The High Bar Gang comes to Raven’s Cry Theatre Saturday, Feb. 25. This seven-piece bluegrass band features a bevy of talented musicians including Dave Barber (banjo, mandolin and guitar, vocals), Kirby Barber (vocals, guitar and bass), Rob Becker (bass), Barney Bentall (vocals and guitar), Wendy Bird (vocals, guitar), Colin Nairne (guitar, mandolin and vocals) and Shari Ulrich (vocals, fiddle and mandolin). Ulrich, who many will know from her days with Hometown Band, Pied Pumkin, BTU, or her own successful solo career, may be surprised to find the folk/pop performer singing and playing bluegrass. “If I’m offered something that makes me nervous or scares me a little, I think, ‘I should do that,’” says Ulrich of being asked by Nairne to join to the band. “It’s been far more fun and more rewarding musically than I ever anticipated.” It’s strange to think of Ulrich, who’s career spans four decades, and who has 21 albums, two Junos, and a host of other accomplishments to her name, as being nervous of playing a little bluegrass. “The music is challenging to play,” she says. “I realized the reason I never did team sports was that I was always anxious about letting down the team and there was so much new music to learn.” But she’s risen to the challenge and now enjoys playing with a band again, something she hasn’t done since her early days.
As told by Ulrich, it’s been a dream of Nairne’s, a follower and student of bluegrass, to have a band dedicated to playing traditional tunes. “It celebrates some really important roots we have in our North American culture,” says Ulrich of The Gang’s repertoire. “And it’s fun.” Founded in the summer of 2010, The High Bar Gang has released two albums, Lost and Undone: A Gospel Bluegrass Companion and Someday The Heart Will Trouble The Mind. Lost and Undone was nominated for a 2014 Juno for Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year and won a 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award for Best Vocal Group. Someday The Heart was just nominated for a 2017 Juno in the Traditional Roots Album of the Year category. Clearly, The Gang is all right. “I have to say one of things we all love about doing this is the three and four part harmony, it’s so rich” says Ulrich. In addition to incredible vocals, concert goers will be treated to “a huge range of spirited bluegrass songs and really good playing.”
Joe Stanton and Simon Paradis open for The High Bar Gang Saturday, Feb. 25, 7:30pm at Raven’s Cry Theatre. Tickets $25 available at the Sechelt Visitor Centre, MELOmania, Laedeli Gifts, Earth Fair Books or online at stantonparadis.com/buy-tickets/. More information at highbargang.com