Music makers unite in song

With a working relationship as much in harmony as their voices, the duo of Ash & Bloom are beginning to hit their stride as performers.

Ash & Bloom are in the middle of a Canadian tour which includes a stop at the Dream Cafe on Sept. 5.

Ash & Bloom are in the middle of a Canadian tour which includes a stop at the Dream Cafe on Sept. 5.

With a working relationship as much in harmony as their voices, the duo of Ash & Bloom are beginning to hit their stride as performers.

The duo consists of friends Matt McKenna and James Bloemendal, who are bringing their show to the Dream Cafe for a show on Sept. 5.

Bloemendal talked about their current tour which involves stops at venues across the country.

After a touring three weeks, hitting Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, they began the second leg travelling from Toronto, westward to Saskatoon before doing a bit of a backtrack for a special show.

“We flew back from Saskatoon to Toronto to open for Christopher Cross at the CNE (Canadian Nation Exhibition),” he said. “He’s great. I guess some heritage acts are not able to maintain the level of talent and skill he is. He was phenomenal.”

Their musical style is described as folk and pop, with musical influences coming from well-known duos of the 1960s and 1970s such as Simon and Garfunkel, The Everly Brothers and Hall and Oates.

“We’re pretty obsessive about singing a lot of harmony and doing unison but mostly our voices are singing at the same time,” said Bloemendal. “We do a lot of finger-picking on acoustic guitars. We also use a lot of foot percussion.

McKenna uses a cone modified to sound similar to a kick drum and Bloemendal uses a foot tambourine in order to increase their musical range and enhance their sound.

“It gives us a little bit of a chance to like, simulate a drum kit along with us, which really adds to a 60-minute show,” he said.

Since their meeting nearly a decade ago, they have been collaborating, first performing in the Hamilton-based band Garner before transitioning into a duo act.

“Matt and I met in a choir, so we were both singing in the baritone section,” he said. “Right from the beginning when we met, we were making music together and we were singing together. We ware both kind of studying music at the time and we were some of the few people there who were pretty serious about going on with it.”

They began performing in a series of different bands, first performing jazz before it “morphed” into writing their own music.

“We kind of went through a series of bands together over 10 years until the other members kind of fell away and the two of us were left and we got to say, ‘What is it that we really want to do?’” said Bloemendal. “It became pretty clear. We love singing. We love playing acoustic guitar. We love songs that are really deliberate and thoughtful.”

Bloemendal explained that although he and McKenna have contrasting personalities, they’re also complimentary to one another and he said it has helped them to stay motivated, to continue growing as performers and to keep learning from one another.

“Matt is one of the most sensitive and best listeners that I’ve met,” he said. “He’s got a very unique way of looking at things which I think makes for interesting songs.

Bloemendal, on the other hand, described himself as the one who is focused on grander thoughts such as how they can move their careers forward and the type of actions they can take to attain new goals.

“There’s this kind of balance between him looking at those specific details and me thinking about some of the bigger picture stuff.”

Their debut full-length album titled Let The Storm Come was released in June.

After wrapping up their North American tour, the duo will be heading to Australia and are expected be on the road until June 2015. Tickets are $12 and are available by calling 250-490-9012. Showtime is 8 p.m.

Just Posted

Osoyoos mayor Sue McKortoff shows a drip line used efficiently in a local vineyard. Most of the Okanagan is experiencing tinder dry conditions. (YouTube/Screenshot)
Extremely dry spring brings water shortage worries to the South Okanagan

The Okanagan has the least amount of water available per person and highest water usage in Canada

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
5-storeys still too tall for Penticton’s downtown, votes city council

Vote against new development leaves one councillor questioning validity of city’s zoning restrictions

Spiritleaf, Penticton’s first cannabis retailer opened in 2019. (Western News File)
Penticton expands cannabis store hours to match liquor stores

Cannabis stores are now allowed to operate until 11 p.m. in Penticton

(Jennifer Smith/Black Press file photo)
Poll: Should Penticton hold Canada Day celebrations this year?

The spotlight on residential schools has caused the rethinking of Canada Day

A committee held its first meeting on June 9 to consider opionions for incorporation of the community of Okanagan Falls. At present, Okanagan Falls is the largest unincorporated community within the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. (Contributed)
Study begins for Okanagan Falls incorporation

Committee held first meeting on June 9

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Employees at Playtime Casino wait outside while firefighters inspect the building after a small storage room fire on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News).
Small fire at Kelowna’s Playtime Casino as staff preps to re-open

Fire ignited in the storage room, but the staff were able to put it out

A fire deliberately set in a washroom facility in Vernon’s transit terminal could cost the city around $25,000 to repair. (City of Vernon)
Vandalism forces Vernon to close public washrooms early

Despite changes made by city, vandalism on the rise at transit loop loos

Fire trucks parked near the McEachern Tobacco Barn on Wednesday, June 16.(Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Fire at heritage tobacco barn in Kelowna doused by residents

McEachern Tobacco Barn is on the city’s heritage register

For more than a year, Rene Doyharcabal and a small group of neighbours in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood have been going out every evening to show support for first responders by honking horns and banging pots and drums. Now, a neighbour has filed a noise complaint. (Langley Advance Times file)
Noise complaint filed against nightly show of support for health care workers in B.C. city

Langley Township contacted group to advise of complaint, but no immediate action is expected

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

Old growth in the Columbia Valley, in the Kinbasket area. (Photo submitted)
Wildsight: Old-growth forests are being logged in Golden

Wildsight says that Canfor has been logging old growth at the Blaeberry headwaters

Most Read