You can take the men out of the East Coast, but you can’t take the East Coast out of the men. That practical life lesson is something that Three Finger Shot members Tony Ronalds and Trevor Bowering came to realize long ago.
The excitement expressed by Ronalds around the notion of returning to his home turf for a run of more than a dozen shows spanning New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland, is palpably contagious.
“I’m excited to be getting home,” Ronalds said earlier this week in advance of his group’s performance at the Town of Riverview’s Caseley Park on Wednesday evening.
With their latest release Stories From A Small Town, Three Finger Shot is looking to export their unique brand of contemporary East Coast folk music to Canada and beyond.
“Trevor and I have a vision of working for ourselves, being on the road, bringing our music to people, and seeing the world,” Ronalds elaborates. “There is the practical end of needing to ensure we are making ends meet, but we want to do everything humanly possible to make this band work for us. As soon as I start working for someone else, my life becomes less about who I am, and more about that brand or company.”
Prior to getting the Calgary-based Three Finger Shot on the go, Ronalds was a founding member of acclaimed Nova Scotian folk band Kilt. The group released a pair of records, snagged a handful of East Coast Music Award nominations, and played alongside the likes of Great Big Sea and the late John Allen Cameron.
Kilt’s relentless performance schedule – playing more than 200 shows a year wasn’t out of the question – helped win the group legions of fans coast to coast, but at the turn of the century, the band was driven apart by a host of different factors.
Not long after Kilt’s demise, Ronalds and Bowering first connected in Ottawa, but it would be another couple of years, and a trip west to Alberta where, whether by coincidence or fate, the duo happened to find themselves living and working in the same city.
“The great thing about this band is the fact it’s about making great music and nothing else,” Ronalds says. “Trevor understands my approach, and I understand his. With Kilt, there was no rhyme or continuity in the lyrics; it was more a matter of whatever happened to sound good. In Three Finger Shot, there’s a deliberate process and approach to the way we tell stories through our songs, which is a distinctly different approach from Kilt’s.”
Nowhere is Three Finger Shot’s unique vision more defined than on the six songs that comprise Stories From A Small Town. From the opening notes of “We Never Said” to the closing moments of “General Taylor,” there is an irrefutable undercurrent of traditional Celtic music running throughout the release. It is a torch the duo holds proudly high, bearing the sonic imprint of folk giants like Great Big Sea and Stan Rogers that have come before them, highlighted by their impeccable vocal harmonies.
By all accounts, things are looking promising for the group. Not only are they performing at St. John’s acclaimed George Street festival later this month, a festival appearance in Alberta at Fort McMurray’s East Coast Garden Party toward the end of August will see the duo rubbing elbows with the likes of international acts including The Sheepdogs, Buckcherry and more.
For Ronalds, the possibility of reaching new fans via the group’s infectious live show is currently Three Finger Shot’s cause d’etre, and is something he is grateful to be able to take part in night after night.
“Being able to play shows all across the country is a bit of a daunting prospect, but it’s way more exciting at the end of the day,” Ronalds says.
What: Three Finger Shot
When: Wednesday July 12, 7 p.m.
Where: Caseley Park, 30 Honour House Court, Riverview
Admission is free and open to all ages. In the event of rain, the concert will move to Riverview Community Hall, 145A Lakeside Dr., Riverview