This isn’t the typical gathering of singer-songwriter folks.
When Jason Kodie, Jody Shenkarek and John Guliak take Kelowna’s Milkcrate Records stage May 15 and Lorenzo’s Cafe in Ashton Creek May 16 for their In the Round and All Together tour, they will each act as a cog in a well-oiled music machine.
“From the beginning, I didn’t want it to be three singer-songwriters who have never played together,” Kodie said over the phone from his Edmonton stomping grounds. “I wanted to take note of the tones of the set, not jumping keys from song to song, just find what’s complimentary for our voices and harmonies. We’ve put some thought into our sets and what would sound best.”
Kodie, who rocks the accordion and keys, has jammed with roots legend Guliak for about three years. Finally, the pair decided to add a tertiary element and their In the Round and All Together tour was born.
“Too many dudes in a van makes for a long time, so we thought we’d bring Jody,” Kodie laughed. “This is the first time we’ve gone out as a trio and exploring new material. We’re just keeping it interesting for ourselves.”
Shenkarek, also an Edmonton product, entered the folk community in the ’90s as a founding member of Edmonton’s All Woman Brothers Band. Nowadays, Shenkarek takes the stage with her band Country Vulture with Gavin Dunn on the axe, Brian Golightly on the skins and Tim Balash towing the bass line.
Guliak, drawing from his more than three-decade career in the Canadian jams scene, juxtaposes his prairie roots against his later urban experiences in Glasgow, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto for songs that are reminiscent of Canadian greats Gordon Lightfoot and Leonard Cohen.
Kodie, a lifelong musician with University of Alberta smarts who has a solo release on the horizon, is stoked to return to Lorenzo’s after many years.
“Lorne’s a great guy. It was a different lifetime ago, but we had a wonderful time,” Kodie said. “We’re really looking forward to getting back to Lorenzo’s and getting out of this crappy winter.”
Kodie, Shenkarek and Guliak’s two-week tour sees eight B.C. stops with gigs in the Interior before moving on to the Lower Mainland and the Island.
And for the trio, the opportunity to rock live stages across Canada is their proverbial sum and substance.
“In Edmonton, we’ve lost a lot of live venues. It’s pretty much a trend in western Canada,” Kodie said.
“Given the digital commodity nature of music, these days we’re down to ones and zeroes, and then there’s playing live — that’s where the connections are made. It’s the tangible emotion of live music, that’s what gives us juice to go on.”
The In the Round and All Together tour hits Kelowna’s Milkcrate Records May 15 at 7 p.m. Cover is $10. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The trio’s Lorenzo’s gig is May 16 at 8 p.m. Cover is $10 and doors open at 6 p.m.