Hearts In The Highlands: Celtic Rockers Wenches & Rogues Debut New Music, New Member
By Will Yannacoulias
Photos by Aaron Brown Photography
On October 15th Saskatoon’s Wenches & Rogues took the stage at Amigos, a triumphant return show for the veteran band that saw them perform a raucous set of classic songs and new material alongside gritty punk rockers 66 Aces. NSMZ was at the show to shoot their frenetic Celtic-Punk-Metal live set, and spoke afterwards with guitarist Trevor Merrigan about the show, the new material and the newest member of the band.
(NSMZ)Amigos is such an iconic Saskatoon venue that always brings out a great crowd, and the October 15th show was no exception!
(Merrigan) “The crowd is always so receptive which is a massive help to the band. We feed off our audience very much and our audiences have always been composed of a bunch of beautiful, amazing people! There's nothing like looking down from the stage at an awesome crew of people loving what you're doing, and also seeing them looking back at us, doing what we love. It helps us adore it all that much more!
(NSMZ) The Amigos show included a new member of the band, vocalist Violette Kreisz. How did Violette come to join the band? Was this her first time appearing onstage with Wenches & Rogues?
(Merrigan) “A few of us met Violette through a mutual friend and she became quick friends with members of the band, and we started doing some acoustic work. Wenches & Rogues was booked to play a show September 2021 and found out not long before that date that one of our members couldn't make it due to work. Violette sat in on that show to do some songs so we could make sure we had enough material to do the full gig. It ended up working out so well that we talked about it and decided that Violette becoming a permanent member would probably be a pretty good idea. The rest, as they say, is history!”
(NSMZ) Could you share what you feel Violette brings to the group? Has Wenches & Rogues had a chance to write with her as a contributor?
(Merrigan) “Still being rather new in the band, there has not been a lot of writing done with her yet. But, what has been done with her thus far is pretty awesome stuff. Like any band that's been together for a while, it's a good idea every now and then to shake things up or to add fresh material or even new people. Her joining Wenches & Rogues is just that. We have a new member with fresh ideas, a second lead vocals adding new dynamics and power to the front, and the ability to write and cover new and different music that we might not have been able to do before.”
(NSMZ) We saw some of that last weekend; your set at Amigos included a number of unreleased songs, and you mentioned onstage that Wenches & Rogues is working on a new record?
(Merrigan) “We are indeed working on a new album, which is pretty exciting considering the fact that our last album was released in 2016. The music is going in a different direction this time around. It's definitely more edgy and heavier than it was in the past. So far the recording process is going very well and we're extremely excited and pleased with what we're hearing. We can't wait to get it out there!”
Wenches & Rogues is:
Kristen Ratzlaff - Lead Vocals/Whistle/Oboe
Violette Kreisz - Lead Vocals
Trevor Merrigan - Guitar
Booker Blakley - Violin/Mandolin
Alan Nieman - Bass/Vocals
Brent Stadnick - Drums