Cowboy Rowland is mounting up a Cinco de Mayo Party in Oliver.
He’s the leader of a nomadic country-rock duo called the Feather River Band.
“It’s a nostalgic band,” he said. “Not the real old tangy country, but everything from the old stuff right up to the new stuff and rock ‘n’ roll as the night goes on. Music from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.”
Along with his partner Gail Greenough, Rowland travels around Western Canada and America in a 32-foot-long bus which tows a 21-foot trailer.
“We go from Minnesota to Texas; midwest to west coast of United States, and now a little bit of canada. We get to see beautiful country, get to fish in a lot of different lakes, meet a lot of people.”
During a stint in Yuma, Arizona, Rowland was playing at an RV park with about 1,100 campers, and he figures about three-quarters of them were Canadian. So although it was a peculiar location for him to become exposed to music from the Maritimes, he discovered “Newphie music” was a crowd favourite among Canadian snowbirds.
“I thought, ‘boy that’s got a snappy little beat to it,'” he recalls. “I sat down for about four hours, played the song that evening and nailed it. It went over real big.”
He’s also discovered that most Newphies seem to live in Alberta nowadays.
“They say oil replaced the fishing.”
In their trailer they store their plethora of instruments as well as a little Smart Car.
“The whole front of the trailer is music equipment – five guitars, keyboard, steel guitar, banjo and mandolin,” he said, adding that he has 32 different foot switches and pedals for percussion.
“I use my feet to operate different sounds and effects for the show.”
And each show is full of prizes. The Feather River Band is supplied with goodies from their sponsor Budweiser, they award concert- goers with lottery tickets, jewelry, bottles of champaign and wine, and a bouquet of flowers for the longest-married couple of the evening.
“There’s lots goin’ on.”
The Cinco de Mayo show happens at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 97 on May 5. Doors open at 4 p.m., Mexican dinner starts at 5:30 and the show begins at 7. Tickets cost $17 in advance through the canteen or $20 at the door.
“Hope everybody comes out and has lots of fun, we’re really looking forward to it.”