With our big New Years Eve show sold out at the Jack Of Clubs Casino/Gen Store in Wells and coming up in just a few days I realized what a good year 2013 has been for the Outlaw Band.
It’s amazing that 2013 has come to a close, it was an unprecedented year for me and my band, at this time last year we weren’t really a committed band yet. We had Bob Campbell playing drums but unwilling to commit to much outside of the Wells Hotel. Even I wasn’t headstrong in the belief that I would ever have a working lineup again. When I came to Wells in 2011 I all but gave up on music yet somehow Joel jumped on board with me ‘just to have fun’. We didn’t think it would go much further than that.
All this did begin to change for the better when I had a facebook message on the Outlaw Band page from Sean Scallion, yet for over a month I didn’t take the thought of adding a committed drummer all too seriously. My songs aren’t easy on drummers and I was skeptical. One day in March Sean decided that he and the family were going to come out to Wells for a visit, at the same time we got a last minute emergency request to play Troll Ski Resorts TELEFEST. So I called Sean and said ‘wanna play a gig tonight?’. Just like that we jammed for an hour or so and I realized Sean was potentially an amazing player. We went out the door and killed the show at the ski hill beginning a new relationship with the wonderful owners there and a new chapter of Outlaw Band history at the same time.
March was also the time that Stompin Tom Connors died which immediately brought Bill Horne and Claire Kujundzic to my door asking if we would consider doing a Stompin Tom tribute show. Thank goodness I did because so many good things came from that night at the Sunset Theatre in Wells on June 29th. The show was sold out with people coming from as far as Vancouver to be there as the CBC Radio hyped the show for us. That was the night we met Earl Krushelnicki who, though I didn’t realize it at the time, would become an important business associate a few months down the road.
There were shows in the Wells Hotel, we kicked off the Quesnel Farmers Market and played the Cancer Relay Marathon in Quesnel as well . But all those shows were just rehearsals for the bigger stages we hit over the summer. The festival season was very good to us. On June 15th we did our best to steal the audiences hearts at Sweetwater 905 Festival in Rolla BC. No sooner had I stepped off the stage did Karl Mattsen appear to say ‘my dad says you’re the best act here, he likes country music more than the hippy bands and wants to make sure we book you for next year’. Well with horse riding, thunderstorms, good friends, nice cabin to stay in, and an altogether bad ass festival I did not refuse the chance to be part of this again in 2014.
In July we hit the Billy Barker Days in Quesnel which included our last night we’ve done at the Cariboo Hotel. The following weekend I played some at my friends wedding in Fort St.James while counting down the days to the Artswells Festival. I had asked to play the Sunset theatre and the hotel during the festival but David Jacob Harder came to me with a serious face asking us to hit the mainstage instead honoring my part in the festivals 10 year history. I was very proud and honored to be asked to do this. The festival was amazing once again for us this year and it reminded me how lucky I am to live in this little neck of the woods.
The next month included a solo show at the Camballah party, a showing at Robson Valley Music Festival and a headlining slot at Music On The Mountain in the fort. Just like that the summer was over and I was still buzzing about it as my mother and aunts came to Wells for a visit from Ontario. I played solo at the Barkerville Cowboy Festival but later that night the band ripped it up at the Wells Hotel in honor of my family. That was the last time we played the Hotel and it may be a while before we can do that again.
The fall quieted down with just a visit to the Bobb Inn and a trip down to Forest Grove for Halloween. The big show for us was put on by Earl Krushelnicki, who believed in my Stompin Tom impression. He booked us in to the Treasure Trove Casino in PG on November 16th. The Casino bought television advertisements and we were in all the newspapers in the city, the show almost sold out but was a full house. Everything about that night was unforgettable.
I thought moving to the mountains would be the death of my music career, instead it’s been blossoming! There’s a lot of hardships living in Wells but we choose to be part of this community and this way of life…and we are proud that we are the town’s only band! We’re in greater demand all the time and our price goes up a little every other month to leave these mountains and bring you lowlanders our music, I never felt so lucky. I am offended that the Cold Snap Festival organizers consider us local to Prince George because we most certainly ARE NOT! It’s important to me that we are seen as Wells locals because we make great sacrifices to live our life here while rejecting most of the candy the outside world is eating. We philosophically don’t see eye to eye with the city folk and never will. It’ because of so many of the people in this town here we can say we had a really great year rebuilding this band. You have done so much for us Wells. I look forward to bringing you a great show for New Years Eve and many more fun times in the future.
I think 2014 is going to be something else! Happy New Year!!