June 1, 2012
Day 38 of 47
We are on our final stretch back home to the heart of the new west. We have feasted on seafood out on the East Coast and we have made many new friends. The dread of going back to the normal work life is starting to creep up. We have spent a lot of time in the Brown Streak over the past couple days trying to race back from Sydney to Winnipeg; although it feels like home by now, I think we are all yearning to get back to our own beds in Calgary.
Before we hit the Maritimes, we were able to get on one last gig in Montreal at Brutopia with a truly amazing band, Ol’ Savannah who let us open up the night with the first set of the three they were scheduled to play. Leaving Montreal marked a new record for me as the farthest east I have been in Canada and our first stop was in Moncton, New Brunswick. Plan B was the name of the bar with all around great services: from friendly staff and home cooked food, to a cozy little patio to drink and smoke on and a nice little apartment above for the band to stay.
After leaving Moncton, we got a chance to explore Melly’s future home town(s) of southern Nova Scotia as we made our way to Halifax to meet up with the boys of the Modern Grass and their comfy abode where we would spend the next few nights. On the way down we got in touch with our friend Miss Quincy who was playing at the Carleton that Monday night and she was kind enough to let us open up for her. Man could those girls rock in the sexy and sultry way! After a couple more house parties, we gigged at Gus’ Pub and the Rock Bottom Brewery on the same night. On Thursday, the Modern Grass boys stole Cathy for a night to do some session recording on Matthew Hornell’s new album at the Confidence Lodge before heading off to the farthest east this tour would take us: Sydney on Cape Breton island.
It was in Sydney at Governors Pub where we would meet Nick Everett and his three piece band and watch him play an amazing set before ours of spasmic melodic indie rock that swallowed our attention. After the nights performance, we were invited to join Nick at Caper Radio for an online live performance of both our groups before we found out what real Cape Breton hospitality was like. At Mr. Kane’s family’s residence we were fed to the gullets with home cooked mussels, pasta, chips and dips, and whatever else was thrown at us. We ate like kings! And we left with a nostalgic feeling of home in a foreign part of the country for all of us in the Bitterweed Draw.
Finally, as we race back to Winnipeg, we made one last stop south of Halifax to join Stephen Cooper of Analog Songs to perform a track off our album in a creepy old satellite station building. Completely stripped of all life forms for who knows how many years, this place looked like it would be inhabited by zombies and the perfect set for the Living Dead season 3. The video should be up within a month… or so… these things take time but we are happy with how we played, and are excited to see the finished product ourselves.
May 24, 2012
Day 30 of 47
We’ve come along way since we last stepped foot in Calgary. We’ve seen aplenty, while experiencing nothing but warm welcomes and generous hospitality. With a little more time to spend site-seeing in between gigs, we were able to camp in a lonely couple of cabins on Hazelwood Lake outside of Thunder Bay – spending three nights there before we played at the Apollo. There is nothing better than having your own personal lake to canoe and build the biggest bonfire you can on an incredibly private lake for the Bitterweed to enjoy. Oh, and add a few large BBQ’s to make us fat and sauna bathing to sweat it out. It was a nice little getaway.
Following that, four incredible nights, three gigs and a baseball game in Toronto kept us occupied in the 30 degree sun. Not My Dog, Rancho Relaxo, and the Drake were very gracious with their support. However, the Blue Jays -despite mounting an incredible comeback attempt- did not win the game. Our moral for the day found it’s boost by hanging out with the King (himself) outside the ball park. Speaking of the King, at the Drake we had the opportunity to play with the Dreamboats, a band that can hammer out covers by Elvis, and artists alike. It was their first show where they played some original tunes, and man them boys can rock vintage! A big shout out to Mama and Papa Billington for coming all the way to Calgary just to see us and treat us to a delicious dinner (and beers)!
From there, we moved into Ottawa for a quickie at the Rainbow and now we abide in Montreal. This is probably my favourite city in Canada thus far – the great architecture and the pedestrian traffic are simply… dressed so well. Le Petit Campus was a lot of fun, the City Lights, and the Steady Swagger both put on great shows and once again, the hospitality has exceeded expectations.
We had the opportunity to visit Grumpy’s Pub last night, where every Thursday they have an old tyme country open jam. Though, this was not a traditional open mic, but more of just a big jam. There was one mic in the centre of a group of musicians and anyone could join and take a turn singing a song while being backed up by an entire bar. Big thanks to James Perry for holding us up at his place. I don’t know how long we will be here but I don’t mind staying, this place is beautiful, but I hear the Maritimes are something really special.
May 14, 2012
Day 20 of 47
We’re about to hit Thunder Bay for the first time as a band. There have been so many stops that it has been a little hard to track. But I believe I left off in Moose Jaw, which means we’ve been through: Gravelbourg, Weyburn, Winnipeg, in the mean time… With a few stories.
In Gravelbourg, SK, I finally got to assemble my new touring BBQ! Definitely a highlight of tour for me to slow grill chicken breast and garlic bread while tossing around a baseball in the parking lot of Centre Cultural Maillard. We played a show there later on with some great bands: Picture the Ocean, and two members of the Johnny Ninety Nine Band (Jobi and Arielle) who both put on awesome sets.
