By Courtney Faulkner
LETHBRIDGE — “There was a specific show, years ago, at the Slice,” says Steven William Foord, co-owner of the Owl Acoustic Lounge. “It was Elliott Brood, Sun Parlour Players and The Acorn. That show blew me away. It just opened a weird part of my brain that said, “This is amazing,’ and it changed how I viewed live music and my perception of live music here.”
“It’s like the difference between Sour Puss and a good scotch. I was like, ‘Wow, there’s something different, and it actually tastes good?” This live show, in the now recently-closed music venue The Slice Bar and Grill, was the musical scotch to Foord’s ears, and he saw a new life path laid out before him.
“I was always going to take over the family store,” says Foord. “I worked with my dad for about two years, and as much as I loved him, I just felt myself getting really depressed. I didn’t feel like I had done anything, it was just like me taking over what he had done. Music was becoming more of a thing with me, and it was what I was more passionate about than anything.”
After being asked by a friend the pertinent question, “What are you doing?” everything clicked. It was music.
Once Foord decided to follow his artistic passion, the opportunity quickly arose to manage a local music venue, Henotic.
“That’s where I met Mel,” says Foord, speaking of his business partner Mel Dominguez, the head chef of the Owl, and the master of a gourmet poutine menu that’s unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. “Mel and I had talked about, at some point, doing our own thing. Then, a couple weeks after Henotic closed, the venue where the Owl is now became available.”
“We just made it work, it was crazy,” says Foord. “The first couple years were very lean and tight and hard, but it was always worth it.”
“My entire day is just about music and art, and of course there is other stuff that isn’t as glamorous, but I still never am scared to go to work. It’s the coolest job I’ve ever had,” says Foord.
“Art is such an all-encompassing kind of thing. Food is art, T-shirts are art, music is art, writing is art…expression in whatever form. It’s what makes life interesting.”
The Owl Acoustic Lounge celebrated their sixth anniversary this past June, and plan to continue curating a musical nest in the windy city for years to come.
“You make it so it so it’s open and welcoming, and understand that people are coming from different places,” says Foord. “If it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody. Create those conditions so people can see how beautiful it all is.”
“There’s so much potential in this area. If you actually stop and appreciate it, it’s not really like anywhere else, in a good way. It’s something worth fighting for.”
To see this month’s schedule see Owl Acoustic Lounge on Facebook.AB, Alberta, Lethbridge, Owl Acoustic Lounge, Steven William Foord