August 27, 2015

More than a hobby

Po’ Girl have travelled from Amsterdam to Cameroon with their urban roots tunes

Allison Russel and JT Nero.
Allison Russel and JT Nero.
Awna Teixeira
Awna Teixeira

In 2006, members of the urban roots trio Po’ Girl decided to drop their day jobs.

“You don’t want it to be a hobby, you don’t want it to be a sideline thing,” singer Allison Russell said.

“Really, the worst that can happen is it doesn’t work out and you have to go and get another job. You’re not going to die. You won’t die!” Before her full-time music pursuit, she was a social worker in Vancouver’s east side.

Russell grew up in Montreal with French-speaking foster parents and a pious grandmother who would drag her along to church. Russell left home at 15 years old and found a new religion.

“It’s like our church,” Russell said of music.

In Vancouver, Russell met fellow singer Awna Teixeira and formed Po’ Girl — in between their day jobs.

Po’Girl now consists of Russell, Teixeira and Mikey “Lightening” August. They share singing duties and play a handful of instruments ranging from the clarinet to the gutbucket bass — an instrument Teixeira chronicled in her 2011 book A Brief History and Introduction to The Gutbucket Bass.

Russell and Teixeira will travel to Kingston for two shows with singer-songwriter JT Nero.

Local fans can expect to hear pieces from Teixeira’s solo work as well as collaborative pieces from Russell and JT Nero’s Mountains/Forests. The band will also play new tracks from their upcoming album Birds of Chicago Volume 1, which they just finished recording on Jan. 16.

The band is currently touring Ontario, which Russell said is a chance to find inspiration.

 “You spend a lot of hours in the van and that for me can be really good writing time,” she said. 

Po’ Girl plays the Whip on Wolfe Island on Saturday night and the Mansion on Sunday night at 9 p.m. with JT Nero.

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