Vanessa Kuzina and her Oh My Darling bandmates — banjo player Allison de Groot

Winnipeg-based Oh My Darling bringing traditional melodies to Red Deer

If the musicians of Oh My Darling were a tad more rebellious, they might have grown up to be rappers.

If the musicians of Oh My Darling were a tad more rebellious, they might have grown up to be rappers.

But the four female band members instead prefer playing the kind of music their parents listened to while they were growing up — or even the traditional melodies their grandparents might have favoured.

Rather than turning up her nose at her mom and dad’s Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen records, “I remember feeling inspired by their music, and playing along with it,” said Vanessa Kuzina, a singer/guitarist with the Winnipeg-based group.

Kuzina and her bandmates — banjo player Allison de Groot, fiddler Rosalyn Dennett and bassist Marie-Josée Dandeneau — each bring an individual approach to their Prairie roots music.

Dandeneau brings a Franco-Manitoban flavour, de Groot a bluegrass influence, Dennett some Celtic accents, and Kuzina “some classical country, bluegrass and folk.”

But all four musicians, who will perform on Friday, March 16, in Red Deer and on Saturday, March 17 near Rocky Mountain House, share a love of old-time music.

There’s been a revival of this throwback sound in Canada in the past five-or-so years, said Kuzina, who believes audiences here and in Europe really enjoy the toe-tapping acoustic instrumentals.

“It’s something we can all grab on to. And there’s a nostalgia to it. Maybe it’s out of a longing for a simpler time that we’re drawn to the music,” Kuzina added.

It should be no surprise then that Oh My Darling’s latest album, Sweet Nostalgia, has climbed to No. 4 on the national folk/roots charts, or that the traditional old-time tune Roustabout is included on the recording.

Kuzina said Roustabout was “the first song we played together,” and it’s been an audience favourite at concerts ever since.

Including the lively standard on the latest album was a given, since the musicians wanted Sweet Nostalgia to capture the energetic feel of a live performance.

“When fans come to see us, they can now take home a little piece of the show,” said Kuzina.

An original song on the album is Anna K., written by Dennett after she finished reading Leo Tolstoy’s tragic novel, Anna Karenina.

On the subject of doomed love affairs, Love Me, Love Me Not was written by Kuzina after she received a bouquet of roses from a significant somebody.

“It came to represent the relationship, as the petals began to fall, one by one,” she said, with a chuckle. “It was a very bittersweet story.”

When Oh My Darling was formed in 2008, Kuzina said the Winnipeg-raised musicians knew each other only slightly, but are now fast friends.

“There’s a special bond that happens between us — it’s like a sisterhood. We’re really dependent on each other.”

The group performs on Saturday, March 17, at the Grandview stage outside Rocky. For more information, please call 403-845-6404.

For more information about the Friday, March 16, Red Deer concert at The Hideout in Gasoline Alley, call 403-348-5309.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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