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Way Down Wanderers wandering up to Canada for first time

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Peoria, Illinois based roots/ bluegrass band the Way Down Wanderers are wandering up to Canada for the first time  next week for a quick tour including a stop at the Slice on Wednesday, June 28.The Way Down Wanderers play Lethbridge on Wednesday. Photo submitted


The Americana/roots quintet’s self titled debut CD has won them several awards after being released in February 2016. The Way Down Wanderers are  vocalist/ guitarist Austin Thompson;
Collin Krause- Vocals, Mandolin, Violin, Electric Guitar ;  John Williams- Vocals, Upright Bass; John Merikoski - Drums, Percussion and banjo/fiddle player Travis Kowalsky.
They are excited about the Canadian tour.


“This will be the first time we’ve ever played outside of the United States, so we’re just excited to see the land,” said vocalist/guitarist Austin Thompson.


The roots of the band began in Peoria where Austin Thompson and Collin Krause were part of a band for a different singer.


“When that fell apart, Collin and I decided to form a band where we had a little bit more control over what we were doing. And when that fell apart, I decided to try writing songs myself. John Williams was studying jazz and he joined us,” said Thompson travelling from Peoria to Chicago where most of the band are based. Newest member,  banjo player Travis Kowalsky, lives in the northern Michigan city of Alpena.
“He’s a great fiddle player, so we asked him to play with us,” he said.

 The 2016 self titled CD won several Chicago area industry and radio station awards.
“We recorded the CD in El Paso Texas. it is a collection of everything we have done so far. There’s a lot of bluegrass music and a lot of fiddle playing, there’s some folk and some rock songs and there’s a couple of ballads,” Thompson said.

They released a live album on May 27.
“We recorded it in St. Louis, Missouri. It has some of the songs from the Cd, but they are a lot different when we play them live. We wanted a snapshot of where we are in our careers,” Thompson said, adding they are in the beginning stages of creating a new studio album.

“We hopefully will release it in 2018,” he said.


While Chicago is mainly known for blues music, Thompson said there is a strong roots and Americana scene there as well.


“Roots music has always been special to us. Collin’s grandfather is a bluegrass musician, so he grew up with a lot of bluegrass music. We love playing it,” he said.


They are excited to play Lethbridge for the first time next week.


“There will be lots of harmonies and lots of instrument switching. And our drummer is a fine spoons player too. In the United States, we usually get off the stage and stand in the middle of the audience to lead  everybody in a sing-along,” Thomson said.
“We’re excited to spread our music across the border,” he said.
Tickets for the show are $10 in advance from Blueprint. The show is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Sunday, 25 June 2017 10:56 )  
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