Awkward beginnings lead to Trundled EP release

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It was a bountiful year of gigs for Canmore folk duo Trundled and they’re closing it out with a hometown performance.

The singer-songwriters’ – Joe Shea (vocals, guitars, keys) and Ellen Braun (vocals, guitars) – hometown EP release of the self-entitled, Trundled, is Friday (Dec. 8) at artsPlace, where the duo will perform the EP’s seven original tracks, plus others, starting at 7:30 p.m.

“Seven is my lucky number,” said Shea, in regards to the track-list on Trundled.

“It is?” asked Braun. “My lucky number is 13 and I think we could have easily done 13 (tracks for the EP).”

In the Outlook interview, there were recurring jests between the friends and musicians, which have increased since a preliminary, and somewhat uncomfortable, jam session late last year between Shea and Braun.

“We had an awkward musical date,” as Shea put it.

But the backstory needs to be laid out before said awkward session happened, and it starts in 2003 when they were completing their Masters at the University of Calgary.

It was at open mic nights at nearby coffee shops where the students found an outlet to perform their stuff.

“It’s funny because we played open mics, but we didn’t know each other that well at all,” said Braun.

She even bought Shea’s CD at the time, but “felt pretty badly” about quickly forgetting about it – until this year.

“So, for 14 years I had it and never actually listened to it and now I have and it’s great,” she said.

Going separate ways after university to start careers and raise families, the two reconnected on social media when they both found themselves living in the Bow Valley after over a decade since the university open mic days.

“I put it put there (on social media), and asked if he wanted to play guitar some time,” Braun said.

They got together for the jam session, sort of familiar with each other from the coffee shop open mics, and it was a feeling out process, complete with some “What do you want to play?” And, “What are you going to sing?”

“But it worked out,” said Shea.

They officially formed Trundled in late 2016, and have played their original music around the community since.

Performing together isn’t exactly unique to the formation of Trundled for Shea and Braun – well, in a way.

Braun and Shea played together on stage once before – in 2003 – it’s just that no one can seem to recall that gig.

“We played a show together, there’s proof in writing,” said Braun. “At some point, we knew each other well enough to do that, but I guess you know a lot of people at that time.

“And now, all a sudden, we have a CD,” Braun added.

Trundled’s seven-track EP was completed over three, five-hour studio sessions in Calgary, where Braun and Shea recorded three individual songs they wrote each and one they collaborated on.

Their most recent performance was at Calgary’s Ironwood Stage and Grill for an EP release party last month.

Shea, though, was battling an illness at the time, which forced a little creative revamping of the playlist.

“I couldn’t sing and I had no voice,” he said. “It was a Monday night show and by Sunday I sounded like death, and on Monday I had nothing.”

“It was actually kind of neat,” Braun added, “because you worry about what’s the worst thing that could happen – lose my voice – and then it happened. But I think we pulled it off, people had a good time and got a taste of our music.”

Trundled’s fingers are crossed that come showtime for the hometown EP release on Dec. 8, things will go a bit smoother.

Before Trundled hits the stage, the opening act, local five-piece band The Shoulder Season will perform.

Tickets are $20 for the general public and $17 for artsPlace members.

It might be a few months before Trundled plays together again, as Shea is headed to Europe for work.

“People should definitely check it out … or you’ll have to wait a while,” said Braun.

For more information, visit www.trundled.bandcamp.com.

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Rocky Mountain Outlook