Monday Music Pick: The Ruminants

The Ruminants Thursday, May 16, 9 p.m. Wine-Ohs (811 1st St. S.W.) Cover charge: $10 If one were pressed to name a band that defines an “Alberta sound,” it’d be hard to argue against The Ruminants. They’re rootsy, with a hard edge. A bit of twang here, a bit of…

The Ruminants

Thursday, May 16, 9 p.m.

Wine-Ohs (811 1st St. S.W.)

Cover charge: $10

If one were pressed to name a band that defines an “Alberta sound,” it’d be hard to argue against The Ruminants. They’re rootsy, with a hard edge. A bit of twang here, a bit of fuzz there. Back-porch mandolin and rock ‘n’ roll drums; city-boy rockabilly chasing the rural blues.

Or, to let guitarist Todd Maduke explain it: “We’re like The Velvet Underground playing Doc Watson covers. Or Tom Waits playing Buck Owens.”

The Ruminants got together about eight years ago as members of The Culls, a country-leaning project fronted by Rick Overwater. Overwater’s previous band, Agriculture Club, was known for its all-out raucous attack, and maybe some of that rubbed off on Maduke and Mike Cremona, fellow former Cull and now the Ruminants’ bassist.

“We definitely have a bit of cred with the rockabilly crowd,” Maduke says, adding – in a reference so Albertan you can almost smell wild roses: “Some CKUA types know and like us.”

The Ruminants are known for their ability to read a crowd and adjust their shows on the fly.

“This is the thing I love about the band,” Maduke says. “We’ve done completely acoustic sets, we’ve done total loud rock shows. We can do sets of original stuff, but when the crowd seems to warrant it, we can countrify a set of songs everyone knows and loves. If it’s a dancing crowd, that’s what we aim at. If it’s a sit-and-listen crowd, we’ll bring it down.”

The band’s self-titled first full-length album was released last month, and the band is already ruminating on a second album (pun very much intended).

After Thursday’s gig at Wine-Ohs, with opening act Mercury Audio, the next highlight for the band will be the Ruminants and Friends event June 6 at the National Music Centre (134 11th Ave. S.E.).

“It’s going to be cool, because our good friends Juanita Brandt, Scott Macleod, and a few of The Lovebullies will be joining us on stage in a great venue,” Maduke says. “Also, it’s an all-ages thing. We don’t get to play for the youngsters often enough.”

The Ruminants on iTunes.

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