The Bitterweed Draw first came together during Friday night bluegrass jams that vocalist and banjo player Mike Corbiell had at his house. All of the members knew each other from various bands they'd been in around Calgary and that initial group evolved into what is now The Bitterweed Draw. They've changed their lineup a few times but the band's spirit remains the same.
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The Bitterweed Draw
The band’s focus is simple according to Corbiell. He says, “We’re just trying to play what we like and bouncing ideas off of each other and collaborating. We’re trying to make the shows as good as possible. I think for us when we use the term ‘good’ I think it means that we’re having fun and that the audience is having fun and that’s the goal.”
When it comes to song writing and arrangement, Corbiell says, “Typically there’s some collaboration between the members on songs. Certainly in terms of arrangements, everyone brings ideas to the table. In terms of overall structure, one person usually brings a song to the table but sometimes it’ll get written with everybody’s participation.”
In the future, Corbiell wants to see the band tour more extensively. He adds, “I would just like to see the band continue to play and evolve and work well together. We’ll just deal with the cards that we’re dealt and continue to make music.”
The process of making recordings is something that Corbiell says the band has enjoyed. He points out, “We recorded our first album in a cabin on a farm that was near and dear to us. For our second album, we went into Public Lunch Studios in Calgary and had an excellent experience and I think overall the album sounds a little tighter and a little more professional.”
The major challenge that the band faces is coordinating all six members. Corbiell says, “It’s a constant challenge to coordinate six busy, talented people who are sought after. Everyone works really well together so we can make that happen though.”
Corbiell has nothing but praise for the folk/roots music scene in Canada. He explains, “There are a lot of really amazing musicians who are touring across the country consistently. I see it as being really vibrant and quite tight knit. I’ve met a lot of really wonderful people through playing music.”
The motivation that Corbiell and his band mates find comes from the chemistry that happens when musicians come together. He says, “There’s this feeling that you get when you play music with people and you mesh. That feeling is what keeps me going. It’s always very rewarding and challenging.”
For more information on The Bitterweed Draw, please visit their website here.
This interview with Mike Corbiell of The Bitterweed Draw was conducted via telephone and recorded on May 19, 2016.