Bywater Call brings unique sound for last show of Tour de Fort Season

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

Bywater Call will bring their soulful sounding roots and rock brand of music to the Townshend Theatre next Friday, May 12.

Meghan Parnell is one of the driving forces behind the band. She and her partner Dave Barnes do a lot of the writing work for the band. Parnell says there are several different aspects to the band.

“We would kind of call it a southern soul roots rock band,” Parnell said. “There’s a lot of different influences, but the soul aspect to us is really important. We have a horn section, which really affects the way our music sounds. Then with a strong female lead vocal with a lot of slide guitar. Those are all elements that make up what our full sound ends up being.”

Bywater Call will round out the Tour de Fort season, with their soulful sound, on May 12. Advanced tickets are available at the Fort Frances Library or Ski’s Variety, beside Robert Moore School. They can also be purchased online. Bywater Call recently released their second album called Remain. The album is available to stream on Spotify or to buy at —Submitted photo

Bywater Call released their second full-length album in 2022 called Remain.

Parnell says the process of writing and recording the album was different than past efforts largely thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was a strange one for us. Our first album (titled Bywater Call released in 2019) was really super road tested by the time we went into the studio. We had been writing and preparing for that first album and playing those tunes every chance we got,” Parnell said. “For this one we had a couple of tunes written in 2020, to take on the road with us on our first kind of big tour that we did in January and February of 2020.”

Then the pandemic hit, leaving Parnell and Barnes largely uninspired for a while.

“As it dragged on we were like ‘We gotta get this rolling again,’” Parnell said. “It was a lot of Dave and I sitting in isolation in our backyard throwing ideas back and forth … Then there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to play the tunes for live audiences before we went to the studio, so that felt very different for us.”

Parnell says the album sees a lot of inspiration from those days spent in the backyard in the lyrics of the album.

Since COVID restrictions have been mostly lifted since last spring, the band has been going strong taking the music on the road across the world. They did two European tours last year, and got into the United States for the first time as well as hitting a number of Canadian festivals and other venues.

The band is a seven-piece group with Parnell on lead vocals accompanied by Barnes on guitar, Mike Meusel on bass, Bruce McCarthy on drums, Stephen Dyte on Trumpet, Julian Nalli on tenor sax, and Alan Zematis on keys. They will be hitting several venues in the northwest on a small tour through Red Lake, Kenora, Fort Frances, and Thunder Bay.

Bywater Call plays the Townshend Theatre wrapping up the ‘22-’23 Tour de Fort calendar on May 12. Tickets are available through the Tour de Fort Eventbrite page or at the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre or Ski’s Variety.