Word’s Gettin’ Around (Live at Steam Whistle)

April 20th 2015 10:34 am

Morning Team – Happy 4/20!

We had the opportunity this past January to head out to Toronto and work with some incredibly creative minds over the course of a week.  From the beautiful Catherine North Studios in Hamilton to the renowned Canterbury Music Company in downtown Toronto.  The highlight came when the staff at Steam Whistle (one of our favourite beer companies) gave us the run of the place for an afternoon. Taking advantage of the natural reverb in their historic Roundhouse we recorded a video in support of our upcoming EP (Summer 2015).

Thanks to Adrian Vieni of Wood and Wires for capturing the experience, Matt Weed and David Beazely at Steam Whistle for the space (and a gazillion free beers) and Jason Plumb for the mix-down.  More to come!  Here’s Word’s Gettin’ Around. Enjoy.

B

 

April 13th 2015 4:40 pm

VULTURES 420

Blake Berglund/Quinton Blair Press Release

February 12th 2015 3:18 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2015 (REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN) – Roots Country Troubadours, Blake Berglund (Kennedy, SK) and Quinton Blair (Steinbach, MB) will come together for a series of 8 shows amidst their respective winter tours this February. With their writing styles influenced by the likes of Kristofferson, Jennings, and Lovett they will showcase their unique brands of music while being backed by Regina’s very own, The Vultures.

A successful 2014 saw Berglund performing at The Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas, NV, showcasing at Folk Alliance International in Kansas City, MO, and continuing promotional efforts leading into the release of his fourth album; Jasper, in mid-September. As described by Stylus Magazine as “good old-fashioned, true faded denim blue country music” as well as “the real deal”, Berglund is excited to align himself with Manitoba’s Blair.

“We have this nice little group of pickers and writers on the Prairies that are upping each other’s writing abilities by sticking together, staying true to what country music stands for, and continuously writing better songs than the next. I think I stood up four or five times in appreciation for Quinton’s word usage at his last show in Regina. We are all pretty hard on each other and it’s making us something to look out for.” 

Blair’s musical contributions have lead to associated albums being nominated for Grammy, Juno, and Western Canadian Music Awards and not only do his touring efforts take him east to west, but also north to south performing everywhere from Kugluktuk, Nunavut to as far as Tennessee. Verb Magazine gives credit to Blair as playing “country music as it was meant to be played.”

“Berglund’s album is firmly planted in my rotation alongside Hag, Waylon, and Sturgill Simpson. It’s a hard moment to describe when you feel the heart and soul of your own music align with someone you’ve just met. From small towns, to livestock, to relentless touring, this is real country music.” 

In true Waylon and Willie fashion, Berglund, Blair, and The Vultures will be stopping in at Rebeltone Ranch in Lethbridge, Alberta on February 25 to record material with producer/roots rocker, Leeroy Stagger. An effort that should result in more dates to come, the boys will share the stage across Saskatchewan and Alberta between February 19 and 26. Performing songs off their newest releases, they will also include a few covers that keep them rooted in their sound. Dates listed.

Preview Jasper HERE

Preview Blues Man HERE

BerglundBlairPosterWeb

Top 10 of 2014

December 31st 2014 12:02 pm

2014 marked many strong albums and a handful of phenomenal ones.  In all honesty, I didn’t listen to as much Canadian content as I usually make an effort to – with that said, saw more live performances locally…and local bands, nationally.

Our brothers in The Dead South had a lightning year galloping across borders and getting to the bottom of pints – it was a task alone to stay on top of where they were on the planet and all the successes that came their way. Congrats boys.  I was blown away by Library Voices at this year’s Gateway Music Festival and Kathleen Edwards‘ intimate performance (backed by Aaron Goldstein) in a curling lounge above the Bruno Skating Rink for Pickers’ Cup (Bruno, SK).  I got excited about Soundcloud links sent over of Colter Wall and new original material from Iron Bison. I was also very lucky this year to share the stage as many times as I did with my better half, Belle Plaine; learning how to harmonize and stronger singing techniques (not to mention being more organized and eating better!) – We collaborated in studio with our bands and Jason Plumb and are very excited to release new material together in 2015.  And don’t even get me started on the pride I feel for the year Jess Moskaluke had – I wonder if her, Chris Henderson and I could get more than 8 people into the Community Hall in Young, SK now?  Lastly, our loss of Derek Bachman – however people find comfort in beliefs and whatever those beliefs may be, I feel there’s another realm.  One of peace and positive energy that when asked it allows itself to become transparent – if you reach out to it, it will reach back to help you.  Here’s to a strong 2015 locally, provincially, and beyond.

