The Mabels are finally travelling, but not too far from where the award-winning band took root.
The Travelling Mabels, a folksy, country band which isn’t afraid to throw in something different now and then at a concert, will be one of three bands performing at the Okotoks Agricultural Society fundraiser concert on Aug. 13 at the ag grounds.
“We are going to play a couple of new songs that are coming out on our new album, we’ll be kind of feeling them,” said Keith Floen, the Mabels’ keyboardist, who also sings backup. “It will be some of the same, a bunch of Eva’s jokes, some good singing and clapping and smiling.
“We are happy to be out.”
The Mabels, like all entertainers, have taken a forced hiatus from live entertainment due to the COVID pandemic. They have done a few public shows recently at the Ironwood in Calgary and a drive-in theatre style event in Bragg Creek, as well as playing with Tom Jackson.
“It is quite remarkable the exchange we are getting from audiences right now,” Floen said. “We are getting as much enjoyment from them as they are getting to see people play.
“There’s a physical energy exchange – you can feel it.”
The Travelling Mabels, who have Longview roots, are looking forward to entertaining folks in the Okotoks area this Friday. They will perform songs from their extensive repertoire including Alberta Blue, Ian Tyson’s Song in A Dream, and possibly the humourous Mabel, dedicated not to a member of the band but to a ‘blue-tick hound dog’ from Georgia.
The band’s vocals and harmony come from Levesque, Lana Floen and Therry Lawson along with the back-up from Keith Floen, providing a wide variety of country-style music.
One of the pieces being performed is a solo by Keith Floen of Root Beer Rag, a classic ragtime piano boogie made famous by Billy Joel in the 1970s.
Root Beer Rag will be on the Travelling Mabels next album, Take Me Home, scheduled to be finished by the end of September.
Other pieces in the album will be the Eva Levesque penned Con Man, Lana Floen’s Out of the Blue and Lawson’s Man on the Moon.
A kick-out-the-jams version of Root Beer Rag will also be on the album.
Also appearing at the ag society gig is the duo Over The Moon, consisting of Suzanne Levesque and Craig Bignell. The band has an Americana-Appalachian sound to it.
Over the Moon’s roots are pure Foothills. They used to live in the Longview area, as Suzanne is the Mabels’ Eva Levesque’s daughter.
Over the Moon’s first album Moondancer was named after a song written by Ian Tyson, who lives near Longview.
Bignell said in an interview last December he first heard the Tyson single when the late Mel Wilson from High River picked up his guitar. Wilson once played in Tyson's band.
“Mel was playing it and I said, ‘That’s a beautiful song we would love to record it,’ and he said: ‘That’s an Ian tune,’” said Bignell, as he did a spot-on imitation of Wilson’s Texas accent.
Over the Moon plans to record at least one Tyson song on each of its upcoming albums.
Also appearing on the Aug. 13 bill is the Blake Reid Band.
Tickets to the tri-bill concert are $40 and are available at Okotoks Sobeys, Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond or go to okotoksag.com. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. with music starting at 7 p.m. Proceeds from the concert will go to the ag society's ongoing projects.