African allusions

Sam Roberts headlines the Wolfe Island Music Festival for the first time

Sam Roberts Band is currently on tour with their fifth studio album Collider. Roberts says most of the album was written while he was sitting in his basement in Montreal.
Sam Roberts Band is currently on tour with their fifth studio album Collider. Roberts says most of the album was written while he was sitting in his basement in Montreal.
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I was in a car in downtown Toronto and had to pull over on a side street to call Sam Roberts for an interview. Turns out family man Sam was in his car as well in his hometown of Montreal driving to pick up his kids from school.

“We just got back — we were playing in Edmonton last weekend and we got to stop at home,” he said.

Sam and the rest of the members of Sam Roberts Band are currently on tour with their latest album Collider going from Montreal to the West and back to Toronto — almost going in circles.

“It makes no sense whatsoever! There’s sort of an element of insanity to what we do, but we willingly participate in it,” Roberts said.

Collider is a step away from the band’s last album Love at the End of the World with its allusions to African jazz beats.

“It’s just going out on a limb rhythmically or maybe getting closer to the kind of music that I really love and listen to on my own time,” he said.

Roberts said the songs on the band’s fifth studio album were written while he was sitting in his basement, but that’s not the strangest place he’s ever played his music.

“We’ve played in churches and I always find playing rock and roll in a church to be — especially for somebody who grew up in a Catholic family and was an altar boy for a good part of my childhood — borderline sacrilegious.”

While they’re on their latest tour, Sam Roberts Band is making a stop in Kingston in August to perform at the Wolfe Island Music Festival as the headlining act.

It’s the band’s first time playing the festival and Roberts said he has been waiting to get the chance to perform at the annual show.

“It’s always been on the radar, but it’s like not getting invited to a birthday party,” he said. “It’s kind of a legendary festival among musicians.”

Since it’s the band’s first appearance at Wolfe Island, Roberts said the group has a few surprises in store for the audience.

“TVs for everybody, absolutely. It’s like Ellen you know — we’ve got Playstations and televisions for everybody who comes,” he said.

All jokes aside, Roberts said he is looking forward to taking part in some activities Wolfe Island is known for.

“I will bird. I’ll even bring my own binoculars! I’ve got a bird feeder at the back of my house here in Montreal, but I just don’t think we’re quite as close to nature,” he said. “I just want to see a nice heron. Something that’s not a seagull or a pigeon would be great.”

Sam Roberts Band will be performing at the Wolfe Island Music Festival on Aug. 11.

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