The Merry McKentys – a six-piece family band fro Cortes Island – released their first studio album on Dec. 18.
The new album, titled Out of the Woods, was recorded this fall at Dove Creek Studios in Courtenay and includes fifteen sweet and upbeat traditional tunes played on piano, guitar, mandolin, and three fiddles.
It was released at a concert and contra dance on Cortes Island on the 18th.
The band of traditional music enthusiasts is made up of five adult siblings and their dad, with occasional appearances from many other friends and family members.
The album tracks are mostly traditional Canadian and Irish tunes, with a few modern Canadian and Scandinavian pieces.
The arrangements aim for a traditional feel, showcasing simple and cheerful tunes with rich harmonies and lively accompaniment.
The McKentys started playing traditional music almost two decades ago while living off the grid on a rustic homestead in the interior of B.C.
“We were living in the woods when we started playing music together and are still rather accustomed to being a cheerfully anonymous back-woods family band,” Adam, the band’s guitarist, explained.
“Now we suddenly have a Facebook page and a Twitter feed and are posting videos of ourselves on the internet. It’s all a bit strange.”
Since moving to the coast they have toured around the Salish Sea on their wooden ketch and travelled to Europe, bringing traditional music and contra dancing to enthusiastic audiences in France, Italy, and the UK.
The pianist / accordion player Ieva sums it up: “Getting to tour and hang out with my hilarious family all at the same time is a really good gig.”
Purchasing information for the album, as well as tour dates, videos, and audio samples can be found online at MerryMcKentys.com (Facebook and Twitter links too, of course).