The Lonesome Weekends get together every week under the 13th Ave. shop Buy the Book to practice. Like a lot of jam spots, it isn’t a terribly fancy place, though store owner and Weekends bassist put a lot of work into renovating the room and pictures of it do like really pretty.
Unlike like a lot of jam spots, though, they’re listening to eight-tracks down there.
“It’s the only source of music in the shop,” says singer/guitarist Chris Sleightholm.
“It’s all we ever listen to,” says singer/guitarist Marshall Burns.
I ask if they’re listening to the rejects from the store above.
“No, they’re the cream of the crop,” says Sleightholm, before he and Burns list some of the highlights, including Sam Cooke, Roy Orbison, the Ramones, David Bowie, T. Rex and Merle Haggard.
All in all, when they’re down there, it’s a fun time. The six-man band seem to be good buddies by now.
“You can spill your beer and it doesn’t matter so much,” says Sleightholm of their practice space.
“It’s encouraged,” says Burns, pausing before continuing. “No, not that’s true.”
“A lot of gear,” says Sleightholm. “You’ve gotta be careful.”
The Regina alt-country party band are getting out their practice spot tonight, though, for the release of their new album, Songs from a Barstool. Read on after the jump for more.
The band captured on the first Lonesome Weekends record was a fresh one; in fact, they’d pretty much just come together. Burns has a rootsy streak that doesn’t fit with his other band, Rah Rah, and material from that had been floating around at solo shows for a while. He’d been jamming with the Lazy MKs, of whom Prpich and drummer Tyler Hammer would go on to be in the Lonesome Weekends.
From there, Sleightholm and singer/guitarist Devon Floyd came on. They’d both been in the four-headed folk-rock act Thee Hoolies, but that had ended before the Lonesome Weekends started up. Add in Steve “The Hat” Jeske on keyboards and you’ve got the Lonesome Weekends.
They recorded their debut, Songs for Lonesome Weekends, quickly, seeing it as a document of the rowdy alt-country band they were at the time. They’re no less rowdy on their new album, Songs from a Barstool, but Burns and Sleightholm both feel the band dynamic more fruitful this time around.
“The three of us didn’t really know the rest of the band really well. It was almost like two factions,” says Sleightholm, referring to the three singers and initial songwriters versus the rhythm section and keyboards.
“It was awkward at first, like making love to a stranger. But, as you do it more often, it becomes more comfortable.”
Burns visibly likes this analogy and laughs.
“You start going steady,” he says.
Experience brought some real benefits for the band when it came time to record their second full-length.
“The first record just kinda happened, so when we got around to the second record, we were just better,” says Sleightholm. “It was a conscious thing, but I think we come across as more focused and clear.”
“Another big difference is that, with that first record, it was Chris and Devon and I, structuring and arranging the songs acoustically and then bringing it to the band,” says Burns. “Then we recorded it. The harmonies were there, the guitar stuff was all there. They were just kinda following along.
“With this one, the song would come to a six-person band, so everyone would have a voice in structuring it and arranging it.”
To celebrate their new release, the Weekends are not only doing a show at the Artesian but are also playing an after-party at the German Club, where they’ll be doing live karaoke, acting as the backing band for anyone who cares to sing.
The two-stage CD release isn’t the end of the band’s ambitions. They’re touring around Saskatchewan and getting the record on iTunes, but there’s also the white whale on the horizon: a 24-hour tour. Burns cites it as Prpich’s idea.
Burns explains, “In the morning, play a pancake breakfast somewhere, then pack up and play at noon in Regina Beach, three o’clock in Bladworth. Play Bruno, then play Lydia’s at midnight. Would be pretty awesome. I think it’s a goal for the band.”
“If you’ve ever been in a church group, you’ve do progressive suppers where you have potatoes at someone’s house,” says Sleightholm. “This is kind of like a progressive drunk.”
The Lonesome Weekends are playing tonight at the Artesian with Saskatoon’s Young James. After the show, they’ll be going down to the German Club for live karaoke.