Oh My Darling, an award-winning female quartet from Winnipeg, will bring their unique blend of bluegrass, Appalachian old time and Franco-folk music to Jasper this Sunday for a free show.
The performance will be the fourth on a 20-stop tour across Western Canada for the band, which begins tonight in Saskatoon.
“We’re getting really excited, actually,” fiddler and vocalist Rosalyn Dennett said last week, before the band hit the road.
“We’ve all been to Jasper but we’ve never actually played there before.”
The band has done its fair share of touring elsewhere, however, travelling throughout the United States last fall and taking a whirlwind trip through Europe last spring, in which they performed 52 times in 60 days.
The amount of time they spent on the road helped bring the group closer together, Dennett said.
The band got its start in 2008 through some family connections and a one-day jam session that ultimately turned into their first rehearsal. The whole thing happened rather organically, Dennett said, during a particularly frigid Manitoba winter.
Banjo player Allison de Groot had been inspired by the American old-time music group Uncle Earl after seeing them perform at the Winnipeg Folk Festival and asked friends Vanessa Kuzina and Marie-Josée Dandeneau if they’d want to start an old-time band of their own. Looking for an additional fiddle player, the trio connected with Dennett, whose mother used to play with de Groot’s stepfather in a bluegrass band back in the 1970s.
The four women got together to jam one day and by that evening Oh My Darling had been formed. The band then got is first gig at Winnipeg’s winter celebration of French-Canadian culture, Festival du Voyageur.
“It’s a pretty big festival, a pretty big deal, and somehow we managed to wrangle a gig at this festival for our very first gig,” Dennett said. “After that we kind of decided this seemed like a good thing to keep going and it just kind of went from there.”
The band recorded their first, self-titled and self-funded EP in 2009, which later received a Western Canadian Music Award (WCMA) for Best Roots Album. Their first full-length album, In the Lonesome Hours, was released in 2010 and received a WCMA nomination.
Oh My Darling’s latest release, Sweet Nostalgia, was recorded in the span of seven days with the help of Juno-Award-winning producer Steve Dawson. The band did one take at a time until they got the sound they wanted, with all the recording taking place within a straw-bale house in the tiny rural community of Roseisle, Man.
“We thought it would be nice to hearken back to the days of yore in recording,” Dennett said. “Our idea was to capture the energy of our live show. We decided it would be best if we actually recorded it live.”
Oh My Darling’s live shows generally “have a lot of energy” and Jasper residents can expect the same when the band rolls into town on March 18 for a free show. For more information, visit www.ohmydarling.ca.
As part of the tour the band will play in large cities like Calgary and Edmonton as well as smaller communities like Olds, Alta., and Armstrong B.C. Their tour wraps up on April 7 with a show in Regina, Sask.
“We haven’t been through Western Canada in about a year,” Dennett said. “We’re really excited to go back.”