For those who like to boogey down, Miles from Motown, formerly the Soul Sunday Band, is back in Dawson to make it happen.
Every Sunday night during the summer at the Westminster hotel, Fred Osson, Jennifer Migliorini, Wray Auger, Richard Halliday and Drew Davies take to the stage and bring a little funk into everyone’s lives.
Osson, who sings and plays a mean saxophone, is glad to be back. The band decided to end their run two years ago when some of its members moved away. But after a summer of not playing, Osson and remaining members, bass player Auger and vocalist Migliorini, were starting to question their decision.
“We were missing the energy,” says Osson. “We didn’t intend to pick it back up, but suddenly we didn’t feel quite done. We thought that maybe the decision we had made to stop was wrong.”
Unfortunately, the bar where Soul Sunday funked-out for the last 10 seasons is closed this summer. So Osson approached the owner of the Westminster, asking if Sunday night was open. The owner immediately agreed.
The band now had a location, but still had to replace its missing members. Local musician Richard Halliday signed on as drummer, but finding a guitar player took some time.
“It had to be the right person with the right sensitivity,” says Osson. “You either have the groove or you don’t.”
One night, Osson ran into a musician from Saskatoon named Drew Davies, who had just returned to Dawson after an eight year absence.
After other musicians highly recommend Davies’ guitar playing, Osson started to chat up, then court, the guitarist.
Before making a final commitment though, Osson wanted to see if the musicians could get along off-stage, as well as on. He invited everyone to his apartment for a night of chilling out.
“We listened to music together and by the end of the evening, I knew it would be just fine,” he says.
The band then picked some songs, including classics by Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and the Temptations, as well as some modern tunes, and started to practice.
They played their first show just after the summer solstice, and as in previous years, they packed them in — Dawson was glad the band was back.
Kath Selkirk, a long-time fan, considers Sunday nights with the band a weekly aerobic exercise.
“I dance all three sets,” she says. “It’s a marathon.”
Selkirk and her friends are usually the first on the dance floor and they don’t leave until it’s over.
“I’m not a good dancer, but I don’t care,” says the soul enthusiast. “I love moving to music. This band has a funky style and good dance tempo. I’m happy they’re back.”
The band is happy too.
“It feels great to be back on stage,” says Osson.
As for the future of the band, Osson doesn’t know. Davies, the only non-local member, will probably be leaving town in September.
“We’re not sure what’s happening after Drew leaves,” says Osson. “But for now, we’re just glad to be doing it again, and are wholeheartedly dedicated to the preservation of the motion of the hips.”
Shows take place at the Westminster Hotel every Sunday during the summer, starting at 11 p.m.