Old Man's Beard gathers no lichen

PARTYCLOSER

WHAT: Kamloops Canadian and International Film Festival's closing party

WHEN: Thursday, 9 p.m. (doors open at 8), after the 7 p.m. screening of Summer Hours

WHERE: Blackwell Hall, Plaza Heritage Hotel

TICKETS: $10 in advance from Movie Mart or $15 at the door

Some of them have beards, but they're not old and they don't hang from low branches.

Originally an acoustic duo out of Kootenay coal country, Old Man's Beard migrated by way of Revelstoke to Salmon Arm, where they're now based as a Shuswap-fortified quintet.

Musical diversity is a key strength for the band, which performs twice in Kamloops over the next few days. They play Heroe's Pub at TRU Wednesday before entertaining at the closing party of the Kamloops Canadian and International Film Festival Thursday in the newly renovated Blackwell Hall.

With future festivals in mind. organizers aim to attract a younger group to the party. Despite their name, Old Man's Beard does have youth on their side.

Mike Shaver, vocalist and guitarist, met player Jesse Clarke, guitarist and mandolin player, when the two were skiing in Fernie. They formed a musical duo in 2008. After moving west, they added bassist Darrin Herting (formerly of Arthur Funkarelli), drummer Leon Power (Steve Brockley, Herting Verberg Power Trio) and vocalist Stephanie Webster.

"There are three or four songwriters in the band and our pool of influences in terms of genres is fairly wide," said Mike Shaver, vocalist and guitarist. "So we figured let's put those in the mix, a mix of country, reggae and rock 'n' roll. It's fun because we get to do everything."

Foot-stomping rhythms blend with melodic hooks, finished with a witty, eclectic lyrical edge in songs such as Tofino, Shotgun Showdown and Dawson Bound.

Through steady gigs around Salmon Arm in the past year, the band's reputation precedes them with rave reviews. They played at a Canada Day celebration there and a pre-show for Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival.

Not long off the mark, they picked up a nomination as best new artists at the B.C. Interior Music Awards. Now they're booked for Roots & Blues next August. Before that, though, they're rolling across B.C. with their debut CD, The River, in hand.

"Our whole idea is to get to every town we can in the area," Shaver said.

Show time is 8 p.m. for both of the local gigs.

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