Interview – Slocan Ramblers


Bluegrass always seems to save the day. With the introduction of a wet and misty spring, what better way to snuggle indoors than with some solid banjo licks? One such band can help in that regard and they are called the Slocan Ramblers. Offering a cool and uplifting sound, the men provide a much desired recluse into musical bliss.

The collective camaraderie among the group allowed for the musical magic to come to light. “One of the band’s strongest assets is the fact that we get along with each other. In order to be a full time touring act you have to spend a lot of time with each other in really close quarters… We all knew right from the start that that wasn’t going to be an issue which is why we decided to start touring.”  Music fans will be glad they did for years to come.

Within their art they have a lot to enjoy in their work. “The last record we put out, ‘Coffee Creek’, is something [we’re] really proud of. We decided to record it live off the floor with very little edits. That process can be very revealing and honest about where you are as a band which can be good or bad. There might be a couple of mistakes that make it onto the record, but you get the sense of how the band reacts as a unit. [We] always find that much more exciting to listen to and [we] think you can really hear that on ‘Coffee Creek.’”  Musical authenticity at its best.

Ideal performances have already made their way into the band’s memorable moments. “Playing at Rockygrass was something [we] had always wanted to do. It is an amazing festival and was such an honor to be playing and teaching alongside some of [our] favorite musicians.”

While touring, the adventure is not always as thrilling as it should be. “[We were] performing at a senior home in Alliston, ON. Although most of the crowd was asleep, the few who weren’t would shout at us periodically. It was a strangely stressful environment to play music in.” Sounds like a scene out of The Muppet Show.

The music world is astonishing and growing. For the Ramblers the enormity of it all broadens the art. “There is so much great new music coming out these days. It’s hard to keep track of it all. One of the nice things about touring the festival circuit is you have large community of friends who are always coming out with new and exciting music.”

Luckily, musical ambitions remain the medium of choice for the crew. “Music is definitely the main focus for all of us right now. There is always something you can improve in your playing. [We] have a feeling it will be the medium we will be working with for a long time.” Within the medium, playful exploration is a constant goal. “We are always changing songs that we play. We spend a lot of time trying to craft an arc to our set which sometimes means having to change the arrangement of a song we’ve been playing for years. Some of [our] favorite performances of certain songs is when we are still learning the arrangement.”

Legends in the genre help push the men to stay creative and expand their eclectic taste. “We take inspiration from a large variety of artists. Although we love the classic bluegrass artists, Bill Monroe, Stanley Brothers and Jim and Jesse, we also listen to a lot of singer-songwriters. If you were to poke your head into the van at any moment chances are you’d hear some Tom Petty.”

They never seem to slow down either. “We have a long day of driving ahead of us from Pawling to Shelter Island. We will probably be on the road for most of the day, although we have been known to make a pit stop for a quick game of pool. Our next big project is to record our third album. We plan on recording it in a very similar process as ‘Coffee Creek.’ It’s always an exciting experience to start collecting the tunes that might make it onto the record. [We] find listening to music very differently when we are starting that process.”

Jam on.