Modern bluegrass quartet Jackson Hollow is playing at Lorenzo’s Cafe in Ashton Creek Thursday, July 6. (Photo submitted)

A modern and edgy take on traditional bluegrass

The sounds of an expertly finger-picked mandolin pierce the air, backed by beautiful, cutting vocals

The sounds of an expertly finger-picked mandolin pierce the air, backed by beautiful, cutting vocals laid on top of stable upright bass and soothing acoustic tracks.

Award-winning four-piece bluegrass band Jackson Hollow is bringing their precise, traditional country tunes to Lorenzo’s Cafe in Ashton Creek July 6.

“It’s more about precision and musicianship,” says Mike Sanyshyn, who plays fiddle and mandolin, of Jackson Hollow’s signature sound. “But there are definitely some exciting moments and intimate moments. It builds — it has peaks and dynamic. There are a variety of emotions in there.”

Sanyshyn’s wife and Jackson Hollow vocalist, Tianna Lefebvre, agrees.

“It’s bluegrass with a modern, edgy twist,” she says. “It’s high quality.”

Jackson Hollow blends together sounds of Sanyshyn — Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) and British Columbia Country Music Association (BCCMA) fiddle player of the year, lead singer Lefebvre — a four-time BCCMA award winning vocalist, Dave Barber on guitars, and Kirby Barber on bass. Each member of the bluegrass band is an award-winning country musician.

“We recently made some changes to the lineup,” Lefebvre says. “It’s going to be awesome.”

With their new lineup locked and loaded, the Lower Mainland-based quartet kicked off the tour July 2 at the Kootenay Country Music Festival, and will be playing steadily throughout B.C. this summer.

“We’re just trying to get our name out there,” Sanyshyn says. “(We need to) get working — just get out there and perform and get some momentum.”

But hitting the road and playing across the province is something the experienced musicians don’t mind doing.

“There’s nothing like it,” Lefebvre says of performing live. “We all just love to play music. To play with people you love and respect — it’s always a great time. It’s always just wonderful.”

And they’re no strangers to bringing their music on the road.

Lefebvre has performed with the likes of Shania Twain, Michelle Wright, and Charlie Major, as well as at numerous BCCMA and CCMA events. Meanwhile, Sanyshyn tours with Grammy-nominated Canadian country songwriter Deric Ruttan.

“It’s kind of a dream job for us,” Sanyshyn says. “As a bonus, we get paid to do it.”

In their nearly three years as a group, Jackson Hollow has taken their signature sound to the BCCMA Hall of Fame show, 2015 BCCMA Awards Show, Rockin’ River Music Festival, Bands on the Beach Festival in Harrison Hot Springs, Envision Concert Series, Harmony Arts Festival, and Butchart Gardens in Victoria.

And at the past two BCCMA awards, Jackson Hollow has walked away with the Gaylord Wood Traditional Country award.

“That was amazing,” Sanyshyn says of winning the award. “It felt great that the association recognized what we were doing. We were excited to win the award. It’s rewarding to have this bestowed on us.”

Lefebvre agrees.

“It was special to have our friend’s name on the award,” she says of their late friend Wood, best known for his work with Backseat Driver.

For Lefebvre and Sanyshyn, having Wood’s name on the award made it all the more significant.

Currently, Jackson Hollow has an EP out, but Sanyshyn and Lefebvre say that they are in the early planning stages of their debut full-length release. Because for Jackson Hollow, it’s all about the music.

“Playing at Lorenzo’s is kind of a special event,” Sanyshyn says. “There’s some family and friends that will be coming to the show. We’re excited to be able to perform there.”

Jackson Hollow is playing at Lorenzo’s Cafe in Ashton Creek Thursday, July 6. Doors at 6 p.m. Show at 8 p.m. $15 cover.

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