Wolf Back 2014 about more than beer and wolves

Jason Kerr
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The third annual Wolf Back a Beer fundraiser is coming up at the end of March, and for many it’s a chance to have fun and raise some money for the purchase of a sculpture for the Mann Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

Prince Albert singer Liza Brown and her band Crazy Fox will be one of several musical performers at the third annual Wolf Back a Beer night at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on March 28.  

However, for the musicians, it’s also an opportunity to showcase their talents to a wider audience.

“We want the people that come out to help us to get full recognition,” organizer April Sutherland says.  “My main push is definitely to raise funds for the wolf because on a number of levels it can be just as good for Prince Albert, but, we want people to have fun.”

Sutherland says all the musical acts are volunteers.  Even acts like Riley Smith, who’s coming all the way from Victoria, are here on a volunteer basis.

“We looked at this as an opportunity to sort of get our name out there and get it known a little bit in Prince Albert,” keyboardist John Bell of The Experience says.

Bell and his band are a classic rock cover group from La Ronge.  They play songs from AC/DC, ZZ Top and Tin Lizzy, among others.

“We’re huge huge fans of classic rock, in particular Pink Floyd,” he says.  “You don’t really hear too many bands tackle Pink Floyd so that was a bit of a challenge to us, and I think, as much as anything, it was our Pink Floyd stuff that actually created some interest.”

They’re excited about raising money, but also about the exposure that comes with playing in other centres.

“We look forward to playing for them and hopefully it develops into some more work,” Bell says.  “We certainly don’t mind travelling down.”

For other artist, like Prince Albert’s own Crazy Fox, it’s a chance to simply try new things.  Lead singer Liza Brown has performed in numerous venues on her own, but this is her first time playing with her newly formed band. 

“We sing and we perform mostly just cover tunes,” Brown says.  “The style of music that we seem to be picking is mostly what we would consider classic rock with a little bit of the older rock sound too.”

In addition to the rock music, Brown says the band will play some of the songs she wrote from her time as a solo artist.

“I find that the music that I write and the songwriting process is a free form of, in some ways, therapy,” Brown says.

She wrote her first song in memory of her deceased father.

“In some ways, it’s telling a story,” she says of songwriting.  “I love great stories and (telling them) through the art and form of music.”

Trying something different also appeals to Elf and Owl, a two-piece band from Smeaton.  They were a three-member band for years before converting to two.

“I was the bass player before and then I basically learned to play drums to show our drummer what to do to get him up to speed to record the album,” Elf and Owl’s Myk Brazier says.  “He wasn’t ready to record, so I ended up just playing the drums on the album.  The next logical progression was just to be the drummer.”

Brazier, who homesteads just outside of Smeaton, says they alternate between loud sounds and quiet tones during their performance.

“We try to reflect the beauty of the natural world through awesome rock and roll music,” he says.  “We’re a two-piece (band) so we have to really give ‘er beans to really fill out the sound, but we’re also not afraid to tone it back and have a nice sparseness, which can reflect the beautiful Saskatchewan Winter.”

Then he adds, with a chuckle, “like we’re having right now.”

Like the others, Brazier says he volunteered, although he asked if they could play after going once before.

“We saw it had gone on the previous year and we just went in and asked if we could play,” he says.

These aren’t the only acts either.  There will be seven acts in total, including local mainstays The O’Kraut Boys, who have played all three years, and the Lazy Eights, a group of fiddlers and guitar players from Suntep.

“It’s fun,” Sutherland says.  “We’ve got the whole building hopping.  People are just wandering through, taste testing beer, listening to the different bands, picking out what they like and settling down.”

Wolf Back 2014 starts at 7 p.m. on March 28 at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre.  Tickets cost $20 in advance, and $25 at the door.  Last year around 300 people attended the event, grossing $10,000 towards the purchase of the wolf sculpture.

Organizations: Prince Albert, Pink Floyd, AC/DC E.A. Rawlinson Centre

Geographic location: Victoria, La Ronge, Smeaton Saskatchewan

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