Spruce and the Meadowlark to entertain on Thur., Nov. 16 at the Beatty Heritage House in Rimbey.                                 Photo submitted

Spruce and the Meadowlark to entertain on Thur., Nov. 16 at the Beatty Heritage House in Rimbey. Photo submitted

Live music tonight at Beatty House

Spruce and the Meadowlark to entertain

How do you define the broad intersection of bluegrass music with celtic, jazz and the folk singer-songwriter musical styles? experimental or progressive bluegrass, or “newgrass”. Home Routes and the Beatty Heritage House Society will be hosting “Spruce and the Meadowlark” on Thursday Nov. 16th at the Beatty Heritage House, where you can hear for yourself this modern popular subgenre of roots Americana music.

A few years ago Aisha Belle and Donovan Locken spent five intense hours playing music together, having been drawn to each other by the sounds of fiddle tunes drifting through the dark campground of the Winnipeg Folk Festival. With few words spoken, the two left to go their separate ways. A year passed and music brought them together again, this time on the same western Canadian tour. The emotional connection between these two musicians crystallized: they wed 300 days later. Travelling through the Yukon and Alaska for their honeymoon, the dream and songs for “Spruce and the Meadowlark” began.

Aisha Belle is a rare breed of musician: she asked for a violin at the ripe age of two! – a request happily filled by her musical mother. She continued to develop her classical violin and voice expertise, eventually attending the University of Manitoba music studies. Aisha was the Gold medalist of Canadian RCM examinations in 2001. More recently Celtic music and song writing has persistently tugged her away from classical music, and she’s developed a strong reputation writing personal, emotive songs with lushly layered orchestration. Outside SATM, Aisha’s been busy scoring soundtracks for television and movies, including “Julianna”, selected for the Sundance Film Festival.

As the other half of “Spruce and the Meadowlark”, Donovan Locken leads a busy creative life as a multi-group & touring performer and session instrumentalist. Raised on music and prairie soul, Donovan has found himself immersed in the Winnipeg bluegrass scene. His relentless passion for music has allowed him to hone a diverse set of musical talents, with a charming approach to song writing infused with humor and heartbreak.

“Spruce and the Meadowlark” is pared down to its heart with these two core performers as they travel light on the Home Routes house concert circuit. They typically record and play with a full band based in Winnipeg. Donovan finds performing as a duo different but freeing. Having fewer instruments in a song allows for “space to play” and to explore tonal similarities between the two instruments. Aisha’s haunting voice adds another dimension, and has been described as gorgeous, ethereal, velvet, soaring and pure (think Joy Williams of the “Civil Wars”).

Their music is a cutting edge fusion of various roots genres, woven together in styles expressive of progressive bluegrass bands such as “Nickelcreek” and “Crooked Still”. “Spruce and the Meadowlark” creates a unique sound, a happy marriage aof folk and bluegrass through “poetic lyrics, soulful melodies and luminous playing”. For more concert information contact the Beatty Heritage House Society at bhhsociety@gmail.com or call Teri at 403-843-6497.