A connection to the Saanich Peninsula has brought the Boston-based Lonely Heartstring Band to Sidney for a show at the Mary Winspear Centre tomorrow (Thursday) night.
The five-member band made up of Patrick M’Gonigle, George Clements, Charles Clements, Gabe Hirshfeld and Matt Witler is on their first west coast tour. M’Gonigle, the band’s fiddler and a former Peninsula resident and Stelly’s Secondary graduate, made sure Victoria was a stop on the band’s tour.
“It’s great to be back here and we’re looking forward to showing the community a little snippet from Boston’s music scene,” he said.
The band plays classic bluegrass music and has been working hard recently to produce original music in hopes of releasing an album sometime in the fall or winter.
“The music we play is really accessible, it appeals to a wide range of people and I think audiences will really enjoy this show,” said George.
The show at the Winspear Centre will be opened by musicians Allison DeGroot, Jack Devereux (both from Boston) and Adam Iredale Gray (from Victoria) and will be followed by the Lonely Heartstring Band’s set featuring a mix of original music and covers of popular pop favourites including songs by The Beatles.
“That’s actually how we got started,” laughed M’Gonigle.
“Someone was looking for a bluegrass band that played Beatles songs for their wedding. We came together through that and have been playing together ever since.”
M’Gonigle studied classical violin with Yasuko Eastma in Victoria and when he started to branch out into jazz, blues and bluegrass music Sharon Stanis (UVic Music, Lafayette Quartet) suggested he apply to Berklee College of Music in Boston. Now, he is currently working on his Master’s in contemporary improvisation at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music.
Wittler, Hirshfeld and George and Charles Clements have all won major national awards for their musical talents and George also currently plays with the Boston Symphony when he’s not touring with the band.
“When we came together and started practising together it all felt very organic,” said George of the band’s chemistry.
After playing the Sooke River Bluegrass Festival last week and the show in Sidney this week, the band is headed for Tofino and then more shows along the west coast of Canada and the U.S. before they fly back to Boston from Los Angeles.
“We’re playing four festivals on the east coast later this summer as well as we’re honoured to be a part of IBMA’s World of Bluegrass Week in North Carolina this year at the end of September,” said M’Gonigle.
The show at the Charlie White Theatre at the Mary Winspear Centre takes place Thursday, June 26. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the music starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets ($15 for adults or $10 for 18-years-old and under) are available by calling 250-656-0275 or visiting www.marywinspear.ca.
For more information on the band visit lonelyheartstringsband.com.