Presented by the Rimbey Sleigh, Wagon and Saddle Club, The Wardens are bringing their show to Rimbey April 1 with their mountain music and stories from their time as Canadian national park wardens.
“Our music is really about the land and it relates a lot to our experiences as national park wardens,” said Ray Schmidt, one of the band members.
He and fellow band mate Scott Ward both have experience as national park wardens. Ward was a Banff national park warden for 35 years and is retired now, while Schmidt is working as one in Jasper National Park.
“He’s got some incredible stories of travelling in the back country by horseback, and we talk about mountain rescue and just the love of the land and a lot of wildlife stuff. It’s just all of the adventure that happens out there,” said Schmidt.
Rounding out the group is fiddle player Scott Duncan, who is one of Canada’s top fiddlers from Calgary. He’s been playing with the group since 2017.
“He really rounds out our mountain sound. We do three-part harmony stuff, and he’s our third voice. He’s an incredible fiddler.”
Schmidt added that a big part of their music involves storytelling.
“A lot of the original park wardens from the early 1900s were Alberta foothills cowboys, and that whole storytelling sitting around the campfire tradition has been maintained through till today.”
The band starts all of their songs with a cool story. They also travel with a big screen to project their images that are related to the song or story while playing their music, providing a multi-sensory experience for the audience.
Schmidt said all of their songs are original, coming from their experiences, people they know or historical points that might be important at the time.
“It’s stuff that people just cannot hear anywhere else. These are deeply personal stories that we are passing along to our audiences,” he said.
Schmidt said the group loves playing in community halls and rural audiences like Rimbey, as he finds people are so connected already with the land.
The group will be playing some new songs and material at the upcoming show in Rimbey, with some songs off their newest album Sold Out at the Ironwood, which was put out during the pandemic.
“We’re trying this new concept on tour where we’re actually testing out some new songs and seeing if we can come up with some creative new ideas right on stage.”
Schmidt said the name for their latest album was brought to light during the pandemic, as they didn’t know if they’d ever play live music again.
“It’s a bit of a call to a wishful thinking and not knowing if we were ever going to be able to play in community halls just like we’re going to be playing in Rimbey.”
Doors open at 5 p.m. with dinner at 6 p.m. and the performance starting at 7 p.m. at the Peter Lougheed Community Centre.
Tickets can be purchased at Rimbey UFA Bulk Fuel and Stationary Stories and Sounds or by the Rimbey Sleigh Wagon and Saddle Club members.