The Kootenay Music Awards’ artist of the year and best R&B artist is coming to Creston on July 12. The Cranbrook-based folk band Good Ol’ Goats — comprised of six students in grades 11 and 12 at Mount Baker Secondary School — has just released its freshman CD, The Train.
Don’t be fooled by the relative youth of the members of the Good Ol’ Goats — these talented kids are old souls that have garnered cross-generational fans. Their energetic bluegrass- and folk-inflected melodies, and clever, somewhat subversive lyrics are unexpectedly mature, nuanced and just plain fun.
Many of their songs speak to the rural British Columbia landscape that the Good Ol’ Goats call home, and others to the painful and painfully funny wasteland/wonderland that young adults inhabit and know so well. Driving the lyrics are tight acoustic instrumentation, complex rhythms and sweet harmonies.
The Good Ol’ Goats got started when Theo Moore, and Angus Liedtke, both 17 and friends since early primary school, were both experimenting with different musical genres in Liedtke’s basement. They met lead singer Nolan Ackert, 16, at Mount Baker Secondary School in their innovative musical composition class led by teacher Evan Bueckert.
“We got Nolan to sing us a song and we were amazed by the unique voice Nolan had,” said Liedtke. “Right there, the spark became a flame and we made Nolan our lead singer.”
They soon added experienced fiddler Angus MacDonald, 17, to the mix — a combination that was enough to secure the newly named Good Ol’ Goats a spot in a local talent showcase. The reception was overwhelming, and shortly after, they brought 17-year-old singer-songwriter Joelle Winkel and 16-year-old drummer (and Evan’s son) Julien Bueckert into the fold.
Songwriting is a collaborative affair: While Ackert is the chief songwriter for the group, all members of the Good Ol’ Goats have had a hand in song arrangement as well as penning songs that the band performs.
“When the songwriter — mostly Nolan — shows up with a new song, or sometimes just lyrics or a song idea, together we figure out chords or what capo to play it on and then we figure out where the bridge goes and things like that if Nolan has not already put that together,” said MacDonald. “Sometimes he has, and sometimes he wants us to figure it out together. Then everyone works out learning it at the practice and then we all get our ideas and give them: where to put rests, what to do with dynamics, where instruments come in and what sounds to have. And we try everyone’s idea out before deciding to include it, alter it or move on. Usually the instrumental players work out their own harmonies, melodies and accompaniments to the songwriter’s original tune.
“We work together really well on this and it is the most fun part of being a band, since all six give ideas so we are able to vary our sound.”
The band members cite Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, the Tallest Man on Earth, the Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, the Head and the Heart, and Evan Bueckert as their musical influences. And they’ve appreciated the chance to offer their music to a wider audience.
“The knowledge we have obtained in this journey has opened our eyes to the music world in a way we would have never seen it,” said Liedtke. “We have definitely matured (in some ways) when it comes to being musicians and our professionalism has gone up because of the band.”
Tickets are $12 in advance at Black Bear Books, Buffalo Trails Coffee House and Kingfisher Used Books, and $15 at the door, which opens at 7 p.m.; the show begins at 8.