WHO ARE OL’ SAVANNAH?
Ol’ Savannah began as a roots-blues duo in the Winter of 2009. Speedy Johnson and Bartleby J Budde performed haunting Piedmontese acoustic tunes on smaller stages, while honing in on a style of blues influenced first by Mississippi John Hurt and Mississippi Fred McDowell. With the introduction of accordionist Kevin Labchuk in May of 2010, together with drummer Matt Outerbridge and bassist Chris Byrne, the group evolved to a bigger sound, less haunting, but dark nonetheless. The quiet sounds of Piedmont were exchanged for the violent tides of the Delta, as the group incorporated more electric guitar and lap steel guitar into their repertoire.
Sans bass, the group toured the Eastern Provinces in August of 2010 playing the songs that would eventually coalesce to form their debut, self-titled album, released in May of 2011.
Following the release of their first album, the four mobile members continued touring throughout Ontario and Quebec until their second Eastern tour in August 2011. The electric guitar and lap steel were largely replaced by the banjo, moving the group away from the Piedmont Valley and into the Appalachian Mountains themselves. Ol’ Savannah’s sophomore album, Underneath the Old Red Barn (May, 2012) reflects this change, including such old time covers as Coo Coo and Old Plank Road. As with their first album, the group toured this album from eastern Ontario all the way to St. John’s, NL.
Now in their fourth year, Speedy, Bartleby and Kevin remain as the skeleton of Ol’ Savannah, enlisting the help of Tim van de Ven (percussion) and Ram Krishnan (bass) to flesh out their sound on stage. Production of Ol’ Savannah’s third album, “Death on the Mountain,” is underway and will be released September, 2013.
Since their formation in 2010, Ol’ Savannah have played shows in ON: Toronto, Ottawa, Guelph, London, Peterborough, Kingston, Oshawa; QC: Montreal, Quebec, Val-David, Chicoutimi, Ste-Rose du Nord, Wakefield, Eastern Townships; NB: Moncton, St. Andrews, Saint John, Fredericton; NS: Halifax, Sydney; PEI: Charlottetown, Alberton; and NL: St. John’s
Hot Lil’ Summer Tour (August, 2010 — Quebec and the Maritimes)
The Big Chill Tour (March, 2011 — Ontario and Quebec)
Won’t Get Drunk No More (August, 2011 — Quebec and the Maritimes)
Underneath The Old Red Barn (March-August, 2012 — Ontario, Quebec, Maritimes)
Death on the Mountain (2013)
Fabuleux Festival International du Folk Sale, June, 2013 *Halifax International Busker Festival, Aug. 2010 and Aug. 2011 * La Fête de la Musique, June 2010 * ShazamFest, July 2010 * North by Northeast, June 2011 * Festival FRINGE de Montreal, June 2011/2012 * Festival FRINGE de Saguenay, Sept. 2011 * The O-Town Hoedown, Sept. 2011 * indieWEEK, Oct. 2011 * Canadian Music Week, March. 2012 * Who the HELL is BILLY Hillbilly Music Festival, Sept. 2012
CIRAA Groundbreaking Grant, 2011/2012 * Centre St-Ambroise bursary (2012) * Best of Montreal, The Mirror – Folk/Country Band(2012)