St. Patrick’s Day is coming early to the Harrison Festival, as the folk and Celtic band Early Spirit takes the stage on March 16.
Early Spirit is made up of four Vancouver men related only by music: Will Chernoff on bass, Gabriel Dubreuil on violin, Ben Kelly on drums and Jay Knutson on guitar and lead vocals. They’ll be bringing their genre-bending sound to Harrison’s Memorial Hall on March 16 at 8 p.m.
Early Spirit first began as the Gabriel Dubreuil Trio, with Chernoff, Knutson and Dubreuil. A young Franco-Canadian fiddler, Dubreuil attended Berklee College of Music in Boston and worked around North America as a session violinist before spearheading the Vancouver trio.
Dubreuil keeps his passion for independent, genre-bending music at the forefront, and started his own teaching practice and performing act; his talents span classical, folk, and jazz. He writes instrumentals with influences of Darol Anger, Casey Driessen, Jeremy Kittel, and Natalie MacMaster.
The Gabriel Dubreuil Trio evolved into Early Spirit with the introduction of drummer Kelly. Before Kelly’s Early Spirit career, he performed and recorded with Fish & Bird, an eclectic folk music band from the Southern Gulf Islands, and he continued to lend his talents to touring independent acts. But even before that, Kelly played drums in the North Shore Celtic Ensemble, a violin youth group founded by Knutson in 1998, and was the son of Knutson’s band mate Geoffrey Kelly, with Canadian folk-rock group Spirit of the West.
Knutson arranged, performed and wrote Celtic folk-rock music with Spirit of the West, later working with major Canadian artists like Hart-Rouge and Connie Kaldor. His solo material, a constant throughout his career, draws from jazz and roots music; Knutson used wisdom gathered from over 50 album projects to write for and perform with Early Spirit.
Early Spirit will be at Harrison Memorial Hall on March 16. Tickets are $25.50, available online or over the phone at 604-796-3664. They will also be available in person at the Ranger Station Galley or at Agassiz Shoppers Drug Mart.