Members of the Penticton band The Screendoors are so in sync all they need is a banjo and an hour in a car to come up with a new song.
Maiya Robbie, vocalist, guitarist and songwriter for the band, which prides themselves on seeing no walls, but rather just a screen door between music genres, said the song Black Horizon came together during an hour drive.
“It’s kind of a funny story. Tavis (Weir) and I had a gig in Kelowna at a house concert. Tavis was playing the banjo, obviously he was in the passenger seat. We want to promote safe driving here,” she said with a laugh. “He was playing, messing around and we both decided, ‘hey, lets try and write a song.’”
Out from the seasoned songwriters, came Black Horizon an old-timey, bluegrass song about a lost love.
“Maybe there’s a tone, a bit dark too. Listening to it you’re not totally sure if the lover is dead in the song,” Robbie said. “It’s kind of a bluegrass noir. As soon as you have new work you want to show it. We played it at the house concert. They were a wonderful audience, super sweet about it. We’ve finessed it since then.”
Those headed to The Screendoors show at the Dream Cafe on Friday, Jan. 12 will hear this song and more originals written by both Weir and Robbie. Through collaboration the songs are retrofitted for the sound of the Screendoors. The unique sound of the band is a blend of folk, bluegrass with a little experimental jazz rock fusion thrown in.
Although Robbie would describe Weir’s writing and playing styles as more jazz based and her own as folk inspired, there’s a meeting of the middle that occurs.
“It’s neat actually. there’s definitely some crossover. Lyrically we somewhat have similar sensibility. I think we are both in our own ways trying to do something new musically,” she said.
Both Robbie and Weir are music teachers and have known each other for years along with other members of the band Dave Mai, keyboard, banjo, Stefan Bienz, standup bass and Darren Fillipenko, drums.
They decided to form The Screendoors as a festival band a few years ago.
“We are so lucky. A lot of us have played together in different configurations over the years,” she said.”We love playing together. It’s so much fun. I think that really translates for the audience. We genuinely like each other. When you’re hanging out with your best friends it’s not a chore.
Over the last year they’ve played a few gigs together as a band including the Naramata Tailgate Party and a corporate function.
Individually they’ve also been busy playing in other bands and recording music.
In the later part of 2017, Weir released a new album of original songs titled The One’s Who Go Alone.
“We’re all very supportive of our individual endeavours,” she said.
Friday marks the second time The Screendoors will play at the Dream Cafe.
“Dream is an awesome venue. Any musician will tell you they’re grateful it’s there,” she said.
Accompanying The Screendoors this time will be the Sunday Morning String Band. The Kelowna quartet features a classic string arrangement of standup bass, acoustic guitar, banjo and mandolin. The group draws inspiration from obscure Canadiana, appellation bluegrass, and a twist of contemporary stylings.
On Jan. 12 doors open at 6 p.m. show starts at 8 p.m. Premium tickets are $27, wings $17. Tickets can be purchased online at http://thedreamcafe.ca/tickets/.