By: Dave Whitfield | Posted: Thursday, Jan 09, 2014
Some bands, when they take their show on the road head out across the country, or the West or wherever to tour, play as many gigs as possible and spread the good word about their music.
Calgary’s Cowpuncher does that as well, but prior to releasing their latest album, Ghost Notes, the band was on the road to do much of the recording in a mobile recording truck. And just to throw in something else a little bit different, they headed south to record the remainder of the album in a Mason’s Hall in Nanton.
Cowpuncher plays the Drake Inn, Jan. 10-11. The band includes Matt Olah (vocals, guitar), Ryan Kelly (baritone guitar), Jeff Sulima (drums), Scott Martin (guitar) and Harley Hoeft (vocals, upright bass).
Most recently (Dec. 27), Ghost Notes made CBC radio Key of A’s Best of Alberta 2013 list. The album was also number one on CJSW (Calgary) for a couple of weeks.
“I assembled the group a couple of years ago (2009),” said Olah. “It’s been a pretty loose setup, sometimes seven, sometimes a five- or six-piece, but the more we toured, we kept it to a five-piece.”
The country-flavoured rock of Ghost Notes (2013), followed the 7-inch Hooscow (2012), Call Me When You’re Single (2011) and The Brown Album (2010).
When it comes to songwriting, Olah himself “comes up with the groove and lyrics, then we flesh them out as a group. A couple of our songs were born from just jamming around with something.”
Working around touring and recording, Cowpuncher members hold down full-time jobs will hitting the road as much as possible.
“We try to get out for two weeks at a time, and so far, the great Canadian cross-country tour has eluded us. We’d love to do that, and are aiming for it.
“But this is what we want to do to increase our fan base.”
Currently, said Olah, he and the band are in songwriting mode, working on new material they hope will be recorded in 2014. In the meantime, they keep touring in support of Ghost Notes. “Our other albums were recorded live off the floor, but this one is more involved, with drums and bass, then vocals and guitars all recorded separately.”
Summers for the band are for festival bookings, something Olah is familiar as he works at the Calgary Folk Festival. “Folk festival work is kind of a double-edged sword,” he said. “On one hand it was nice learning how the business works, but it can be disheartening because it’s a little like high school, a popularity contest.”
Cowpuncher has garnered a reputation for sweaty, uninhibited live shows, impressing tried-and-true rockers, folkies, and metalheads alike.
Musically, songs range from the rocking “Raised on Rock ‘n’ Roll” to life on the road in “Backs of Vans” to more of a twangy offering in “Jane’s Song.”