Wind Powered Tour
When planning a tour, local bands usually think about what kind of van to drive, how to keep it from breaking down and how much the ferry is going to cost — they don’t normally think about the wind.
The Stowaways, a four-piece bluegrass/old-timey band from Victoria is doing something a little different, battening down the hatches and relying on wind power instead of fossil fuels to get them to their next gig.
The Wind Powered Tour sets sail in June with a flotilla of three sail boats; the Emma Jean, a 1985 Herreshoff Meadlowlark from the Comox Valley; the 24 foot Salamis, or Sal; and “the most skookum boat of all” the Triumph — which will set sail from Tsehum Harbour in Sidney for the wide open ocean accepting any adventure the wind blows their way.
“This tour has been two years in the making,” says guitar player Colin Boland. “We would get to the point where we thought we could sail away only to get three meters out into the harbour and the rudder falls off. We had to tow the Emma Jean back into the harbour three of five times I took her out last year.”
After removing two rotten masts, gutting the interior and rebuilding the cabin, the Emma Jean is almost ready to be reacquainted with the open ocean. “Colin has spent the last three years restoring Emma Jean. Pretty much everything you see here has had some fixing done to make sure she’s still floating,” says banjo player Pete Reid, also known as Banjo Pete.
“When they say a boat is a living thing, I don’t think they meant grass growing on the decks. There was even mushrooms and an arbutus tree growing inside,” Boland says in agreement.
The Stowaways will be playing music festivals, pubs, halls, restaurants, weddings, markets and maybe even backyards during the two month tour which will take them around B.C.’s Gulf Islands and across southern Vancouver Island. While they have six firm dates, including the Fort Cafe July 7, they’re open and excited at the idea of playing more unconventional or spontaneous shows.
The tour will bring the Stowaways to the Campbell Bay Music Festival on Mayne Island June 25 and 26, the Hornby Island Music Festival July 31, and Saturna, South Pender, North Pender, Galiano and Salt Spring Islands and also to Union Bay in between.
But first they’ll launch their first album, Living on the Island, at the Victoria Event Centre, June 1.
“It feels so good to finally get it in my hands,” says Colin Boland, who wrote seven of eight original songs on the album, including the title track. Banjo Pete wrote the other original track, which complements the other four traditional bluegrass and old-time songs on the album.
“We have a very youthful sound that’s not traditional bluegrass,” Boland says. “We have a lot of lighthearted tunes and some Island flavour on the album.”
The album was recorded this past winter on Hornby Island, with five tracks recorded at the Barn with Juno nominee Marc Atkinson, and one song recorded from a live broadcast at Long Beach Radio in Tofino.
A short video about the Wind Powered Tour by band videographer, Craig Marcuk will be shown at the CD release party, Wednesday, June 1 at the Victoria Event Centre. Marcuk will be accompanying the Stowaways on tour, as official videographer, square dance caller and skipper of Triumph. M