There wasn’t a shortage of experiences The Slocan Ramblers could draw on when they crafted their new album.
The bluegrass–folk band, which launches its North American tour from Coquitlam on Feb. 27, went through many highs and lows after the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of 2020.
Their bass player left the group.
Their banjoist–vocalist, Frank Evans, moved to Nashville.
The father of their mandolin player, Adrian Goss, died.
And, last November, guitarist–vocalist Darryl Poulsen and his wife welcomed a baby.
“A lot changed for all of us and this album reflects a lot of that,” Poulsen told the Tri-City News last Friday (Feb. 11).
Titled “Up The Hill And Through The Fog,” their latest compilation is mostly original material The Slocan Ramblers recorded last year at Union Sound Studio in Toronto, Ont.; Chris Stringer co-produced, engineered and mixed the album, while Joao Cravalho mastered it.
Poulsen said the name “Up The Hill And Through The Fog” refers to a lyric from Goss’ song Bury My Troubles.
For their new compositions, “We always try to stretch the boundaries of what we are comfortable with, while still trying to keep things within the bluegrass realm,” he told the Tri-City News.
“It’s a balance for sure. The album has a bit of everything and we really drew from what we had gone through and focused what we were experiencing at the time into our music. We worked on some new grooves, added a mandola or a second banjo or guitar here and there. There are even some group vocals.”
As for their Coquitlam show on Feb. 27, Poulsen said ticket-holders can expect to be entertained with the new music, as well as tunes from their previous albums such as Queen City Jubilee that earned the ensemble a 2019 Juno Award nomination.
As well, the audience will see a new bass player on stage: Charles James, who performed on the new album and has performed with the likes of Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo fame, Skydiggers and John McDermott.
To see The Slocan Ramblers at the Evergreen Cultural Centre (1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam) on Sunday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m., call the box office at 604-927-6555 or visit evergreenculturalcentre.ca. The show is part of the venue’s TD Music Series.