The Midnight Roses, four talented young women with a refreshing combination of vibrant vocals and stunning, gritty bluegrass harmonies, are preparing to launch their first album, Say Darlin’ Say, after a “whirlwind of activity” following their first prize win at last year’s Big Dog 92.7 Regina’s Next Big Thing contest.
Lead singer Myshel Pajuaar has a soulfully sweet voice that can break into raw grit and old country twang in a heartbeat. Her passionate, original songwriting emulates two of her favourite performers, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams.
Backing Pajuaar are Liza Holder on mandolin and guitar, Paula McGuigan on upright bass, and Eliza Doyle on banjo, guitar and mandolin, all of whom bring to the group extensive touring and performing experience alongside artists such as kd Lang, Fred Eaglesmith, Sarah Harmer, The Sadies and KT Tunstall.
“The thing that set [The Next Big Thing] contest apart from others is that it wasn't decided just by peer voting,” said Doyle. “Online voting was a very small factor, and mainly it was decided by industry professionals from across North America. The fact that they chose us was a huge honour, and we've been working hard on this project since then.”
The Midnight Roses independently recorded, mixed, produced and designed their album, noted bassist McGuigan.
“All members did their part and had their input,” said McGuigan. “Liza Holder runs her own recording studio. The first half of the album was recorded in The St. Johns Church in Fosterton. She hauled all her gear down and we camped out there for four days. It was an amazing experience!"
The rest of the album was completed in Holder’s studio in Big River.
The Roses’ strong harmonies, tight instrumentation and engaging stage presence deliver a distinct, compelling performance. All members are songwriters, and each brings a creativity and honesty to the group that keeps it genuine. Inspired by old time country, folk and bluegrass, the Roses converge to create a garden of sound that is exceptionally delightful and rare.
“It's been a challenge for us to work full time, and to manage our business, book shows, plan the tour, design merchandise,” admitted Doyle. “It seems the duties are never ending, but this is something we all feel really passionate about and are extremely dedicated to. We are fortunate to live in Swift Current, and supported by such a tight knit community.”
“We struggle with having time to focus on everything due to our day jobs,” agreed McGuigan, “but we have been working around the clock to make our CD releases happen.”
“Highlights for me for this summer include the Ness Creek Music Festival and the Regina Folk Festival,” said Doyle. “I love collaborating and networking with artists from across Canada and the world, and always feel refreshed and full of new song ideas after such a summer.”
McGuigan affirmed, “We are a tight unit of hard working women, each of whom has an important role in the band, not just with the music but with the business side as well.”
The CD release schedule includes Regina and Saskatoon, but the Lyric promises to be their biggest show.
Opening for the Midnight Roses will be a youth group, The Sundrops, featuring four members of the Folks family. Eleven-year-old Hailey plays drums, piano, cello, and violin; 10-year-old Darian plays drums, piano, violin and guitar; Lara, aged 7, plays piano and viola; and Jesse, age 6, plays piano and violin. All four musicians also sing.
Advanced tickets are available at Pharmasave.
May 16 - Regina, McNally's Tavern with The Down Home Boys. Doors open at 9 p.m., and tickets are $5. www.mcnallystavern.ca
May 24 - Saskatoon, The Refinery with Jayne Trimble. Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets are $12. www.stjamesrefinery.org
May 31 - Swift Current, The Lyric Theatre with The Sundrops. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10. www.lyrictheatre.ca
Upcoming performance dates:
May 25 - The Lyric Theatre - Wine Tasting Showcase.
June 1 - Relay For Life, Swift Current.
June 2 – Gutsy Walk for Crohn’s/Colitis Fundraiser, Cabri.
June 7-9 - Summerland Bluegrass Festival, Summerland BC.
June 22 - Country at The Creek, Big River.
July 6 - Market Square, Swift Current.
July 18-21 - Ness Creek Festival, Big River.
Aug 3 - Market Square, Swift Current.
Aug 9-11 - Regina Folk Festival, Regina.
Sept 21 - Market Square, Swift Current.