Rural Alberta Advantage kicks-off East-Coast tour with first ever concert in Quebec City
Main pic: The Rural Alberta Advantage (l-r Nils Edenloff, Amy Cole in centre, and Paul Banwatt)
by Rosanna Haroutounian
East meets West when The Rural Alberta Advantage (RAA) brings its blend of folksy-rock to Le Petit Impérial on March 22, the first stop on the band’s long-awaited return to eastern Canada. The RAA’s first concert of 2015 will feature upbeat sounds from the latest album, Mended With Gold, as well as old fan-favourites.
Though based in Toronto, Ontario, the band’s name and sound are evidence of vocalist Nils Edenloff’s Alberta roots.
“When I first moved to Toronto, I was writing a lot of songs about being homesick,” he says. “The songs were based around my memories of growing up in [Fort McMurray] Alberta.”
The band’s name, he explains, is a play on the old provincial slogan “The Alberta Advantage,” used to trumpet the province’s burgeoning oil and gas sector.
“I moved to Toronto and was exchanging e-mails with my brother, and off-the-cuff he said he was going to go out to the farm we have in southern Alberta with some friends and explore the ‘Rural Alberta Advantage.’ ”
In 2009, then-premier Ed Stelmach replaced “Alberta Advantage” with “Freedom To Create… Spirit To Achieve.” The next premier, Alison Redford, ditched that slogan in 2011, and an official replacement has yet to be found.
In 2005, Rural Alberta Advantage was formed when Edenloff teamed up with percussionist Paul Banwatt and multi-instrumentalist Amy Cole, both from Toronto. Edenloff says naming the trio after the slogan was a no-brainer.
“I never heard that phrase before but as soon as I heard it, it resonated with me and flashed back to all these memories I had of growing up in Alberta,” he says. “It completely changed my perception of the whole slogan itself and worked so well with the songs I was writing at the time.”
The newly formed band released its self-titled EP in 2006. Since then, two full-length albums (2008’s Hometowns and 2011’s Departing) earned the band two Juno Award Nominations and a Long List Nomination for the Polaris Music Prize.
Along with critical praise, the trio has achieved a reputation for giving an impressive live act. Edenloff says it’s this live energy that the band sought to capture in its latest album Mended With Gold.
Released in September 2014, the album is upbeat and dynamic while staying true to the wistful lyrics and creative melodies for which the band is known.
For those who have never heard The RAA’s music, Edenloff says the band’s sound is hard to describe.
“It’s got a folky aspect to it, but it’s also loud and ruckus-y,” he says. “The best description I get is that we sound like The RAA, which is good, because you never want to sound like another knock-off band.”
The band promoted Mended With Gold across western and central Canada, the United States, and Europe after its release in the fall.
The East Coast leg of the Mended With Gold tour begins in Quebec City on March 22, followed by shows across the Maritimes until the end of March. The band heads to Germany in May before returning to do shows in eastern and central Canada this summer.
“As a Canadian band, we want to get to all the provinces, so there was a concerted effort and priority to get out to eastern Canada.”
Edenloff says the band hasn’t visited the East Coast since 2008, and has not performed outside Montreal in the province of Quebec.
“We’ve never been to Quebec City, so we’re all looking forward to it.”
Tickets to see The RAA are available on the Impérial website. The band will perform with Ottawa-based singer-songwriter Kalle Mattson.
We have to tickets to give away to the Rural Alberta Advantage show on March 22 at Le Petit Impérial in Quebec City.
All you have to do is email us via the Contact Life in Quebec page and send us your name, telephone number, and email address. First come, first served.
2 ticket to see the Rural Alberta Advantage GO!
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