Fans of touring guitar player and roots singer Daniel Huscroft are in for a treat this week—a makeover.
Before anyone gets too excited, his infamously scruffy personal ensemble is here to stay.
As he explained in interview between an Egg McMuffin and gas bar negotiations, a lifetime of musical experience has him looking to add a crew to his solo style and he’s found the right fit in drummer Nick Stecz and bass player Jeremy Friesen.
“I’ve been touring a lot of solo shows and touring with my sister on strings, but I wanted to start a band for a while and I only just finally met some players that I’m really excited to play with,” he said.
The group will tour under the name Old Yale, otherwise known as the name of a road in Langley where Huscroft first met Friesen as he was moving out of a house and Huscroft was moving in. While living in the modest abode, Huscroft wrote and recorded his first album, Here is Just for Now, while Friesen worked with groups like Prairie Dance Club, My Dearest Friends and supporting independent solo acts in the Lower Mainland like Luke Nielsen.
The pair stayed in touch and, joined by Stecz, who toured with CBC super-fave Hannah Georgas this year, assembled a group strong enough to record nine songs in their first studio session.
The brief tour that brings them through Kelowna this Wednesday will be their first chance to really meld their sound as they try to launch a project successful enough for Huscroft to return to the country.
“I feel really healthy and really good, mentally and spiritually, when I’m in the country. I’ve been doing music now in the cities for like 12 years and I just love the country life, and I don’t want to miss out on any more of the goodness in life,” he said.
The sister he mentioned touring with is nationally renown fiddler Zav RT. The pair grew up in Creston, B.C., with two other siblings, and Huscroft would like to return to the Kootenays—the family has been in the area for 120 years.
To see him today, typically unshaven and never out of the dusty jeans, it’s hard to imagine that young Daniel was a part of the Huscroft Family Band, decked out in a cummerbund and knickers to compete in fiddle competitions or backing his musician father in a travelling musical act.
But thanks to a chance introduction to Christian rock artist Sarah Kelly—with whom he co-wrote her albums Take Me Away and Between the Lines, earning Grammy nominations on both fronts—he’s worked with major names like Guns N’ Roses producer Mike Clink, infamous guitar player Slash, and Alanis Morissette’s bandmates Gary Novak and Nick Lashley, winning the right to dress as he pleases when he entertains.
Huscroft is starting to generate a following in Kelowna. Shows at The Bike Shop, The Minstrel Café and The Streaming Café have all proven a draw in recent months.
“I’ve known for a long time that this is what I wanted to do, but it is a struggle,” he said. “It’s two different things being in business and being a musician. I have no problem playing guitar all day and practicing, but sit me down at a computer and I’m just hopeless.”
As such he’s hired Okanagan-based management to handle the paperwork. This latest booking is for one of the newer music venues in town, Fernando’s Taqueria on Bernard Avenue. The restaurant has recently extended its hours and started booking acts with The Stowaways last week and Adam & The Amethysts, Dec. 3.
Daniel Huscroft plays Fernando’s Taqueria, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 8 p.m. Fernandos lists their live music on their Facebook page, Fernando’s Taqueria on Bernard.