Mabels bringing harmonies home
Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017 06:00 am
An award-winning all-female trio has a combination of storytelling, country and folk tunes planned for On the Edge Concert Series goers this weekend.
The Travelling Mabels, winner of the 2011 Alberta Country Music Group of the Year Award, is taking the stage in the Red Deer Lake United Church Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m.
The band consists of singer/songwriters “Mama Mabel” Eva Levesque, “Baby Mabel” Suzanne Levesque and “Purdy Mabel” Lana Floen, joined by “Unstable Mabel” Keith Floen on the keyboard and accordion.
While each of the three vocalists can stand alone, their harmonic blend reveals a soulful sound from three generations of women whose musical influences range from Dolly Parton to Sheryl Crow.
Mama Mabel attributes it to the outstanding talent of each performer.
“Suzanne is so talented,” Eva Levesque said. “She is way beyond me musically and vocally. She’s just a total pro. She and her husband have backed-up Charlie Major.”
Levesque is also impressed with the talent of husband and wife team Keith and Lana Floen who contribute more than their musical talents to the band.
“They do a whole lot of work for the Mabels,” she said. “They do the bookings, they handle the contracts, they book the flights.”
This solid team has been performing together since 2008, showcasing a noticeable synergy on stage.
The Mabels’ down-to-earth attitude and sense of humour keeps things light when touring cross-country, said Levesque. It’s something the audiences quickly catch on to, she said.
“If you go up on stage and have got the attitude that you’re a diva people can see through that,” she said. “You should never underestimate the intelligence of your audience. They see how you are.”
For The Travelling Mabels, it’s about communicating with the audience as if they’re sitting together in a living room.
“Engaging the audience is one of our big fortes,” she said. “We always tell the story about where the song came from and people love that. They love to hear what inspired you to write.”
The Red Deer Lake United Church is one of many stops for the Mabels as they make their way across western Canada this fall.
The show will feature up-tempo cover tunes, material from the Mabel’s 2016 release Postcards and old favourites like Smolder Blues.
“Smolder Blues is one of the most popular songs that we do,” said Levesque. “For the last eight years we always started our shows with Smolder Blues. It’s almost like our good luck charm. One show we decided not to do that song and somebody yelled out ‘Where’s Smolder Blues?’ I guess people still like to hear it.”
Levesque said The Travelling Mabels works together to write songs that tell stories about their own personal experiences, as well as those of other people.
“People tell me stories about something that happened in their life years ago and a lot of great songs come out of that,” she said.
Adding some cover tunes offers variety and a familiarity to audiences, said Levesque.
“People still like to hear some of the old familiar cover songs so we throw some of them in it like Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and Tumbling Tumbleweed – anything that’s full three-part harmonies,” she said. “It gets the audience singing along. It keeps the show fresh.”
Tickets cost $25 for adults and $10 for ages 13-17 and can be purchased by calling 403-256-3181 ext. 5, at rdlunitedchurch.org or thetravellingmabels.com