Shake it up with Coal Davie and the Rockabillionaires 

Vancouver 'urban rockabilly' band returns to Whistler on Friday, Aug. 9

click to enlarge Coal Davie and the Rockabillionaires are playing at The Point Artist-Run Centre on Friday, Aug. 9. Photo submitted
  • Coal Davie and the Rockabillionaires are playing at The Point Artist-Run Centre on Friday, Aug. 9. Photo submitted

Coal Davie and the Rockabillionaires have a simple recipe for enjoying their live shows.

"They just have to shake, smile, and enjoy," Coal Davie, the band's frontman says. "We always have fun. Our goal is to always make people dance, make people smile, make people laugh—make them feel comfortable and powerful."

Considering their good-time vibe, unique aesthetic, and rockabilly-meets-rock 'n' roll sound, it's no surprise the Vancouver band quickly found themselves on festival stages around the South Coast this summer. While they only came together last year, thanks, in part, to Davie's relentless hustle, they've managed to quickly garner a following.

"I've been really consistent in marketing us and trying to engage venue owners and promoters and festivals," he says. "I've worked quite hard—not too hard, but I've reached out a lot. I'm not shy about it."

While Davie has long been a writer of "all kinds of things," last year, he decided he wanted to start writing music in a serious way. So, he put pen to paper while simultaneously joining a blues band in an effort to glean insight into playing with a band.

"Then, last summer, I decided I don't have an interest in playing other people's music," he says. "It was fun and [a] great learning [experience], but I'm more into the stories I have to tell."

To that end, he connected with Vancouver musicians James Lee, Yuri Ishii, and John Vavrik and began crafting upbeat tracks that hovered somewhere in the rockabilly family. "Urban rockabilly might be a way to look at it," Davie says. "I like the idea that we don't look typical and not all of our songs are authentic [rockabilly]. Some are '70s rock 'n' roll, we've got some punk-ish tunes we do. Some are psychobilly ... They're either danceable or have a message or story of some sort. I think we're doing something different."

Since pursuing gigs at the beginning of the year, the band has been invited back to multiple stages—from Salt Spring Island to Whistler's Dubh Linn Gate.

"We're very grateful to a lot of the local venues who took us in, didn't know us and said, 'This band looks interesting.' Many of those venues have brought us back again," he says.

Next up: the group is set to release a debut album in the fall. (Currently you can check out a selection of live recordings on their Soundcloud page.)

"In June we went into the studio and we recorded an album's worth of music, which is being mixed and mastered now," Davie says. "The studio album will be ready for September. We have videos on the way too."

But first, they're making another trip up the Sea to Sky Highway to perform at The Point Artist-Run Centre as part of the Flagstop Theatre & Arts Festival on Friday, Aug. 9.

The Point's artistic director Stephen Vogler happened to catch their set at the Dubh Linn Gate earlier this summer and was struck by their energy.

"The two times we went [to Whistler] we had a great time," Davie says. "We enjoyed the mix of locals and people on vacation."

Catch Coal Davie and the Rockabillionaires on Friday, Aug. 9 at The Point. Tickets are available at thepointartists.com or at Armchair Books.

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