Their roots are in jazz but their hearts are in folk music.

All four members of Odanah met at the Brandon School of Music where they were studying jazz. The two core members, Mike Fox and Brady Allard didn't really hang out but one of them sent the other a text message suggesting they get together to jam.

Odanah

Blood and Sour Mash is the name of Odanah's debut EP. (Courtesy Odanah)

Now they are releasing their first EP called Blood and Sour Mash on Saturday May 10 in the Purple Room at Frame Art Space.

"We were playing around town for about six months just as a folk duo and then we realized how difficult it is to book a gig as a folk duo," recalled Fox. "You can't play a bar or anything so we got Cody and a bass player and we started playing with the electric band." 

Even though they have degrees in jazz guitar, they don't feel like diehard jazz guitar players.

"You have to be a certain calibre and spend your life living and breathing guitars," said Fox. "When we get called for jazz gigs we have to spend two weeks rehearsing all these tunes by ourselves just to get through the gig."

Both musicians have different reasons for choosing music. "I think jazz is appealing for people that have an ear for something else," maintained Allard. "In school things tends to stagnate like anything else but it was definitely a good platform to branch out because it's a really good workout."

Fox agrees that jazz is an excellent base. "At music school someone showed me this is actually the modern music that people are creating with these techniques and it opened up a world for me," he admitted. "It encompasses rock. It encompasses everything."

The band name Odanah turns out to be Cree for "meeting place". It is also the name of a municipality which was close to where they all met.

They started out in Mike's apartment rehearsing. Then they recorded the EP in a friend's basement on Langside. Drummer Cody recorded it, mastered it and mixed it.

The song Little Box in the Sky was inspired by the time Fox spent in Nelson, British Columbia.

"It was always this sort of paradise," he recalled. "Nelson is this little hippy town in the mountains. I eventually realized while I was there that everybody thought it was the best place in the world. But after a while it started to grate on me. I got tired of it and decided to move back to Winnipeg."

The Odanah EP release party is at the Purple Room, Frame Art Space - 318 Ross Ave. Odanah will be joined by Carly Dow and Somebody Language. Before the release, you can hear Mike Fox and Brady Allard in conversation with host Bruce Ladan on SCENE on May 10. The show airs every Saturday from 5 - 6 p.m. on CBC Radio One, 89.3 FM/990 AM/97.9 FM in Brandon.