Crown Lands bring acoustic act to Fort Frances Legion

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

After years without touring in Canada because of COVID-19 Juno Award winning progressive rock duo Crown Lands are striking out on a cross-Canada tour they’re stopping in Fort Frances this Saturday, March 18.

The band comprises singer and drummer Cody Bowles and guitarist/keyboardist Kevin Comeau. The Times connected with Comeau just before the pair were set to begin rehearsals for their new tour which started Monday in Cambridge.

Among their inspirations are famous Canadian rock band Rush.

“Rush is definitely my favourite band, and it’s Cody’s favourite band as well,” Comeau said. “We’ve been lucky enough to get to know (Rush members) Geddy (Lee) and Alex (Lifeson) over the years. They’re very sweet guys as well as just being incredible musicians. They influence us so much not just the way they’ve carried themselves musically, but the way they’ve carried themselves as human beings over the course of 40-plus years.”

“It’s definitely our first time getting back across Canada since before COVID times,” Comeau said. “We were supposed to go out west a number of times, and they just kept getting cancelled and rebooked, and re-cancelled or re-booked over the course of a couple of years.”

While they’re happy to be getting back on the road they’re well aware of some of the issues they face as they head back out on the road.

“It feels nice to see the live music industry slowly coming back to life,” Comeau said. “But obviously there’s a whole other set of challenges with rapid inflation. Hotels are like three times the price they were before and gas is twice as expensive as it was before, food is twice as expensive. It’s definitely eye opening. Live music is finally coming back but it’s just become so prohibitively expensive to really actually do this.”

In an effort to offset some of the costs of long trips, the band has added a few stops to the tour in spots that weren’t planned initially in a slightly different format than usual.

“When we’re up in northern Ontario we have a number of shows that are very unique to what we do,” Comeau said. “Because typically when I say the full band, it’s just the two of us with a slew of equipment to pull off the sound of the four or five piece band, which is two people. That takes a lot of equipment, a lot of production and a lot of crew.”

As they put on their shows in Fort Frances as well as Geraldton before and Red Lake after, the duo will be trying something different that doesn’t require the same equipment and crew as a ‘full band’ show.

“We figured we’d do some kind of experimental shows where we’re doing two sets, where we’re doing two sets. We open up with a very meditative sort of sound that’s influenced by people like (guitarist) Robert Fripp and (British musician) Brian Eno. Cody, the drummer/singer is actually a really accomplished Native American Flute player, so we incorporate that with percussion and create ambient music that is greatly influenced by traditional indigenous music as well.”

Juno Award-winning band Crown Lands will be hitting the stage at the Royal Canadian legion, for an acoustic show, on March 18. The event is hosted by Tour de Fort, and tickets are still available. – Submitted photo

The second set will include acoustic versions of songs the band has played for a while and some songs that don’t get played at their shows because they don’t fit the typical style of their shows.

“The economic impact of a pandemic can completely change a band’s trajectory,” Comeau said. “Honestly, now, I’m really interested in seeing what we can accomplish with these shows where we’re doing more intimate softer renditions of a lot of our songs and busting out songs that we normally wouldn’t be playing in a full rock show.”

Tickets are $20 each, and are available in advance at Ski’s Variety or RefleXion Studio as well as online at http://crownlandsfortfrances.eventbrite.