Placeholder canvas
Wednesday, May 15, 2024

A mix of the new with the traditional: Halifax’s Old Beef Stringband releases its debut EP, Ride Home

Ride Home is available now on most streaming platforms.

Halifax’s The Old Beef Stringband has released its debut album, Ride Home, featuring a mix of original and traditional music.

We would identify as an old-time band, but from there, we break off into different stuff. We play some country blues and some songs that are a bit more inspired by bluegrass. – Dane George

Formed in 2017 through the city’s old-time music jam scene, the band, consisting of Dane George, Ellen Kearney, and Amy Lounder, has evolved from playing traditional music to creating original works. This mix of new and traditional music is the basis for their new album.

“We would identify as an old-time band,” says George, a founding member of the trio. “But from there, we break off into different stuff. We play some country blues and some songs that are a bit more inspired by bluegrass.”

The origin of the band’s name, The Old Beef Stringband, is as unconventional as it is endearing as it comes from Kearney’s Yorkshire Terrier, Harry, a fixture at rehearsals and who has become the band’s mascot. “It’s a little embarrassing, to be honest,” says George. “It came from a remark about Ellen’s dog smelling like ‘old beef.’ But it stuck, and it brings a smile to our faces.”

The Old Beef Stringband (left to right): Amy Lounder (fiddle, vocals), Dane George (mandolin, banjo, vocals, step dance), and Ellen Kearney (vocals, guitar, mandolin). Photo by Megan Currie.
The Old Beef Stringband (left to right): Amy Lounder (fiddle, vocals), Dane George (mandolin, banjo, vocals, step dance), and Ellen Kearney (vocals, guitar, mandolin). Photo by Megan Currie.

Like George, his two bandmates, Lounder and Kearney, bring a wealth of musical experience to the trio. Lounder is a veteran of the Halifax bluegrass scene, while Kearney, now in her late 70s, boasts a musical history that includes performing backup vocals for folk and blues singer Maria Muldaur in her youth.

“Ellen was a full-time musician in her 20s and part of the New York coffee circuit,” says George. “She performed a lot there and then went on to be a backup singer for Maria Muldaur for several years. She then had a family and stopped playing music for a long time before she headed to Kentucky and did a degree in Appalachian traditional music.”

While George and Lounder have been friends for several years, George first met Kearney at a workshop the week she returned from Kentucky. The three then began jamming together before officially forming the band.

After working as what George calls a “community band” for several years playing traditional music, the trio started writing original material during the pandemic. “Once we had some original material out there, we got excited about recording some of it,” he says.

The Old Beef Stringband's debut album is available on most streaming platforms.
The Old Beef Stringband’s debut album is available now on most streaming platforms.

The album marks a turning point for The Old Beef Stringband. “Our band has evolved a lot over that time,” says George. “We started out as a very casual jam session, and the gigs we played for years were pretty relaxed.” However, in 2020, as the band began writing original music, they could finally record their debut album with Music Nova Scotia’s support.

The five-track EP features the album’s title track and first single, Ride Home, which reflects the band’s connection to Halifax’s North End. “It’s a love song that could be about an actual love of yours or a friend,” says George. “The lyrics describe riding around the city with your love and riding home at the end of the night.”

The remainder of the songs on Ride Home reflect the diversity of the band’s music, featuring a blend of original compositions and traditional tunes, including Hot Sausage Mama, a country blues number, and The Love You Give, a hopeful ballad co-written by George and Kearney.

The band will celebrate the release of Ride Home with a mini-tour kicking off on May 15. They’ll play shows on Prince Edward Island and St. Margaret’s Bay and perform at the Full Circle Festival Sofa Sunday Series. They’re also planning an album launch party in July.

“Then we’ll probably regroup again in the fall, dig more into the creative side of things, and see what we come up with next,” says George.

Ride Home is available now on Bandcamp and other streaming platforms. Visit oldbeefstringband.com for more information. You can also follow The Old Beef Stringband on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

Join the Discussion

Follow Us on Social Media

2,575FansLike
1,136FollowersFollow
681FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -