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Say good-bye to the Gruff

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Victoria roots/ bluegrass trio the Gruff  are calling it quits after  10 years with one last tour which comes to the Slice, April 14. The Gruff play April 14. Photo by Ariel Rubin
“It’s just time. It’s not the touring or the music, it’s just time to move on,” said drummer / vocalist and founding Gruff member Phaedra Kemp adding the trio has been together for 10 years — five including the current line up of bassist/ vocalist Terri Upton and guitarist/mandolinist/vocalist Jenny Ritter. Chris Herbst will be with them on dobro for this show.
“We just decided to quit on a high note while we still like each other,” Kemp laughed.
“We’ve grown apart musically. When we started we were an Irish/ Celtic band, now the closest thing to describe us is roots/country. There’s so many genres,” she added, noting the band has had a lot of highlights in their career.
“Getting to see Canada. Choosing a highlight is hard. We’ve got to meet so many people and musicians. We’ve got to see so many things we wouldn’t have got to see otherwise like small towns in northern Ontario,” she continued.

“I guess seeing the east coast for the first time in 2006. But we’ve met tonnes of friends and familiar faces in the audiences and at festivals.”
Their tour started April 7 in McBride, Alberta, then Edmonton, Kindersly and Saskatoon on April 10 where they will hook up with a great Winnipeg roots band,  the Crooked Brothers who played Lethbridge a couple months ago, to play the April 14 show with them.

 “We were going to play Calgary with them too, but we were double booked, so we’ll probably just be hanging out, maybe come to Lethbridge a day early and go to the open mic at the Slice,” Kemp continued adding their Wednesday show will include material from the Gruff’s previous two CDs as well as a new limited edition three song EP they are bringing along for their last tour, which will only include British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“It’ll be the nightcap to your CD collection,” she said adding the songs on the EP are ‘Commercial Drive,’ ‘Lights of Saskatoon’ and ‘Something Must Be Beautiful.’

“We don’t have any other music projects yet. We have other projects, but nothing official. We won’t be able to stay away from each other. But we’re not quitting for day jobs,” Kemp continued who is looking forward to her usual summer job of planting trees as a nice transition into the next stage of her career.
“I think we’re even better friends now than when we started. It has been so long.”
The show begins at 9 p.m.

— By Richard Amery L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Sunday, 11 April 2010 14:43 )  
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