A desire to write their own material inspires musicians to come together to start The Place Shakers, a new group performing tonight at Hunter’s Ale House
Adam MacGregor is a multi-instrumentalist who is a much-sought-after music director for dinner theatre productions because of his ability to teach music and arrange charts.
But, something was missing from his on-stage life.
“With most musical things that I do, much of the creative responsibility falls on my shoulders. I was missing the opportunity to collaborate with a songwriting team,” says the Stratford resident.
So, when MacGregor received an invitation to be part of a new collaborative band that was forming in Charlottetown six months ago, he was thrilled.
“It’s wonderful. I now have a chance to work with four other fantastic musicians. We are much more creative together than we are apart. I might come up with an idea and that’s great. And someone else will take it and make it better. We share the responsibility so it’s not so heavy,” says MacGregor, bassist/backup vocalist for The Place Shakers.
The new R&B group, which also consists of Amy Argent, lead singer, Todd MacLean, alto sax and keyboards, Liam Kearney, drums, and Dale McKie, guitar/harmonica, takes the stage at Hunter’s Ale House in Charlottetown tonight.
McKie is also thrilled with the opportunities for songwriting.
“I love the chance to be able to create something completely new and original, play it (at a gig) and see how people will react it,” says the guitarist.
Argent also enjoys being part of the creative process.
“When we first started writing together, we each had a different approach. But now we’ve got it down,” says the band’s frontwoman, who formerly played with pop band Highway Flower.
For MacLean, the draw was getting to play his favourite instruments.
“This is the first time I’ve had the chance to be a saxophone player/keyboardist in a full ensemble, on a long-term basis. So it’s a big step for me.
“I’ve also loved this style of music — R&B/soul/Motown — for a long time. So it’s a great chance to put my skills together in one package,” says MacLean, known for his work with English Words as well as the now defunct band, The Rude Mechanicals.
The Place Shakers is also filling the void for Kearney who, along with McKie, was part of the blues band, Bad Habits.
“We were missing making music together so we wanted to get this new project up and running.
“And I’d always wanted to play in a band with Todd. We also knew that Amy was a great singer and available to front
the band .... We’re looking forward to our future with this team.”
Sally Cole is a features writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 629-6000, ext. 6054.