So let me tell you about Blue Sky Miners. I received an email about a month ago from one of the members of this Toronto-based folk rock group called Blue Sky Miners. I’m still impressed that people manage to find us, since I still consider us babies in blog scene. He said a friend had told him about us and that he loved what we were doing, especially the emphasis we put on under promoted Canadian bands. Well, let me tell you, one way to get my attention in an email, is to stroke my ego a little bit. I was given a link to a SoundCloud page, and a month old YouTube video for their song “Three”. Well there wasn’t a lot on their SoundCloud page, but the video grabbed my attention. I’d like to tell you it was because I’ve been on a folk-kick recently, but that’s not even true. I love folk rock, always have, always will, but I’ve been kind of all over the place in my music recently, and so the fact that this was folk wasn’t the cause. I liked everything about this video, before I knew anything about the band. I liked the setting: outdoors in the sun, and there were t-shirts, vests and summer dresses on, which (when I saw this video it was November, and there was snow or had been snow on the ground in London, ON) reminded me of a nice calm summer day. I liked the instruments: banjo, mandolin and acoustic guitar, and cajon (I really just love that I know what the drum box things are called). I loved the beards. I’m a sucker for those, not to mention in November, I was missing my own beard. And finally, I really loved the vocals, the sound of both vocalists individually, and later together really meshed well, with the music, with the lyrics, with the overall vibe. Everything about this video really struck me. The lyrics also really resonated with me.
So armed with this, I decided I definitely wanted to know more about the band. Blue Sky Miners are three musicians from all over Canada, who have united to tell their stories. We decided to release their song “Three” for our Free Track Friday promotion. This turned out really well because this was the first time the band had released a track for download. We felt pretty special that they decided to do that through us. The band was also nice enough to throw me on their guest list for a show they were playing at the end of November, their second show at home since returning from a month-long west coast tour. They said it would be their largest show to date, and would be tied into Movember, a cause that I decided to take seriously this year.
The show really solidified all my feelings about this group. I could tell when the band started setting up and Phil Ochs was playing over the P.A. that it was going to be a good night. The band was a bit larger than I had anticipated, having two extra members from the four that were in the video, a stand-up bass player and a viola player, who also sang backing vocals. The harmonies were absolutely wonderful, Jay, one of the lead vocalist’s beard had grown a bunch since the video was filmed, and it looked pretty fucking amazing (that would have been enough for me to love the show right there, nothing else needed). Not to mention I thought his look, which that night included a vest and tie, and his epic beard, very gentleman-looking, up against a bunch of (really cool) tattoo sleeves was really interesting to me. Maybe I’m just not used to seeing men with tattoo sleeves dress well and play soothing, chill, folk rock, but it worked for him, it added only positive things to the experience. Everyone on stage had smiles as big as the sun, and it really just added to everything. It looked like they were having more fun than I was having watching them. in the best way possible.
In an age of the Lumineers, Mumford and Sons, and a bit of a return for folk rock, almost to the point of over-saturation Blue Sky Miners feels different. I don’t listen to them and feel “oh it’s just another folk group.” They’re a young band with what I feel will be a very promising future.
They have an EP called Shot in the Dark that I believe you can only get by going to see them live and buying a “dropcard.” But from what I understand an album is in the works, and I for one can’t wait to hear it.
(A big thank you to Denis Duquette for use of his photos.)