Annie Handley digs music. She digs life, in general.
And when she and her partner, Dave Devindisch, aren’t entertaining as the duo East Street, Annie Handley just digs.
“I dig dirt, and mow lawns,” she says, of her ‘other job,’ her own nameless company. “I haven’t even given my company a name. Dave always jokes and calls it the Lawn Salon, but…”
When informed that one of the essentials to growing a business is for the business to have a name, she just laughs.
“I know, but I don’t really want to grow it. So don’t tell anybody.”
Her business used to be a lot bigger than it is now, but she trimmed her clientele, and hedged her bets on becoming a librarian.
“I went back to school and got my library assistant diploma. I dropped half my clientele so I could do my studies, because I figured it was time to grow up. But I haven’t actually applied myself to that diploma. I’m still digging.”
Dave digs Annie. He knew it from the first time he met her.
“Four years ago, I was at Long and McQuade, and I ran into Doug Biggs, who was playing with Annie’s band (Annie Handley Band). He said they needed a bass player for rehearsal because theirs was sick and asked if I’d be interested.
“The moment I saw Annie it was like bam, heart beating out of my chest. I never left. We’ve been together ever since.”
Dave used to live in Vancouver. He still returns to the “Big City” for about a week every month, to work for Seaspan and keep in touch with his contacts in the music industry there. But Courtenay is his home.
Their band, Easy Street, is one of the most entertaining two-piece bands in the Valley. They play it all; from Bon Jovi like you’ve never heard before, to one-hit wonders you might never hear again.
“We decided to make it a sort of funk, jazzy kind of thing,” said Dave, who bought a stand-up bass specifically for the new gig. “A regular bass just didn’t feel right.”
Whereas a rock band is limited in venues, Easy Street can play anything from a bar, to a house party, to an après ski at Mount Washington.
A lot of the songs in their repertoire will evoke memories of summers past.
“Songs like Come and Get Your Love, and Dancing in the Moonlight, I remember those songs from when I was young,” said Dave. “So we figure, hey if we remember them, other people will too.”
Even if you haven’t heard them live, you’ve probably heard them.
Six of their songs were selected for the Duck Dynasty spin-off series Jep & Jessica. The Science Network picked up their song Light up the room, and they have provided songs for the Discovery Network.
They’ve also done some jingles, for local ads – Island Home Furniture, Home Solutions, Serious Coffee and Salmon Point Pub, to name a few.
“We just did a big one for the City of Merritt. A tourism song,” said Annie. “Isn’t that crazy?”
They are working on a CD that they hope to release this spring.
Easy Street. Go see them. You’ll dig them.