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Hairfarmers reach new highs

Local favourites wrap up ninth winter in Whistler, reflect on hectic season



Doug Craig and Greg Reamsbottom — better known around town as Guitar Doug and Grateful Greg — always seem to have a lot on their plates, and this year, things have only gotten busier for the well-loved local duo.

Pique managed to catch up with one half of the musical powerhouse on Monday morning, as he was winding down from an incredible performance high, wrapping up a weekend chock-full of performances throughout town.

“It’s been insane, the busiest year ever, but it was definitely a good time,” said Reamsbottom.

That seems to be what it’s all about for this laid-back musical dream team — having fun.

With Craig on guitar, coupled with Reamsbottom’s powerful lyrics, the two-man band pulls out all the stops for each and every performance, drawing on a repertoire of over 2,000 songs, featuring everything from country to reggae to Grateful Dead covers.

That’s part of the beauty of an après session with The Hairfarmers — no two performances are ever the same, and nothing is ever decided before a show.

“We never, ever, ever plan it ahead,” said Reamsbottom. “We never have a set list. We just show up, feel the vibe of the room, check out who’s there, start casting out little musical tidbits and see what people start responding to.”

Now, they play 200 to 250 shows each year, and not just in Whistler. Last year, they performed in New York, Hawaii, Napa Valley, and across Canada for private parties and corporate shows.

But Whistler is the perfect home base for the duo, offering diehard local fans, a fresh crop of new faces at the beginning of each season, and a huge tourist crowd that is constantly rotating in and out of town.

Reamsbottom pointed out that there are also some solid musical roots to the local music scene, with long-time performers like Kostaman, G Willy, and Animal Nation forming a diverse foundation within the industry without stepping on each other’s toes.

“I have never seen anywhere else that could support that volume of music,” said Reamsbottom

The duo first met up with the help of some musical matchmakers; a mutual friend hired both of them, independently, to play at their wedding at Birkenhead Lake.

“Their plan was that they knew that we loved the same kind of music and that we’d actually end up just jamming together, which is exactly what happened. We played until the sun came up, and agreed that we had a really good time and made some really good music and stayed in touch,” Reamsbottom explained.