What began as regular jam sessions for Sage McBride, Tim Newton, Jordan Vlasschaert, Ian Page-Shiner, and Steve Polit at the Brickhouse Bar and Grill in Fernie, B.C., became so much more in 2009. “The drummer [Page-Shiner], guitar player [Polit] and banjo player [Newton], were all roommates and they were running a jam night at one of the local bars in town and the bass player [Vlasschaert] and I used to goto the jam with various other friends,” McBride said. “Tim asked us if we’d be interested in joining a band. He asked if I would be interested in singing some back up and if Jordan wanted to join on bass.” It was then that alternative-folk-rock band Shred Kelly was born and not long after their formation they performed their first show on top of the Fernie Alpine Resort. “We got asked to play a show in Fernie opening for a band called The Stables and played that show and just decided to keep going after that,” McBride said. Fast-forward to 2014 and Shred Kelly are no stranger to performing on the road. On Feb. 2, the Fernie-based band will be performing in Nanaimo at The Cambie.
“We are really excited to come and hit up Nanaimo again, especially to be on the coast this time of year. It’s always a beautiful time to go and escape winter a bit,” McBride said.
Shred Kelly’s first performance outside of Fernie came in 2010 when they performed at the Plaza of Nations during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
“It was a pretty big trip for many reasons,” she said. “It was our first kind of exposure outside of our town.” McBride explained leading up to their performance in Vancouver they were overwhelmed and nervous. “It was super overwhelming for us. We were all really nervous because it was an outdoor show in the Plaza of Nations, and there were a lot of people coming and going. It was pretty nerve racking for us to play to people outside of our community because we had really good reception where we were from but didn’t know if it was strictly because we were from there.”
Following their Olympics performance Shred Kelly have toured across Canada and have played at a handful of festivals including the Starbelly Jam, South Country Fair, Beaumont Blues Fest, and the Kispiox Valley Music Festival.
McBride said that the success of their Olympic performance provided the band with additional motivation.
“I think it just gave us a lot of our courage to continue pursuing what we were doing and to get out there more,” she said. “It was a really great experience for us.”
In late February, Shed Kelly will be performing at the Folk Alliance Festival in Kansas City, Mo. “We’ve played one or two shows in the States before, but really it’s our first time going to America,” she said. “We are really hoping to network with some bands in the United States and hopefully plan some tours down there in the near future.”
Shred Kelly have released two albums, Goodbye July and In The Hills. McBride described their sound as “Stoke Folk”.
“It’s really high energy folk music that gets dance floors going. It’s primarily led by the banjo, so that’s our main instrumentation,” McBride said. “It’s really upbeat and mostly happy music.”
McBride said the band likes to focus their lyrical content on topics relating to their personal lives.
“Our lyrical content is sort of about our past growing up in Ontario and out East and where we are now, which is where we began our lives in the mountains,” she said. “There are some songs about our Fernie life and some songs about our childhood memories and it features a lot about landscape and all the beauty that Canada has. We try to touch on that in our writing as well.”
Shred Kelly are currently working a new album, which they hope to release sometime in early 2015. “We are going to record our third album in May in Toronto,” McBride said.
Shed Kelly’s upcoming album will be produced by John Critchley, who also helped produced their most recent album. Critchley is the former lead singer of 13 Engines and as a producer he’s worked with artists such as Dan Mangan, The Warped 45s and Elliot Brood.
“We are really excited to be working with someone who is so good at what he does. Hopefully it comes across in the recording as well.”
As the only female member in Shed Kelly, McBride said the experience has led her to take on a bit of an additional role.
“It’s good most of the time,” she said laughing. “I sort of have taken on a bit of a mother role in a sense.”
Shred Kelly performs at The Cambie on Sunday (Feb. 2) at 8 p.m.