“The Oars, which consists of songwriter Ilana Cameron on keyboards and vocals, with Kurt Goltz on guitar. Normally Creston’s premier fiddler Karl Sommerfeld tours with the band but unfortunately circumstances prevented him from making the trip. The band was touring the Columbia Basin on a grant from the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance. When asked to describe their music, Cameron said “I’m inspired by a sense of place”. In her teens she studied with renowned Canadian musician Veda Hille but it wasn’t until she began collaborating with Goltz that she really found her musical stride. In recent years they performed at the hike-in-only festival Peppermill, in restaurants, in living rooms and on many stages on the West Coast and in the Kootenays. Their current tour will take them around to different communities in the Columbia Basin region. They are based in Creston and are excited to explore their ‘backyard’ while playing for new audiences and exploring new communities. “
In a nutshell the music is
- PASTORAL – Portraying Rural Life and the Countryside
- ETHEREAL – Marked by unusual delicacy, lightness and refinement
The combination of Ilana’s Nord Keyboard and Kurt Goltz’s feather weight acoustic guitar was perfect for the contents and sentiments of the songs. This is not wildly exciting music but rather one more about time, place and old time characters of the region. The Ilana’s Nord keyboard is an interesting instrument that is hand built in Sweden. This is the second one I have heard in a local environment and each time I have been entranced by the combination of sounds available from the instrument. It certainly is a step up and away from the old Fender Rhodes electric piano. Kurt was playing a Blueridge BR60 Dreadnought guitar that had been rehabilitated by Michael Heiden in Creston. Most of the material was composed by Ilana at the keyboard and as a result there were a lot of “guitar unfriendly” keys to challenge Kurt. He has risen to each occasion with some deft use of of very weird open tunings that contributed to the “spacey” feel of the music. Some of Ilana’s song titles include The Harbour, Brave, Tigers, Constellation, Strike, Ruby’s Jam (inspired by an old pioneer novel) , Cabin Song, Bluebell (a mining song – with some very nice lead guitar work), Slow Arrow, and, of course their namesake The Oars.
As part of a budding project Kurt resurrected some songs by a colleague from way back. The original writer, Mark Arden, has since died and his songs only live on in some very bad recordings made some years ago. The long term plan is to collect the songs together and, along with old friends and acquaintances, bring the songs back to life.
The only cover song of the evening was Flight – a song originally done by a band called Grizzly Bear whose home base, ironically, is Brooklyn, USA