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Redwood Fields aren’t letting people forget their name.
Their sound of folk and dream pop won them St. Thomas University’s Battle of the Bands last Friday and they are also up for a Galaxie Rising Star Award with a performance during the Harvest Jazz and Blues festival.
“I feel pretty good. We’ve only been together for like 10 months and we’ve gotten some really nice opportunities and got to do things I didn’t think we’d be able to do,” said Brendan Magee who plays keys for the band.
Redwood Fields consists of fourth year STU student Cedric Noel on lead vocals, Bruce Duval on drums and bassist Heather Ogilvie. Magee is also a fourth year student at STU.
Redwood Fields walked away from Welcome Week with $1,000 dollars and their name on the bill of a campus wide show in mid-October. Magee said they don’t know who they’ll be opening for yet but can’t wait until the surprise is unveiled.
Redwood Fields were up against five STU bands including metal bands Cry Oh Crisis and the Pharaohs.
“There was a super interesting blend. I didn’t realize there was such a metal community at STU. It was really cool. They were all tight knit. Some pop, a little punk. Really widespread,” said Magee.
As for the money, the reality of how much beer it would buy was not lost on Magee.
“I wanted to get a keg but I think we’re going to save it for recording. We’re going to keep quite a bit to travel or tour with that we really can’t afford to do.”
With the Rising Star competition growing near, the band was apprehensive about entering the Battle of the Bands. They’re schedules don’t always line up so rehearsal time is hard to come by, but they soon saw the silver lining of having a crowd to perform in front of.
“We figured it was the perfect opportunity to throw ourselves into the fire. We played four of the five songs we’ll be playing at harvest,” said Magee.
The Galaxie Rising Star Competition gives New Brunswick musicians the chance to perform in front of industry experts and gain exposure on both the local and national stage. The winner receives a prize package as well as the opportunity to open for Halifax based band Wintersleep and Vancouver’s Said The Whale.
Past Rising Star winners include Fredericton’s Andy Brown, Matt Andersen and Ross Neilsen who all have performances throughout the festival week.
Magee said weeding through the Redwood Fields repertoire wasn’t easy and led to a long email thread between the four piece band about which songs to showcase.
“There were some personal attacks,” said Magee laughing.
Magee is a Fredericton native and this will be his fifth year taking in a Harvest festival. Magee told me about the first few times he went to see the Galaxie Rising Star competitions when they were held at Dolan’s pub downtown.
“I remember thinking like that’s awesome. They’re putting up so much New Brunswick talent and there are so many great bands that get to play. I think it’s one of the best things, if not the best thing, for bands in New Brunswick.”
Magee has always kept up with local maritime bands growing up, ‘almost embarrassingly so,’ and didn’t think he’d be playing at the same level as the names he once followed.
“I think we’re going to be super modest. The chance to play with Wintersleep is the coolest thing so if we set our goals to win and don’t I might cry because Wintersleep is like in my top five bands,” said Magee.
Redwood Fields will take the stage this Friday Sept. 14 alongside Fredericton’s Oh No, Theodore! as well as four other New Brunswick based bands. Fifty per cent of the vote will come from industry experts taking in the performances and the other 50 per cent will be audience based.
“If we got the chance to play with the Joel Plasketts, the Wintersleeps or Hey Rosetta!s that would be super awesome but we’re just taking things as they come.”