What can you expect from the first Music in the Lake concert of the season on Saturday, Oct. 19?
Heartfelt harmonies and great musicianship, as the Clover Point Drifters — “the best bluegrass band on Vancouver Island,” in Music in the Lake co-ordinator Dave Lowther’s opinion — return to Lake Cowichan.
Based in Victoria, the Clover Point Drifters are Alan Law (guitar and lead and harmony vocals), Dan Parker (mandolin and lead vocals), Larry Stevens (resophonic guitar and lead vocals), Mike Kraft (banjo and harmony vocals) and George Robinson (bass and lead vocals).
During shows, they all play into one microphone.
“It’s bluegrass, and that means lots of harmony singing, banjo, some mandolin and some dobro,” said Law. “We do some other stuff that is songs taken from other genres and turned into bluegrass, but we stick mainly with traditional tunes. It’s an entertaining show. We’ve got lots of stories; it isn’t just one song after another.”
The Clover Point Drifters have been together since January 2000.
“We had all played in different bands, and some of us had played together before,” explained Law. “At the time Larry moved to Victoria, we got together, and we liked the sound, so we decided to form a band.”
Law has been interested in bluegrass music since he first heard it in the 1970s when he was playing in a lot of folk and rock ‘n’ roll bands.
“The first time I heard it, I was pretty much a goner,” he said. “When you first hear the singing, that really does it. It has a quality, that high lonesome sound, you could call it. We don’t do it because we’re a bunch of baritones, but once your ear gets tuned to that sound, it’s hard to get rid of it.”
Over the years, Law has seen the popularity of bluegrass music come and go, spiking at times like in 2000 when the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? came out.
“I’m old enough to have gone through a few cycles,” he laughed. “It’s never going to be mainstream, especially here because it’s not part of the culture, but there’s always a following. It’s a participatory type of music.”
Music in the Lake will present the first concert of the season Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Curling Lounge in the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena at 311 South Shore Rd.
The doors will open at 7 p.m., and the band will start at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5, all of which goes to the band.