Livin' on the Island
The Trans-Canada highway only goes so far west and a few fathoms from there you'll find The Stowaways - crusted in that salty grit from long days at sea, it's a road less traveled by most string bands and the Southern Gulf Islands' newest sailing string band is mighty-oldtimey. In James Bay, Victoria is where the old-time, bluegrass, blues, and swing style quartet hunkers down for the winters. The Stowaways disembarked from their 2011 Wind Powered Tour, launching 'Living On The Island' in support of these musical and seafaring traditions. The young gents remain shackled by their deep admiration for the wonderful music of yore - and parties and dances of today too, which keeps one quite busy. Weekly bar gigs, bluegrass brunches, two free weekly jams (one Bluegrass, one Old-time, because we can't help ourselves), and many fun square dances for all occasions. 'Livin' On The Island' is the quartets first full length CD. The band debuts their dynamic song-craft, ranging from the timeless and lonesome waltz 'Send Me A Letter' to the driving party and dance numbers like 'The Downtown Ran Around' and 'I'm Free.' Oh, and their title track 'Livin' On The Island,' by Colin Boland (Guitar) is an ode to the beloved joy of the island life, '...well i came out here, didn't think twice, livin' on the island is a pretty good life...' The crafty, catchy song writing is with Damian Ritchie sawing fiddle and singing high baritone, Christopher Herbst playing all-pro Dobro and sweet tenor, and Pete Reid's melodic style claw-hammer banjo and bass vocal. Throughout the twelve tracks the Stowaways pay homage to the old greats like Tommy Jarrell, Bill Monroe, and Leadbelly, and they are, of course, modern day gents, presently - so new styles cuts through too. The first six tracks were recorded live off the floor, no smoke and mirrors here folks. Track 5 'Big-Eyed Rabbit' is a nice time capsule from one of The Stowaways first live-to-air radio performances for CHMZFM 90.1 Tofino's Long Beach Radio station. Across Vancouver Island, on Hornby Island, tracks 1 through 4 and 6 were recorded at The Barn by one of Canada's finest JUNO-nominated, Western Canadian award- winning musicians Marc Atkinson, who also mastered the complete record. Pete Reid, host of Banjo Pete's Old-time Radio Hours on Hornby Island, BC, played the dual role of artist and engineer, recording the remainder of the tracks at his home studio, just up the road from the barn. Damian Ritchie designed the timeless album art, which we love. Livin' On The Island, is an honest reflection of the synergy that is created when four dedicated, life-long musicians get together. These are the Stowaways - making song and dance for all generations.