Sleepy Driver featured performers at Fuze 2018

Category: music 242

Sleepy Driver will join with the FUZE Orchestra for a workshop and performance as part of the New Brunswick Summer Music Festival.

Matt Carter

If the pedal steel guitar is to country music what the cello is to classical music, what happens when these two instruments join forces? An even better question may be, what happens when these two instruments come together backed by their respected ensembles on one stage for one performance?

Answering these questions has become a lifelong pursuit for musician Greg Harrison. Through his many collaborations and solo projects, the Fredericton-born classically trained percussionist has been seeking to identify and explore deeper connections between contemporary classical music and other genres.

“There is still a pretty wide gap between mainstream music and contemporary classical music,” said Harrison. “I think there’s a lot to be discovered by creating bridges between the two.”

Creating bridges is a big part of the motivation behind Harrison’s work with Fuze, the annual collaboration and sound experiment that happens each August as part of the New Brunswick Summer Music Festival. Each year, Harrison picks a well known band, often from the Fredericton area, and pairs them up with an ensemble of accomplished classical performers for a one time performance.

“I think it’s the challenge I enjoy the most,” said Harrison, who has helped curate the event for four years now. “I’m always into trying new ideas. I like picking bands I really dig who are based in Fredericton and then mashing things up with where I’m coming from.”

This year’s Fuze event pairs Fredericton alt-country/roots ensemble Sleepy Driver with the Fuze Orchestra featuring Robin Streb (viola), Andrew Miller (double bass), Richard Hornsby (clarinet), and percussionists Bill McIver, Joël Cormier and Harrison.

“Greg and I we go way back,” said Sleepy Driver frontman Peter Hicks. “He was in one of the early versions of my old band Queen Cab. He and I have stayed in touch over the years and he dropped me a note out of the blue asking if we wanted to do Fuze this year. Of course we said yes.”

Sleepy Driver surprised a lot of longtime fans last year with the release of their quasi remix album Decomposed, a collection of soundscapes and atmospheric audio vignettes created by isolating and layering individual tracks and outtakes from previous recording sessions to create a full album of music that proudly stands in contrast to what fans would expect.

“I think that any band that’s been around for a while has a tendency to get put into a slot and so that was one of our attempts to break out of that and dig a little bit deeper into what’s in our music,” said Hicks. “I think on the surface it can very much just alt-country or a rootsy blend but we like to think there’s a lot more going on.”

This experiment of finding new music within existing music is exactly what Fuze is all about and based on how they approach their own music, Sleepy Driver are the perfect candidates.

The August 11 event begins in the afternoon with a free public workshop featuring both ensembles. Attendees are invited to bring their own instruments and take part in a collaborative music making experience. In the evening, the Fuze Orchestra and Sleepy Driver will each play a set before joining forces for the final show of the night.

“This kind of thing really challenges us rethink our music,” said Hicks. “I’m really anxious to hear what’s going to come into our tunes.”

Fuze Festival 2018 – featuring Sleepy Driver (workshop and performance) | Saturday, August 11 | Memorial Hall, UNB | View Event 


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