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Dakota Pearl tells a country rock tale

Pemberton band launches new album at the GLC on Nov. 28



Adam Leggett, the singer-songwriter of Dakota Pearl, Pemberton's new band of outlaw country rockers, is giving a little practicum about agriculture and his band's name.

"It's really hard to come up with a name! But since we are very much a Pemberton thing, we picked Dakota Pearl, which is actually the name of a potato. We live in Spud Valley," he says.

OK. But is it a good potato?

"I don't know!" he laughed.

He agrees they ought to try some soon.

Dakota Pearl started a year ago with three members from Pemberton and the fourth from Whistler — all veteran musicians. Leggett, who grew up on a farm in Ontario, teamed up with Dave Trimble on lead guitar, Jim Donovan on bass and "the ever-famous Mark Bannock, who has been in every band in this town" on drums.

"We were rehearsing, just jamming, when we began, and writing the songs. Everyone brought their own thing. It was always my goal to record us as a record because I've made 17 or 18 already. I felt like I was building a record," Leggett says.

"I knew how it was going to go. They all tell stories; they were all short stories... totally in that country-rock tradition. Something that people can connect with.

"It's all original music. I've never played covers in my life."

Dakota Pearl also intends to stay away from an overly produced sound. Leggett feels so strongly about this that he picks up his smartphone to read some prepared notes.

"If you listen to music today, it is over produced with layered vocals and is full of electronic upgrades when the recording is done," he says.

"We just want to put amps in from of microphones and record. Old school. Everything is old school."

Dakota Pearl are launching their eponymous album, Dakota Pearl, at the Garlibaldi Lift Company (GLC) in Whistler on Friday, Nov. 28 at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 from the GLC and includes a free copy of the 12-track album.

It was completed at Vaudeville Recording in Vancouver "on mics from 1952. Old vintage microphones... a huge board."

The album is also available on iTunes and Bandcamp at dakotapearl.bandcamp.com. The album is $1.

"We just want to get it in people's hands," Leggett says.

There has been a lot of planning before getting to this point.

"I write a lot of music, so there were a lot of songs that we were going through and weeding out. Then you find the good ones and stick with them," Leggett says.

They knew what type of band they wanted to create.

"I come from a metal/punk band and I was trying to come to the other end of the spectrum."

That band was Slush, a Whistler staple for years — primarily performing at the late lamented Boot Pub, an important music venue in the resort's earlier years. They played the last show at The Boot before it closed nearly a decade ago.

Then when they were just getting ready, Dakota Pearl got a break that bands of a far greater age would kill for. They were chosen as the only local band to perform at the Pemberton Music Festival, which took place last July.

"We had played a few shows for free, a Surf Pemberton fundraiser. We played the legion. But when the Pemberton competition came up we hadn't rehearsed for two or three weeks because everyone was busy doing stuff," Leggett says.

"This opportunity came up and we really wanted to play it, like bad. So we decided to throw our hats into the ring and see how it goes. And we won, which was amazing, a blast. Fucking rad."

Dakota Pearl opened the closing day of the festival, Sunday, July 19.

"Basically, all of Pemberton showed up, so we had a good crowd. It was super fun.

Enter Tara Doherty, who is now the bands manager.

Doherty, who also works at Mountain FM, was a judge at the Pemberton competition, alongside regional MLA and Pemberton farmer Jordan Sturdy and HUKA co-founder Bennett Drago, operators of the festival.

She had no thought of the management side of music but then she ran into Leggett a few weeks later at the festival and talked about joining them as manager.

"They translate really well live," Doherty says.

"I had never seen them before in my life (before the competition)... I didn't think anything of it. I was sitting beside Mr. HUKA and I looked over at him and he said, 'God, these guys are tight. You can tell they've practiced. You can't imitate that guy's voice!' It was ironic because they hadn't practiced at all. They just had stage presence."

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