The Long War is one of three bands playing the Summer Street Festival in Grizzly Plaza on Saturday, Aug. 19. ~ Photo contributed

CBC Searchlight winners The Long War play Grizzly Plaza

The Long War will be joined by Small Town Artillery and Year of the Wolf on Saturday, Aug. 19

By Emily Kemp, Special to the Review

Soulful, wistful and captivating — The Long War’s song Breathe In Breathe Out saw the band win the CBC Searchlight contest for 2017 and they will show off their successful sound at Grizzly Plaza this Saturday, August 19.

The band is touring with Vancouver-based groups Small Town Artillery and Year of the Wolf, who will follow their set. Overall it will be a mixed night of rock and folk and the Review chatted to The Long War’s singer Jarrett Lee to find out more.

What can Revelstoke expect?

Variety — we have a modern folk rock sound and love exploring songs stripped down to acoustic guitar and four part harmonies. But we also love to amp it up too and get the keys and guitars growling. The songs are all stories, there’s lots of Canadian content and emotion conveyed from the surroundings each was written in. We can’t wait to meet some new folks, come say hi!

What are the dynamics of your group?

The band started with Chad (Gilmour) and I, we met years ago in Ottawa. I ran an open mic and Chad would come by and perform. Years later our paths crossed in Vancouver, he convinced me to play our first show together as a duo that luckily Neil (Williamson) and Carson (Webber) happened to be in the crowd. Later on we brought in my sister Jessica to round out the sound.

It’s a positive environment. It’s hard not to feel good when a group of people all uniquely talented come together to form a song. It’s what makes the music distinctly The Long War. That group effort and experience is impossible not to enjoy.

What’s the story behind your name?

The band Elbow has a song called The Long War Shuffle. But in a way the name has taken on another meaning for us. It symbolizes the struggle and hard work we all continue to put into our music.

What are your hobbies outside of your music?

We all live in Vancouver so going to the beach to decompress is a popular activity for all of us. It’s an inspiring part of the world. Chad and I share a love for sailing. The quiet on the water, the solitude, and the power of the wind. Just feeling at peace and humbled by the ocean gets the creative juices flowing.

How did it feel to win the CBC Searchlight?

Surprised, humbled it all still feels very surreal. By the time we won Searchlight we had been a band for only a year so we were doing something right — but it all happened so fast. Canada has no shortage of talent. We’re all learning that this is an opportunity and that we have to continue working hard just to be in the conversation with all of these incredible artists.

How has the journey been since winning?

Journey is a good way to describe it. It’s been dreamlike, things are lining up in a special way. This tour and our Revelstoke show are all a part of the journey we’re on. We’re excited to play music and humbled by the support and love.

The Long War will play at the Summer Street Festival in Grizzly Plaza this Saturday, Aug. 19, from 6:30–7:15 p.m.

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