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Shawn Tavenier, lead singer/songwriter/guitarist of Silver Creek. Photo by Terry Steeves.

Bluesfest Local Highlights: Silver Creek

By Terry Steeves on July 11, 2016

Ottawa’s Silver Creek entertained the crowd gathered around Bluesfest’s Monster Energy Stage on a rainy Saturday night as they performed a well-rounded selection of songs from their past three albums. Lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist Shawn Tavenier stood proud as he announced the double whammy celebration of their tenth year as a band, and the fact that also ten years ago, their first gig happened to have been at Bluesfest’s Black Sheep Stage. Since then they have played at Bluesfest several times.

Silver Creek perform on the Monster Energy Stage at Bluesfest. Photo by Terry Steeves.

Silver Creek perform on the Monster Energy Stage at Bluesfest. Photo by Terry Steeves.

Silver Creek is a band that shares and exudes the same type of spirit and energy of bands like the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, The Band, Bruce Springsteen, Florida Georgia Line, and Blue Rodeo, whose songs are soaked in the real flavours and simple truths of life. Their sound is a swirl of southern rock, blues, and country, with a full instrumental sound of acoustic and electric guitars, solid rhythms, great vocals, and completely identifiable lyrics. Onstage, Tavenier’s passion and enthusiasm shone in his performance, and the great chemistry amongst the five members sent out a positive vibe that connected with the crowd. All one had to do was look around the grounds to see the large fan base this band had accumulated over the years.

Former member Tyler Kealey filled in on keys and backing vocals for guitarist Nick Gauthier, while another founding former member, Anders Drerup, sat in later in the show on pedal steel. The others onstage included Blair Hogan (guitar and backing vocals), Shane McEwan (drums), and Mark Laforest (bass). Other members that have been crucial to the band’s history, like piano man/vocalist, Jeff Rogers, have stayed connected in one way or another to the band, like a revolving troop of brothers who find their way back from time to time.

Kealey played a lovely piano intro to one that grabbed me entitled, “Dangerous Girl”, before it kicked into a rock heavy groove, injected with Tavenier’s powerful edgy vocals. “Slow Time”, bore the wonderfully raw tones of The Band’s “The Weight”, and featured some great vocal harmonies, acoustic and electric guitars, and honky tonk-styled keys. One called “Indian Summer” had an uplifting energy, and some nice lead guitar work by Hogan, as did “Stay”, with its happy chugging beat, and the fullness of 3-part harmonies, as well as fabulous keyboard, guitar, and pedal steel flavours, very reminiscent of bands like Blue Rodeo and The Cooper Brothers. I loved the bluesy-rock feel of “Twist, Pull, Tear”, which added another hot guitar solo, and soul-driven vocals by Tavenier, Kealey, and Hogan.

I noticed that every song they played, had a very free-flowing feel, tight and textured rhythms, and gained intensity by the end of the song, which drew an enthusiastic audience reaction every time. Silver Creek are just a fantastic and energetic band of musicians who have just as much fun performing for a crowd as they do with each other. They are presently sitting on a wealth of new unrecorded material and look forward to following up their last release, Princes and Kings (2013).

For more about Silver Creek, visit their website, or find them on Facebook and YouTube.