Last night at my open stage at the Druid on Jasper Ave in Edmonton, someone asked me why we were playing our first CD release show in Fort Macleod. I mean, Fort Macleod! It’s not E-ville or Cowtown, or even Red Deer or Lethbridge…or Grande Prairie. I had to answer that there were many reasons…but mostly it’s just that Captain Tractor has history there. The town, you could say, is of historical importance to our band.
In the summer of 1994, Captain Tractor jumped into the yet-to-be-named Tundra Bus and headed south for Fort Macleod and the South Country Fair (incidentally the Tundra Bus still resides in Fort Macleod). It was our first out of town gig, our first “road trip”. Certainly, at the time, I had no idea that the road would become such a huge part of my life for the next six years, and that this trip was just the beginning of what was to come. At the Fair that year, we had only t-shirts to sell and we weren’t very good, but we did learn a lot and meet some great people including a band from New Zealand called Banshee Reel who became a very important ally to us in the following years.
In 1995, Banshee Reel toured Canada again, we played quite a few shows together across the country, but when they had to head home early, unexpectedly, and cancel their performance at the South Country Fair their slot was offered to us. This time when we played the Fair we were much better, having toured the country a couple of times since our last performance. We were tighter, more confident onstage and we’d written some more songs. We sold a lot of copies of our first CD, “Land”, that weekend, and went on to play the next 8 years at the Fair, all told 10 years in a row.
We’ve played the Fair a couple of time since then, and it’s always been great, so when we finished the new disc, Fort Macleod just seemed like a good idea. Conveniently, the town is home to an amazing venue, the Empress Theatre, which we’ve been talking about playing for years and years. This 340 seat vaudeville era theatre has been graced by some incredible performers ranging from Blue Rodeo to Sammy Davis Senior (yes ‘Senior’ – 1929)…amazing. It’s quite a history. And we’re excited to become a part of that history on Friday night. I hope you can be there, too. Road trip!!