Gordie MacKeeman and his Rhythm Boys’ new album landed on my desk a few weeks ago, and it is absolutely fizzing with energy.
Hailing from Prince Edward Island, the award-winning Canadian band serve up old-time roots music that practically yanks you out of your seat by the collar.
As part of a UK tour beginning this week, they will be making the hop over to the Isle of Man for a show at Peel’s Centenary Centre on September 7.
The Rhythm Boys were given the Galaxie Supernova Award at the 2012 Ottawa Folk Festival for outstanding live performance, and if ever someone was deserving of the nickname ‘Crazy Legs’, it just might be Gordie MacKeeman.
Promotional videos show him leaping around the stage, playing fiddle atop an upright bass, behind is back, or even while tap dancing. His thrilling dance style mixed with great bluegrass vocals, Peter Cann’s blistering guitar solos, and the lively multi-instrumental talents of Thomas Webb and Mark Geddes, and Gordie MacKeeman and his Rhythm Boys are a compelling entertainment package.
Fresh – if fresh is the word – from their trans-Atlantic journey Crazy Legs himself spoke to Island Life ahead of the band’s three-week stint of shows.
‘This is our third trip to the UK,’ explained MacKeeman. ‘We’ve had a great reception and we’ll be coming back again in January, it’s been going great.’
Their album Pickin’ n Clickin’ is brand new, having been launched over in Canada earlier this month. It contains a multitude of traditional flavours, from bluegrass to Celtic-tinged laments.
‘We classify it as roots music,’ said Gordie. There’s a little bit of rockabilly, there’s a lot of Celtic fiddling at home too. It’s kind of what we all grew up listening to. We have different tastes and it all comes out that way.’
Their last UK trip included a slot at Glastonbury Festival.
‘That was quite a time for us,’ recalled Gordie. ‘There’s more people at the festival than there is people on our island! More than anything we are a lave band, we enjoy the performance side. That’s where we shine, you could say.’
It’s a long way to come for a string of gigs though.
‘We love playing over here. It is tiring, but the drives are a lot shorter,’ explained the frontman. ‘In some ways the tour is easier, it wouldn’t be unusual to drive 17 hours to a gig in Canada.’
A native of Nova Scotia, MacKeeman – along with the rest of the band – call Prince Edward Island home.
‘It’s got green hills, lots of farm land. It’s a great spot to live in,’ said the frontman, describing a landscape not dissimilar to our own.
‘We’re really looking forward to coming to the Isle of Man. We’ve two days off after the show in Peel, we were scheduled to leave straight away, but we got the plane tickets changes so we could have a look around.’
Tickets for the 8pm gig are £16, available from Celtic Gold in Peel, Peter Norris Music in Douglas, Shakti Mann in Ramsey, Thompson Travel in Port Erin or via http://www.etickets.im/cc/