by Scott Roos
photo by James Greig
“I was pretty new to the band,” reminisces Nice Horse guitarist Tara McLeod of her band’s last gig at the EA Rawlinson Centre for the Arts. She had just joined the band a few months prior and was getting her proverbial feet wet as a country music guitar player.
It’s been just shy of four years since that initial performance. Nice Horse was in the opening slot for B.C. country rockers The Washboard Union. The two groups had a memorable tour together which is something that McLeod distinctly remembers as she thinks back to that time in the fall of 2018.
“The tour with Washboard Union as a whole was an incredible experience for us because I think anytime that your buddies, they are actually buddies of everybody (in Nice Horse), want to bring you out on tour and put you in front of a bigger audience it makes you feel extremely grateful,” remembers McLeod.
Nice Horse will be returning to Prince Albert on Friday, February 25th in the opening slot once again at the Rawlinson. This time around, it’s the up and comer Tebey who will be in the midst of his “Shotgun Rider Tour”.
“Nashville resident and Ontario, Canada native, Tebey, is a platinum selling artist, award winning producer and accomplished songwriter with six #1 songs in his repertoire of hits. His much-mispronounced name (read: TAY-bay) is of Nigerian descent – his father’s birthplace, but Tebey grew up in the small town of Peterborough and went to high school in Burlington,” reads the press release provided by the Rawlinson.
But like The Washboard Union, he has connections to Nice Horse through the small and tight knit Canadian country music community. In some respects, the individual, genre specific Canadian music scenes are like mini-small towns. Within these scenes, everybody knows everybody. McLeod knew Tebey's bass player and the rest of the girls in NIce Horse were friends with his guitar player.
“It was all the kind of comical Canadian music industry everybody knows each other type thing and then we finally met Tebey and we got along really well with him so it was nice for him to extend the offer to bring us out on the road. It's like a little music family type thing,” explains McLeod.
In terms of Nice Horse themselves, since McLeod joined the band they have released a handful of singles and have gotten an edgier sound. Through and through, McLeod is a self designated “rocker”. Prior to joining Nice Horse, she was in several heavy rock bands including the legendary London, Ontario based metal act Kittie who she has played guitar off and on with since 2005. Her work is especially evident on Nice Horse's latest single entitled "Trampoline" where she shreds a tasty guitar solo.
“I’ve definitely (added) a much heavier vibe (to Nice Horse). As a player, through and through, I have rock roots. And so, not that I wanna polish that off, it's just there. I couldn't even if I wanted to. And so I think their live show was a little softer and maybe a little bit more delicate before I jumped in with them but the girls definitely like the vibe that I bring to their band. I think they've enjoyed actually having a bit of a high energy heavy rock/country show,” says McLeod.
That high energy show will be fully evident this Friday as McLeod and Nice Horse will take the stage. They are a highly entertaining act that are primed and ready to do what they do best at the Rawlinson. Throughout the course of the pandemic, as opportunities arose, Nice Horse has been able to pivot to a more stripped down acoustic, cabaret style when restrictions have been more stringent, and they’ve played full out when things were more open but, like so many bands during COVID times, those opportunities have been few and far between. This tour with Tebey will be the first time in several months that they will be able to fully do what they do best.
“ (I am looking forward to these) live shows for sure; playing in front of a large audience and getting to actually really express ourselves as a live band. I think definitely our big selling point for Nice Horse is that we do have a really great live show. We practice a lot and take it very seriously. It really shows in our live shows,” says McLeod.
At press time tickets are still available for the Tebey/Nice Horse show this Friday and can be purchased here: bit.ly/EARCTebey. Doors for the show will open at 7 pm.