Bluegrass music is American roots music which grew from the mixed stock of Scottish, Irish and English traditional music. Add in a bit of Appalachia, African-American and jazz elements and you have bluegrass.
In bluegrass music, as in jazz, one or more instruments take turns playing the melody. They musicians improvise and others accompany in tunes typically called breakdowns, Old-time music differs in that the melody is played by all of the instruments.
Call it bluegrass, new-grass or old-timey music, or whatever it’s called, it is beginning to reach new audiences of younger music fans. Victoria is gaining a reputation for its bluegrass bands and Sooke has always had its bluegrass festival.
No stranger to the scene is Eric Day. He’s a fixture on the bluegrass circuit and he now has a new band, Just Us, who will be performing at a concert on Oct. 27 in Sooke.
Just us is Eric Day (guitar), Steve Harrison (banjo), Paul Lange (mandolin) and Jeff Ellis (bass).
Day is excited about his new band mates.
“Jeff is from Duncan, originally from Virginia. He’s the real bluegrass thing,” said Day.
“Paul moved up the Malahat from Manitoba; Steve is from the Vancouver area.”
Day said Harrison has studied banjo for the past six years and he took to it immediately.
“Steve was at our bluegrass club in Victoria, he was learning to play banjo,” said Day. “I heard how good he was getting and asked if he wanted to play a festival in Coombs.”
Day gave him a good banjo to replace the one he had and neither has looked back ever since.
Jeff Ellis plays a number of instruments (guitar, banjo, mandolin) but his favourite is bass and he was recruited. Ellis was at a Jeannette Williams concert and when she spotted him in the front row and asked him get on stage and play.
“I said if I ever put a band together I want Jeff as bass player,” said Day. It happened.
When Day and Lange sang together for the first time it made Day’s hair on the back of his neck stand up.
“It still happens,” said day.
The Oct. 27 concert will also feature three opening acts. The Bylaw Infractions, Group Therapy from East Sooke and duo Janet McTavish and Pete Graves.
Just Us and friends perform at 8 p.m. at the Sooke Baptist Church at 7110 West Coast Road. Intermission catering will be done by the YouthLife group from the church.
Tickets are available at Shoppers Drug Mart, from Eric Day (250-642-3553) or at the door.