The folk/roots duo Twin Peaks, comprised of Naomi Shore and Lindsay Pratt, opened Dawson’s Home Routes season on Sept. 26. The show in Dawson City was their second-last stop on a tour that had seen them perform in Dease Lake, Atlin, Teslin, Crag Lake, Whitehorse, Haines Junction, Faro and Mayo, with one more concert planned for Inuvik before they would be done.
This is the 2016-17 version of the Aurora Trail, which is one of 10 Home Routes circuits that are active annually across the country.
Home Routes offers an annual program of roots music players and singers selected from all across the nation and sends them on the road to do shows and house concerts in places they might not normally get to go. The Aurora Trail covers northern British Columbia, the Yukon and a piece of the Northwest Territories.
Twin Peaks hails from Fort St. John, B.C. where both members grew up, although they didn’t connect until they began performing five years ago. Their voices blend well and the arrangements of ukuleles, guitar and keyboards lends a lot of variety to their performance.
Their set list in Dawson focussed on songs from their 2015 album Trouble, which won best Roots Duo album at the Western Canada Music Awards. They also peppered in a cover tune or two.
Most Home Routes concerts occur in homes, but this one took place in Parks Canada’s re-created Red Feather Saloon.
The next performer on the Aurora Trail will be Tim Hus, from Oct. 16 to 30. Alberta-based, Hus has been on the road for 13 years, two of those spent opening for Stompin’ Tom Connors. His western stylings are described as being image-laden, “with the intensity of a… gunslinger.”
Anne Lederman and Ian Bell will arrive in the second half of November. Travelling from Ontario, this duo features strong vocals and both traditional and original material. Their instrumental arsenal includes fiddle, guitars, concertina accordions, mandolins, banjo, harmonica piano and feet.
The series will take a break until the first half of February, when Manitoba’s Carly Dow will arrive. Her music is described as being “wildcrafted soul-folk,” dealing with relationships “within grounded, connected and beautiful imagery” which is reflective of her Manitoba roots.
Jason Fowler will fill roughly the same time frame in early March. The Ontario-based singer/songwriter is particularly renowned for his work as a session guitarist and producer, having worked on over 100 albums, including six of his own. His solo work is described as being an “amalgam of roots rock, country, folk and instrumental guitar.”
The series will end in early April with the duo of Karrnnel Sawitsky on fiddle and Daniel Koulack on banjo. The pair have successful solo careers, but met at a jam session in Saskatchewan a few years ago and have since recorded two albums.
Sawitsky is known for “pushing traditional music into a modern context,” but alone and with his string quartet, The Fretless. Koulack plays a number of instruments but focuses on the banjo as part of this duo, which is simply called Fiddle and Banjo.
They are particularly inspired by Appalachian string bands and blazing bluegrass bands in this collaboration.
To see concert dates and times, go to http://homeroutes.ca/circuits/aurora-trail/.