The Contenders

Street Sounds: The Contenders are brothers in arms

Classic B.C. folk duo, The Contenders, releases their third album, of which Street Sounds reviewer Dean-Gordon Smith has a brief glimpse.

Classic B.C. folk duo, The Contenders, releases their latest album, of which we have a brief glimpse.

The group, consisting of Gary Fjellgaard and Valdy both on vocals and guitars, hearken back to the straight ahead days of working musicians when band leaders used to sell records (vinyl circles played at 33½ rpm) out of the back of station wagons.

The Contenders’ sound is roughly based on folk forms from the British Isles that took hold in Appalachia and moved westward.

The groups’ heartland affiliations aren’t touched by Greenwich Village aesthetics. Their music gets happy and the lyrics reflect restlessness and yearning, not unlike early rock and roll.

But that’s just a surface assessment.  There’s always something deeper with these guys. Their plaintive voices evoke the sense of a western spirit and troubadour lifestyle.

On their cover of Mark Knopfler’s The Next Time I’m in Town, The Contenders sing like brothers getting down with the freedom of the road.  There’s a difference though, the thing that animates The Contenders is a brothers-in-arms bond and a bravado celebrating the fact that they can tour and testify in their own way about basic values.

Local folks can hear for themselves when The Contenders take to the stage tonight (Friday, Nov. 6)  at the Okanagan College Vernon campus theatre. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets ($20) are available at the Bean Scene. Phone 250-558-1817.


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