East Van band hits Errington on country-wide tour
Band mates Keenan Lawlor and Andrew Phelan were far from buddies when they first met.
In fact they were competitors. They were both living in East Vancouver competing for the attention of the local open mic audiences. But soon they mended their differences.
“At the start we weren’t necessarily best friends,” said Lawlor. “We were both a little bit competitive as far as the music went. But that kind of turned into friendship afterwards.”
The two joined forces, quit their jobs and started making music together. They moved into a basement in East Vancouver and started doing shows there to pay the rent.
“Two days before the end of the month we would invite everyone over, and we’d pass the hat around and play some music,” he said. And it worked every time.
Lawlor and Phelan now make up half of The River and the Road, playing at the Errington Hall this Friday, Oct 4.
Lawlor is from Cambell River. He started playing the drums in Grade 10, followed by the guitar and the piano, but four years ago he fell in love with the Banjo, now his instrument of choice. He was watching the Avett Brothers perform at a music festival in Washington and became intrigued with the instrument.
“I don’t know, something about it seemed really fun,” he said. “I went into a music store the next day and just ended up walking out with one.”
Phelan is from Australia. A couple years ago he was living in Chicago when he decided to either head to Montreal or Vancouver. Because the ticket was a bit cheaper, he chose Vancouver. Little did he know the city would be more expensive, Lawlor joked.
Just over a year ago the two brought on drummer Cole George and bass player John Hayes. Last year the group released their debut, self-titled album.
Recently The River and the Road has been compared to Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers by UK online music magazine Record of the Day. They’re undeniable talent, which landed them in the top 20 of the Peak Performance Project last year, has drawn a dedicated fan base from around B.C. and Australia.
Last year the group spent over three months performing in Australia.
“That was really fun, we had a lot of success and played a couple sold out shows by the end of it,” said Lawlor.
The group is starting a cross-Canada tour this week which will take them all the way to PEI at the end of the month.
Don’t miss The River and the Road at the Errington Hall this Friday.
Tickets are $20 at Cranky Dog, Heaven on Earth in Qualicum Beach, and at the Errington Store. Under 12’s are $5, and under 5’s are free.
The show starts at 8 p.m. For more on The River and the Road visit www.tratr.com and check them out on Facebook.