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New Brunswick bands compete in Galaxie Rising Star Competition

Can’t decide which musicians to see during this year’s Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival? Why not got to one show and see four bands battle it out to win?

The Galaxie Rising Star Competition is in its 13th year and the stakes are high for these local bands. The winners receive $2500 and have the opportunity to have their music played on one of the Galaxie TV channels and be featured on Galaxie.ca. The winning band will also open Friday night’s main show.

“Of course we have a few nerves, but we’re ready for a great day no matter if we win or lose,” said John McLaggan of Tomato/Tomato.

This husband and wife duo with their “old-timey” bluegrass sound has been on the rise this year. On top of being this year’s regional champions in CBC’s Searchlight competition, they have released their debut album.

“This seemed like the right step for us now. Any little bump to get people to notice us is great.”

The contest includes the live performance with a panel of judges worth 50 per cent of their score. The other half is made up of audience and online votes, so social media is important to each of these bands.

“We’re excited and waiting for the online voting to begin. We really need to push ourselves on social media to get all the votes we need,” said Mike Humble, percussionist for Earthbound Trio.

Earthbound Trio play a style of music they call “farmer funk,” which has become popular across the province and has landed them gigs in Quebec and Ontario.

“Harvest is huge. The past winners have used this as a jumping point. But we were waiting for the right time to join. With the release of our album, Lettuce Turnip the Beet, it was the time.”

Humble added that it’s great that he can share the stage with three other local bands, all of whom he calls friends.

“We all come from different corners of the New Brunswick music scene, so this gives us a sense of togetherness. This is super East Coast and it’s great we get to do this together.”

Gregg Webber of Kill Chicago agrees.

“We look forward to performing. We love being able to play with other bands and we think it’s important to support the local music scene,” he said.

Their sound has a blues feel with a punk-rock undertone, but they call it “garage blues.”

With the money, members of Kill Chicago hope to finish recording their album and that Harvest launches them into greater success. Earthbound Trio would like to modify their band van to run on vegetable oil with their winnings and Tomato/Tomato hope to fix their leaky studio ceiling.

The fourth band, The Waking Night, would put their money towards their second album.

“This opportunity popped up but seemed right. We performed at The Capital last year for Harvest, so this is great exposure.”

Joel Dixon is a member of the band. After four-and-a-half years of performing together, there are mixed emotions going in to the competition.

“We’re nervous. We’re really posting online for advertising but we don’t want to be annoying about it. We’re just ready to perform,” he said.

The show will take place Friday, Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. in the Galaxie Barracks Tent. The voting is open currently open at Galaxie.ca.

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