I Heart Bowness
Not two minutes had gone by after my meeting George, Brad, Mike, Rosemary, Leah and Doug before we were cracking a can of Alberta Genuine Draft and sitting on tree stump stools around a backyard fire pit just off the mighty Bow River. Talented, hilarious and humble, the refreshing Bowness-based band of four men and two ladies had me over to discuss a few things. Namely the bash they're throwing this weekend in and around the band shell at Baker Park in - you guessed it - Bowness. That they were dressed just like the brand new CD cover from their recently-released first official album - right down to the stripes in their t-shirts and the ketchup bottles and hot dogs in their hands - spoke even more to the casual coolness they have goin' on. Nope, no local-band-about-to-make-it-big pretension here. Just an honest story about a few fun-loving, guitar-playing folks who discovered they all lived within a six-block radius in a neighbourhood they're thrilled to call their own. Self-described as a little bit surf-pop and a little bit B-movie rockabilly, The Bownesians came to fruition after watching the Bowness Parade back in '99 and realizing there was not a chord of music to be heard up and down the block. But unlike every other group of pals who wax poetically about starting a band while a watching parade, this group of guys and gals actually did it. And while they're quick to point out the Mount Pleasant Outdoor Pool Party, Bow Cycle's Tour de Bowness and Bowness Garbage Day gigs they've played in the past, any local music lover knows the truth: The Bownesians are capturing the hearts of Calgarians, booking grander stages and turning bigger heads with every season that goes by. Winners of the Calgary Folk Music Festival's 'Best Song in Alberta' songwriting award in both 2008 and 2009, first for the 1970's CJSW-inspired ballad 'How Allen Saved the Radio Station,' followed by 'He's from Bowness, She's from Montgomery' - a song you'll push repeat on all night long, they've also played Calgary's highly-acclaimed Sled Island Music Festival and hit the illustrious Ship and Anchor Stage in front of thousands at the Folk Fest two years running. Will next year see the hat trick? And don't think for a second Sunday's Shaker in Baker Park is just a CD release picnic for the band of Bownesians. It's a party featuring frankfurters, lawn chairs and live music from 1 p.m. till way past 5 starring Gypsy Grass, The Smokin' 45's, The Rembetica Hipsters, Rodney Guitarsplat, Natasha Platt and Chantal Vitalis, too. It's been said that The Bownesians are taking community pride to a whole new level. If you don't have any of your own, you know where to find some. See you in Bowness.