by Fraser McCallum
Like so many lovely things, the Cashmere Disciples came from Shoppers Drug Mart. In 2004, lead singer Drew Heggie and drummer Joel Walker met while both working late shifts at the Charlottetown pharmacy. While they waited to go home, general male small-talk cut to the point, leading to the inevitable, “sooo … you play music?” question, and like that, the seed was planted.
Fast-forward five years later to 2010. Roots-rockers the Cashmere Disciples are brimming with excitement to release their first full-length album next month. Since 2004, they’ve released an EP, rotated several band members, and had more confusing changes than NBC’s late night lineup, but now all five members assert that their time has come. “The band is at a great place, ” says Heggie. “Everyone’s more involved now and writing their own parts. We’re on a steady rise.”
The new lineup features Heggie on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Berne Driscoll on organ and piano, Walker on drums, Phil White on lead guitar, and Drea MacDonald on bass and backing vocals. The recent addition of Driscoll’s organ and MacDonald’s lonesome harmonies give some of Heggie’s new material an epic, gripping charm, one that is a gem to take in live.
Drawing on influences such as the Counting Crows, Graham Parsons, and The Band, The Disciples’ sound is self-described as “folk rock with a country tinge,” big on shuffles, organs, and open chords. “We all come from very different musical backgrounds though,” Heggie explains. “And we couldn’t listen to more different kinds of music.”
Heggie had played with popular Newfoundland band The Domestics, who he describes as “a band with a lot of snap-shirts and cowboy stuff.” Guitarist White played mostly rock and metal beforehand while good friend Driscoll is a classically trained pianist.
MacDonald, the newest Disciple, also sings and fronts her own band but had no trouble walking into a group of guys with a few years history. “I knew the band really well already, so it was super fun from the get-go. I’d never played bass before but that came quickly.”
Walker was ecstatic to get the chance to rock with a bar-band, “I’d played in concert and jazz bands for years but had no fun, musical friends otherwise.” Before things get too sappy, the drummer throws out a groaner of a joke about keys-player Driscoll. “And do you know what they say about us? That Berne has one glorious organ.”
Busy Charlottetown music producer Adam Gallant recorded the Cashmere Disciples’ new album over a windy weekend last July. All ten tracks were recorded live off the floor in Joel’s barn in Drummore. Look for a release date in early March. Other future plans include a potential 7 ‘’ vinyl print and off-Island shows.
Heggie is just stoked to be playing steadily again and feels the band has evolved considerably. MacDonald agrees saying, “We’re not doing this to see what people think. It’s just awesome to be in a band that writes great songs. We love doing it.”
Guitarist White nods as well, “We’re just enjoying playing and getting together. There’s no need for riches.”
Get discipled this month, February 6th at Hunter’s and the 27th at the Alibi. www.myspace.com/thecashmeredisciples