Story By Jacob Romu
Photos By Alex Grattan
Last Friday, Shred Kelly played Black Pirates Pub with tour mates Loon Choir, and local support by Jean-Paul De Roover and The Greenbank Trio. Shred Kelly play “stoke folk”—folk music that is designed to get the audience stoked. The Fernie, BC quintet is touring Canada in support of their new album In The Hills.
Shred Kelly is the folk band for people who aren’t sure if they are into folk music. They have as much energy as any punk band, and enough technical ability to silence any sceptics. With the help of superstar Canadian producer John Critchley (Elliot Brood, Dan Mangan), Shred Kelly are able to refine their fairly wild influences into a coherent, catchy, new album.
If you compare their earlier work from the Goodbye July album to the new material, especially “The Bear,” you’ll notice some significant musical growth, and some serious artistic vision. Watching this music video, which was a gruelling single-day shoot with Green Couch Productions, it becomes increasingly evident that Shred Kelly, are a different breed than the typical folk-rock band. Though Shred have plenty of fun, they don’t have an ounce of cynicism. They love folk music, and they are incredibly professional.
I used to hang around with a banjo nerd who knew everything about bluegrass and banjo styles, and found a way to work it into every conversation. I didn’t pick up much more than general banjo terminology, but I figured I’d test it out on Tim. Tim plays “clawhammer” style, which is a variety of banjo playing that is dominantly down-picked, and often used by fast banjo players. Tim recommends Juno Award-winner Old Man Luedecke, and Mark “Clawgrass” Johnson.
Shred Kelly is definitely a band to keep an eye on in the future. They’ve played NXNE twice, and even played the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. In the meantime, they are touring across Canada, making friends and folk-converts.