My “top 10 of 2015″ list has zero reference to a ranking of artistic integrity but simply what I filled my ears with and a quick opinion that matters as much as “tits on a boar” as my old man would say.

10. Chris Henderson – My Turn – We’ve played greasy ass honky tonks and beautiful theatres together, coffee shops and house concerts; there is no other male country artist with the potential of becoming Canada’s greatest vocalist in the genre than Chris.  From his power to tone to pitch to inflections – they are spot on resulting in my favourite ‘voice’ – I wondered where it came from and then my thoughts were answered with this song – Taking Sides was recorded with Chris’ Road Warrior Father, Donn Henderson.  I highly doubt 2015 will go by without i) me recording something Chris wrote and  ii) not having his Dad on my album.  Chris’ tunes are genuine on this release and the production is clean. I’m gonna try and get a beer in with him at some point today – I’ll dig at the bugger to put more material out ASAP.

9. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams – I’ll be honest, I anticipated this release would have inched higher up on the list but it’s strictly me getting used to the direction Mr. Adams took.  A great man (and steel player) once said “You can either choose to have a chorus pedal in your rig or a tuner” - Tim Herman.  Ryan somehow chose the chorus pedal and kept the tuning spot on…impressive.  Gimme Something Good is a monster track and I refuse to listen to Shadows before going to bed at night – check back in with me next May…I know this album is stellar, it will have inched up to #5.

8. Hard Working Americans – Hard Working Americans  – Safe to say best Supergroup of the Year? I’d think so.  This release timed up well with me reading Todd Snider’s I Never Met A Story I Didn’t Like. As a fan of what Todd does (and not to shy away from the other boys in the band) I like his ‘less talk, more action’ approach with The Americans.  It’s back to a greasy rock feel that was present in his recordings from the 90’s yet still so different.  This album is a work of covers, from what I understand completely written by their peers. Nice. As I write this I realized that the release of The First Waltz slipped through the cracks! It’s downloading as we speak.

7. English Oceans – Drive By Truckers – The Truckers have benefited the most from my fascination of the ‘pre-order’ option on iTunes over the last few years.  English Oceans proves again that The Truckers do whatever they God-damn please. Long songs and distorted vocals tie this record together – In opposition to Todd Snider’s 2014 approach, Patterson Hood nails us with stories and as much as I buy The Truckers for their songs, I do for their artwork. I mean, it’s Wes Freed man, he does no wrong in my books.   MOOSN (matter of opinion side note): I think the world would move in the right direction if our friend Jason Isbell and the rest of The Truckers got in a room together again.

6. Temples – Sun Structures – A thank you to Travis Rennebohm for two things in 2014…well three.  His banana bread, putting in an honest effort to try and get me allowed back into the German Club, and introducing me to Temples.  It’s psych and wet. Reverb is at 11 and vocals are mixed as loud as the drums. This shit trips me out. I drank less in 2014 and thanks to this album…smoked more.  The writing is incredibly strong but it’s the achievement in sound that pops this Doors-y/Troggs-y in my top 10.  Temples is at the top of my need to see list for 2015.

5. Rosanne Cash – The River and The Thread – From what I see, this album is the hip chart topper for the year.  I’m late to the party and consciously so. I didn’t really like Rosanne and have heard diva like stories through the grapevine (1 degree away) but the buzz was enough to add this recording to my collection.  Steaming the first half on my way to Christmas in Tisdale, SK with Melanie, I was floored.  It’s the grooves that got me first and then the production decisions.  Very out of the box, strong vocals, catchy hooks, amazing guitar tones and a deadly mix (insert more adjectives Blake) – If it wasn’t for the fact that I head this for the first time about 8 days ago it could have been at #2.

4. Del Barber – Praireography – He does it again. Knowing the process in which it was recorded, having a co-write on the single, and seeing the songs evolve from the original demos to their live execution with The Profiteers, I’ve felt invested in this album from the get-go…not to mention happy that somebody found inspiration from those god-forsaken pigeons shitting all over the windows of my old apartment (Farewell, God Bless You, Goodbye) – So, they made a reverb chamber out of an old silo…basically what this means is they played the album into a grain bin with mics set up to capture how it sounds in the structure then mixed that track back into the original recording to create the reverb on the final cut. Fuck yes.  Not to get too personal or disclose anything I shouldn’t – I’m jacked for Del’s new place out on the Manitoba Prairie more than anything, if this is what he wrote living in the city of Winnipeg I can’t imagine what’s to come being in his new space.

