What: Joshua Radin, Sarah and Christian Dugas
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St., Boulder, 303-786-7030
Sarah Dugas might as well have popped into the world singing.
The soul and roots musician has been performing since she was a kid, but that’s not uncommon. What’s a bit surprising is where she popped out — Winnipeg, Canada.
Just the thought of Winnipeg stirs up images of freezing landscapes — it’s a long way from the American South, in distance and culture, but Sarah and her brother Christian could easily fit in below the Mason Dixon Line.
It all started very sweetly. Sarah and Christian’s parents got them hooked on southern music with their vinyl collection, and when the kids were 7 and 9 years old, the family formed a band. By the time Sarah was 12 and Christian was 14, they branched out on their own.
“There was a small scene for [roots music]. It wasn’t something that was accessible to us so much live,” Sarah Dugas said. “I think Winnipeg is so far from so many different things, Winnipeg has a way of creating whatever lack there is in the city.”
They’ve been playing together on and off — in solo projects, working with other bands, and even joining the same band at different times. For a while, each was part of the Grammy-nominated roots group The Duhks. Sarah was asked to join first, then when the band needed to replace its drummer a few months later, Christian got on board too.
“It always a matter a time before we got back together,” Dugas said.
Now they’re recording and performing together, just the two of them. They released a five-track EP last February on Southern Ground Records, and they’re about to slow down the gigging to focus on a full-length album.
“We’re currently writing for a full-length record, just having a lot of fun coming up with new songs and new material,” Dugas said. “We’re actually trying to spend more time at home to give us that time to create.”
Home, in this case, means Nashville, where Sarah and Christian live when they’re not in Winnipeg. It’s a perfect fit for their genre, but the resulting music tends to be all over the southern map rather than having deep Nashville roots.
“A lot of people listen to the EP and acknowledge how even though there are only five songs, it jumps around stylistically,” Dugas said. “We can’t help it. That probably wont change.”
The pair wants the debut album to be all, or mostly all, original music. There’s no release date yet, but this Sunday’s eTown show should serve as a good preview.
Joshua Radin ready to preview new songs
This Sunday’s eTown taping will also feature singer and guitarist Joshua Radin, who’s giving a sort of rare performance.
Radin hasn’t been touring much lately and won’t doing shows for a little while after he appears in Boulder because he’s completely focused on his next album. He recently spent time writing in Hawaii, staying on a gorge overlooking a waterfall. Other than that, he just hangs out at home, working out songs.
“It’s pretty boring when I’m in the writing process. I don’t really see anybody. I just hibernate,” Radin said. “All I’ve been doing is sitting on my couch and writing and playing. I’ll have a friend over and be like, ‘Sorry, you have to listen to these songs.”
But he said that doesn’t happen often — though when it does he opens a bottle of scotch — so he’s looking forward to playing some of the music for fresh ears in Boulder.
“Not only do I love the town, but also, I haven’t played in front of an audience in a while,” Radin said. “But I’m not going to be able to test it out in the sense of how I hear it in my head.”
What the audience can expect, along with Radin’s older stuff, is new songs in their raw form, without a backing band. It’s exactly the opposite of when musicians do acoustic shows of their old hits, only much cooler. This show will present the songs in progress.
“[I’m] still figuring it out. We’ll learn a lot once we start in the studio. It’s definitely very acoustic, I know that. I haven’t figured out all the instrumentation yet,” Radin said. “Songs can take different directions in the studio in a lot of ways. It’s daunting, but it’s also really exciting. I’m totally consumed by it right now.”
With both Radin and the Dugas’ working on new music, this eTown taping should be a great chance to hear some new music first.