Tuesday January 10, 2012


Eclectic & Electric

The Breakmen 'bleed' bluegrass at Harrison Jan 28

Released by Ed Stenson, HFS


he Harrison Festival Society is proud to present one of BCs hottest Roots/Bluegrass groups the Breakmen on January 28, in the Harrison Memorial Hall.  Starting out as an adventurous bluegrass quartet, The Breakmen fast became a sharply focused roots music outfit that owes as much to The Band and Blue Rodeo as it does to John Hartford and Bill Monroe.


With a strikingly original repertoire, and a lively on-stage show, The Breakmen made a strong name for itself at festivals and clubs across the country.  Last year the group earned two nominations at the Canadian Folk Music Awards — for Emerging Artist(s) of the Year and for Vocal Ensemble of the Year — and won the Vox Pop Award for “Americana Album of the Year” at the Independent Music Awards.  Canada’s folk magazine Penguin Eggs noted that the "meticulous craftsmanship of the songwriting, the strength of the lead vocals, and the tightness of the harmonies distinguish the quartet from other Canadian outfits mining a similar vein..."


With their latest album “Heartwood”, the band’s signature sound remains, but members Matthew Lawson, Archie Pateman, Ben Rogalsky and Lee Watson are moving in a new, exciting direction.  The band’s new record fits perfectly into the roots/rock or “Indie Folk” genre, with 10 original songs by band members Pateman and Watson. The Georgia Straight has said "the third recording from Vancouver's The Breakmen draws on influences of alt-country, bluegrass, old-time, vintage Neil Young, and Grateful Dead circa Workingman's Dead to create a West Coast music sound that has muscle and resonance." One reviewer compared the album to “taking a road trip through the Canadian Landscape - your bound to gawk at rolling hills, experience a flat tire, and cry for home....but in the end, all you can remember is that the journey was beautiful."


Like Ben Franklin with his kite, The Breakmen are messing with electricity — and in fact Lee (who is a guitar builder) has made two Telecaster-styled electric guitars for the band -- new directions can be challenging and inspiring at the same time.  With the launch of the new album, The Breakmen are looking forward to major tours in Canada, the U.S., and in Europe. “We truly believe in this record. Now we want to get on the road and play the new material.”  That is not to say the band is turning its back on tradition.  If fact one reviewer noted "The Breakmen's sound is an experienced one and the band deftly avoids the pitfalls of modern folk music, the members' smooth voices, cautious in their tales without being fearful, while the music is aged just right, a blend of today tempered with the past."


The band has been gaining notice in Europe and in the US.  The San Francisco Bay Gaurdian review of a concert was very positive, saying “to the already long list of Canadians who bleed pure Americana please add The Breakmen. Like their countrymen in The Band before them, they have been known to inspire a bit of the old-time religion with their sublime vocal harmonies.”

Tickets are $22.00 and can be purchased by phone at 604-796-3664, online at www.harrisonfestival.com or in person at the Ranger Station Art Gallery in Harrison, or Agassiz Shoppers Drug Mart.


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