November 21, 2013
Issue: #944: Remember to remember
‘I’ve dialed back the stupid rock star thing,” laughs Cowpuncher frontman Matt Olah, who in recent years had begun using the stage as an obstacle course, climbing PA stacks and jumping into the crowd.
The last time Cowpuncher played in Edmonton, which was at the CCMA showcase at Knoxville’s Tavern earlier this year, Olah fell from a PA stack and landed on a guardrail, cracking his ribs.
“Edmonton’s the town of injuries,” he jokes, but he hopes he can make it through this one without a trip to the hospital. “Fingers crossed, emotional or otherwise.”
That’s not to say Cowpuncher’s live show has become a subdued affair, though. Fans are in for the same rowdy good time they’ve become accustomed to—but this time with a little more straight-up rock ‘n’ roll edge to the music. The band has become known for its country-bluegrass infused melodies, but after the lineup was pared down from seven to five following the release of Call Me When You’re Single in 2011 (which meant losing its pedal steel and banjo player), the sound began to evolve. Now the band is back with Ghost Notes, a disc filled with rock stompers like the rowdy opener “Raised on Rock ‘n’ Roll” and slightly more introspective tracks like the heartbreaker “Bridesmaids.”
“We’re smaller, leaner, meaner, faster,” Olah says of the smaller lineup. “It’s easier to fit in everyone’s interests and influences with a smaller group … there’s less going on musically so the song can breathe a little more.”
Olah, who has been Cowpuncher’s sole songwriter in the past but went for a more collaborative approach for Ghost Notes, maintains the sonic shift happened somewhat unintentionally, reflecting influences like Archers of Loaf and a willingness to go with the riffs and inspiration that came to them.
“When I first started getting into music I wanted to be the next Corb Lund or Matt Masters or Tim Hus. I was kind of over rock ‘n’ roll maybe and was exploring the western-country-bluegrass side of things,” he explains. “I think as time went on we let go of that original vision I had, and it’s a band, it’s not Matt Olah.”
Sat, Nov 23 (8 pm)
With Fire Next Time, Tallest to Shortest, The Give ‘Em Hell Boys
Pawn Shop, $10