A&E » Arts

Painting Daisies


Where: Boot Pub

When: Feb. 10

They travel in their ’91 Chevy known as Muffy the Highway Slayer.

After winning Entertainer of the Year over Jann Arden at the 2001 Prairie Music Awards, Painting Daisies of Edmonton, Alberta hit their stride.

Kim Gryba is on drums for the band, Daisy Blue Groff on guitar, vocals, flute and banjo, Carolyn Fortowsky on bass and vocals, and Rachelle Van Zanten on guitar, slide guitar, vocals and piano.

Van Zanten took a moment to walk through the daisy chain of band life, on the road and on display performing from their latest album Fortissimo (2000).

"A lot of people find female rock bands like us interesting. We might get, for example, these young British guys who see our band photo and come to the show, and then we rock their asses off!" she laughs.

Singles like Carpal Tunnel, whose video airs on CMT and Much Music, have a lighter feel in a sound Mote magazine calls "blistering slide guitar." The single Sheep offers something even more fierce.

In addition to their win at the Prairie Awards, the band also received three additional nominations for outstanding pop recording, outstanding independent recording, and outstanding producer at the 2001 awards show, which took place at a three day conference last September.

Co-nominees for the outstanding entertainer category included Mcmaster and James, and the ever-rising Nickelback. To be in that kind of company is not bad for a band that started in folk and gospel roots, with a different lineup, seven years ago.

Previous accolades for Painting Daisies include an ARIA (Australian Record Industry Association) nomination for Best Roots recording in 1998.

On the road to promotion, the band finds festivals specializing in women’s rock or more intimate shows have been a strong catalyst for their music.

"At the annual ROCKRGRL Festival in Seattle last November, we ended up schmoozing, and shaking a lot of hands. Something like South By SouthWest (in Austin. Texas) is so big you tend to get lost," she says.

Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls, and Ann Wilson of Heart were panel speakers at the annual Seattle conference promoting women in music.

But in terms of fans, Painting Daisies’ shows attract a diverse audience.

"We have a heavier sound now (that has moved) away from our folksy roots on the album Flambescence (1997), with a new bass player. On our Belgium tour we played for tons of bikers, and opened for Billy White (of Once Bitten, Twice Shy).

Their most recent tour began down south in San Diego, went across the country to Louisiana state, than up to Banff’s Rose and Crown pub for a jam. In New York, they played the Bitter End pub.

The Painting Daises trade in the car for airline tickets this fall for a European tour that includes both Greenland and Iceland.

"We pull that first chord and then we go!" says Van Zanten.