John Reischman and the Jaybirds will bring their stylish take on bluegrass to Errington Hall on Dec. 2.
The Juno-nominated band, which has played together for more than 20 years, is excited to return to Errington after several years.
The Jaybirds blend original songs and instrumentals with Appalachian old-time music for a truly unique sound, according to a news release.
Reischman said the band enjoys playing lesser-known bluegrass tunes, rather than classics and that goes for the band’s latest album, On That Other Green Shore, released in 2017.
“It’s pretty representative of our sound,” he said. “We do a lot of originals, vocals and instrumentals, and then try and cover a few songs, like a gospel tune we learned from a very soulful bluegrass singer name Larry Sparks, and that’s called ‘Green Pastures in the Sky’.”
The band will play songs from the old-time bluegrass genre, which traces its roots to fiddle music that arrived with immigrants from the British Isles coming to North America in the 1800s.
That tradition developed in places like the Appalachian Mountains, where it took on its own accent and added the sound of the banjo — created earlier by enslaved Africans and their descendants in the Caribbean and colonial North America, according to the Smithsonian Institution.
“There was kind of a meeting of styles,” said Reischman, who added the banjo is played with poly-rhythmic technique originally from Africa. “If you think of that meeting with the Celtic fiddle tunes, right away it’s kind of a mashup.”
The Jaybirds have released seven acclaimed albums and have been nominated twice for a Juno Award.
Many of Reischman’s dozens of original instrumentals have become popular favourites for sessions and covers, such as the jam standard ‘Saltspring’. He has put out three critically-acclaimed solo instrumental albums and recorded on many other projects, including the Grammy-winning True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe.
The band is spread out geographically, with members living around B.C., Washinton State and California. Reischman, originally from northern California, now calls New Westminster home.
Los Angeles-based guitarist Patrick Sauber joined the Jaybirds in 2017. The veteran performer has played with Doc Watson, Richard Greene, John Jorgensen, Peter Rowan, Tim O’Brien and John Fogerty, according to the release. He played on the 2016 Grammy-nominated album The Hazel and Alice Sessions by Laurie Lewis, and appeared in the film A Mighty Wind with Christopher Guest.
Chilliwack-based Trisha Gagnon is the band’s main lead vocalist and also plays the bass. She is also known for her songwriting, dating back to her early days with the award-winning B.C. bluegrass band Tumbleweed.
Nanaimo’s Nick Hornbuckle has developed his own voice on the five-string banjo – a two-finger roll unlike other contemporary banjo players, according to the release. His solo album, 12×2 (+/-1), was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award in 2015.
“Nick is a composer who also digs for rare old-time gems,” the release read. His instrumental, ‘Wellesley Station’, showcases his banjo picking and melody-writing skills.
“Incidentally, when you sip your cup of Creekmore’s coffee during intermission, you can thank Nick for roasting the beans to perfection,” the release continued.
Spokane-based Greg Spatz, on the fiddle, has become popular fixture down through the years on the West Coast, where he’s played with iconic mandolinist Frank Wakefield and resophonic guitar master Rob Ickes. He is also an award-winning novelist.
Reischman is happy to be playing in front of live audiences, once again able to see the crowd’s reaction to his music.
“A place like Errington Hall is perfect for that because it’s not too big,” he said. “It feels homey.”
The music starts at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $25 and available at Shades of Green in Parksville, Errington Store and for $27.50 online.
Children ages six to 12 are $5 at the door. Admission is free for children under six.
Home-baked goodies, ginger tea and Creekmore’s coffee will be available from the kitchen.