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Wednesday, 21 August 2013 15:29

The Empire Associates hitting Living Sky Casino stage

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Swift Current and area music fans may not be familiar with married couple Terrance Williamson and Kelsi Kerestesh yet, but they are making a distinct name for themselves as The Empire Associates.

While the Regina-based duo are well-known in the Queen City, there stock is rising so much so they will be featured in a national entertainment-based magazine UMM, this fall.
Billed as having an alternative folk-rock sound, The Empire Associates will play Swift Current for the first time at the Living Sky Casino’s Livin’ Up Lounge Aug. 23-24.
Those in Swift Current will be in for a treat. While the duo put their own stamp on covers of some well-known songs, they have many of their own works too, which have a distinct Celtic flavour. Kerestesh, for example plays the mandolin.
“We’ll have a good mix,” says Williamson of the Swift Current twin bill. “We do a lot of covers, but we have a lot of our own folk and Celtic songs. This show is one of the bigger shows we’ve done recently ... we’re excited to be in Swift Current. It’s a big opportunity for us and hopefully, it will open some more doors.”
In listening to a sample of their music, what makes them work is their rather distinctive sound. Williamson’s and Kerestesh’s voices harmonize well. Kerestesh has a softer, almost soothing voice that is a perfect compliment to Williamson’s stronger, emotion-filled vocals.
“She has had singing lessons since she was really little,” explains Williamson adding her family often used to sing together. “At the age of 13, I just wanted to play and so I picked up a guitar and learned how to play. When we got together (relationship-wise) it was fun. And now our performing happened really naturally and we blended so well, we didn’t have to try so hard to make it work. It’s absolutely wonderful that we have this hobby together and it’s our time together, our date nights, our fun time. It’s a wonderful collaboration and she adds a lot to my voice. It’s worked out so well.”
Interestingly enough, Williamson notes he’s not a major fan of covers as he feels he has to live up to someone else’s standard and the sounds will be compared. However, he and his wife have worked hard to perfect and put their own stamp on these songs. Their two bandmates they currently work with have these songs down pat, but they are adjusting and had to get accustomed to the Associates’ songs.
It seems like the Associates’ success has happened overnight. That might be a bit of a stretch as Williamson says it has taken some time to get rolling. He would love to be on the road more, but for now, they are waiting for their 16-month old son to get a little older and more importantly a little healthier. He had leukemia.
The proud parents were vocal in their opposition and garnered headlines earlier this year after the provincial government announcement plans to move the children’s cancer treatment ward  from one hospital in Regina into another. They were concerned because they felt those children would be put into a position of being around more patients with communicable diseases.
Fortunately, their son’s leukemia is in remission. His grandparents are looking after him while his parents are on their short trips. Williamson said for now, they have not travelled further than a two-hour radius.
Unlike many up-and-coming acts, the duo are handling the majority of their music careers on their own. WIlliamson says they have an agent — southwest Saskatchewan’s Shaynee Modien— to handle their non-musical part of the group “because the booking drives me crazy.”
They are definitely grabbing attention with their musical prowess as they are garnering more gigs.
They will play numerous concerts over the next few months in and around Regina and are even performing during Grey Cup weekend in that city.
Come Aug. 23-24, the music savvy fans in Swift Current will have an opportunity to thoroughly enjoy and appreciate what The Empire Associates can do on stage.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor