By Tom Paille
VANCOUVER – There will be some significant changes for The Rural Alberta Advantage as they embark on a cross-continent tour in support of the release of their fourth album, The Wild. Although the music is in the same vein of their frenetic indie rock sound, the addition of a new member has pushed their music to new heights.
Original members Nils Edenloff and Paul Banwatt welcomed long-time friend Robin Hatch behind the keys after the departure of original member Amy Cole. Hatch’s formal musical education has brought a fresh perspective to The Wild. A cleaner, simple sound that has amazing vocal layering predominant on many tracks. The first single “White Lights” is a perfect example of this; Edenloff mentioned that he really enjoyed the learning curve that comes with a new member of the band.
“You get to develop a new collection of experiences that build a backstory you base your relationship on. Ways of talking and thinking that make sense to you,” he says.
Frequently, song-writing inspiration comes from what is close to you. Edenloff wants to convey emotions that result in earnest and honest music. A listen to “Beacon Hill” from the new album will definitely expose you to the emotions that caught him off-guard when he learned about the massive forest fire that devastated the town of Fort McMurray where he spent his teenage years.
The single “Tornado” from the band’s sophomore album Departing conveyed the memories of the ‘87 Edmonton twister, demonstrating the usage of personal experiences which helps their music “cut through the noise” of all the new music generated these days.
So the road beckons and the tour will reach the West Coast on November 24. The RAA are excited to be back playing some of the best “rooms with character” like the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, but with their surge in popularity some other favourites like the Doug Fir in Portland are now too small. They will take the trade-off of bigger venues and bigger crowds. They will also look forward to building a camaraderie with tourmates Yukon Blonde.
“It will be fun to have someone else’s songs running through my head,” Edenloff says.
Another perk to the road is looking forward to local cooking, from BBQ in Atlanta to sushi in Vancouver.
“You just cannot eat at McDonald’s every night, right?”
You can say that again!
The Rural Alberta Advantage perform November 24 at the Commodore Ballroom (Vancouver). November 25 at the Kelowna Community Centre (Kelowan), November 29 and 30 at Union Hall (Edmonton), December 1 at O’Brians (Saskatoon), and December 2 at Pyramid Cabaret (Winnipeg).Commodore Ballroom, Kelowna Community Centre, O’Brians, Pyramid Cabaret, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Union Hall