Thursday, June 23

Center Stage - Bebo Grove
Meet the newest Center Stage band,  Bebo Grove - A four-piece group from Calgary formed in 2015 by longtime friends and collaborating musicians and songwriters, Jason Selby and Jeff Ragan. With the addition of Jordan Clermont, a local singer-songwriter, on vocals, and Anthony Heywood-Smith, a multi-instrumentalist, Australian Singer-Songwriter, on drums, the four created a sound that combines a unique blend of styles to create a melodic, emotive sound. Their music combines poetic lyrics with an energetic fusion of folk, world music, and alternative rock. Bebo Grove released their first EP, Vacant Places, in March 2016.

Their Acoustic/Indie Folk song Vacant Places especially resonates with Jango listeners and among the staff here at Radio Airplay. It's breezy feel good vibe is reminiscent of a modern day Faces. 

Take a listen and get to know the band for yourself in this latest feature and Q&A with Bebo Grove. 

Describe your sound in one ramble-on sentence
Our music is a combination of our various influences—we listen to everything from Flamenco and World Music to Metal; Miles Davis to Blind Melon to Radiohead and Jesse Cook—creating a melodic sound with affectional and poetic lyrics.

What's your earliest music-related memory growing up?
To avoid rambling on about each of our individual memories, we can speak to our earliest memories playing together. Jeff and Jason have been playing together for about 14 years. Jason initially filled in on bass at a party in a tiny backyard for a band Jeff had formed. Neither Jeff nor Jason knew much about what they were doing, but it ended up sounding pretty great. The rest is history.

What was the first tune(s) you learned?
We each learned a riff or two from songs that we liked, but we pretty much started writing our own music the second we figured how to hold our instruments. 

Do you write/compose your own songs? Briefly describe your songwriting process
Jason and Jeff write the music. One will have a basic song written and then the two sit down and build the structure and the song together. Neither considers the song complete until the other has put his touch on it. Jason and Jordan both write lyrics, so one will take on writing the lyrics and the melody for a song and bring it to the band. 

If you were to cover another artist's album, which would you pick and why?
This is hard because of our various influences and our different motivations for covering an album. We each have an idea of what we would consider to be the greatest album of all time, but we also would want to cover something that we feel we could make our own and potentially even better! Although we could probably not make the album better, Paul Simon’s Graceland would definitely be fun to work with. The music and lyrics are outstanding and we think there is enough room to make it our own.

What was the highlight of 2015, either for you personally or for the band? What was the low point?
High Point:Finding Anothony
Low Point: Finding Anthony
In all seriousness, definitely forming Bebo Grove. We’re still a new band and the four of us have only been playing together as a band since the summer of 2015. We have had our ups and downs. Auditioning singers and drummers was tedious and at times discouraging, but once we found Jordan and Anthony, things picked up. Our time in the studio and playing quite a few large shows were definitely highlights.

What is 2016 looking like for you? Upcoming projects?  Can you give us a little hint on what we can expect for this year?
We’re making a music video right away and we hope to get back in the studio.  We’re doing a lot of writing and are still keeping busy playing shows. We are really looking forward to see what this year brings!  

We see you recently released your first EP. Are the news songs you are writing going to be part of an upcoming EP or perhaps a full length album?
We have a lot of new material that we would like to release on a full length album. The more we write, the more our sound seems to evolve; so, when we get back into the studio, we will have to see what is best-suited to give the album unity and then save the other songs for another LP. We are excited to get back into the studio and to get more material out there!

Any embarrassing on stage moments you'd like to share? C’mon, don’t be shy.
Wearing cloaks on stage, without a doubt. That is all.

Okay, I like it. But please elaborate...
Jeff and I (Jason) played in a metal band years ago that had a pretty elaborate stage show. It was a sort of parody fantasy metal band… anyway, our singer insisted we wear cloaks on stage to add to the whole mock fantasy shtick. I think this experience goes beyond topping the list of our most embarrassing moments on stage to our most embarrassing moments in general. To add to the discomfort, the cloaks were made of acrylic or some other material that doesn’t breathe — so the embarrassment on stage went alongside suffering from heat exhaustion. We were drowning in our own sweat and shame.

What do you enjoy doing outside of music? Does your hobby rejuvenate their creativity?
We all like to spend a lot of time outdoors. We live right by the mountains and there is a lot of great stuff to do outdoors. Jeff is a big climber, Jason likes writing poetry and spends most of his time with his daughter and his dogs, Anthony likes being Australian, and Jordan loves busking. I think all of our hobbies fuel or music and our creativity.  Jeff and his guitar are inseparable, Jordan’s busking leads to ideas for his lyrics, Jason’s inspiration for his writing is his daughter, and Anthony is…Australian.

What do you like the most about Radio Airplay?
It is cool to hear yourself on air. It gives us a chance to distance ourselves from our music and listen to it a little more objectively. We can hear how it flows with other music and how it stands out. But most importantly, it is inspiring. It feels like we’re accomplishing something and that people who might not have ever heard us before might be listening. Creating music is absolutely rewarding and is just awesome, but sharing it is even better.