Updated: May 13
by Scott Roos
photos by Deanna Roos Photography
With a modest population of close to 200 people, Harris, Saskatchewan is a small farming community about 77 clicks southwest of Saskatoon. Typically, it's a town that most travelers pass on the highway on their way to Rosetown, Kindersley or points even further south or west. Blink and you'll miss it. But, if you're a Saskie music aficionado, you'd also know that this is the hometown of incendiary, classic rock preservationist, power trio Seven Mile Sun.
Seven Mile Sun aka 7MS, is set to return home to play a sold out show at the Harris Hotel very soon. It's a show that has been in the works for quite some time but, because of COVID (ugh these dreaded words are becoming all too familiar these days), the band has only finally been able to fulfill that commitment on the evening of December 23rd.
"We had booked a couple of shows at the hotel almost exactly two years ago, as a half capacity COVID show. So we were gonna play two nights at half capacity with full restrictions and stuff and then we had to cancel those due to a local outbreak of COVID and then we said 'we're sorry but we promise we will reschedule' and it just took us this long to do it," explains 7MS vocalist/guitarist Kevin Stevens. Stevens is joined by sister Kimberley on drums and bassist Joanne Genest.
For Stevens, the timing for this show works perfectly. Many of the band's earliest supporters will be in town for the holidays. This gives this crowd a chance to see 7MS do what they do best. The vibe will be intimate and deeply personal, with only 80 some odd tickets sold.
"There's a lot of people from town that have supported us since we started (that want to see us play). They might have young kids or are older themselves... This is a good opportunity for local people to come see us and not have to stay out till three in the morning (if the show were to be in the city)," Stevens continues.
The show will get started around 8:30 with the plan being for two opening acts to set the stage for the hometown heroes - Rosetown's Bailey Imlach and also singer-songwriter scene stalwart Will Ardell. The bar itself sounds like a pretty amazing and special venue in and of itself. Stevens is excited to play there as he thinks he's maybe only played there on one other occasion and that was early on in his career.
"The Harris Hotel is a really neat, unique little bar. The owner's have done a cool job designing it. They make great food and have really spruced it up really nice," muses Stevens, "(Sonically) also it's got a very warm feel in there. It's cozy and it's a long narrow room. It kinda reminds me of Bud On Broadway in that sense and I always find that good for sound because everybody's in the direct line of the mains. So there won't be a bad seat in the house really."
It's great to see a small town venue opening up its doors for live music. Hopefully, this will be the first show of many at the Harris Hotel now that the word is hopefully getting out. Hopefully word will also get out to other fine establishments in the area that live music, in the "post COVID restrictions" era, is a viable small town alternative to canned DJ music. It's actually pretty damn admirable that Harris is taking these steps and leading the proverbial small town venue charge in their area heading into 2023.
"You're never gonna have more support and a more appreciative audience than in a small town and that's just a fact," says Stevens, "They're just happy to have somebody come in and entertain right? So even if you're not an all star band you're still going to have a ton of fun and an appreciative crowd."
"It's going to be a really cool night. It's as intimate of a setting as you're ever going to get to see us or anyone else perform. We're basically on ground level with the crowd and you can be as close as you want as long as you're not spilling your beer on my amp anything like that," Stevens concludes.
Even though this show is now officially sold out, NSMZ will have photographer Tracy Creighton of Copperblue Photography and Design out to snap pics and NSMZ staff writer Tara McDermott to immortalize the event with her mighty pen. Stay tuned for this coverage in the new year.