3. Lee Ann Womack – The Way I’m Livin’ – So get a radio hit with I Hope You Dance, get Willie another one with Mendocino County Line and then remind us all that you’re legit as shit, know exactly where your roots are, and sweep us off our feet with that twangy voice.  I love the Hayes Carll cover Chances Are and wish I wrote The Way I’m Livin’. The male harmony is mixed quite high throughout the recordings as if the songs are uncredited duets demanding attention to the melody. In retrospect, Lee Ann’s under the radar marketing worked for me…I couldn’t wait for her new material after hearing her sing on Jamey Johnson’s Hank Cochrane Tribute Album and on my #1 pick for 2014.  I hope Womack can break a couple of these tunes to mainstream this upcoming year, top the charts again, and take credit for the turning of the tide.

2. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music – Dave Cobb, please expect my handwritten letter with down deposit, whenever your schedule clears up please fit me in to do a record. Sincerely, Blake Berglund.

I watched a top 40 radio DJ stop tweeting about Blake Shelton’s “amazing new song” or questions about who the “hottest guy in country music is” and post “Now I get it. Sturgill’s here. that other shit doesn’t matter anymore”.  I’ll back that.  I listened to the first chord of the opening song into about 0:15 on the album, hit stop, poured a whiskey, packed a hoot and had a bath – knowing what I was about to discover the setting was in place.  Son of a bitch.  I struggled with having this at #2 on not #1 in spite of my iTunes ‘total plays’ saying otherwise.  This is an album that you tell everybody about – as simple as that.  It’s converted the puppets to believers and filled up the dry writing wells of inspired artists everywhere.  Sturgill reminded me of the path and what the new standard is.  And it’s effortless – he wears chucks and simply strums a Martin, keeps arrangements simple and leans on his uncanny talent string words together.  Nobody is gonna catch him – and that’s a damn good thing.

Sturgill

1. Jim Lauderdale – I’m a Song – Jim over Sturg is because Jim is comfortable and confident in the uniqueness of his sound as much as Sturgill is going to be.  I’m a Song is akin to a marathon of twang.  It’s like a band with 40 years of hits not leaving the stage and as you watch you recognize them all – this isn’t a greatest hits, but it feels like it. 20 tracks, all dried out like an old dance floor and as graceful as the one’s dancing on it. I developed a kink in my neck from twisting my head every time an unexpected chord change occurred.  The album twists like a bar rag and Jim’s voice bends in and out of pitch like a bar waitress crossing a packed dance floor to get shots to the band.  Lee Ann Womack knew exactly what she was doing by getting on this recording, Patty Loveless and Buddy Miller scored even more street cred.  I love to cool factor, I love the whine, I love the homage.  There wasn’t an album like it this year and there won’t be another until Jim puts it out. I’m a Song is my top pick for 2014.

jim lauderdale

This was put together without even having listened to the new releases by Marty Stewart, Lucinda Williams, John Mellencamp, Shovels and Rope, and Shakey Graves.  I want to end on a positive note but first I’ll ask the question, why did almost every note to come out of George Strait’s mouth on his The Cowboy Rides Away live album have a disturbing amount of auto-tune on it? There, that’s out of the way.

At the risk of length, there’s one more top 10, in no particular order. Taron Cochrane, Jeff DeDekker, Ken Kuzminski, Sheldon Birnie, Alex Macpherson, Danny Dyck, Pat MacIntyre, Rebecca Windjack, Lorena Kelly, and Derek Bachman. Thanks for doing what you do.

Blake.

On tour with Del Barber & The Profiteers

October 2nd 2014 11:52 am

We are excited to announce that we’ve been invited to open up the shows across western Canada for the newly formed Del Barber & The Profiteers. 

Tour Dates are as follows:

Friday, October 3 – Calgary, AB – The Palomino Smokehouse                                                      w/Del Barber & The Profiteers (Duo)

Saturday, October 4 – Black Diamond, AB – The Stop
w/Del Barber & The Profiteers (Duo)

Monday, October 6 – Edmonton, AB – The ARTery
w/Del Barber & The Profiteers (Duo)

Wednesday, October 8 – Penticton, BC – The Dream Cafe
w/Del Barber & The Profiteers (Duo)

Thursday, October 9 – Vancouver, BC – Rogue Folk Club
@ St. James Hall w/Del Barber & The Profiteers (Duo)

Friday, October 10 – Rossland, BC – The Flying Steamshovel
w/Del Barber & The Profiteers (Duo)

Saturday, October 11 – Jasper, AB – The Jasper Legion
w/Del Barber & The Profiteers (Duo)

