PRINCE GEORGE, BC: Local music lovers will get a taste of the West coast this month as Saltwater Hank tours the Maritimes.
Jeremy Pahl will perform two shows in the Strait area with fellow British Columbia songwriter Danny Bell to promote Stories from the Northwest, Pahl’s first solo album under the moniker Saltwater Hank.
“The sound of the album and the music that I write is pretty reminiscent of the 1940s,” said Pahl.
Pahl’s songs draw inspiration from the roots of country, bluegrass and blues music. Much like the early artists he admires, Pahl recorded the album using a single ribbon microphone and reel-to-reel tape. The recording session took place the basement of a church in Pahl’s hometown of Prince George.
“All the tunes on my album are inspired from stories I’ve heard first-hand, or things that I’ve listened to or seen. A lot of stuff pertains to the history of northern BC. A couple of the songs in there are inspired by some crazy things that happened there a hundred years ago or so. I guess that gives it the Canadiana label.”
One of Pahl’s favourite songs off the album is “The Ballad of Maud Watt.” The song tells the story of an early Canadian conservationist who travelled to Quebec’s parliament from Northern Quebec via dog sled in the winter of 1930 to petition the government to establish a beaver preserve.
Pahl chose the name Saltwater Hank to reflect his own roots in Northwestern BC and because his father and great-uncle both share the name Hank.
“I have indigenous roots with the Tsimshian people in the Prince Rupert area, so I’ve got some pretty deep saltwater roots,” said Pahl.
Pahl began playing with Danny Bell as a member of the BC folk group Black Spruce Bog. Bell was one of several musicians to accompany Pahl on Stories from the Northwest, and will lend his song-writing skills to the upcoming tour.
“Danny plays the accordion and he will also be bringing a good chunk of his own tunes, and I’ll be on the mandolin,” said Pahl.
This will mark the two musicians’ first visit to the Maritimes and Pahl says he is looking forward playing for audiences in Nova Scotia.
“A lot of our friends are also touring musicians, and the ones that have done cross-Canada tours that we’ve talked to are always telling us to go to the East coast, it’s the best,” said Pahl.
After completing his tour in Atlantic Canada, Paul says he will head home to BC for another tour and hopes to begin writing music for his next album in the near future.
Saltwater Hank and Danny Bell will appear at the Town House Brewpub and Eatery in Antigonish on March 27 and Shindigs Pub in Port Hawkesbury on March 29. For details and a full schedule of performances, visit: www.saltwaterhank.com.