Through high energy performances that go beyond simply playing the music, The Nova Scotiables have built a reputation as a well-rounded maritime revue group that rivals party bands throughout the country.
First founded in 2014 by drummer and singer Brian “Hodgie” Pickering, the four piece group hold a repertoire consisting of traditional maritime tunes as well as contemporary cover tracks and originals.
According to Pickering, however, the group holds their greatest strength not in the depth of their catalogue, but more so in what they bring to the stage.
“When you’re entertaining or performing, just playing music isn’t good enough,” says Pickering. “People sometimes can be the best musician in the world, sitting up on stage and playing something amazing, but they’re very stoic or just not quite able to grab anyone’s attention. And it’s not due to musicality, they’ve just got a nasty look on (their) face.”
“If you link a bunch of people’s arms together and start doing the wave and one person doesn’t do it, the wave kind of stops. You’ve got to keep the energy going, don’t slow down.”
Bringing their maritime tinged sound west – though possibly not from as far east as you may expect – The Nova Scotiables are set to hit Grizzly Plaza on Sunday, August 12 for Summer Street Fest 2018, along with two shows on Friday and Saturday at the Regent.
Hailing from Calgary, Alta., Pickering is joined in the group by bassist, guitarist and vocalist Eric Minden, guitarist and vocalist AJ Baragar and violinist and vocalist Heidi Pittman.
Together, the group blends contemporary pop music with traditional tracks and maritime favourites, placing songs like Great Big Sea’s “Ordinary Day” alongside The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” with seamless transition.
The appeal of the maritime style, reasons Pickering, is the universal enjoyment it provides across generations.
“This music dates back hundreds of years. The elderly, they know a lot of the words to these songs, even though they’re not very common. Young folks can get out and dance to this type of music as well,” says Pickering. “So we’re able to entertain such a wide variety of ages. It’s timeless.”
Pickering says that while the music holds significance in its historic value, he tends to focus on simpler topics when penning originals.
“There’s not a huge process behind my writing, at least not yet. I am developing it, but currently I’m just having fun writing party tunes,” says Pickering. “My writing style is more like LMFAO’s ‘Shots.’ So it’s more direct and to the point.”
According to Pickering, entertainment has consistently remained at the forefront of what The Nova Scotiables do, with the earliest objectives of the band being to up sales at any establishment they ended up at.
Today, however, Pickering says fewer pub shows means less focus on liquor sales and more focus on selling the band.
“It started out selling booze, but now it’s a little bit more than that for sure,” says Pickering. “Doing these festivals and stuff, we’re selling ourselves. We want as much attention as possible.”
As the weekend performances approach, Pickering says Revelstokians can expect full energy from The Nova Scotiables.
“They can expect to be dancing, that’s for sure. They can expect to just have a blast,” says Pickering.
The Nova Scotiables will be performing at the River City Pub on August 10 and 11 at 10:30 p.m., as well as Grizzly Plaza August 12 at 6:30 p.m.