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The Strumbellas keep moving on & off dance floors

Submitted by on January 22, 2014 – 12:14 pmNo Comment

The StrumbellasIn a recent wave of extraordinary numbers of groups writing and performing folk music for serenity and solace, it’s refreshing to see a band that’s colouring outside the lines.

And that’s exactly what Toronto’s Juno-nominated six-piece The Strumbellas are doing.

Currently on a whirlwind tour of Canada and the U.S, in support of their new album We Still Move on Dance Floors. Catching up with singer Simon Ward, he talked about the band, their new album, and the transition from a small town band to the big-city venues.

When asked about being nominated for a Juno, a great Canadian honor, for their first album My Father and the Hunter (2012,) Ward described it as a shock.

“It was surprising, we had no idea,” said Ward. “It was our first record, we didn’t know what to expect, when we started out.”

Indeed, the same can be said about the band’s music itself. You begin listening to one song, but they keep you guessing with stylistic and lyrical change as their albums go on.

Described mostly as “folkpopgrass,” they methodically blend rock, folk, bluegrass and anything catchy to create a smooth flowing blend. With strong lyrics, guaranteed to get you moving, shaking and reflecting, there’s something for everyone to like.

Their style is something which even Ward struggles for a bit to describe, wavering between many categories. After a brief internal debate, he ultimately he decides that “we really have more fun having people tell us what it sounds like.” In short, the band and their music are what you make them to be.

The Strumbellas were born of Lyndsay, Ont., but made their bones on the pub circuit in Toronto and the surrounding area.  Ward describes the dichotomy the band feels between the two as being “the opportunity to live both life-styles.”

They appreciate the ability to have been playing small venues, but also experiencing commercial success in larger cities, which is something bands from eastern Canada are often privy to.

Above all the unique standout features the band itself has, Ward’s lyrical compositions are something else. The imagery and poetic devices leave a lot for the listener to discover.

They have a depth and feeling in their delivery and thoughtfulness in their construction. Ward draws his inspiration from the world around him.

“Everything around me, music always inspires me, whatever pops into my head; religion, death, my hometown.”

It is this lyrical diversity and powerful delivery that allows the band to bridge the gap between hometown stringers and big-city slickers.

With the band currently on its blitz tour, they have dates across North America from Ontario and as far as North Dakota, before taking up a weekly residency slot at the Dakota Tavern in Toronto beginning February.

Story by Brian Talmey

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