calgary sun | beatroute | gull lake advance

This Thursday, March 24 the Piapot Guesthouse and Saloon will be hosting a dinner and performance night. The Saloon's chosen performer is Alberta singer songwriter Erin Ross. The Advance recently spoke to Erin Ross about her style of music, her influences, her perceptions of the Canadian independent music scene today, and of her hopes for her audience.

Ross is a very traditional roots and blues performer who draws her main influences not from the pop music industry of today, but rather from the vibrant blues and roots music scene of the 1920's- 1940's. Included in Ross's influences are the delta blues style and the east piedmont style. Musical performers that influence her most directly are country blues musicians like Elizabeth Cotten, Mississippi John Hurt and Rev. Gary Davis, all of whom were phenomenal blues guitarists in the old style. The Advance asked Ross why she felt so connected to that era of music.

"I love that era because I think it's good to know where you music is coming from, I guess." said Ross "It's a way to look back and give people something familiar with out being redundant or repetitive; that's part of the appeal of my music."

Ross also sees her own guitar playing aspirations in these classic blues artists, and admits that she has always seen herself as a guitarist first." I am definitely a guitar player; guitar is my first love and my first instrument... but I am also a singer and a songwriter. It's about being true to myself."

Ross like many Canadian musicians, singers and songwriters today, finds there are greater audiences for more eclectic types of music in the market now than in the past. Part of this, according to Ross, is due to the breakdown of the whole corporate music and label system in the youtube era. Ross explains the risks and opportunities of being an independent artist on the Canadian music scene today.

"I think we are at a spot in the music business where the large structure of corporate music is not what most musicians are doing artistically now, and I think it's a liberating time to be a musician in Canada. In the sense that you can take your own chances or try out your own approach, and see some success in that regard... Of course one of the risks is that I am financing my own music: So I record when I have the money and I travel when I have the money; that's kind of the trade off in all this."

In the end Ross hopes that those coming to see her perform will go away feeling good and having had a positive listening experience. I hope first an foremost that they will be entertained and enjoy themselves, and I hope that they will find something appealing in the songs that I present, and in the stories that I share, that resonates with their own experience. My greatest hope is that they find something that touches them in a personal way."