The Travelling Mabels are assembling to play to a sold-out audience on Nov. 28 in the Red Deer Lake United Church's On the Edge concert series.
“They can look forward to all sorts of goodies, you know, all sorts of Christmas songs like White Christmas, some Steve Earle, and we’re going to touch on some arrangements by the Barenaked Ladies,” said Keith Floen of the Mabels.
“We sort of ‘Mabelized’ a version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”
The band will also bring in guest guitarist John Thiel.
Like many bands, the return to live venues has been touch and go for the Mabels.
“It’s been an interesting ride, we started playing a bit, then not playing, then playing a bit again, we’re all trying to adjust,” Floen said.
“We did some shows throughout the summer, we were getting pretty busy and like a lot of people, it went from zero to a hundred, but then September started to shut down on us and a lot of people started getting cold feet.
“That carried through to October for us and so a little bit of stuff has fired up again, including the (On the Edge) concert, so we’re excited to be doing that.”
Hailing from different areas of the province, band members Eva Levesque, Keith and Lana Floen and Therry Lawson kept the juices flowing.
“Independently we’ve all had to find things to do, but we have been getting creative, we have a new album that we’re going to be releasing in the spring. We’re going to delay it until we’re out of the winter season because there’s a few places we want to be at — it’s just much nicer to do that when it’s not all covered in snow," Floen said.
“It’s going to be great to get that out to folks, it’s been a long time coming because there’s been a lot of times when we haven’t been able to get together to finish it.
“As with the name, there's always a lot of travelling involved.”
The group, of which Floen is a founding member, drew its name from a dog named Mabel when they formed in 2008.
“It’s just a cute little story about a dog that Eva got to know,” Floen said.
“So we came up with the idea that we should call ourselves the Travelling Mabels.”
The band began with Eva Levesque’s daughter Suzanne, who started her own act with husband Craig Bignell dubbed Over the Moon.
Floen even played for the duo in their latest album Chinook Waltz, released in late October.
Since then, Lawson entered Mabelhood with a gusto.
“She’s been a fabulous addition; she’s a fabulous singer and a wonderful writer and it’s been a lot of fun,” said Floen.
On the Edge organizer Phil Jackson is excited to have the Mabels return to the Red Deer Lake stage after a false start as the COVID-19 pandemic stalled out the 2020 Christmas season.
“We booked them for last year’s Christmas concert, but of course that had to be cancelled,” Jackson said. “We booked them one other time a few years ago and the audience loved them, and they’re going to love them again.”
The concert, as an event venue, will be operating under the Restriction Exemption Program, requiring proof of double-vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test.
For more information, visit reddeerlakeuc.com/concert-series-2021-22