“It sounds like the inside of a fortune cookie, but this is honestly it: you’ve got to try something to get it out there and if it doesn’t work, that’s fine, because you won’t live in regret,” says The Strumbellas’ songwriter, guitar player and vocalist Simon Ward. Wise words, indeed.
This Canadian six-piece group formed in 2008 and hasn’t been living in regret since. Their first album My Father and the Hunter got them nominated for the Juno Award for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year – Group category in 2013, which only pushed the band to work harder. “It’s always nice to get recognized by your country when you make music. It’s positive all around,” Simon explains. “The whole point of writing music, for me, is to share it with people. But it’s hard to get your music out there. So whenever you get an opportunity like that, there is a sense of contentment, but it’s also like, ‘Now that we know we can do that we want to do another, so more people can hear it.’”
While staying true to their alternative country and indie-rock roots, The Strumbellas released their sophomore album We Still Move on Dance Floors in late 2013. This album features songs like “Ride On” (Simon’s current favourite single) and “Sailing,” which was used as the opening track used for the Remembrance Day game opening montage on Hockey Night in Canada. Hearing their single play in that slot was a surprise to the band. “We didn’t realize it was going to be featured,” says Simon. “We knew we were going to be on it, but we thought it would be a background thing. So when we saw the whole montage we were pretty emotional and very excited about it. It was a good moment for the band.”
The Strumbellas will be embarking on a 2014 tour towards the end of the year, which brings mixed feelings to Simon; he’ll miss his family while on the road, but he loves taking the stage.“The best part is definitely once you get there and you get to perform for the 45 minutes—that’s a lot of fun. I also enjoy meeting a lot of different people in different cities,” he says. “The McDonald’s breakfasts are always helpful too!”