by Luke Arbuckle
Hailing from the greater Charlottetown area, the five-piece blues band, Route 21 is bringing the tunes we know and love to a whole new level.
Since their forming almost two years ago, the band has build up an impressive repertoire of both familiar classics and obscure gems. At home playing anything from Fleetwood Mac and Johnny Cash to Susan Tedeschi or Beth Hart, each member brings an independent love for the music to the band.
Route 21 is made up of Joerg Soltermann on guitar and harmonica, Wayne Murnaghan on drums, Nathalie Duguay as lead vocalist, Mike Huston on bass, and Mike MacDonald on guitar.
The band came to be when Nathalie, who’d been performing blues matinees in Charlottetown posted an ad looking for musicians to start a serious rock/blues/country band. After a few weeks of networking, the bulk of what is now Route 21 was in place. “It really didn’t take long to find the right people,” says Nathalie. “We met a few times and I think we knew the chemistry was there right away. It didn’t take long before we had a wide variety of songs we liked to play.”
Wayne said although the band plays a lot of covers, their style isn’t about imitation, it’s about making it their own. “People want to rock out to music they know, that takes them somewhere,” he said. “We work well together on stage, keep the energy high and musically, we have each other’s backs.”
The band has ben playing regularly across the Island for a while and while they plan to continue playing local venues, they’re gearing up for a busy summer.
Mike M. said the band has played all the regular spots and is confident a ripple effect will soon open door to other opportunities. “Networking is a big part of successfully playing music,” he said. “The venues around town and the Island are great, we’ve had a lot of fun so far and we’re definitely looking forward to playing everywhere we can.”
Nathalie said one of the biggest influences on her music, her performances and her life was her Father, Roger. “He was a truly talented and loving performer,” she said. “We was always performing, music was everything and could light up your life for just the few minutes the song might last.”
Named for the road on which their jams began, Route 21 is bringing a different kind of blues to the Island. A high-energy and practiced performance and although familiar and comfortable at times, their skill and passion make for a one-of-a-kind experience.
But you don’t have to take my word for it, check Route 21 out for yourself and look to this month’s Live Music section of The Buzz for show listings.