One doesn’t usually think of Canada Day as a “Last Chance for Sunshine,” but if you’re from Vancouver it’s likely an apropos concern/album name any time of year.
And so it goes for Red Eye Empire, a West Cost rock/reggae group who will likely debut their latest collection of tracks in one of the sunniest spots in the entire country when they play Doc Willoughby’s Pub on July 1.
“In this album, and the previous album, we’ve really discovered our own sound; it really shines through,” said Mike Redmond who fronts the five-member group.
Those who don’t know the band as yet might find Redmond’s description of their style a little confusing. Last Chance for Sunshine is said to include a song with bebop undertones, jazz, a bit of rock, a bit of reggae and everything in between. But if you picture yourself on a patio in Whistler with a group of scruffy looking guys accompanying some gnarly, extreme sports crew, it all makes sense.
This band tours places like Invermere, Revelstoke, Kelowna and Whistler for a reason. Call it a California North surfer/snowboard soundtrack and what’s left is actually a pretty genre-specific, coastal sound for all seasons that actually does scream Canada for those who associate Canada with mountains, snow and the ski resort culture.
This is Red Eye Empire’s fourth album and, while the group doesn’t actually debut the CD until July 8 in Vancouver, Kelowna will get the sneak peak as we’re a favourite stop. Kelowna fans helped test-run the material early last spring when the group stopped in at Doc’s and played a good dose of the new material before stepping into the studio.
“Kelowna has really been good to us. It’s always a good party when we’re there,” said Redmond.
“So we’re just hoping the hordes come out to see us again.”
Red Eye Empire is one of the rare bands which claim two hometowns. Redmond is originally from Whistler and long-time friend and musical collabortator Gabe Davis is from Vancouver.
When Redmond moved down to Vancouver, and the pair started to build their empire, so to speak, they played enough gigs in Whistler that both places began to feel like a home base.
And while Kelowna might be an odd place to take a first run at a CD called Last Chance for Sunshine, it would seem that the weather gods might actually be working with the band.
Friday’s forecast calls for sun with a little cloud in a year characterized by unseasonably cool temperatures, big snow dumps, rain and clouds.