CMW Preview: The Rifle & The Writer!

One of the best parts of Canadian Music Week is discovering new music. And this year as we’ve been prepping we’ve discovered that we love brother/sister country music duo, The Rifle & The Writer.

Colby and Rebekka have a showcase set coming up during CMW 2017 at Boots & Bourbon on a bill that also includes Kayla Luky, Trevor Panczak, 90 Proof Twang, and Them Dang Rattlers.

The Rifle & The Writer (already one of our new favourite band names) have a brand new album, Flowers of Chance, available to stream and download and listen to now… and to make it easy for you, we’ve embedded it at the bottom of this post. Really, you should hit play now and listen.

And while you’re letting the songs wash over you, check out the Q&A that we did with Rebekka and Colby while they’re getting ready for Canadian Music Week 2017!

Thanks to both siblings for playing along, we’re positive that their set and that showcase are going to be a lot of fun!

Q) Give everyone a little background… Where did you grow up? When did you start playing music together?

Rebekka: We grew up in the country just outside of Brockville, ON. We started performing music together in a band in 2006 at the ages of 14 & 15 – mind you, Colby and I would record ourselves singing on our tape recorder together quite before that.

Colby: I don’t remember a time in our lives when music wasn’t a part of it. It’s just always been a mainstay.

Q) And now a little more about yourselves… Can you tell us 3 fun details about you?

Rebekka: 1) I am a very shy person, and get pretty bad stage fright.
2) When I am writing songs I always have my guitar with me as I like to make a melody at the same time – they are very intertwined. I also always write songs with pen and paper in cursive writing. It feels most natural to me.
3) As a pastime I love to go to the movie theatre – there are always so many great movies to see.

Colby: 1) I love reading. I don’t think I’ve ever had a social interaction which didn’t start with or include the statement “I read this [article, book, etc] somewhere that said…” I probably sound like a pretentious idiot most of the time, but I just like sharing interesting things I’ve read with others, and usually don’t pick up on their feigned interest until long after their eyes have glazed over. It’s kind of a curse. Nearly all of my spare time is spent reading.
2) My favourite movie is Tommy Boy. We used to watch it all the time as kids. It’s one of those movies that is hilarious, yet sentimental in a very real and genuine way. Whenever I bring it up to people, not many people have seen it though, which is a real shame. On the TV side of things, I usually like shows that are more black comedy/mockumentary types. On the note of things people haven’t probably seen, I highly recommend Delocated, and Review. The latter which sadly just ended the other night.
3) I generally have very eclectic interests. Recently the pedal steel guitar has become a big one, as I’ve been trying to master what Smith Curry recorded for our album. The pedal steel guitar is an instrument for masochists. When people compliment you on your performance, it’s frustrating because you wish you were better. It’s completely irrational, but for those who play the instrument, it probably makes sense. There are so few out in the wild (especially in Canada) that I’m happy to do my part though.

Q) The new album, Flowers of Chance, was just released – how does it feel to have those 8 songs out in the world now?

Rebekka: It is very exciting, and scary for me. We have worked so many years now to get this CD release. It’s also a relief that it is finally out, and people can hear what we have been working on.

Colby: To elaborate on what Rebekka said, when people asked me how it felt to get the album released, the only thing I could really say is that it was strange. The album reflects on a time in our lives when the possibility of never making music again was a very real thing. Country music has always been a big part of our lives. I’ve personally taken so much from the genre, and it’s helped me with a lot of different things over the years. I’ve always known that I had to contribute something back in return.

We wrote all of the songs on the record ourselves, without the help of co-writers. These days most acts write a song in a room with 10 people, or are pitched a song from a list and they record it. That’s not to say that method is bad, or wrong, or even new. It’s been that way since George Jones. However, I feel these days it’s leaning even more towards just checking the boxes of certain things and looking for a hit. Literally the first thing I said to Rebekka when we formed The Rifle & The Writer was that I wanted the songs to be whatever we wanted them to be. I wanted the music to be personally expressive, and work as a sort of catharsis for the hard times we’ve had. I’ve always said we wouldn’t do what is popular just to sell CD’s. Been there, tried that. I didn’t like it then, I don’t like it now.

I think it’s strange to have the album released because it’s like inviting strangers into take a look at the most personal aspects of your life. I will say that it is the first thing I’ve ever made that I wasn’t ashamed to put my name on. That’s not hyperbole either, I am very proud of this album. Hopefully others enjoy the journey and are willing to see where we were coming from with the material.

Q) We’ve been able to talk to a few sibling duos… what do you see as unique in your partnership as artists?

Colby: When it comes to certain things, Rebekka and I couldn’t be more different. However, on the fundamentals, we always see eye to eye, and I think that is why we work so well together. As we are siblings, I would be lying to tell you that we don’t fight about a lot of different things. I am an incredibly difficult person to deal with, and there are a lot of different people who would be willing to attest to that. I’m really awful at explaining myself, and why certain things should be a certain way, and am therefore naturally contentious. During these times, it’s like the unstoppable force vs. the immovable object. Our fights usually result in a complete halting of work, and is always due to a breakdown in communication. Ironically, we are usually fighting on the same team, as we more often than not have arrived at the same solution. Basically, we argue about the same position, and then are yelling at each other that we both agree. It’s a weird work environment.

Q) You’ve got an awesome Saturday night showcase lined up at Boots & Bourbon during Canadian Music Week – what are you most looking forward to from the show?

Rebekka: Having a good time on stage with my band, and performing our show to a new audience. We have never been in Boots and Bourbon so we are very excited to be performing for the first time in this Toronto venue.

Colby: I wish we were in Toronto a little while longer so that we could check out more bands at CMW. It’s awesome to be in a city with so many musicians performing in all these different venues. I’m looking forward to performing at Boots & Bourbon for the first time. You never really know what to expect when you play at a new venue, and as such it’s always an exciting experience.

Q) In 50 words or so, can you tell everyone what to expect from your music and your live show?

Colby: We’ve worked hard to contribute our own story to the tapestry that is Country music. We’re just going to be up on stage telling that story the only way that we know how. Hopefully people will be able to relate to what we’ve tried to do with our music.

About Joshua Murray

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