The Strumbellas are playing at the Sid Williams Theatre Sunday

Sid Williams-bound Strumbellas celebrate breakout year

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The Strumbellas play at the Sid Williams Theatre on Sunday, Oct. 26 as part of the theatre society’s 2014-2015 Blue Circle Series.

CBC Radio called them a “band to watch” and 2014 has been quite a year for watching the success of The Strumbellas.

At the 2014 Juno Awards held in March, the band took home the award for Roots and Traditional Album Of The Year for their latest record, We Still Move On Dance Floors, swiftly followed by news in May they had received a SiriusXM Indie award for Folk Group Of The Year.

In June their acclaimed album, recorded outside Seattle with Grammy-nominated producer Ryan Hadlock (The Lumineers), nabbed the Strumbellas a spot on the coveted long list for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize, a juried award given annually to the best full-length Canadian album based on artistic merit, regardless of genre, sales or record label.

Over the last year, the six-piece group has been earning its stripes on the road with several cross-country tours and a slew of summer festival dates including the Winnipeg Folk Festival and Squamish Valley Music Festival in August.

Based in Toronto, the band has been together almost six years, after lead vocalist Simon Ward decided he wanted to try being in a band and posted an ad with a song demo on Craigslist. The Strumbellas were born after Ward was joined by Dave Ritter on piano/keyboards, Jon Hembrey on electric guitar, bassist Darryl James, violinist Isabel Ritchie and drummer Jeremy Drury.

“I still have some of the original replies from band members they sent out in the band email thread [and read them] every so often for a laugh. After about six months of comings and goings, The Strumbellas were born. And actually, in the end four of us in the band all come from the same home town [Lindsay, Ontario],” Ward recently shared with CONFRONT magazine.

Asked to describe the Strumbellas’ sound, Ward said “I’ve always liked the genre indie country or alt country. Basically we just stomp our feet and sing our hearts out to simple country songs. I think our style is starting to sway away from country more and more. I am a big ‘pop’ sound kind of guy and I’m slowly getting closer to where I would like to focus my songwriting on, which is ‘pop’. It’s still plastered with group vocals and hand claps with a country shuffle but it has a bit more of a pop element to it.”

The Strumbellas’ only real focus is making good music.

When asked his thoughts on what makes a band stand out and the music stick to people, Ward was quick to respond.

“I think in the end it still comes down to the song itself,” he said. “Like my dad always said, you can’t polish a turd. You can have a good looking person singing a song with big fancy videos and stage shows but in the end a good song is a good song.”

Don’t miss an amazing night of live music with The Strumbellas. Tickets for this Blue Circle Series performance are $23 for members, $28 for general public, $18 for students and groups of 10 or more. Members can add this show to a four or more pack for just $18.

Purchase at the ticket centre Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., call 250-338-2430 or visit sidwilliamstheatre.com.

 

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