Although there is no specific “Canadian” sound when it comes to music, some bands and artists embody a sound that the people of our nation could readily identify with. Both The Tragically Hip and Stompin’ Tom Connors could be some of those people with a “Canadian” sound and whether they will cop to it or not, Amherst roots-rock band Banded Stilts could be bound for the exact same fate.
In the very short time since forming this past January, the band has cut their debut EP, By The Back Stair (set for release on July 5) and is currently getting ready to send off band members Steve Haley and Brad Lannon on tour across Canada via train. Before traversing Canada however, Banded Stilts will be performing a show at Moncton’s Plan B Lounge on Thursday June 30.
Banded Stilts is not the first band for either Lannon or Haley. The duo had previously played together in Newfoundland band The Human Soundtrack before choosing to relocate to Nova Scotia approximately two and a half years ago. Shortly after arriving in Nova Scotia, the duo set about finding the remaining band members to help round out their sound.
Haley notes that the tracks appearing on By The Back Stair were specifically chosen to highlight the band’s variety in their sound which includes mandolin, banjo, violin and more. Influenced by Neil Young, Fleet Foxes and more, Haley says the songs shift from pop fare like “You Tried to Give Your Heart Away” to a more straight-forward folk sound on tracks “The Owls” and “Full Swing.”
Recorded over the span of two weekends this past March, Haley is enthusiastic about the results of making their EP with engineer Don Mackay who has also worked with Amelia Curran and Aces & Acres.
“Don was awesome to work with,” Haley begins. “We really wanted to capture a live sound, so we just set up and played each track through two or three times and then took the best take of the bunch. We ended overdubbing a couple of harmonies and banjo parts but were glad that we were able to get the core of the tracks sounding live.”
When talk turns to the upcoming tour that he and Lannon will be undertaking by train, Haley expresses a great deal of excitement at what the tour will offer the duo.
“It is something that I have always wanted to do and have had it in the works for a few months now. Leading up to the tour though, we had to keep our fingers crossed that the album was going to get recorded, mixed, mastered and pressed before we left.”
In addition to providing Haley and Lannon their transportation across the country, VIA Rail will also be feeding the duo their meals and giving them lodging for the duration of their journey.
“We will be playing in the evening during and after the mealtime,” Haley explains. “VIA ask you to be prepared to cater to paying customers and recommended us learning a few Canadian covers to throw in the sets so we have been brushing up on some Neil Young and Band songs to include in our set. We can’t wait to see the country and meet some characters along the way.”