Big time sound from Smalltown Revival

Gibsons band brings tunes to Pemberton, Brackendale

Don't let the name fool you - while the John Jenkins Smalltown Revival might have "small" in its name, the group's sound is anything but.

Using everything from guitar, harmonica and piano to organ, bass guitar, drums and, of course, vocals, the band from Gibsons utilizes a wide range of instruments to produce a sound that's as well-received in big cities like Vancouver as the not-so-big places like Revelstoke.

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"We get a similar reception whether it's a big city or a small town," said Jenkins by phone from Gibsons during a band rehearsal. "It doesn't feel different for us either, going to a big city or a small town, so long a we're playing."

As for the Revival's sound, Jenkins said the band's influence comes from a wide variety of styles that all make their way into the set list at some point during a performance.

"(Our sound) is kind of a mix of a lot of styles," said Jenkins. " It has a bit of a mixtape kind of sound - we've got some funk, a reggae tune, some lounge-y stuff and then a couple more folk songs. So our live show is kind of a mix."

According to Jenkins, when it comes to live shows, it's all about build up, so the band usually starts with some of the more mellow stuff and works its way up to the faster, danceable stuff.

Despite taking a lot of influences from so many genres, the core of the band's sound remains a decent mix of roots and folk - something Jenkins said is still going strong in Canada, despite the current popularity of electronic music.

"There are still a lot of different Canadian artists coming out and doing well with it (folk music), it seems," said Jenkins. "The Canadian folk festivals across the country are a big thing and there are a lot of smaller festivals with a blend of styles."

As for the influence of popular music on the Revival's sound, Jenkins said the band isn't too concerned with trying to fit in with what's considered mainstream at the moment.

"I don't listen to a lot of popular radio. I keep my listening more in tune with CBC and college radio and stuff like that," said Jenkins. "It seems like there's a huge gap between the two, I guess, and that translates into my own listening as well."

When asked about his thoughts on where music industry is headed and what that might mean for folk and roots players like those in the Smalltown Revival, Jenkins said there will always be a demand for the band's type of music, regardless of what's popular.

"I guess it just depends on how many people are playing music and not electronic music," said Jenkins. "I don't think it will affect us drastically. We'll keep doing what we're doing and that's all we can do I guess."

The John Jenkins Smalltown Revival plays the Pemberton Hotel Friday (Oct. 14) at 9 p.m. and tickets are $15. The group is also set to play the Brackendale Art Gallery on Sunday (Oct. 16) at 8 p.m.

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