Folk/Pop duo Ash & Bloom come to the Queen City


Their music is for the dogs…literally

Uh oh, someone’s going to get blown up by a rocket ship/Emma-Lee Photography

Uh oh, someone’s going to get blown up by a rocket ship/Emma-Lee Photography

Mmmmm yes, the folk/pop duo Ash & Bloom (aka Matt McKenna and James Bloemendal) seek to share their new full-length album Let the Storm Come, and their love of music with the world.

In his younger years, Bloemendal found his niche for music in an odd yet rather awesome situation.

Bloemendal states, “I think one of the first things that got me interested in music was that I had a cousin who was playing power chords to some Green Day song out of an amp, and he had it cranked to 11. It looked really cool to me, and I wanted to be as cool as he was, so I pulled my dad’s guitar out of the basement and I started playing it.”

Wow, Green Day actually inspired someone. Oh, wait, it was probably the loud amp that inspired Bloemendal, not the Green Day song. Loud amps are way cooler.

Anyways, in addition to touring with their new album across Canada and in parts of the United States, such as Boston and Cape Cod (hmmmm, I wonder if there’s actually lots of cod fishies in Cape Cod…), Ash & Bloomhave high hopes to tour even further across the globe.

“We may be heading to Australia as well,” says Bloemendal.

Dang. That would be sick. Maybe I’ll just drop out of school, become one of their roadies, tour with them to Australia, and get myself a pet Kangaroo…such fun.

By mixing certain structures and subject matter of pop music with the instrumentation and vocals of folk music, Ash & Bloomactually make pop and folk go together.

To that, I say, “Well done,” because I feel as though if I ever tried to mesh that combo, it would be a complete ear-destroying disaster.

To add to their unique sound, Ash & Bloomnow include a little bit of percussion magic.

Bloemendal states, “We’re also doing some of the foot percussion stuff, which is a little more popular right now in some of the contemporary folk stuff out there.”

 What on earth is foot percussion? Well, according to Bloemendal, in addition to two acoustic guitars and two sets of vocals, McKenna plays a kick drum with his foot and Bloemendal plays a foot tambourine to “simulate some kick-snare patterns from a drum kit.”

Interesting. Sounds legit to me.

Evidently, this type of music by Ash & Bloomseems toappeal not only to human beings, but also to the friendly, frisky, sometimes flappy-eared doggies of the world.

While playing a house concert on Bowen Island in British Columbia, some furry friends showed up to encourage the duo.

“We found out that a lot of people have dogs there, not a lot of people have leashes, and they all bring their dogs to the concert,” says Bloemendal. “So, we had 5 or 6 dogs doing circles around the stage for 45 minutes while we were playing…and dogs just happen to show their appreciation for music by barking…they must have really loved what we were doing.”

I guess you could say Ash & Bloom’s music is for the dogs…literally. But, in my opinion, that is something to be proud of, especially considering McKenna’s and Bloemendal’s love for doggies.

In fact, Ash & Bloom will play a show in Regina at the Artful Dodger on Sept. 11 in support of the Regina Humane Society where 50% of ticket sales will go to the Humane Society.

Why, out of all the charities out there, do Ash & Bloomwant to support the Humane Society?

McKenna states, “We’re both big fans of the Humane Society. We are both dog owners…we would love to support that and keep seeing animals find those forever homes.”

Wooooo! Money for the puppies!

McKenna goes on to say that “James’ dog is a puppy. He’s got a Dalmatian. The Dalmatians for a while were really involved with puppy mills. His is through a breeder, but I think the cause hits close to home for him. And, my dog is a rescue dog. We really identify with that charity.”

Well, isn’t that special? The dawgs, Ash & Bloom, are coming to the Queen City to play for the dogs.

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