The High Bar Gang, Lost and Undone record release party at Eagles Hall - Starlight Room, 170 West 3rd Ave., North Vancouver,Tuesday, Oct. 29, 6-9 p.m. Tickets $35. For more information visit highbargang.com.
The High Bar Gang, featuring a who's who of local roots musicians, celebrates the release of their debut album, Lost and Undone: A Gospel Bluegrass Companion, next Tuesday night at Eagles Hall.
Inspired by annual visits to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, Colin Nairne (a longtime member of Barney Bentall and the Legendary Hearts) decided to put together his own band of musicmakers to play "classic bluegrass for modern times."
The High Bar Gang (made up of Shari Ulrich, Wendy Bird, Angela Harris, Barney Bentall, Rob Becker, Eric Reed and Nairne) played their first gig at Eagles Hall in Sept. 2010. At the time Nairne told the North Shore News: "We were sitting there just doing it for fun. It just seemed like the right thing to do. I thought if I'm going to play this kind of music, I'm going to surround myself with my musical friends that enjoy playing it. And that's how the band came about. Someone said, 'If we're going to do this, we're going to have to have a gig.' So we thought, 'OK let's get a gig,' and then if we're going to have a gig then we'll have to have a name. That's how the band came about - we wanted to play."
The new album includes at least a couple of songs they performed at that very first gig (such as Julie Miller's "All My Tears") mixed in with a lot of classic bluegrass gospel vetted by Nairne's pal Ry Cooder who put the setlist together. Bird, Harris, Ulrich and Bentall trade off on lead vocals and harmonies throughout the 13-track album which features several gems from the Stanley Brothers and Bill Monroe catalogues as well as some other favourites from the likes of Hank Williams ("I Saw the Light").
Recorded live off the floor in Barney Bentall's living room on Bowen Island the mono recording jumps out of the speakers with an old timey feel full of smooth harmonies and soulful performances.
High Bar Gang: Lost and Undone: A Gospel Bluegrass Companion (True North Records) - Angela Harris (vocals), - Barney Bentall (vocals/acoustic guitar), - Colin Nairne (vocals/acoustic guitar/mandolin), - Eric Reed (banjo/mandolin/acoustic guitar/dobro), - Rob Becker (vocals/stand-up bass), - Shari Ulrich (vocals/fiddle mandolin) - Wendy Bird (vocals).
Repertoire chosen by Ry Cooder. Recorded in mono by Eric Reed (on Bowen Island) and Mike Cashin (at Crew Studios in North Vancouver).