There aren’t too many curveballs that you could throw at the Lindsay, Ontario bred, Toronto based folk/alt.country group The Strumbellas. This is not to say that they have seen it all and done it all, of course.
But when the band walked away as the winners of the Juno Award for Roots and Traditional Album of the Year at March’s Juno ceremony in Winnipeg, a curveball was thrown to Strumbellas vocalist-guitarist Simon Ward by none other than himself:
“Right before our award was presented, the live feed of the Juno telecast cut out. They announced the nominees and they declared us the winners. So we got ready to go up and say something but when I got on stage, I started crying like a baby. It is the most embarrassing thing I have ever done. The weird thing is, I am not a crier at all. I don’t know what happened because I was just so excited,” Simon says.
Simon goes on to share that he lost his father when he was just 16 years old and that everything that he has done musically has been about him or the pain from losing him. It is entirely plausible then that Simon’s emotions at winning the Juno merely got the best of him considering the Strumbellas serve as an outlet where those emotions come to the surface.
“My father was a lawyer but would always joke that he should have been a rock star. He opted for family life though and chose a career instead.”
There is little question that Simon’s father would be proud of his son’s musical accomplishments. In the time since their self-titled debut was released in 2009, the group has also delivered two solid full-length efforts: 2012’s My Father and The Hunter and last year’s We Still Move On Dance Floors.
Growth has been a constant throughout their career. Nowhere is this more evident than on their latest energetic studio effort. Recorded at Bear Creek Studio, just outside of Seattle, with Grammy-nominated producer Ryan Hadlock, Simon says that the band went into the studio with specific intentions:
“I think that every band hopes to translate the sound and energy from their live show onto record,” Simon says. “It is definitely a challenge to pull off and so during the making of our latest record, we all lived together at a farmhouse. We ate breakfast together. We were all sleeping under the same roof. In fact, during the two weeks we were there, I don’t think I left the house for a week, I think it was those things that helped nurture the cohesiveness that is heard on the record.”
What: The Strumbellas
When: Tuesday May 13, 9:00 p.m.
Where: The Tide & Boar Gastropub, 700 Main St., Moncton