Entertainment

The fond folk of Echo Nebraska

John Law

By John Law, Niagara Falls Review

Mahtay Cafe makes way for Echo Nebraska April 24. PHOTO: Submitted

Mahtay Cafe makes way for Echo Nebraska April 24. PHOTO: Submitted

It’s not that guitarist Andy Schichter wishes he was old. He just wishes he could experience the music he loves like his dad did.

The co-founder of Vancouver folk rock band Echo Nebraska can hardly believe the artists he emulates - Neil Young, The Band, CSNY, etc. – once dominated pop music.

“I was thinking about that the other day, when I was talking about Sgt. Pepper with my friends,” he says. “Just like, what it would have been like to have that played for the first time?

“I wish I had that experience that my dad did when he first heard The Beatles for the first time.

He’s hoping to make an impact of his own with his soulfully acoustic band, playing Mahtay Cafe in St. Catharines April 24.

A band he never thought he’d actually play in, mind you. After meeting singer Devan Christodoulou, who was recording with another band at the time, Schichter figured he would produce a solo album for him. But two years later, he found a band had formed around him.

“I had zero intention of starting a band,” he says. “But I love it now.”

“I wouldn’t say that the stage is the most comfortable spot for me. I love doing everything else – the marketing, booking, social media, the rehearsing. The performing is such a small part of being in a band, anyways. But I find I’m getting more and more comfortable with it.”

The demos with Christodoulou formed Echo Nebraska’s debut EP, Send the Ships, and its harmonious single Hey, Allison. Its playful video, with the band getting splashed with paint, made CBC Music’s Best New Videos list for November, 2014.

Since then, it has been constant touring with little to no money trying to get Echo Nebraska on Canadian music’s radar.

“You just have to persist,” says Schichter. “Keep trying different avenues…for Canadian Music Week, for example, and for festivals you just apply every year. Hopefully there’s a bit of recognition. Someone pays attention to you and they might talk to someone else on the festival circuit.

“It’s just a grind. You have to test the waters for the first year or two and keep hammering. If something doesn’t work, try to shake things up the next year.”

The band is rounded out by violinist Carly Frey, bassist Dan Ponich and drummer Mike Lauder.

Originally from Waterloo, Schichter loves bringing the band to Ontario where all the clubs seem so close to each other.

“In B.C., we’d have to drive a few hours for a show in a town of 10,000 people.”

jlaw@postmedia.com

  • WHO: Echo Nebraska
  • WHERE: Mahtay Cafe; 241 St. Paul Street; St. Catharines
  • WHEN: April 24, 8 p.m.
  • ADMISSION: Pay what you can