Marvest: Steaming up the oil jugs

You wake up early in the log cabin Uncle Rod said you could use for the week. It was sunk down deep in the dark green; your car stalled twice bouncing down the sludgy potholed roads that you navigated into it. The birds got you up, their chirping like a swarm of audible spotlights. You walk to the kitchen past the black wood stove in the middle of the room, the cool floorboards squeaking softly under the weight of your footsteps. The lake peers out from the corduroy curtains. “What has it swallowed over its lifetime?” you ask as you slide the kettle over one of the elements. You stare at the lake and the loon on its surface. It’s simmering with energy, and everything here is. The kettle starts whining. You slide into the comfort – wave of friends on their way. It feels pensive yet warm, nostalgic and uplifting – it sounds just like Steamers.

A collective of six players from both sides of the Ottawa river, Steamers officially formed a year and half ago after playing together in different formats for a number of years. Singing in both English and French, they concoct effervescent folk jams by combining acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, harmonica, ukulele, banjo, bass and drums. Suturing their catchy folk-tunes are the charging, sing-a-long vocal lines that are spiced up by both energetic harmonies and clever shades of instrumentation. This a power-folk six-piece with a firm grasp on structuring folk-tunes for the mini-orchestra. Riding high on the release of their first full-length album, Years, they’re stoked like a bonfire to be playing Marvest– or, in their words: “We. Are. Revved. Up!”

Steamers will be playing the Unrefined Olive on Saturday morning, and the idea of playing Bank St. at an unconventional venue feels for the band like a rekindling of a great idea.

“A few years ago, friends ran a small festival called Glebe Streets that had a lot of awesome potential” says a Steamer, “I was really excited when I heard about the new Cityfolk model because it reminded me of what we had pictured Glebe Streets eventually becoming.  I think we were all a little confused when Cityfolk chose Lansdowne instead of Hogsback, but the decision seems to make a lot more sense and we hope to see this become something awesome. Ottawa is going through a musical/cultural renaissance right now and we might finally be ready for an event like this!”

While the band is charged up about unleashing their numerous instruments, sing-a-long melodies, and all-round good-times amidst the litres of golden oils – a  location they’ve dubbed something “like a medieval apothecary”, they’re also stoked to take in other Marvest acts including: Jon Becker & The Northfields, Moonfruits, James Leclaire & The Cable 22s, Mackenzie Rhythm Section and all the awesome bands playing the Jackpine showcase. As for Cityfolk itself, you’ll more than likely catch members of Steamers at the slots featuring The Avett Brothers, the Barr Brothers, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Uncle Van, and Lisa LeBlanc, an act they opened for earlier this year, the result of which being “an amazing night!”

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