Issue: #789 – December 1, 2010 – Mike Angus
For Matt Olah, frontman for Calgary-based cowpunk band Cowpuncher, collaboration and networking have always been his strong suits. When he started Cowpuncher five years ago, it was basically him and pedal-steel player Shawn Canning. Slowly but surely the rowdy, energetic songwriter’s project ballooned to a seven-piece, thanks to members from Matt Masters, the Dudes, Dojo Workhorse, 5 Star Homeless, the Smokin’ 45s and Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir. Basically, a who’s who of Calgary’s indie live-music scene. So how did Olah manage to moonlight so many great players from established bands?
“We had something cool going on,” he offers. “When you’re a solo guy, you’re the band leader, but I prefer the collaboration, so I think people appreciate their input and ideas being heard.”
“About last year it finally clicked. We got Harley [Hoeft, upright bass] from 5 Star Homeless, and Tynan [Groves, guitar] and Jeff [Sulima, drums] from Matt Masters’ band, and just this amazing lineup that’s now a seven-piece. It just kinda happened.”
Rounded out by guitarists Ryan Kelly and Scott Martin, the chaotic Cowpuncher is on tour supporting its debut, The Brown Album. Recorded live off the floor with engineer Ryan Saddler at Calgary’s Beatroute Magazine office (the location of a failed recording studio), the writing and recording process proved to be just as chaotic, though Olah was happy to jam everything out as a group. The formula worked so well, in fact, that the band has already started working on material for the next release which should—minus a few roadblocks—come out in mid-2011.
“We’re starting our second album,” Olah concludes excitedly. “We’re a lot better prepared heading into this one. We’re charting everything out, so we’ll be able to get in there and knock it off. It worked really well last time, but there’s some things that didn’t work, like, y’know, having 10 flats of beer in the studio. That probably didn’t help.”
Fri, Dec 3 (7:30pm)
With Dojo Workhorse and guests
Haven Social Club, $10