Feature Story                                                          Wednesday, February 8, 2017


No Question of Culture

Petunia and The Vipers is gaining big following in Harrison

Bryan Cutler, Harrison Festival Society/Submitted photos


Petunia paid his dues on Canadian and US street corners.


ith a piercing gaze, Petunia looks into the collective soul of the audience, then launches into high and lonesome vocals that conjure up the spirit of Jimmie Rodgers.


Not content with mesmerizing the crowd, Petunia's tapping boot propels the band into a snarling fire and brimstone rave-up as a wave of frantic jitterbuggers compete for space on the hardwood dance floor.

Vancouver-based Petunia & the Vipers will be returning to Harrison with their swinging country blues rockabilly tunes Saturday, February 18 at 8pm in the intimate Harrison Memorial Hall.

The band is led by songwriter Petunia, who delivers his evocative songs with an arresting voice that moves between rockabilly snarls and country blues yodels, delivered in a ghostly falsetto. “This is Petunia and the boys’ third visit to Harrison in the past 5 years," says Andy Hillhouse, Artistic Director of the Harrison Festival Society, "From their first appearance on our beach stage in 2012 they developed a following for their slightly eccentric approach to some classic Americana styles."


Petunia defies convention. His style is unique and surreal and his live performances have been likened to an Avant-Country nightclub scene straight out of a David Lynch movie. His honest, cut to the heart song writing and multi-syllabic narratives would leave a lesser singer tongue-tied and breathless.

One of the many themes running through Petunia’s lyrics relates to living life on one’s own terms – fearlessly and without regret. This theme echoes Petunia’s own biography. Spending the early part of his career playing on every major street corner, subway station and park bench in Canada and NY city, he picked, grinned, and sang for his living.

Joining Petunia are the Vipers, a band consisting of some of Western Canada's finest, including former members of rockabilly legends Ray Condo's Ricochets and Sarah McLachlan's band. This group of skilled, imaginative, and tasteful players accompanies Petunia with the classic sounds of pedal steel, electric guitar, stand up bass, and drums.

Petunia’s music is infectious: his singing ranges from the most delicate you’ve ever heard to the most powerful, often within a single song. It's hillbilly flavoured, swing inflected, ragtime, goodtime music.

Tickets for Petunia & the Vipers are $22.00 and can be purchased online at www.harrisonfestival.com, by phone at 604.796.3664 or in person at the Ranger Station Art Gallery in Harrison and Agassiz Shoppers Drug Mart on Pioneer Ave.

About the Harrison Festival Society
Known worldwide for its professional artistry and small town hospitality, the Harrison Festival Society has long been a beacon for growing acceptance of diversity and purpose fuelled programming.


Each July, for more than 35 years, the Society has produced the internationally acclaimed Harrison Festival of the Arts, a 9-day, cross-disciplinary, multicultural art event set amidst the small town atmosphere and breathtaking scenery of Harrison Hot Springs, BC.


A charitable non-profit, grass-roots organization, the Society also presents an annual Season of the Performing Arts from September to May and works closely with a number of Fraser Valley partners in continuing to bring high quality, inclusive and accessible performing arts into the area.

www.harrisonfestival.com │ 604.796.3664 │ info[@]harrisonfestival.com
Box 399, 98 Rockwell Dr, Harrison Hot Springs, BC V0M 1K0



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