The haunting, ethereal sounds woven together in their signature folk fashion are front and centre in the debut full-length release, Redtail Flyer, from Alberta folk-roots ensemble, Elbow River.
What began as a side project for a musical mother-daughter duo took little time to spread its wings and take flight, charting a course for success for the foothills five-piece since their 2011 inception.
Their February 2014 album debut received nods from critics, earned them opening slots for artists such as Old Man Luedecke and a CD release party alongside Bruce Innes (The Original Caste), solidifying their presence on the Western Canadian festival circuit.
Redtail Flyer burst out of its cage and began climbing CKUA and CJSW Radio charts instantly, fusing Celtic and new country elements with its folk-roots backbone.
“This quintet is making some stellar folk tunes.” — CJSW 90.9 FM
“It was a delight to scroll through the tunes on [Redtail Flyer]. They are knit together in a terrific way. I like the overall bucolic vibe with a modern twist.” — Tony King, host of AlbertaMorning on CKUA Radio Network.
The 12 tracks on the album (10 originals) are heavy laden with rich harmonies, tied together with seamless, traditional instrumentation and brought to life through the lyricism of singer/songwriter and rhythm guitarist, Leanne Copithorne and the songwriting capabilities of band member, Tim Jeffery.
Leanne is joined by daughter, Kaitlynn Copithorne (accordion, vocals), son Charlie Copithorne (mandolin), Brandon Smith (bass) and seasoned multi-instrumentalist and producer, Jeffery (lead guitar, dobro) — who also brings his capacious experience to the table, adding Elbow River’s premier release to his lengthy list of production credits.
Named after the majestic river that rages through the Rocky Mountains and flows east through Calgary — each band member is strongly rooted in the rich stories of the past and present that ebb and flow through the seasons. Their songwriting is centred on universal observations that transcend generational boundaries.
The sparseness of the banjo meets the dark, gypsy tones from the accordion to reveal a tale of star-crossed lovers in “Deja Vu”. Centred on the hook ‘I’ll be the one who keeps you from falling for someone like me, who could love somebody like you’, the song speaks to anyone who has experienced love lost or unrequited. Or anyone who has experienced the overwhelming power of love. Period.
A Canadian-esque tune that has hit all the right notes with audiences at live shows is “Money” — brought on by Charlie’s extensive Canadian Tire Money collection.
The combination of family and friendship has created a committed and dynamic musicianship that is all too often overlooked by the ocean of bands out there.
It was even a familial connection that inspired the artwork for the album cover, as depicted by Leanne’s other daughter, Tory Copithorne, who captured the magnificent high flyers at her family’s farm — it’s also the inspiration behind title track on the album, “Redtail Flyer”.
Influences include Madison Violet, Emmylou Harris, The Staves, Deep Dark Woods, Iris Dement, Gillian Welch and the Civil Wars.
Performance highlights from 2013/14 include the Martha Cohen Theatre, A Room Full Of Sound Concert Series, Mountain Shadow Music Festival, Bragg Creek Days Music Festival, Mountain View Arts Festival, Water Valley Celtic Music Festival and Windows on the West.
Stay in key in to hear this mature, dynamic collective of musicians expand their burgeoning fan base and become a favourite on the Western folk and roots festival circuits.