Wednesday, 02 November 2016 13:31

Creek City releasing debut album in Swift Current

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The folk/roots band Creek City will officially release their debut album at the Lyric Theatre in Swift Current on Nov. 12. From left to right, Dave Cyca, Donovan Epp, Mark Penner and Michael Tetrault. The folk/roots band Creek City will officially release their debut album at the Lyric Theatre in Swift Current on Nov. 12. From left to right, Dave Cyca, Donovan Epp, Mark Penner and Michael Tetrault. Contributed

The four members of the folk/roots band Creek City will officially release their debut album in the city that inspired their name.

The album has been available since August and the band already had performances in North Battleford and Maple Creek to promote the album, but the official CD release concert for Chronicles takes place at the Lyric Theatre in Swift Current Nov. 12.
The band members are experienced musicians who have performed as a group since May 2013. The 13 songs on the album are a mix of older and newer songs written by Dave Cyca of Swift Current and Mark Penner from Herbert.
“It’s not like we decided we’re going to do an album and we’re going to write 13 new songs,” Cyca said. “We took a collection of what we were doing already and maybe a few new ones that came together pretty quick.”
After more than three years of live performances, they felt it was time to do an album that will make it easier to promote the band.
“We thought it would be really good to have an album to promote ourselves if we want to do festivals or other events where people want to hear what we’re all about,” he said. “They need something to listen to. So we decided an album was a good way to go.”
They then had a look at the material they have available for an album. Penner and Cyca both contributed two new songs. They each contributed a total of six songs to the album. One of Cyca’s songs, Tightrope, was created in association with Laura Stewart.
“We haven’t been co-writing, but that’s something we’ve talked about doing in the future,” Cyca said. “It guess it takes a little more time. It’s easy for us to sit at home and maybe plunk away on a guitar and come up with a melody and a song.”
Penner feels the creative process and collaboration between the four band members might change in the future.
“I think for the future it would be great to have everybody, the whole band, sit in and see what we could come up with as a collective group too,” he said. “Maybe that’s step two.”
Penner and Cyca collaborated with Stew Tasche and Eliza Doyle to create the thirteenth song on the album, Without Your Freedom. It was originally written for the musical drama The Cypress Hills Would Never be the Same.
“Both Mark and I were in the play,” Cyca said. “We took that song and we made it our own a little bit because of the full band sound with the drums, and a different bass player and different harmonies. So we were able to make it more of our own sound.”
Penner and Cyca do not only share the songwriting process, but they also take turns during performances as lead vocalists.
“We’ve done that right from the beginning,” Cyca said. “It’s nice to have a little break in a live performance. So that’s what we did on the album too.”
The songs on the album cover a variety of themes, from concerns about the environment to thoughts about love and growing old.
“My material is somewhat introspective,” Penner explained.
His song Where Did It Go is a commentary on the aging process and the song Meanwhile in London refers to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car crash. He wrote the song in 1998 but it has never been recorded on an album.
“I just had some bootleg recordings of that one really around,” he said. “I thought it would be a song that would work well with the band. It seemed to fall into place with the album and the rest of the songs.”
Cyca is retired and enjoys travelling to new places. His travelling experiences also inspire him to write new songs.
The first song on the album, The Way, is related to his experience last year of walking the  Camino De Santiago, a pilgrimage route in Spain.
“Even though it doesn’t talk about that directly, it’s sort of my observation of the world coming together as one and each of our paths,” he said. “They just continue on. You can do this, but you know tomorrow is a new day and you continue on with your live and your path.”
His song Well Well is about preserving a well and the importance of water to life, while the song Campfire Blues also has an environmental theme.
“We tend to use a whole lot of stuff and I’m just thinking that to save our environment maybe we could use a lot less,” he said.
The band started as a result of the collaboration between Cyca and Penner in songwriting workshops at the Lyric Theatre.
“That’s interesting how the group came together,” Cyca said. “It’s not like we decided we’re going to have a band. It just sort of formed itself and I think that’s maybe why we’re working together so nicely because it just came together that way.”
Donovan Epp is from Herbert, and is a long-time friend of Penner. He started to collaborate with the two songwriters. He played bass with them and also provided harmony vocals.
“So as soon as that bass is added in, it’s sounding full and Donovan is an excellent singer,” Cyca said. “He’s throwing in some background vocals that were just adding and colouring the song, and so all of a sudden Donovan is playing with us more and more.”
During a performance at the Lyric Theatre the trio hired Michael Tetrault, a drummer and sound/recording engineer, as their sound technician. He has performed with many bands throughout western Canada and he became Creek City’s drummer. He was living in Swift Current at the time, but now resides in Herbert.
The band’s name and the title of the new album was inspired by a live storytelling event in Vancouver, Rain City Chronicles. They decided to call the band Creek City in reference to Swift Current. They originally considered Creek City Chronicles as a band name, but shortened it. When they started to work on the album, one of them suggested Chronicles as a title.
“Chronicles are basically stories,” Cyca said. “So that’s  how we came up with it and we thought our songs are our own stories and our own life stories.”
The CD release concert will take place at the Lyric Theatre Nov. 12. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets and a ticket/CD package are available at Pharmasave. Tickets are $15 each and the price of a ticket with a CD is $30, which will result in a saving on the regular CD price of $20.

Read 2935 times Last modified on Wednesday, 02 November 2016 15:13
Matthew Liebenberg


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