Greetings from some local boys 

WHAT: Big Up CD Release Party

WHERE: The Boot

WHEN: Monday, July 30

It’s a greeting.

What a perfect description for the debut EP from Whistler’s favourite ska/reggae band. Big Up has only been playing together for six months, but with four seasoned musicians and a producer on board, the high calibre recording hardly comes as a surprise.

"The band was really hand-picked, so the acceleration in writing and getting the groove down came pretty naturally," explains singer/guitarist Doug Craig, better known around the valley as Guitar Doug.

The seven-song self-titled disk is a combination of originals and covers, a showcase of what keeps the quartet in demand in the resort. Rob DeMarco is the writing force behind the four originals and his lengthy experience with ska-influenced bands, Woebegone and One, is obvious. DeMarco knows what makes an audience want to groove and sing along, from the relaxed groove of Days Gone By – with lyrics that particularly appeal to the Whistler crowd: "Let’s spark one up to those days gone by" – to the driving guitar on The Devil you Know. It could also pertain to the Whistler lifestyle: "Searching for the garden of Eden, a place where you can start to grow/ still it ends in the same situation, you’d rather be in bed with the devil you know."

The upbeat arrangement of the Johnny Nash classic, I Can See Clearly Now, also doesn’t go unnoticed, conjuring up the desire to be part of the party action, rather than retreating to a drunken corner.

The other element that makes this CD a hit in the reggae/ska collection is the lead vocals of Craig. His melodic and versatile talents are a refreshing change from the slightly off-tune "speak" which has come to characterize so much of today’s new pop/ska sound. Rather than trying to fit into the scene, Craig brings his own personality to the forefront, which as any Whistlerite will tell you, is infectious.

This CD will serve as an important tool for Big Up, taking the band to the next step of its career, introducing them to markets outside the resort.

"This is our ‘Hey, how’s it going? How about giving us a shot’ CD," says Craig. "It’s a greeting."

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