Updated: May 14
by Scott Roos
pics by Deanna Roos
Eighteen year old Jake Vaadeland is turning into a legit sensation in the Saskatoon, Prince Albert and surrounding area. His unique blend of rockabilly and bluegrass has had him in high demand - he's played Ness Creek, the Sask Jazz Festival, house concerts, drive-in shows, you name it he's played it. It's been amazing watching how quickly he's taken off since embarking on a solo career (he used to play in a traditional bluegrass duo called Jake and Ira).
*Jake and Ira performing at a house concert in September of 2020
"When my original musical partner Ira Amundson had to move away from Canada, I was very stressed out about having to start from scratch and I worried that music wasn’t going to work out for me. However, when I became acquainted with my new bandmembers and came up with my own unique sound, things took off quite well," Vaadeland told NSMZ.
Jake and Ira were sensations in their own right and it was sad to see that project fall by the wayside. The two had a fantastic rapport and Amundson's musicianship and dry whit added a flavour to Vaadeland's sound and style. You can still hear elements of that in his new project.
"There are many great things that happened in the last eight months that I could choose. But, I think the biggest take away is that things continued to go up hill, and still do, towards my goal of being able to make my living playing music," said Vaadeland.
Vaadeland's music sort of sounds like a mix between the traditional bluegrass of Flatt and Scruggs and old school 'Hey Porter" Sun Records era Johnny Cash. And the fascinating thing about Vaadeland is he's 100% invested in looking the part. It's not a gimmick. Vaadeland is a legit throwback to a bygone era and that's made him really really hip right now; almost reminiscent of how Hank Williams III sort of had that almost punk rock vibe because he was so old school country in his overall sound. Jake is the same way. He's committed to the look, sound and overall vibe of a bygone era and it's enabled him to have a meteoric rise in the Saskatchewan music scene.
"I just like to focus on being myself and writing songs that have meaning to me. As much as I would love to do it exactly like Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs did it, I can’t do that because they beat me to it. Just like they did, I have to come up with something new and unique and introduce it to the audience for it to be of interest to them," explained Vaadeland.
*Jake Vaadeland and the Sturgeon River Boys performing at Chesterfest 2021