A&E » Arts

Acoustic trio now rooted the West



WHO: Big Root

WHERE: Garfinkel’s Pub

WHEN: Dec. 22

During the past few years, more than a few solo acoustic performers from Whistler have parlayed their talents into unique duos or trios. Leanne Lamoureux and Kyla Uyede are just one duo who are enjoying a successful run as a fiddle and guitar combo. A regular gig for the acoustic duo The Hairfamers at the new Dusty’s in Whistler is another example.

This past summer, guitar player D’Ale Lachance and djembe drummer Rich Doucette has a successful nine-week East Coast road swing. They were booked five to six nights a week through referrals and agencies. Not being from the area didn’t prevent the duo – sometime joined by a third musician – from playing at the Tall Ships celebration in Maritimes. And now they have the confidence to perform their unique acoustic show in the largest nightclub in Whistler: The 350-seat Garfinkel’s Pub.

"Yep, it’ll be the first time we’ve done anything like this," Lachance said. "But for us, we have a pretty good time with it. We need that many people to do our show properly."

Joining the duo will be bass player Lucas MacEwan, and a third guitar player, Terry Anderson, might be added at the last minute. In any event, Big Root will not use a drummer. This style of performing expands on the acoustic duo format, increasing the energy and putting each member front and centre. In addition to the East Coast tour, Lachance has been doing gigs in Vancouver. One such instance had him team up with Doucette for an impromptu appearance at the Atlantic Trap & Gill at Seymour and Davie Streets. Afterward, Lachance says they were booked for two shows.

"It was the manager of the place who kept requesting songs. Finally she ended up booking us so it worked out well. We also did a pretty wild gig a couple weeks ago at The Pemberton Hotel," Lachance explained. "So we’ve been doing other venues outside Whistler lately."

At one time Lachance played solo in Whistler venues such as The Crab Shack and La Brasserie des Artistes. Now he says he’s getting gigs elsewhere through a comprehensive Web site, which lets prospective venues sample the band’s music and read about their origin.

Lachance says the band plays mostly cover versions of popular songs by Great Big Sea and Sprit of The West, Bob Marley and Peter Gabriel, but sounds more like a mixture of Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Paul Simon.

"I’ve set up a Web site that has 12 of our songs that you can listen to; our repertoire and a list of all the venues we’ve played in Canada; and posters that you can download for advertising. It’s all there at www.hotboxlounge.com/bigroot. That’s how we got booked in Tofino and Ucluelet," he said. "We didn’t have to audition or anything."

Lachance has some original material, but he says the 11-song CD is not polished enough and does not properly represent Big Root’s sound. So in a few months, he’ll go the professional route and hire a competent producer and go into a proper recording studio. In the meantime, his computer skills and mechanical prowess, in addition to his skill as a musician with Big Root, have made things work.

"I actually drove to the East Coast, and did Halifax, Moncton, P.E.I., all over the Maritimes," he said. "And then I went on to Montreal and did that on my own. We had a great time with it overall. I think it was the trip of a lifetime because we worked so much and made so many contacts.

"We made a lot of money but we spent a lot," he laughed. "I came back with $20 in my pocket."