Sunday July 26th had a lot going for it. It was the closing of the PanAm games at Pier 4 in Hamilton, the final night of Wayhome music festival, and Hamilton Fringe Festival as well. But off in a corner of town, within the walls of the Casbah, three guys from Edmonton Alberta were playing to a small crowd of music lovers, friends, and family. Trevor Mann, Murray Wood, and Shea Connor of Scenic Route to Alaska reminded me of what music really means to people. It doesn't matter if you're closing out the mainstage of Wayhome with thousands of people in attendance, or to six people in the back of the room with their heads down making buttons. Music brings people together and acts as a soundtrack to their lives. No matter how many people are listening and watching, bands like Scenic Route to Alaska still get up on stage night after night to share their creativity and hard work.
If you're not familiar with yet, they're a group of three close friends who put the band together in 2010 after years of playing music with each other. They have a distinct and consistent sound that just feels like Alberta. I don't know what Alberta feels like but listen to them and you'll know what I mean. This trio works incredibly well, sounding full but not cluttered, with clear guitar, strong supporting bass, and a galloping drum section. Vocally, Mann has the highs and the lows with a heavy vibrato to really punch the long notes in the powerful choruses. There is a good variety in their music while still staying on theme for each album. Definitely a group to keep an eye on, they're gaining speed and show no signs of stopping.
With the other band dropping off the bill, some young local talent had the opportunity to test their skills on stage. Black Tie is a group of five or six young guns who cranked out a few classic rock covers and even a couple of original tunes as well. Their own songs had some heavy grinding riffs that sounded like a mix of Jeff Healey and The Scorpions. They had the basics covered: The Eagles, Guns n Roses, Black Crowes, and even a Led Zeppelin medley at the end. The young vocalist may have created a lot of work for himself with Robert Plant's vocals at the end of a set but he handled it very well and has some serious pipes for his age. I was pleasantly surprised by the technical skills of these kids, and they have a great start on a path in music should they choose to take it.
For now the Scenic Route to Alaska lads are headed back home to the Prairies, but that's not the last of them. There's new music to be made and eventually a tour to show it off. When they come around next, you should clear your schedule.