It’s no secret that country music often gets a bad rap for being formulaic and only talking about pick-up trucks and drinking on a dirt road. But there’s been a small resurgence in the popularity of more traditional country music in recent years, with artists following the lead of venerable songsmiths like Merle Haggard and Loretta Lynn over the pop-influenced proclivities of country-radio hits.
“I don’t know how to label our style, really. That’s kind of why we called it ‘alternative country,’ just so that we would fit into the country vein, but we’re not necessarily what you’d hear on the radio,” says Glen Gosney, lead vocalist for Lonesome Dove. “I don’t know if you’ve heard that Chris Stapleton song ’Nobody to Blame.’ I guess we’re kind of in that vein. Luckily, there’s kind of a wave of that type of music coming to light in country music, so hopefully we can catch that wave a bit and gain a little bit of popularity because of what’s going on in country right now.”
Gosney and his bandmates—Nathan McMurdo (guitar), Stefan Kijek (keys), Cam Grier (bass) and Kurtis Schultz (drums)—got to know one another through the music scenes in their hometowns of Hinton and Grande Prairie before meeting again in university at Grant MacEwan. The members cut their teeth in various bands and genres before forming Lonesome Dove in 2012 as a collection of seasoned musicians. The band’s started out as a cover project, but it wasn’t long before Lonesome Dove began composing its own material.
The aim is to write songs that tell stories, particularly about the struggles of everyday people. Lonesome Dove’s first single from its debut self-titled EP, “House Ain’t My Home,” for example, is a song replete with references about relocating to Alberta from another province in search of work and prosperity, but things aren’t alway ideal on the other side. Gosney notes that the band strives to reach a wide demographic, and that while some of the songs relate back to prairie life, other ideas ostensibly come out of left field.
“‘Something Amazing’ is about gang activity from a father’s perspective, where his son is in a gang and gets in trouble with the gang, and then he gets in trouble with them and gets threatened by them. So he hides his family and ends up being in a big shoot-out with them. It’s a crazy story,” Gosney says. “We’re just trying to write songs about people who are struggling for whatever reason, like with ‘Something Amazing,’ it’s about a son whose father still loves him no matter what. I guess it’s something people can relate to a lot.”
A debut recording is an accomplishment in its own right, but Gosney marks one of the highlights of this particular disc as securing a certain player to contribute. McMurdo, whom Gosney says is the band’s go-to guy for convincing people to do things with Lonesome Dove, managed to get pedal steel player Robby Turner to contribute to the EP.
“He’s kind of a heavy player who’s played with Willie Nelson; he’s toured with the Dixie Chicks,” he says. “He lives down in Nashville, and we got him on email and got ahold of him and were able to get him to play on our album. That was pretty significant for us. I think we were a huge pain in his ass, too. I don’t know if he really thought we were good or anything, but he played on our album just the same. We kind of designed our album for him to play on, so we almost dedicated it to him, in a way.”
Thu, Jun 30 (8 pm)
With Boogie Patrol, VERA, Chloe Albert
The Needle, $13 in advance, $20 at the door