Oshawa duo Crown Lands hits the road with Jack White on Canadian tour
Mi'kmaq vocalist Cody Bowles and guitarist Kevin Comeau say there's a political edge to their music
A rock duo from Oshawa, Ont., is hitting the road with rock royalty and hoping to raise awareness about Indigenous issues with fans across Canada.
Crown Lands is opening for former White Stripes guitarist and vocalist Jack White on his cross-Canada tour.
Kevin Comeau, the band's guitarist, says the band's commitment to education and advocacy is worn on their sleeve with their band name.
"Crown land is stolen land, and we're here to kind of reclaim it," said Comeau.
"It's not quite Rage Against The Machine, because we're too polite for that, but that's kind of like what we're trying to inspire."
Cody Bowles, the band's drummer and vocalist, identifies as Mi'kmaq, but grew up in Ojibway territory near Alderville First Nation in Ontario.
"We made friends with the elders," said Bowles.
"I spent a lot of time there and just grew up in that kind of culture."
Comeau is Jewish and said their shared familial history of suffering may be what brought the duo together in the first place.
"There's something called intergenerational suffering," said Comeau.
"Cody's grandfather was in a residential school. My grandparents were in the holocaust. We're only one or two generations removed from these horrific events in history."
Music with a message
The duo have released two EPs since their formation in 2016: Mantra and Rise Over Run.
Bowles said their music references some of the historical injustices suffered by Indigenous Peoples.
"[Our song Mountain] talks about the horrors of colonization and residential schools in Canada," said Bowles.
The song references Europeans first arriving in Indigenous territory.
"They came 'cross the ocean with all their loaded guns. Fear then swept my people eclipsed in the hatred spun," sings Bowles on the track.
But while Comeau said there is a political edge to some of their music, "We're not getting on stage and preaching at people."
Living the dream
Comeau said the tour has been an enjoyable experience so far.
"I'm touring with my hero, with like my best friend," said Comeau.
"It's pretty amazing."
The tour has special meaning for Bowles as the duo will play two shows in Mi'kmaq territory in Moncton and Halifax.
He said it's always a treat to be on the East Coast.
"There's definitely a connection there," said Bowles.
"Whenever we go to the East Coast I just love everything about it. We stopped by the giant statue of Glooscap on our way back last time we hit the East Coast. It was really special."
Crown Lands will open for Jack White in London, Ont., Thursday night before travelling to Ottawa, Laval, Quebec City and Moncton before wrapping up the tour in Halifax Nov. 14.