It was in the Spring of ’79 that an eclectic group of Oxbow-area musicians gathered at the Mellom farm near Northgate to begin a journey that has lasted for thirty-eight years. That summer the original line-up of Downwind played a handful of their favourite songs at local events and began building their repertoire of 60’s-70’s rock, soul, jazz and blues, with a sprinkling of reggae and just a little bit of country. They quickly built up a following of die-hard fans and a reputation for playing every song on the list, no matter what the hour.
There have been a few changes to the line-up over the years as drummers, guitarists and horn players came and went and came back again. At one time there were two guitarists (not so unusual) two keyboard players (a little more so) and two drummers! This behemoth, dubbed by original drummer, the late Dana Lehman, “Downwind – BFB”, had its share of confusion as on more than one occasion the players on the left and right halves of the stage launched with gusto into two completely different songs!
Those beside Dana who have passed through the ranks include dynamic drummers Mike Gunderman, Hal Nielsen, and Corey Mazurek, stellar guitarists Jim Galloway, Anthony Bzdell and Brian Grundeen, smooth sax player and keyboardist Gerry Stewart, and numerous horn players and back-up singers.
Founding members Earl Mellom (piano), Ken Green (guitar), Terry Fraser (bass), Paul Twietmeyer (sax and percussion) and Dianne Twietmeyer (vocals) have been pleased to perform at the Bow Valley Jamboree in recent years with Mike Gunderman (drums) and the invaluable Vince Parker (guitar), Jesse Twietmeyer (trumpet) and Naomi Twietmeyer (vocals). This line-up will alter only slightly in 2017 with Hal Nielsen returning on drums as Downwind once again kicks off the festival with the guarantee of good times and good music.
Theresa Sokyrka is a Canadian singer songwriter based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. She became a brief household name in 2004 as Canadian Idol runner up. Her independently released debut album These Old Charms was shockingly granted gold status a month after its release, selling over 70,000 compact discs, which was an incredible feat those days. The album was more shockingly nominated for best pop album of the year in the 2006 Junos, although Sokyrka considers it a jazz album.
Sokyrka’s latest release was in 2013 Prairie Winds, a collection of original songs which was recorded and mastered in Madrid in 7 days, free from edits and as pure as the driven snow.
Three years ago Sokyrka happily returned to living life in Saskatoon after 10 years of travelling the globe and living in Toronto and Montreal. She lives modestly with her husband, son, two cats and dog. Putting music on the back burner since her last release there’s just no denying that this kid can sing and that creating is unavoidable. She continues to prove to her fans old and new that though it’s been 13 years since a reality TV show found her in Saskatchewan, Sokyrka is sticking around for the long haul, you might just have to dig a little.
Del Suelo is a Saskatchewan based artist that makes art combining writing and music. In 2016 he released a 10 chapter/10 song combination project titled I Am Free which received an honourable mention at the Tidewater Independent Book Awards and is also being translated into German.
Musically, he performs genre-bending, soul-driven tunes that serve as a soundtrack to the novels he writes. The music is rich in emotion, varying from fun to serious. The music blends rock-pop catchiness with anything from funk to punk, steeped in the jazz tradition of improvisation and spontaneity.
Del Suelo frequently collaborates with acts such as the Andino Suns and The Dead South. He has toured all over Canada and Europe, playing notable festivals such as The Regina Folk Fest (Regina SK), Coldsnap Festival, (Prince George BC), Radio Eins Parkfest (Berlin, Germany) Festival Traditions du Monde (Sherbrooke QC), Festival du Voyageur (Winnipeg, MB) and SXSW (Austin TX) and Tonder Festival (Tonder, Denmark) . Del also teaches songwriting workshops and classes, and hosts a monthly “Theory Jam” for guitarists of all levels.
It’s all about the moment. When you step into The Pistolwhips’ world, the moment is all that matters. Hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the band has worked tirelessly to bring listeners out of the daily grind and into a series of life changing moments. Blending an incredible mix of indie rock hooks with monster rock choruses, this is a band that leaves it all on the table for you.
The Pistolwhips’ new album, Voices, is set for global release through Fontana North on May 26, 2017. The band will be touring across Canada from May 26 – early July, and will also be playing several festivals, before heading to Europe in late 2017.
Belle Plaine is a singer, a songwriter and an inventive musician who was raised on the Canadian prairies near the hamlet of Fosston, Saskatchewan – population: 54. The ingenuity, lonesome yearning and collaborative work ethic of country life have infiltrated her songwriting, her sound and her methods. Belle’s reverence for artists who defy categorization has led her to create a brand of roots music that combines vintage blues and swing tones of the 1940s with classic country styles made popular in the heyday of the Grand Ole Opry. Belle’s greatest strength is an unfailing ability to weave stories, genres and emotions with her formidable voice.
“If Patsy Cline and Blossom Dearie had a love child she would sing like Belle Plaine. Belle’s voice is old timey and jazzy. It has twang, crystal bells and swing. You listen to this voice, and all of a sudden your cheatin’ heart has a very dry martini in hand, and you’re hearing something both timeless and brand new.” —Kelley Jo Burke, CBC
The Bystanders are an indie-folk and roots band from Regina, Saskatchewan, whose music is best described as “prairie fresh”. The band was formed after brothers Davin and Judd Stachoski locked themselves in an abandoned warehouse in a frosty February in 2009, and emerged with a 10-song demo disc. The disc garnered a lot of excitement among friends and family and frequent airplay on community radio, so The Bystanders decided to take the songs to the stage, with Corey Rhiendel on bass and Nathan Streifel filling out the foursome on drums.
Davin and Judd share the songwriting and lead singing duties, all while incorporating the sounds of diverse instrumentation (guitars, bass, drums, accordion, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, etc). The topics of their songs are as varied as the number of instruments they bring to a show: songs about love, heartache, guilt, and the search for self are often followed by lively tunes about the ridiculousness of lovers’ demands, nights out on the town, and a tune about the ludicrous social life of a teenage pizza cook. The topics are bridged artistically together, making a night at a Bystanders show as assorted as life itself. The influences are a blended mixture of legends like Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen and Steve Earle with modern Canadian indie artists like The Weakerthans, NQ Arbuckle and Elliott Brood. The sincerity in the lyrics, the melody of the songs, the variety of instruments, and the energy and enthusiasm onstage makes certain that a Bystanders’ concert is a great time.
The Bystanders recorded their first official self-titled 3-track EP in 2010, following a busy year of writing songs and playing shows in Regina. The 3 songs chosen for the disc are a great example of the diverse sound of the band. They exemplify both the energy and fun of a live show and the insightfulness and honesty of the songwriting.
The New Montagues
The New Montagues are one of the hottest party bands goin’ these days in Regina. With the “rippingest” four-piece horn section in town to really get things stirred up, the band cooks a deadly mix of rock/funk/r&b that’ll get you on the dance floor before you realize what’s happening.
10 Mile High
Ten Mile High is well known in southeastern Saskatchewan for their repertoire of 70’s through 90’s classic rock cover music. They play many tunes your grandma boogied to—only LOUDER!!
Ten Mile High was started in 2001. The name was created by former bass player, Brett Baldwin. Many band members have come & gone over the years, but the current 4 band members have been together for the past 5 consecutive years. By aligning their unwavering talents, singer/guitarist AARON FOLKERTS (the only original band member), drummer COREY WIDENMAIER, bass guitarist/banjoist/singer RILEY HORTON and lead guitarist RICK SENCHUK are always ready to entertain.
These ambitious, small town musicians would like to thank everyone for all their continued support over the years, allowing them to do something they truly enjoy.