Rave On seems to have found all the right notes. For close to 30 years, the St. Albert four-piece has been a staple of the Edmonton music scene.
Age and experience only seems to have sharpened their creativity. In fact, they’re ramping up their presence.
On Sunday afternoon, Todd Mansell (singer-songwriter), Ed Cruse (guitar-keys), John Hildebrant (bass) and Mike Maxfield (drums) are hosting a CD release at the Beer Hunter.
238 Broadmoor Boulevard is only their third CD, but with 14 original tracks it is far from skimpy. It follows Untitled (2008) and The Green Room (2003).
“Our songs are fairly lightweight, but we have a little more variety than some bands. Ed likes writing introspective, bettering yourself type songs. John likes novelty songs and I like writing relationship songs,” said Mansell, Rave On’s spokesperson.
The band’s genesis goes back to the mid-’80s when Mansell and Cruse met, and with a shared passion for performance, formed Rave On.
At the time, The Blues Brothers and The Commitments were big. Borrowing from the wave of blues music popularity, Rave On sang covers featuring a bluesy vibe. As musical tastes evolved and lineup changes varied, the band introduced more pop, rock and country.
During a three-decade career, the band has undergone two major alterations.
“Back in 1985 we were writing and recording on an eight-track recorder. Now we use a 24-track digital recorder. And in the early days we played some original music, but we learned pretty easily that people didn’t want to hear it. They wanted to hear something they knew.”
Today the band’s repertoire extends to nearly 100 covers, and the broad fan following is open to hearing the band’s originals, many of which speak a common language.
The new album is a bit of an experiment mixing up tempos and throwing different instruments into the mix.
For instance, Wee Bonnie Lass, a three-quarter time waltz tune is textured with bagpipes that intensify the Scottish folk feel.
When Mansell’s father died, the grieving son wrote Just Not Today, a slow, introspective reflection saying that, at some point, he’d feel better – just not at this time.
“It has a universal message. It can be for anyone losing a person they love. What makes a good song is that it’s very personable and people can feel it.”
On the other hand, Sensational is a wilder rock ’n roll number about a young man who goes to the movies.
“A hot chick sits down beside him and for two hours he can’t concentrate on the movie.”
And in a flashback salute to Roy Orbison and The Mavericks, Cruse wrote Then and Now and sings it playing a vibrato guitar.
“We’re a great band and this is a great way to spend Sunday afternoon and have a good listen to some good music,” he said.
The band’s new website is available at rave-on.weebly.com.
Rave-On CD Release
Sunday, June from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
386 St. Albert Trail