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L.A. Beat

Jack Mercer and the Whiskey Bandits make up for quiet year

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Vancouver based saloon roots band Jack Mercer and the Whiskey Bandits are excited to get back on the road and “get in your ears” during a quick western Canadian tour which begins in Lethbridge at the Slice, Friday, Feb. 10.

Jack Mercer and the Whiskey Bandits make their first Lethbridge visit this week. Photo submitted
 This year they are going to make up for a quiet year last year which was mostly spent in the studio working on new projects including a new EP, a new live album and a new single they are going to record with renown producer Garth Richardson and release under Universal — to top prize for winning the Roxy Launch Project.

“We haven’t decided what song it will be. We’re doing the pre-production for it. We’ll go through our catalogue and let the producer pick the song,” said Mercer, who is happy to take some time to work on music in between shifts as a tug boat captain.
“It is a cool top prize through his studio Nimbus Recording because it also gives students a chance to learn,” he said.

 Mercer was forced to take some away from touring after blowing out his voice after their last cross-Canada tour.“ I blew out my vocal cords. I had a problem with the nodes shutting down my vocal cords. I couldn’t sing for eight months. It was really difficult because singing is my release and having that taken away was tough. I can’t say it was for the better, but it was a real learning experience. I know to take myself better,” he said, adding his voice is completely healthy now.
“Last year was more of a step back. We only play three shows in Vancouver a year, but we felt we were starting to get a really good buzz going for us,” he said, adding that he was pleased to be able to spend time in the studio with the new projects.

“The EP will be out in May and the live album will be out in April,” he said adding they hope the new single with Garth Richardson will be released around that time, giving Mercer and bandmates (bassist Tom Kuzma, fiddle player Ian Cromwell, lead guitarist Ben Parker and drummer Nate Campbell) ample excuse to tour festivals during the summer.

“I’ve been playing with them for two -and-a- half years. We formed to play the CD release party under my own name and we got such good response we decided to keep at it. We added Ben Parker a year ago to play more lead guitar,” he said.

“We just want to get out there and get in people’s ears.”

 Their tour, which begins in Lethbridge, includes two dates in Calgary, a show in Saskatoon, then a few B.C. dates in March on the tour that will span over a couple of weeks.

 Mercer draws on a varied life experience for his brand of folk rock music including growing up on a farm in the interior of B.C., working as a fisherman with his father and eventually moving to transportation working on tug boats and eventually becoming a captain.
“There is a lot of inspiration out there,” he observed.

“ It’s the second best office. The first is being on stage, of course,” he said.
“ I work shifts, so it’s four days on and four days off, which gives me lots
“The new music is more folk rock. We call ourselves saloon folk. We’re high energy, but we also play some heartfelt ballads. We’ve evolved along the way. It’s still about my life experiences, but we’re always evolving,” he said.
“ This will be our first Lethbridge show, though I have been through there before. We hope to get everyone there and out of their seats. We want to get in people’s ears,” he said, promising there will be a lot of new music in the set.
Jack Mercer and the Whiskey Bandits play the Slice, Friday, Feb. 10 at 10 p.m. Admission is seven dollars.

—By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 07 February 2017 10:24 )  
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