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Summer sessions: Ayla Brook and The Sound Men

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Headlining next week’s Summer Sessions are Alya Brook and The Sound Men.

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The Edmonton-based band will bring their roots-rock sound to Stony Plain’s Heritage Park on Wednesday, July 20.

Born and raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, singer Brook was the son of a jazz saxophonist. In elementary school, he played the ukulele, followed by guitar in middle school and clarinet in high school.

“Music has been part of my life for a long time. I grew up with the attitude of wanting to do something artistic and wasn’t put off by my parents,” Brook said.

His grandparents who ran a large farm but painted landscapes in their spare time made Brook realize he could pursue music in a way where he didn’t have to depend on it for all of his income. . He said they were an inspiration to not take your passion any less seriously just because you were doing something else to pay the bills.

After graduating from college, Brook joined a cover band and toured Western Canada for two years in the early 2000s. Although this experience made him a better musician, he has said that he didn’t like living on the road as much as he thought. During this period he made frequent stops in Edmonton to visit a friend who was studying music at MacEwan University. Eventually he decided to move to the city temporarily because the scene was happening and the rent was cheap. He never left.

“I didn’t really have a home base for a few years. I found a good community here in Edmonton and stayed there,” Brook said.

After settling down, he formed a trio called AA Sound System and released his first album, Lily Plain… You are not poor in 2004. The band then released a follow-up album titled laissez-faire in 2006 before packing up in 2008 when Brook released his first real solo album, After the next morning.

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The Sound Men came together ten years ago when Brook began looking for a new backing band. He bonded with the scene over the years and the lineup became Johnny Blerot (keyboard and accordion), Sean Brewer (acoustic guitar), Chris Sturwold (drums) and Brent Oliver (bass). Their name is inspired by the fact that they all have experience working as sound technicians for various bars and clubs in the city.

“We managed to stay together through luck and stubbornness. We are all responsible adults who recognize that this is a project of joy and camaraderie and sharing good times with good people,” said Brook.

Since forming, the band have released two albums together, (I Don’t Want to Hear Your) Break Up Songs (2016), and sounds of desolation (2020). The Sound Men fuse elements of rock, country, blues and folk into what Brook describes as “good old rock and roll.” The main influences of the group are Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, Taj Mahal, Ry Cooder and Wilco.

The band’s most memorable moments include recording their latest album, sounds of desolationwith JUNO-nominated producer Terra Lightfoot and performed at the Beaumont Blues Festival last summer after a year-long pandemic hiatus.

“Working with Terra has been a real pleasure. It was the easiest recording situation I’ve ever been in, even though I was the least prepared I’ve ever been. She was a real gem directing us around the studio,” Brook said.

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Although the band currently have no recording plans underway, they will be busy performing this summer at the Sasquatch Gathering in Rocky Rapids, Alberta on July 22, as well as Taste of Edmonton and Purple City Music. Festival in Edmonton on July 30. and August 27.

At Stony Plain, the band will perform a variety of songs spanning Brook’s career, including fan favourites.”rise up” and “(I think I’ve) reached my limit.” Brook said whether or not the band plays covers should come as a surprise. Special guest Laurelai will take the stage at 6:30 p.m., followed by The Sound Men at 7 p.m.

To stay up to date with new releases and show dates, visit aylabrook.com.

“It’s going to be a big old-fashioned rock and roll show that’s not too loud,” Brook said.

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