Hiatus in Cowtown

cowpuncher Uncategorized

We’ve been fortunate to play a lot of very fun shows in our hometown over the last year. *A lot* of shows! We don’t want to over-saturate Calgary with gigs every weekend…

Last Stampede we bought a touring rig and have been branching out to BC, SASK, Eastern Canada, Northern AB and eventually the States.

The Calgary Metro published an article on our decision yesterday:

Calgary bootstompers Cowpuncher head out to pasture before they wear out their welcome:

Metro/Handout/Dave Flewwelling, Moloich Photography Ltd

Metro/Handout/Dave Flewwelling, Moloich Photography Ltd

There’s a fine line between building up an audience and wearing out your welcome.

It’s an issue facing many local bands as Calgary’s relative isolation makes it difficult and expensive for musicians to travel out-of-town on a regular basis.

Matt Olah, frontman of country rock bootstompers, Cowpuncher, is conscious of the less-is-more rule. And despite a sizeable local following, he’s scaling back his band’s Calgary shows after one more gig this Sunday.

“A bouncer at Broken City once said to me, ‘You’re the only guys I know who can play four times a month and get four different kinds of crowds out. That’s unheard of,’” says Olah.

“And yeah, it’s true. It is unheard of and you can’t do that forever. We want to back off from overplaying. We’re trying not to wear out our welcome and I think we’re on the edge of that.”

Formed in 2005, Cowpuncher went through several personnel changes before the current lineup of Olah, Ryan Kelly (baritone guitar), Scott Martin (guitar), Harley Hoeft (upright bass) and Jeff Sulima (drums) solidified about a year and a half ago.

The bluegrass-heavy O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack and the dusty cowboy country of Alberta singer Corb Lund were early influences on Cowpuncher, but Olah says his musical vision has widened since hooking up with more serious players.

“When I stopped trying to control where the band was going, the songs and the live shows started getting better,” he says.

Olah has also let go of some of the songwriting duties, handing them off to Hoeft.

“Harley’s been stepping up,” says the 37-year-old singer.

“It’s neat not to have that ownership part. But it’s also nice to fight for what’s good in a song.”

In addition to plotting a short tour out west this spring, Cowpuncher has been writing and recording new songs, though Olah admits he’s not sure where the tracks will end up.

“I’m not super into CDs,” he says.

“That said, it’s only young kids who are into vinyl. You play a place with a bunch of 50-year-olds and they’re like, ‘Why would I spend $10 on two songs (on a 7 inch record) when I can spend $10 for 13 songs on a CD?

“I’m a little torn about the whole album thing.”

Cowpuncher plays Sunday with Vancouver band Beekeeper at The New Black Centre for Music and Art (200, 919 – 9 Ave. S.W.) The show is all ages and tickets are $10 at the door.

Cowpuncher fun facts

• The band has two full-length CDs — 2010’s The Brown Album and 2011’s Call Me When You’re Single, as well as its latest 7 inch vinyl single, Hooscow.

• Guitarist Ryan Kelly used to end up half-naked during gigs so often that the rest of the group banned him from removing his shirt.

After the show on Sunday at The New Black Centre for Music and Art we’re going to be focusing on writing and the road.

Speaking of the New Black, we’ve never played there but the mission statement excites us:

The New Black Music and Arts Centre is a not for profit society that is devoted to the youth arts and music community. We have created a positive and permanent venue to promote and perpetuate Calgary’s young music enthusiasts by offering a safe, secure, drug and alcohol free venue where kids can come down to check out their favourite bands or to hone their own crafts in every aspect of the music industry. On top of this, the New Black also offers youth programs through the City of Calgary and the Boys and Girls Club… plus, affordable, clean professional rehearsal spaces as well as a studio room with pro recording capabilities; available and obtainable to the inexperienced artist to help them see their visions come to life for the first time!