In With The Old
by Brittney MacFarlene
March 1, 2016 in Artist Profile
How did Ellen Froese-Kooijenga from just outside of Martensville, Kasia Thorlakson from Kinistino and Jaxon Lalonde from Victoire/Saskatoon come together to form the old-timey, bluegrass group that is In With the Old? It all happened at the Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Festival/Camp!
They each started going separately to learn their different instruments, and all ended up discovering a shared love for bluegrass, old tyme and roots music. Kasia had been performing solo for a while, but had been thinking a lot about getting a band together. One day during the festival, she asked Jaxon if he wanted to jam and it went really well. A day after that, Kasia approached Ellen to join them, and the rest is history! They’ve now been playing together for about two years, and still go back to the festival every summer.
In spring of 2014, the group got together to record their first album. “We tried to record what we sounded like live, so we added extra tracks sparingly. We added bass on the songs that didn’t have any, and Ellen did some vocal overdubs. We did a couple songs live off the floor, too. It was original material and a cover of a really old tune called “Goodbye Booze”. We did it at Pulsworks Studio in Saskatoon. It was a great time!” The finished product is an eight-song album titled “Rollin’ on Down The Plains,” released in July of 2014.
The group’s musical influences include The Stanley Brothers, Bill Monroe, Del McCoury, Carter Family, Slocan Ramblers, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Donovan, Ramblin Jack Elliott, Hank Williams, Lead Belly, and The Everly Brothers. “These are all pretty old bands, but our sound is not strictly traditional. A lot of our originals are pretty modern songs - played on bluegrass instruments.” Their live performances showcase a very full sound, including fiery-hot banjo and mandolin licks, thoughtful songwriting, and beautiful 3-part harmonies. They received a 2015 Saskatchewan Country Music Award nomination for Group of the Year.
When it comes to their own songwriting process as a band, the majority of the writing is done by Ellen or Kasia, though they’re working on changing that. “We’ve been trying harder to work together to create new tunes. We haven’t yet completed an entire song out of scratch as a whole band, but there are a few new songs coming that are more of a group effort.” They’ve gathered a bunch of new material since the release of their first album, and are planning to start recording early this year. The group also has plans to tour soon, and are hoping to play as many festivals as possible this summer. One recently confirmed opportunity is at the renowned Merlefest in North Carolina at the end of April, which they are beyond excited about!
For more, visit the band at www.inwiththeoldband.com.
Photos courtesy the artist.