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Watch: The Slocan Ramblers: Harefoot’s Retreat

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The award-winning bluegrass outfit The Slocan Ramblers return on June 10th with their new album Up the Hill and Through the Fog. The all-star Canadian roots ensemble channels the past two years of loss into a surprisingly joyous collection of twelve songs intended to uplift and help make sense of the world.

Though the past few years have brought the group accolades – their 2019 album Queen City Jubilee was nominated for a Juno Award, and the band earned the Momentum Band of the Year Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2020 – that same momentum was abruptly halted by the pandemic’s brutal impact on live music. Over the next year, bandmates Adrian Gross and Darryl Poulsen both lost close family members, and their bassist decided to step back to spend more time at home. They channelled these tumultuous changes into some of their most honest and direct compositions yet. Up the Hill and Through the Fog showcases the breadth of their varied influences while staying true to their roots in the rough and tumble bluegrass scene of Toronto’s no-nonsense bars and dancehalls.

Taken from their forthcoming album, watch their video for Harefoot’s Retreat, another fleet-fingered performance and a toe-tapper from start to finish underpinned by their bold, dynamic sound. They shared the following on the tune:

This came to me on my mandola, a hundred-year-old Gibson with strong opinions, a dark sense of humour and a deep warmth that always inspires. The song wrote itself quickly. The band brings this one to life, grabbing textures out of thin air and putting their personalities right into it. I spent our last UK tour reading a book I picked up at a gas station on the monarchs of Britain, and Harefoot was a short-lived Viking king of England. He was rumoured to have died of elf-shot – an attack by invisible elves shooting invisible arrows.

Up the Hill and Through the Fog is out on June 10th; pre-order here:

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