Bands team up to record, tour in Greville Tapes Music Club

A Sackville, N.B. music manager has come up with a unique way to write, record, tour and promote new music, all within a week.

Two different groups team up to write, record and tour all in a week

Fredericton band Motherhood will be part of the first edition of the Greville Tapes Music Club. (Motherhood webpage)

A Sackville, N.B. music manager has come up with a unique way to write, record, tour and promote new music, all within a week.

It's called the Greville Tapes Music Club, and features New Brunswick bands teamed up with out-of-province groups that they've never met before, with the shotgun marriage hopefully resulting in something wonderful.

Peter Rowan came up with the idea of the Greville Tapes Music Club after moving back to New Brunswick. (Facebook)
The idea came from Peter Rowan, a long-time Canadian label owner, manager, and promoter.

Originally from Fredericton where he ran the Dressed To Kill (DTK) record label, he then went to Halifax, and became Sloan's first manager, as well as Moncton's Eric's Trip.

Along the way he founded the popular Halifax Pop Explosion festival in 1993, and has been the long-time manager of Juno winner Julie Doiron.

Helping indie bands

When Rowan moved back to New Brunswick earlier this year from Ottawa, he was looking for a new project to help promote local independent music.

That's when he came up with what he calls a four-day musical blind date that ends with a recording and tour.

"The idea is that we're going to take two artists that don't know each other, one of whom will be a New Brunswick-based artist, and we're going to take them out to a kind of magical recording space out in Port Greville, Nova Scotia," Rowan told CBC Radio's Shift audience.

"They're going to get together for four days, they're going to get to know each other, they're going to work on each others' material, and at the end of the four days we're going to come out with four original compositions and probably a cover song," Rowan explained.

"We're going to have cassette tapes of the original material available at the shows, and the bands are going to go out after the recording session, and we're going to do a five date tour of the Maritimes."

Rowan has been busy setting up the bands involved, booking the dates, and figuring out who will work best together, personally and professionally.

Catriona Sturton will pair with Motherhood for the recordings and tour. (catrionasturton.com)
The first pairing is set to begin on Sunday, Nov. 29, featuring the Fredericton band Motherhood, and Catriona Sturton, a heavy blues harmonica player originally from Halifax band Plumtree.

"It's fun to imagine in your mind pairings of artists that would work really well together, that you think would get along personally, that will bring something interesting to each other," said Rowan of how he chose the groups.

Of course, there's also the chance the groups won't get along.

"I was talking to Eamon McGrath, who is doing a series with (Saint John's) Little You Little Me, and we were laughing about it and he said, 'You know, this could be awful,' said Rowan.

"Sure, yes, it could be, but I don't think so, and even if it is, we're going to have documented this really interesting and creative process."

Bringing back cassettes

Even that finished product will be different, as Rowan has chosen the outdated cassette tape as the format.

"Part of this is about creating things, and a cassette is a bit of a novelty but we're also making something," explained Rowan.

"We're going to hit 'dub' at the show and we'll be making copies while we're sitting there at the merch table. The covers will have been made out at the session, everybody's making time, there will be collective arts and crafts projects while we're putting together posters and doing up the covers for the cassettes."

There will also be a digital download available, "in case you don't still have a walkman or cassette player in your Toyota," laughed Rowan.

The first tour posters are appearing for the Greville Tapes Music Club. (CBC)
Motherhood and Catriona Sturton will finally get to meet each other Sunday at Port Greville.

Touring the province

The songs will have to be written and recorded by Thursday, Dec. 3, because the tour begins that evening in Sackville at Thunder & Lightning.

Dec. 4 finds them in Halifax at the Company House, and Saturday there's two shows, a matinee at Spin-It Records in Moncton at 4 p.m., then an evening gig at Taco Pica in Saint John.

Sunday, Dec. 6 there's a show at Bantry Bay Farm in St. Andrews, while Monday, Dec. 7 finds them at Reneu Boutique in Fredericton.

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