Sam Roberts coming to Tumbler Ridge

Trent Ernst, Editor


Sam Roberts is coming to Tumbler Ridge.

Typically, when big-name artists are announced, it’s a sign that the Grizfest Committee has started booking acts, but Roberts will be in town the next weekend, August 10, and will be playing at the Tumbler Ridge Golf and Country Club.

Lynsey Kitching, general manager at the course says, “Sam Roberts is an amazing Canadian musician and we are very fortunate to have him come to Tumbler Ridge and perform for us. It is exciting events such as this one that help build and foster community and positivity in times like these.”

Roberts’ first album, The Inhuman Condition is one of the bestselling independent releases in Canadian music history. The Sam Roberts band recently released their fifth studio album, Lo-Fantasy, and has been touring around Canada and the US. They will be coming up to the great (hopefully not white) north for a special performance here in Tumbler Ridge, following their show at the Squamish music festival down south.

The band’s website describes Lo-Fantasy as, “The combination of sleep deprivation, excitement, uncertainty, and adrenaline, [which] pushed the band outside any notion of comfort, generating their most dynamic and inventive arrangements to date. It also helped capture the fiery spirit and urgency that have made their live shows so legendary, earning them spots performing everywhere from Letterman and Conan to Bonnaroo, ACL, Lollapalooza and Bumbershoot, and alongside heroes like the Rolling Stones and AC/DC.”

Lo-Fantasy was produced by Martin Glover, aka Youth, a record producer and former member of the band Killing Joke, who has produced such seminal albums as The Orb’s masterpiece, Adventures Beyond the Underworld and the Verve’s Urban Hymns. When talking about the recording process for their most recent album, Sam Roberts says, “Youth would be very encouraging and constructive, and then sometimes he’d be ruthless. You’d be sweating over a guitar part or a vocal take and you’d hear Youth say, ‘Lame!’ in the headphones. Devastatingly direct… It became this real psychological trip. He’s there to create an atmosphere in which a record is going to be made, to shake you right out of your boots as a musician and hold your feet to the fire. And after a while you adapt to being in that frame of mind where you have to think on your feet and be ready to try everything completely differently. If you got Youth up on his feet dancing, you knew you were on the right track.”

Roberts says, that despite being the poster child for twenty-first century Canadian Rock, his influences are very eclectic, and working with Youth allowed him to explore these facets of his musical personality without being placed in the box that most producers try and put him into. Lo-Fantasy opens with the slithery groove of Shapeshifters, an ode to fluid identity and flexible self-image. “That song is a gateway to a lot of what happens on the rest of the record,” Roberts says. “It was one of the first I wrote for the album, an all-out dance track, and I felt that with a song like this under my belt, I wasn’t going to be pigeonholed into making any one specific kind of record.”

Though they are touring their new record, of course there will also be some classics thrown into the mix at their show here in Tumbler Ridge. Hopefully songs like ‘Canadian Dream’ or ‘Hard Road’, from We were born in a Flame, which won them album of the year, rock album of the year and artist of the year at the 2004 Juno awards.

This new album delves into the possibility of magic grounded in reality. Roberts says, “Low fantasy is a literary genre that takes place in a world very much like our own, but in which magic – or the possibility of magic – exists,” Roberts says. “It’s grounded in reality, but it’s an altered reality. You can still ride a train to Alberta, but there’s a place for the supernatural in this otherwise rational world – it’s out there and we haven’t tapped into it yet.”

If you want to tap into Roberts’ world, tickets will be available at the Tumbler Ridge Golf Course.