Sunday, October 12 – Cadillac, SK – Rangeline Tavern
w/Del Barber & The Profiteers (Duo)

Del Barber Tour Poster

REVIEW – Jasper – Stylus Magazine (September 30, 2014)

October 2nd 2014 11:06 am

Jasper, Alberta is not only home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the country, but also one of the best venues to see live roots acts as well. So it’s fitting that Saskatchewan’s Blake Berglund picked the Jasper Legion to record a live record with his band the Vultures. Berglund is an honest to goodness country & western singer, the Vultures are a gritty, hot-shot country band, and the rowdy crowd at the Legion clearly dug their down and dirty ditties and the occasional tear-in-the-beer heartbreaker the boys serve up so well. Made up of songs Berglund and the boys have been playing for years, as well as a few new cuts thrown in for good measure, Jasper is a great snapshot of a country artists on the rise. From the boot-scootin’ boogie-woogie of “Hangin’ By a Thread” to the too-tough-to-cry “Funny Thing About Leaving You” to the gut-bustin’ greasy good times of “Love is Like a Rodeo,” the boys don’t let up, delivering track after track of good old-fashioned, true faded denim blue country music. If that sounds up your alley, forget about Dan Romano, because Blake Berglund is the real deal. (Independent, blakeberglund.com)  – Sheldon Birnie

http://stylusmagazine.ca/2014/09/30/blake-berglund-the-vultures-jasper/

PURCHASE JASPER ON ITUNES HERE

 

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Red Dirt Music

August 26th 2014 10:49 am

You land on the east coast and sensory overload sets in.  The smell of the ocean, the sight of the land, the overwhelming kindness of the people, the sense of pride they share.  With a couple days to spare leading into our performance for the PEI 2014 celebrations we crammed as many touristy desires in as possible.  All-you-can-eat mussels accompanying our first lobster supper resulted in five buckets with the news that “they were out” upon our last.  An 11 o’clock pm trip to the Atlantic Ocean and an accommodation through Air BnB rested us up to run two days of rehearsals with the new line-up (Belle Plaine Band meets The Vultures); I’d love to include that it aided to the actual performance but the evening prior to the show was an all-nighter and an eviction on my end from a local establishment – we won’t go there.

Thank you to the PEI 2014 committee and the patrons of the island (a few ex-Saskatchewanites) for coming out last Friday night.  Belle Plaine kicked off the evening and we closed it down.  With Bryce (guitar) and Steve (drums) scheduled to fly out at 6:15 am the following morning, the second night of staying out led to a knock on my door at 7:30 am and two missed flights.  Air Canada usually receives the shit-end-of-the-stick from me but their Charlottetown employees did everything they could and got our boys on a flight (saving us $2600 in re-booking tickets and fees).

The tour continues; thrown back into the “solo acoustic/duo” mode on my end.  We had the pleasure to play for the Hon. Robert Ghiz (Premier of PEI) and his/our friend Brad (Premier of SK) at a reception on the harbour initiating inter-trade and investment.  Dammit, I like the political stuff – I do – the conversations, the disagreements, the enlightenment.  With the free bar shutting down and the last piece of SK beef tenderloin consumed, a couple more pints were drank and the chance to watch our Riders beat the Lions in the “guarantee a win” game.

Milton Community Hall, last night, and Canoe Cove School, tonight, will act as our fundraising efforts for the small halls on the island.  The cozy crowd came in to our cultural exchange with the night in Miltonvale Park being capped off by further support from our Premier, turning up to catch the show.  Eight shows to go. We play in Canoe Cove tonight, cross the Confederation Bridge tomorrow and attack Nova Scotia on Thursday to play in Charlos Cove at The Seawind Landing Country Inn.  And Beyond.

“This red dirt tastes exactly like our black dirt” – Bryce Lewis

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PEI 2014 Celebrations, East Coast Tour and Via Rail

August 11th 2014 12:19 pm

What a huge honour to announce that myself and The Vultures will be among the few bands representing Saskatchewan for the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference in Charlottetown, PE on August 22, 2014.  That evening will be a double bill with Regina’s Belle Plaine, in which we will continue the split bill throughout PEI on a series of Hall Fundraisers and house concerts/private functions – most notably, the Premier’s Reception in Charlottetown on Sunday, August 24.

Undecided whether to “ferry it” or take the bridge (they both freak this flatland prairie boy out) we will head into Nova Scotia to perform, ending the tour with an Industry Showcase at The Carleton in Halifax, NS on Tuesday, September 2.

Another thank you to Via Rail and their Artists on Board Series allowing Belle and Myself to perform for passengers from Halifax to Saskatoon in exchange for fare across the country – only to get home, pick up the boys, jump in Whitebear and continue pre-release dates leading into the release of the new album; Jasper on September 16.

