New Roots NB to rock Capitol

Four of New Brunswick’s arguably best up and coming roots inspired artists are teaming up to play a series of shows throughout the province.

Andy Brown is a recent three-time Music New Brunswick Award winner and also walked away the winner of the Galaxie Rising Star Award at last month’s Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton.

Known as the New Roots NB tour, Andy Brown, Owen Steel, Lisa Leblanc and Babette Hayward will be performing a total of five shows together, including a stop tomorrow at Moncton’s Capitol Theatre.

While these artists’ names might be new to your ears, there is a wealth of experience shared amongst them that deserves your attention.

They are each at various stages of their music careers which only helps to add to the uniqueness of the show.

Andy Brown is a recent three-time Music New Brunswick Award winner and also walked away the winner of the Galaxie Rising Star Award at last month’s Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton. He has been garnering rave reviews for his most recent folk-rock record, False Alarm, while also being crowned the winner of Taylor Guitars “Test Drive 2010” North-American wide competition.

Brown is looking forward to sharing the stage with Steel, Hayward and Leblanc, noting that Steel’s father Jamie, who heads Periwinkle Productions, was the brains behind putting these acts together for the five shows.

“Jamie had the idea to put a showcase together comprising of four artists that he felt were the ambassadors for the new folk-inspired sounds coming from New Brunswick,” Brown says. “Honestly, I am thrilled that I was even considered for it.

“Doing a tour like this feels good. It allows each of us to draw upon a larger, more varied audience,” he continues.

“Plus, the audience will be given four different insights into aspects of songwriting. I am really looking forward to sharing the stage with these three musicians.”

Promoter Jamie Steel’s son Owen has also been busy as of late, steadily building a name for himself with several independently released EP’s and his most recent work, the full-length Et Al record.

Steel has been fortunate to pick up slots opening for the likes of David Myles and Elliott Brood while also having completed a national tour via train.

Steel believes that only good can arise from the four artists touring together rather than each one striking out for these cities on their own:

“I believe there is power in numbers and hopefully I will attract a few new fans with the help of the other artists on the bill,” he says. “Each one of us is going to draw a different crowd and even though our music is unique to each of us in its own way, there are also a lot of similarities between us. Someone who has come to the show to hear Babette for instance may find parallels between her music and mine and then become a fan of mine by the end of the night.

“I am really looking forward to the opportunity to share my music with a wider group of people.”

Babette Hayward doesn’t shy away from concurring with Steel’s “all for one, one for all” mentality.

“It is definitely a good thing as far as I’m concerned,” she shares. “I’m a solo artist but really enjoying playing shows with other artists. It definitely helps take the pressure off as opposed to playing alone.”

Hayward has been promoting a limited edition EP that she has been selling at her shows and is in the process of recording new material for an upcoming full-length record, which she hopes to have released in December of this year or January 2011.

“There is going to be 10 songs on the record. Compared to the EP where I had recorded the songs on my laptop, this next record is taking a little longer,” she says.

Hayward is hoping that once the record is completed and released, she would like to do more in the way of touring, both in the Maritimes and beyond.

“I almost took part in the tour that Owen did via train across the country but he ended up going it alone. I have never toured beyond the Maritimes but think it would be really nice to do so sometime.”

Of all the musicians performing on the tour, Lisa Leblanc is unique, thanks to her being the sole francophone artist on the New Roots NB shows. Singing exclusively in French, she is very much looking forward to gauging the audience’s reaction to her French material.

“Being the sole Francophone artist on the bill, I am really looking forward to getting some feedback from audience members in attendance at the show, especially where I am expecting the audience to be predominantly English-speaking,” she confesses.

Although Leblanc doesn’t have a record set to sell in conjunction with these shows, she is hard at work on getting the material together for her full-length debut, set for release in 2011; if she can pull herself away from the road, that is.

“Between now and early December, I have got probably 20 to 30 shows scheduled so while it takes me away from the studio and getting a record done, I have found that the busier I am, the more I write. Playing shows is really what keeps me going although I do realize that I have to find the time to focus on making a record.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to check out some of the province’s best new talent at the Capitol Theatre this coming Saturday night. It will surely be an evening of unforgettable music.

Article published in October 29, 2010 edition of the Times & Transcript