Bluesfest, now in its 22nd year, is the city’s largest and fastest growing outdoor music festival. Although continuing to brim with big-named acts, the festival’s mandate also includes recognizing, nurturing, and providing a platform for local musicians ranging from budding talent to professional recording artists. This year roughly one-quarter of the acts at Bluesfest will be local. With an increasing number of music festivals and venues stepping up to showcase these bands, it’s no wonder that support for existing and new Ottawa talent is rising steadily. Whatever day(s) you choose to visit Bluesfest, make sure you take the time to soak in some of our amazing local talent. From Monday to Thursday this week Apt613 will be featuring a few of these homegrown must-sees.
If you’re planning on taking in the main course of Red Hot Chili Peppers on Friday, July 15th, then may I suggest you indulge in the perfect appetizer: The Red Rails. Guitarist/lead vocalist Kim Vincent, bassist/vocalist Chris Slaney, and drummer Steve Brogno have brought their infectious rhythm and riff-driven rock to stages local and foreign since their formation in 2012. The three hit on an instant musical chemistry from the get-go, and by the end of 2014, had released an EP followed by a full-length album (“A Living Fiction”), performed their first Bluesfest show, and toured Eastern Canada.
Vincent, Slaney and Brogno are in each other’s pockets as they take you on a whirlwind array of catchy hooks, soft/strong textures, drops into half-time, and starts and stops. Their technique of playing their instruments in rhythmic unison emphasizes their great, beefed-up groove. There are detectable flavours of Kravitz, Hendrix, Beatles, RHCP, and Them Crooked Vultures, a band The Red Rails were heavily influenced by when they first began developing their sound.
The three had recently begun spending time writing new material, and now this upcoming Bluesfest gig has added an extra boost of inspiration. Kim Vincent talks about the band’s newest phase of songwriting:
“We’re demoing stuff right now. It’s good – I love where the music is going. It’s all still very Red Rails, but it’s got more depth now. The music’s travelling a bit more. We honed in on sounds that were very riff-based rock ‘n roll. So now we’re trying different things on choruses, more chord movement, new sounds, new textures, to broaden our horizons. The Bluesfest show is so key to us. You get a huge surge of energy from something like this. So now we’re writing a bit more…it just sets the gears in motion that much more since we got this gig.”
Be sure to catch The Red Rails at Bluesfest on Fri., Jul. 15th from 8:00-9:00pm on the Claridge Homes Stage. Tune into Apt613Live on CHUO FM 89.1 this Tues., Jul. 5th from 6:00-6:30pm to hear more on The Red Rails.