Calgary’s The Bitterweed Draw, a six-member country, bluegrass and honky-tonk band with an hint of rock and roll, is set to hit Jasper next week as part of a cross-Canada tour.
“We’re pretty upbeat, fast-paced – lots of guitar solos and fiddle solos,” bass player Dan Finamore said of the band’s sound.
In addition to Finamore on bass, the four-male, two-female group includes Mike Corbiell on banjo, Freddy Knuckles on acoustic guitar, Wayne Garrett on electric guitar, Cathy Billington on fiddle and Melissa McWilliams on drums.
“And pretty much everyone in the band contributes to vocals – lots of harmonies,” Finamore said.
The group released their debut LP, Heart of the Old West, in March, and began touring in late April with shows in Revelstoke and Vernon, B.C., before heading to Vancouver for a trio of performances. After that they are headed back east and will stop in Jasper on their way to gigs as far away as Halifax, before returning to Alberta to wrap up the tour at the Brooks Rodeo.
The Bitterweed Draw came together after a founding group of band members picked up followers – and future band members – while playing informal sessions inside and outside of their house in Calgary’s Kensington neighbourhood.
“Passersby would stop and listen to us and we’d jam right in the front yard,” Finamore said.
Soon the band added Garrett and Billington, and then attracted McWilliams to join the group from her former home in Nelson, B.C.
“She was like the final puzzle piece,” Finamore said.
The band toured around Alberta last summer and played at last year’s Wild Mountain Music Festival in Hinton, but their current tour will be their most extensive series of gigs.
“We’re pretty excited about going across Canada for the first time,” Finamore said.
The Bitterweed Draw will be in Jasper on Thursday, May 3 for a 9 p.m. show at the Royal Canadian Legion.
For more on the band, visit www.thebitterweeddraw.ca.