The Cruzeros happy to be headlining Canada Day concert in Kelowna

With only a handful of gigs together since 2008 Kelowna fans are in for a treat Friday night at Tugboat Beach

  • Jun. 27, 2016 6:00 a.m.

The Cruzeros headline Kelowna's Canada Day party Friday night in one of their rare full concerts in the last eight years.

They have only played a handful of local concerts since 2008, but on Friday night fans of the Cruzeros will be able to watch the band’s full line-up in a 90 minute headlining concert at Kelowna’s Tugboat Beach.

The Cruzeros will take to the TD Beach Stage in Tugboat Beach this Friday at 8:50 p.m. to play a set leading up to the fireworks display, playing one of their few gigs together since they stopped touring in 2008.

“We are thrilled at the opportunity to play to our hometown at such an important event,” said original member Curtis Tulman. “We live in one of the best cities in the best country in the world and it is an honour to celebrate that with our Kelowna fans who have given us so much encouragement and support throughout our career.”

After a 13 year career that spawned three albums, 20 top forty hits and dozens of awards, the Cruzeros stopped touring in 2008 and have since continued on their separate musical paths, playing just a few benefit concerts in Kelowna during the last eight years.

But the chance to play in Kelowna on Canada Day got the band back together and chomping at the bit to get back in front of an audience in their hometown.

The band will field its full seven piece concert lineup which includes main songwriter and lead vocalist Barry Mathers on guitar and mandolin, Tulman on vocals, guitar, harmonica and saxophone, Jim Ryan on vocals and bass, songstress Rachel Matkin on vocals, Jay Terrence on drums, Gary Smyth on lead guitar and Rod Miller on keys and accordion.

The Cruzeros were formed by Mathers and Tulman in 1985 under the name Sea Cruise, playing top forty cover tunes and quickly becoming a favourite of the pub and nightclub circuit in the B.C. Interior. They began writing and recording their own songs later that year and for the next decade enjoyed regional notoriety with airplay of their home-produced singles on local radio and television exposure though videos produced by the BC Music Project. It was during this time they changed the name to The Cruzeros after taking the band for a tour in Mexico. It was also during this time they bought homes and began raising families in Kelowna.

Their big break came in 1995 when they received funding through FACTOR to produce an album, which they did with Vancouver producer Bill Buckingham. The album, simply called “The Cruzeros” was released to radio in 1996 to instant and widespread national acceptance, earning them a JUNO nomination for Country Group of the Year. For the next 13 years they were one of Canada’s hardest working bands and most successful independent bands, launching three albums which spawned a total of 20 top forty hits on the national country charts, eight videos on CMT and dozens of award citations including a Canadian Indy for Country Album of the Year, CCMA Special Instrumentalist of the Year three years running and BCCMA Group, Songwriter and Album of the Year awards. The average year saw them performing over 150 dates across Canada with forays into the United States, Mexico and Europe and sharing stages with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.

Each of the band members remains active in the music scene. Mathers produces and engineers from his home studio, Redhouse Recording and has joined with Rachel to form the very rootsy and highly original Dirt Road Opera. Tulman heads the worship department for the Willow Park Church Network and joins Smyth and Miller in the eclectic gypsy jazz group Cowboy Bob. Ryan is a highly sought after studio musician who is regularly called to recording sessions in Vancouver, Toronto and Nashville while Terrence remains one of the most popular drummers in the valley. They all continue to live, work, play and enjoy their families in the sunny Okanagan.

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