 21.08.14 – House Concert w/Belle Plaine – Charlottetown, PE

22.08.14 – Prince Edward Island Celebration Zone w/Belle Plaine – Charlottetown, PE

24.08.14 – Premier’s Reception w/Belle Plaine – Charlottetown, PE

25.08.14 – Milton Community Hall Fundraiser w/Belle Plaine – Miltonvale Park, PE

26.08.14 – Canoe Cove School Fundraiser w/Belle Plaine – Canoe Cove, PE

27.08.14 – House Concert w/Belle Plaine – TBA

28.08.14 – Seawind Landing Country Inn w/Belle Plaine – Charlos Cove, NS

29.08.14 – Media Promotion Day – Halifax, NS

31.08.14 – The Split Crow Pub w/Belle Plaine – Truro, NS

01.09.14 – House Concert w/Belle Plaine – TBA

02.09.14 – The Carleton w/Belle Plaine – TBA

03.09.14 – 08.09.14 – Via Rail Artists on Board Series w/Belle Plaine – Halifax, NS – Saskatoon, SKposter_cream_web copy

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Blake Berglund to release fourth album ‘Jasper’ via Oceanman Records

August 5th 2014 8:24 am

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – TUESDAY, AUGUST 5, 2014 (REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN) Blake Berglund’s fourth album is set to be released on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 via the artist’s independently operated label, Oceanman Records. Titled Jasper, the 14 song collection acts as a raw representationto his current writing style, extensive back catalogue, and follow-up to his acclaimed release; Coyote. Supported by the newly formed backing group; The Vultures, a cohesive thread binds the works while captured live over a two night stand at The Royal Canadian Legion [The Jasper Legion] in Jasper, Alberta.

“We came to a place as a band where our creative process was dictated by the fact we were on the road full-time. I’d bring the structure of a song to the boys before a show, we’d work up the production of it during soundcheck and perform it that night leading to a very organic evolution in the writing. This new creative approach allows us instantaneous feedback from our audiences.” says Berglund.

To record an album of this nature is an intrinsically complicated decision. However, when it came to deciding where to record, “well that…” Berglund explains “was easy.”

“We needed to consider everything from vibe, turnout, and the type of crowd to include in this project. The town of Jasper has the perfect mix of a relaxed atmosphere and a rowdy reputation while deeply rooted in Cowboy Culture. The efforts made over the past few years by The Legion to acquire top Canadian independent touring acts has molded it’s supporters and formed an intelligent and appreciative group of people. We needed to record this album there.”

The Jasper Legion garnered the attention of CBC personality Jian Ghomeshi, naming it one of the top 5 concert venues in North America alongside the likings of Massey Hall in Toronto, Ontario and The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, California. (Up Magazine, October, 2013)

Berglund will embark in a series of pre-release concerts in which the album will be available before its official release. The first being held on Friday, August 15, 2014 at the Jasper Legion, itself, coinciding with the historic Jasper rodeo. Dates continue with an invite to perform at the PEI 2014 Celebrations in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, throughout the East Coast and back across the Prairies.

“Many songs that have a major influence on my writing we’re recorded with this mentality. Whether it’s Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue” or Jennings and Nelson’s “Good Hearted Woman”, the art was in the energy captured. Fill a room, hit record and play on your feet.”

Jasper will be released Tuesday, September 16, 2014 via Oceanman Records. For more information on Berglund’s extensive touring schedule, alternate releases, and other appearances visit www.blakeberglund.com.

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400,000 kms and 12 year old scotch

July 24th 2014 2:13 pm

The most difficult part of being an independent artist is attaining tangible rewards for the day to day grind.  Industry recognition and acheivements comes but can never be a set goal, no body is handing out gold stickers for a solid week of booking a west coast tour and dare you take payment from a gig and figure out how it breaks down into an hourly wage leading up to that performance.  Every once in a while however something that would be almost irrelevant or even seen as negative to the average person comes around – or turns over, if you will – and is held as a massive achievement.

After winning an online auction in 2009 through the Government of Saskatchewan we attained a 2001 GMC Savana diesel with 167,000 km for a beautiful $3000, we pulled into the Jam Space in Regina on Saturday afternoon rolling a perfect 400,000 km.  Of all the awards we’ve been given and milestones met, this one was deserving of a 12 year old bottle of scotch and some IPA’s on ice – we sat in the van, never moved it an inch, and drank.  Here’s to you Whitebear and another 600,000 kms.

400000km

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