. And they look like guys you’d want to take home and introduce to your grandma, yet underneath this charming exterior, there is an ever-so-slight gun-slinging badassness.” — T. Nile.

“Imagine if Gillian Welch married Stevie Wonder and the baby jumped out wearing cowboy boots and driving a wood-panelled station wagon named John Candy. I love these guys!” — Miss Emily Brown.

Originally from Vernon, after a few years gigging and touring as a sideman on guitar, Brockley eventually made his way to Montreal on New Year’s Day 2008 to start anew as a songwriter. Fitting right into the local music scene, he soon found himself on tour as guitarist for the infamous United Steel Workers of Montreal, also having the opportunity to play some opening slots along the way.

No longer able to divide his energy between two hard-working acts, his solo act quickly expanded to a trio, and during a break in touring, they recorded their self-titled debut album, a nine-song, live-off-the-floor, analog jewel.

After a very busy year of club dates and house shows, 2011 saw the boys being welcomed to the Canadian festival circuit playing five festivals last summer including Vancouver Island MusicFest.

Though the band’s knowledge and repertoire of traditional folk music is apparent, they’re able to take the style in new directions without making the audience feel uprooted. You may hear John Hurt in the guitar, Hank, Townes, or Bob in the lyrics, and maybe a touch of blue-eyed soul in the voice.

Since MusicFest started their concert series last year at The Cumberland Hotel, it has become the Valley’s most popular new ‘folk club’-styled venue. Tickets are on sale at the Cumberland Hotel.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m., with the show at 8:30. Call 250-336-8844 for more information.

— Vancouver Island MusicFest


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