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Dave Quanbury turns U.S ban into something positive

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Though it might not have seemed like it at first, Getting banned form the United States may be the best thing that ever happened to Winnipeg musician Dave Quanbury, who returns to the Slice, April 21 in support of his new album “Still Life With Canadian.”


“ It’s about me getting banned from the United States for five years,” said Quanbury, who was last in Lethbridge last May.

Dave Quanbury returns to Lethbridge this week. Photo submitted
 He was living in Austin with his wife, who was attending university in the Texas capital, when authorities found he didn’t have a green card, which forced him to move back to Winnipeg in 2014 and caused him to undergo an existential crisis and a tough period of self reflection and life assessment.


“I married my wife there, but it’s not enough. I could have applied  for a green card, but didn’t. So that was definitely part of it,” noting he got turned away trying to cross the border.
“I had no funds, no stuff, no  job or home and had to move in with my sister and I had to couch surf,” he said.


“I couldn’t see my wife. I was playing in several bands down there. I had a life down there. My friends had to send me my stuff and I had to give away a piano I had down there because I didn’t know what else to do with it,” he said, noting that experience inspired him to write songs.


“I wrote more in that first year than I ever had before. I was inspired by that existential crisis and extreme depression. I wrote all the songs on my own and had to turn it in to something I thought people would want to listen to,” he said, adding it also lead to a stylistic change.


“When I was in Austin, I had just released an album of New Orleans inspired big band music. When I moved back I started using more drum machines and synthesizers, he said, adding it is also a far departure from the folk and country music he made with his popular duo with Brandy Zdan in Twilight Hotel.


“I still sing some of the songs I sang with them, but wouldn’t want to try to sing the songs Brandy sings. Nobody wants to hear that,” he chuckled, adding he hasn’t seen her for years.

“I don’t think she‘s been back to Winnipeg since I’ve been back. She’s living in Nashville now and she loves it there doing what she loves to do. And she’s arranged it so she only tours in the southern States and doesn’t have to cross the border.

 
 But things have worked out for Quanbury. His wife finished university and moved to Canada to be with him and got permanent residence status. He is studying geography in university and he’s released the new album which has more of an indie rock feel.
“I was inspired a lot by the band The War on Drugs but it’s been compared to Bruce Springsteen and Chris Isaak,” he said adding that he’ll take that compliment.


“I feel like even though  is was challenging, I’d like to think I’ve turned everything that happened into something positive. I’m proud of everything that happened,” he said.

He will be touring as a trio.
“There will be three of us. I’m playing guitar, but I also have a drum machine and three sequencers. We‘re able to play all of the parts on the album. I also have Jamie Wright playing keyboards and singing and Alasdair Dunlop from Sweet Alibi playing bass and keyboards,” he said, noting the eight show tour includes stops in Alberta, Manitoba and the Greater Toronto area.


“I don’t know why but Alberta has always been good for me,” he said, adding Twilight Hotel played Alberta  a lot.
“We played South Country Fair and Nanton, Calgary, Red Deer and Lethbridge,” he recalled.
He is enjoying studying geography, if only  because he has been everywhere  as a touring musician.


“It’s funny. I’m quite a bit older than everyone else in my class who are in their 20s. But when the professor asks if I have been to places like Phoenix or Germany or some place else in Europe, I’m usually the only one who puts up a hand,” he said.


Once the ban is lifted in 2019, Quanbury plans on returning to the United States.


“My wife’s family are there and I’d never make her live in Canada for the rest of her life. I have a lot of friends there. Even though its hard to believe with all the things going on with Trump, a lot of Americans are really nice people and I don’t want what happened with one border guard to stop me from returning,” he said.
Dave Quanbury and his band play the Slice, April 21 at 9 p.m.

— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 17 April 2018 09:04 )  
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