A scheduling fluke caused three solo musicians to pool their talents and form the band Lion Bear Fox.
The three B.C. artists — Christopher Arruda, Ryan McMahon and Cory Woodward — had been touring together as three separate singer/songwriters. One night they were offered a chance to fill some free time in Winnipeg with an extra gig.
Trouble was, it was one 15-minute set, between other bands.
Since the three musicians had been playing some back up for each other during the tour, they figured, why not try playing together in front of the Winnipeg audience?
Woodward recalled that their collaboration went beyond just well — people were actually coming up to them after they had finished, asking when they were going to put out their first CD?
Lion Bear Fox, which performs at a sold-out house concert on Saturday, June 17, at Jean’s Joint in Red Deer, has since put out two CDs and was also selected as one of B.C.’s Top 20 Unsigned Bands.
The latest self-titled album is a collection of nine tracks, produced by Nygel Asselin (Half Moon Run). The album is described as “one part rock, a pinch of gospel and a dash of growl.”
So far, feedback has been very positive, with a Canadian Beats reviewer calling the band one of her favourite discoveries.
The deliberately paced first single, Battle of Me, comes with a catchy hook about the challenges of romance.
No Turning Back is a tune Woodward wrote after a friend shared her story with him. “This lady was from Prince George and always loved music, so she decided to move to Vancouver so she could work in the music industry,” he said.
The only job she could land at first was as a janitor in a brothel.
“You don’t make these stories up!” said Woodward, who’s glad she now has a solid job in the music industry. The moral is: “If you dream big, you need to learn how to die. How to fail. How to fall down and get back up.”
Woodward, who grew up in Edmonton, also relocated to the coast at the age of 27 to follow his dream of becoming a musician. He’s now 38 and sees things falling into place.
The singer/guitarist, of Métis heritage, is the “Bear’ in his group’s title. Woodward often went camping with his father, who taught him traditions such as selecting a “spirit animal” with similar characteristics as he possesses.
Woodward said Arruda, the group’s keyboardist and kick-drummer, is the ‘Lion’ since he has a tattoo of the animal on his chest, while fellow guitarist McMahon is ‘Fox’ because he’s crafty “and very family oriented.”