After a short stay and a few beers we made our way to Pump Jack’s Saloon in Weyburn, SK where the beer flows like water! We were only set to play the Thursday night, but with a gig in Regina falling out, that kept us free to return on Friday once requested following our first set of the night. The staff there really knows how to take care of a band with real Saskatchewan hospitality. They even had a Pilsner bus to boot!
So after a few too many beers in Weyburn, SK, we made it to Winnipeg just in the nick of time to find out that we missed our sound check and that the band to follow us was already set up on stage… oh and the comment from the sound guy (James Brown) was also very welcoming “I don’t know how the F#@% you guys are on this bill, it’s skin-head punk night tonight!”. Never the less we set up our six piece in front of the other bands drum set sped up our tunes by about 25 bpm and just country-punk rocked The Cavern with a Rancid and Motorhead cover on top of our own and had one hell of a time with the clientele. I think we may have even sold the most merch that night, so it looks like it all worked out in the end.
May 9, 2012
Day 15 of 47!
We have made it wonderful Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, home of the famous Al Capone's liquor running tunnels during the days of the American prohibition, where we were pleasantly surprised to find out that we are on the cover page to Moose Jaw's summer music festival website with a video filmed from the Market Collective's Ugly Christmas Sweater Social last year! Check it out here. A big thanks to those who filmed the video and posted it online for strangers to use!
Before that we stopped in Kamloops, where our bass head decided to not work anymore and had to schedule an emergency repair but thanks to the help of Lee's Music out there we weren't delayed getting out the next morning and everything is working top shape now.
This brings us back to home soil Alberta! First stop Jasper, a very brief stop, we made it to the venue just in time to set up and start playing our first of three sets immediately for a crowd that although may not have filled the whole bar but definitely filled the entire dance floor! It's amazing when there is only one table left with people sitting while we play yet the 40' x 30' dance floor was crowded enough to have people shoulder bumpin and two steppin into each other!
After that we hopped back in the van without a wink of sleep and made the short drive to Hinton, home of Mr. Mario Casagrande himself to find a hot home made Mama Casagrande lasagna waiting for us on the oven sometime around 3:30 am!.. clocks don't really exist when you're on tour. It doesn't get any better than that! But it also doesn't stop there. The warm welcome the Bitterweed always receives in Hinton was definitely outdone this time with a massive and energetic crowd at the Hinton Valley Zoo, followed by debauchery at an after party that once again kept us up to whatever time... clocks don't exist.
Finally our last stop was at another regular stompin ground the Wunderbar in Edmonton, Another big thanks to Craig and Mikey there and their company Analog Booking who helped arrange a lot of our shows this tour and really lit the fire under our asses to get us out on the road! The Wunderbar was celebrating their second anniversary with music starting at 3 pm and ending with us playing til whatever time we wanted that night.... still I don't know what time we finished.
May 1, 2012
Day 7 of 47!
We have made it across one province keepin’ busy every night up until tonight, which is our first day off since we hit the road last Wednesday. We’ve met too many new friends (well, I hate to say too many), and have experienced a warm welcome in every town we’ve stepped foot in.
Our first stop in Revelstoke was at the new Stoke FM – a private radio station located in the basement of a house perched on top of a hill, watching over the valley where the rest of the town lay. With three songs played over the short distance radio waves, we were able to bring in a full house on a Wednesday to the Big Eddy Pub; a pub with hella’ good wings, and a stage that’s set up to burn the place down with some hot licks.
Next stop was Vernon, which is a beautiful town where we played at the Vertigo theatre – an art gallery that has the room to house a great little private evening party with one of our good friends, Moot, who sang a few songs with his sister and their band Oma. Their voices are amazing together. We joined in for a couple at the end of their set before we took the stage ourselves and played a couple of half-rowdy to a Bitterweed standard set. There was a child in the audience and we didn’t want to set a bad example, so we kept it PG… Well as PG as we get. There were no complaints.
That finally brought us to our three-night stint in Vancouver, where the support for the band was overwhelmingly intense. It was an honour to play the final ‘For the Sake of the Song Sunday’ at the River Vintage. I want to give a special thanks to Elliot Way for that, and booking our other Vancouver gigs (China Cloud, Biltmore). He has done some amazing stuff; not only for us, but for the music community in these parts. The list of artists we were able to perform with were incredible: the Sumner Brothers, Ben Rogers, Sarah Jane Scouten, Blue Rich Rangers, Rusty Ford. We also got to play a couple songs on CiTR 101.9′s ‘Sore Throats, Clapping Hands’ hosted by Robert Privett last night, and had a great time doing that as well, There is something incredibly fun about cramming six people around a radio host and two microphones in a studio the size of a large closet, then performing live on air… can’t wait for that podcast.
March 29, 2012
New shows are being added daily to our Spring 2012 cross-Canada tour!
Check out our Shows page for a complete listing!! Watch out Canada, The Bitterweed Draw is comin' to getcha!
March 20, 2012
"Heart of the Old West" - AVAILABLE NOW!
The album was released this month, thanks to everyone involved in making this happen and all the fans for coming out for the release. Visit our Bandcamp page to buy the album, or contact the band for a hard copy. Vinyl release on the way!
February 22, 2012
Welcome to the new website!
Check out the Listen page to listen to a sneak peek of the new album, Heart of the Old West. The album will be released on March 9, 2012 at Below Deck Tavern. $15 gets you admission and a CD!! See you all there!