Reggae-rocker stirs it up at the Byng

Buckman Coe performs his Midwinter Dance Party this coming Thursday Jan. 30 at the Byng Roadhouse

Buckman Coe is coming back to the Byng

Ferdy Belland

“I love the summer festival season,” beams Vancouver’s roots-rock-reggae songslinger Buckman Coe, “One of my all-time favourite festivals is the Starbelly Jam in Crawford Bay. There’s always an incredible line-up of artists – an incredibly positive, inclusive vibe; kids, youth, adults, grandparents. Love that festival, and the Koots are one of our favourite places in the world.”

And with that smiling joy awaiting the return of summer, Buckman Coe and his crackerjack band are set to ignite the upcoming Midwinter Party at the Byng Roadhouse this Thursday, Jan. 30.

The current polar vortex  is causing deep-freeze havoc across the  country, and it  gives a touring musician like Buckman Coe reason to be cautious. But with B.C. seemingly the least-affected province this unusual winter, Coe’s optimistic outlook never fails.

“I always worry, leading up to a winter tour,” he admits, “and then we get on the road and we’re blessed with good weather. During this B.C. tour it’s been incredibly mild. Not sure if it’s global warming or what, but sometimes it feels like a Spring tour.”

With a sound embracing Jack Johnson and Ben Harper as much as Bob Marley or Peter Tosh, Buckman Coe is one of B.C.’s foremost party bands. His current album ‘Crow’s Nest’ has been described as “an unrelentingly positive, accomplished triumph.”

“I’m not strictly roots-rock-reggae. My writing’s still informed by folk, soul, psychedelia and whatever else grabs my fancy. Most of my audience is in B.C. and a bit down the West Coast, simply because this is where I’ve been most active. There’s a tendency for the Canadian music scene to be dominated by folk, country-rock, and indie rock. It’s more inclusive of world or reggae sounds in the West, but even still I’m finding that my style is under-represented in B.C. as well. This can be an advantage; I’ve found that people are dance-hungry for something different than the majority of what most bands are playing!”

And far from wearing himself down into a tired, jaded cynic, the ongoing road life seems to suit him just fine.

“The independent, regional, genre-specific music industry is stronger than it’s ever been,” Coe said. “There’s been a democratization of the music industry, and bands can record and promote themselves much easier than ever before. With my music and my message, this independence serves me well. Things get better each year!”

Buckman Coe performs his Midwinter Dance Party this coming Thursday Jan. 30 at the Byng Roadhouse (21 Cranbrook St. N., Cranbrook BC); showtime 9 p.m.

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