Each year, Harvest’s lineup includes acts appearing at the festival for the very first time, but for some, the festival serves not just as their first time at Harvest—it’s also their first time in Fredericton.
“We’re pumped,” said Sean Walsh, frontman of the The National Reserve. “We’ve heard really great things. Basically, we’ve heard everyone really parties, and it’s always good for us to get a lively crowd.”
Walsh’s band, a straight-up rock n roll group from Brooklyn who’ve released two EPs and have a full-length ready for release early next year, appreciates an energetic audience.
“We’re used to playing in bars. We like to keep people having fun, dancing … Not too many slow tunes,” he joked.
Though it is not technically the group’s first Canadian show—they’ve played Toronto, where they have not had “great luck; we’ve had some really weird times,” and Quebec City, where the band had some of their best shows ever—he looks forward to breaking this Canuck crowd with a great set.
“It’s a crazy world we live in right now. Festivals give you a chance to forget about that for a while … I promise that we’ll be having a good time.”
While Walsh has some Canadian experience under his belt, the same cannot be said of the Muddy Magnolias, who will not only be making their debut in the city—they’re making their Canadian debut as well.
“I’m so excited!” said Jessy Wilson, one half of the Nashville-based duo. “I can’t wait!”
Her band, which she co-fronts with Kallie North, released their debut album, Broken People, last year. Though the two have very different musical backgrounds—Wilson stated she grew up mainly on “soul, R&B, and hip-hop,” while North was raised “more on folk, gospel”—their two voices blend seamlessly onstage, offering a mixture that is “varied and ever-evolving” while offering “lots of soul, energy, and passion.”
It is this passion that Wilson hopes her band is remembered for by the Canadian crowd.
“I hope they feel inspired and empowered by our uplifting music and its messages,” Wilson said. “And our overall feelings of love and kindness.”
Their upcoming set is not just an opportunity for the duo to introduce their music to a new audience—it’s also an opportunity to meet new people.
“We can’t wait to see everyone there at the show, and hopefully we can meet them after the set,” Wilson said, adding that she and North are planning to sign autographs and take pictures post-performance. “We look forward to meeting as many people as possible!”
This excitement to get to know the area’s culture was also expressed by Atlas Road Crew drummer Patrick Drohan, whose band will make its Canadian debut a few days prior in Toronto, followed by a quick stop in Montreal, with their first Canadian tour ending in style: right here in Fredericton.
“We hear there’s great lobster nearby,” Drohan said with great enthusiasm. On the day we spoke by phone, Drohan and his band were preparing to evacuate their hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, to avoid the looming Hurricane Irma—their Canadian dates, then, are no doubt a welcome respite.
The Southern-tinged rock n roll band, who released latest single “My Own Way” earlier this year, originally formed at The University of South Carolina; Drohan offered advice to any student bands based out of UNB.
“Don’t stop hustling. Go that extra step,” he said, citing a story in which the band attempted to open for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers at a nearby stadium by stealthily arranging a meeting with the arena’s events coordinator.
“We showed up in suits, brought a file folder to make ourselves look all professional … It didn’t work, but you gotta try these sorts of things,” he joked.
Each band seemed eager to show what they do to a new national audience. Hopefully, they’ll be greeted with crowds who make their visits to Canada memorable. (Eh?)
The National Reserve will be playing two sets on Sept. 16: they’ll hit the Moose Light Blues Tent at 8:30 p.m., opening for Colin James, who was previously profiled; later that night, they’ll hit the Cox & Palmer Blues Court at 12:00 a.m., following Earle and Coffin and The Amanda Jackson Band, both profiled here in The Bruns.
Muddy Magnolias will take the Moose Light Blues Tent stage on Sept. 13 at 8:30 p.m., opening for Matt Andersen, previously profiled.
Atlas Road Crew will rock the TD Mojo Tent on Sept. 14 at & p.m.
For tickets and more information, visit Harvestjazzandblues.com