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North Van band ready to record debut
When the Lynn Canyon Band performs off the North Shore, audience members often ask Lesley Branton, the group’s lead vocalist, if the band is named after her.
Lynn Canyon, after all, sounds remarkably like a woman’s name if you’ve never heard of the 617-acre park in North Vancouver.
But to local residents, the four-member band’s handle screams North Shore and, by picking up more and more gigs, the group is quickly becoming a fixture in the community.
“It’s not a hobby; we’re past that stage. Now it’s a vocation,” Bill Mullaly, on guitar, harmonica and vocals, tells The Outlook over drinks at Pier 7 restaurant at the foot of Lonsdale.
“I’d describe our music as eclectic, but not in a cutesy way,” he says as Branton, sitting beside him, nods in agreement.
The two bandmates, together with Paul Coulter-Brown on mandolin, guitar and vocals, and bass and vocals member Bob McMillin, brought folk, roots, bluegrass, jazz and blues backgrounds together four years ago.
Now they meet once a week after their day jobs to rehearse for gigs at coffee shops, church halls, farmers’ markets and bars.
“After every show people always ask us if we have a CD, so our goal right now is to create one,” says Mullaly, adding that their first CD will have original songs written by members of the band.
It’s been a busy summer so far for the Lynn Canyon Band. They’ve hopped around to venues off the North Shore, including the Cloverdale Rodeo and a community celebration in Surrey.
But their dream venue is the annual Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver. It’s very competitive to win a spot, says Mullaly, but the band is going to try again next year.
“With more exposure and a CD, we have a better chance of getting in,” says Branton, adding that North Shore performers aren’t necessarily favoured over out-of-town acts.
“We’re not offended they didn’t accept us,” Mullaly chimes in, “It’s hard to get in, and there are a lot of top-notch pros.
“Even if we got on on a Wednesday at 1[p.m.], we’d be thrilled.”
To up their game, the band members plan to start practising twice a week, even though working around work and family life can be difficult.
Mullaly, who sells advertising spots for a Vancouver-based newspaper, and Branton, who fundraises for the faculty of dentistry at UBC, have to carefully schedule around their nine-to-five jobs. Ultimately, they would like to be a full-time band, but know that road can be arduous.
The key to the band’s success? Each member can sing.
“When we get to the chorus and four people start singing, the crowd absolutely loves it,” says Mullaly, eagerly sitting forward in his chair.
When Branton, who was the last to join the band two years ago, finishes guitar lessons, all members of the band will be able to play an instrument while singing.
The Lynn Canyon Band’s aspirations don’t end with the Harmony Arts Festival.
“Our dream is to hear one of our original tunes on the radio. This is a pretty standard wish for all musicians,” says Mullaly.
“Creating music isn’t a decision, even if you travel and work for free. You have to do it because it’s in you, and you want to share it.”
The Lynn Canyon Band is playing at Music in the Park on Sept. 3 at Capilano River Regional Park from 5:15 to 7 p.m.
To hear a sample of the band’s music, visit youtube.com/user/lynncanyonband.