Three of the Canadian prairie’s brightest voices sang together for the first time last night, forming a new group called Flyingakite. The namesake is derived from Calgary-based singing banjoist Amy Nelson’s art-thirsty online lifestyle and fashion platform. Joining her, Ardrossan Alberta’s Kayla Hotte (Kayla Hotte & Her Rodeo Pals) and Fir Mountain, Saskatchewan’s Kacy Lee Anderson (of Kacy & Clayton).
I learned of each performer and their music last year through attending various concerts, sleuthing online, and via numerous recommendations from dear friends (Luke Thomson, Mike Tod & Robbie Bankes). Once acquainted, I steadfastly observed a similar prowess and air of confidence which shone beyond any genre alikeness. Despite obvious country and western surface elements, each musician focuses their repertoire on distinctly unique stylistic origins.
Nelson’s primitive, shrilly delivered vocals and clawhammer picking reckons influence within North Eastern American Appalachian music. She was a featured artist in last year’s Calgary Collection, a documentary series analyzing the meaning of regional folk music. Her favorite music is blues, rag time, old-time, old country and Mountain music. Some of her favorites include Dock Boggs, Roscoe Holcomb, Ola Belle Reed, Clarence Ashley, Etta Baker and Elizabeth Cotten.
Based out of Edmonton, Alberta, Kayla Hotte & Her Rodeo Pals play 1940’s style Country & Western music. Kayla Hotte’s love of vintage music is evident in her song choice and writing style.
Kayla is a recent graduate of the Grant MacEwan University Music Program. Although The Rodeo Pals are a fairly new project (formed in the spring of 2012), Kayla has been a performing musician for the majority of her life. She started with her family bluegrass band and as soon as she was old enough, she started her own. It began with the Bluegrass Angels, and extended to Shortgrass, The Kayla & Erin Show and now, The Rodeo Pals.
The Rodeo Pals have included some of Edmonton’s finest musicians such as Matthew Hotte, Jamie Philp, Marc Ladouceur, Luke Deutekom, Keith Burgess, and Gary Okrainec. Among her primary influences: Kitty Wells, Hank Williams, Buck Owens, Patsy Cline, Bob Wills, Ray Price, Faron Young, Hank Penny, George Jones, Tammy Wynette and Red Foley.
Hailing from the Wood Mountain Uplands of Southern Saskatchewan, Kacy Lee Anderson recently released her debut EP, Barrel Racer/Cowboy Chaser, a brilliant three-song teaser of things to come. She is half of a duo her second cousin, Clayton Linthicum. The duo interprets and composes music inspired by forms of traditional music from Southern Appalachia and the British Isles. Educated by their Grandfather/Great-Uncle respectively, Kacy & Clayton possess an admiration for music and stories of days past. Kacy’s vocals, virtuous and pure, weave seamlessly with Clayton’s finger-style guitar accompaniment. Although the pair are young in age, they’ve been playing music together for over a decade and have created a distinctive, and cohesive sound.
Some of her musical influences include: Leadbelly, Big Bill Broonzy, The Deep Dark Woods, Shirley Collins, Davy Graham, Mississippi John Hurt, Charley Patton, and Bob Dylan.
Welcome to the West is proud to present Flyingakite for the first time on Friday, May 22 at Sunalta Community Centre in Calgary.