Pretty Archie is an Americana, Bluegrass, Roots band from Cape Breton, Nova scotia. They are known for their entertaining, high energy & foot stomping shows. The honest, heartfelt writing connects listeners with a saltwater perspective on modern living.
Pretty Archie is a Canadiana band from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Long time friends Brian Cathcart (Lead Vocals, Guitar), Matt McNeil (Mandolin, Guitar), Colin Gillis (Harmonica, Bass, Vocals), Redmond MacDougall (Banjo, Percussion, Vocals) and recently added Scott MacLean (Guitar, Mandolin) make up the band. Always jamming together growing up, they guys decided in 2012 to form a band. The band chose the name Pretty Archie after a local (Cape Breton) character known for playing with 2 strings outside shopping malls in any weather and not always (or ever) in key. The guys thought the name Pretty Archie embodied the love of playing and performing music along with representing their hometown.
With the release of Hanging On (FEB 2019), Pretty Archie showcase a genre-bending mix of folk, bluegrass, country, rock and vintage soul, all underpinned the band’s east coast roots, that’s absolutely impossible to pigeonhole.
Recorded in Sydney, Nova Scotia at Soundpark Studios and co-produced by Pretty Archie and Jamie Foulds, Hanging On was tracked with a very specific approach in mind. The end result is a relentlessly hooky set of high-energy songs that telegraph the Cape Breton-based five-piece’s undiminished lust for the road and the unique musical connection they’ve established with each other over countless miles, a lifelong friendship and four previous records, in equal measure.
“From the opening “Ain’t No Saving Me,” to the ninth and final track, “Sometimes,” this stunning release not only grabbed my attention, but held it for the duration, and maybe a few spins more than a blogger with a short-attention span ought to confess to.” – Great Dark Wonder, Martin Noakes
From stem to stern Hanging On is populated by characters every listener will recognize from their own lives with almost photographic precision; long lost lovers, the best friend you always planned to run away and take on the world with, even that one person at the bar who’s perpetually on their last cigarette.
At some point in life everyone experiences mixed feelings about where they’re at, where they’re going and where they come from, and Gillis, lead singer Brian Cathcart, Matt McNeil (mandolin/guitar), Redmond MacDougall, (banjo/percussion/vocals) and Scott MacLean (guitar/mandolin) are no exception.
Nowhere is that more evident than on lead single ‘This Whole Town’. Inspired by their hometown of Sydney, as well as the people who inhabit it, ‘This Whole Town’ dwells heavily on those conflicting emotions, but always with an eye to inspiring listeners to make the most of what they have.
“While Pretty Archie’s music blurs the lines between multiple genres, all the ingredients of their sound have been nurtured by the setting they grew up in.” – FYI Music News, Jason Schneider
“Pretty Archie always find some way to encourage listeners to take lean times in stride, suck it up, stick it out and just keep going!” – BuzzMusic
“That’s the east coaster in us,” Gillis says. “Cape Breton went from being an industrial hub when our parents were growing up to having next to no work, and that’s impossible to ignore when we’re writing. It’s a big part of growing up here.”
Wherever you call home and whatever the pitfalls you’ve experienced over time, any hint that some kind of salvation might be on the horizon is always welcome; something that Pretty Archie address in no uncertain terms on album opener, ‘Ain’t No Saving Me’. The song literally starts out with a conversation with a preacher, which, as the title suggests, doesn’t go well. That said, it does reflect what the band refers to as a shared, ‘saltwater perspective’ on life.
Whether it’s soul-drenched tracks like ‘Summer Love’ and ‘Sometimes’, a cautionary tale cleverly disguised as a rip it up party tune like ‘Night Life’, or ‘Holding Out’ – a song that’s essentially the band’s mission statement, Pretty Archie always find some way to encourage listeners to take lean times in stride, suck it up, stick it out and just keep going.
Put bluntly, it’s the kind of record that anyone who’s felt as if fate suddenly up and stuck a fork in their greatest dream, then said ‘That’s done’, will find a sentiment they can tip their glass to.
While Pretty Archie’s music blurs the lines between multiple genres, all the ingredients of their sound have been nurtured by the setting they grew up in. Even their name was sourced locally – in tribute to a local street musician the band says embodied their own love of playing and performing.
With every record and every tour Pretty Archie are carrying that little piece of home a bit farther afield. Since their 2013 debut, Steel City, the band have built an ever- larger following on the east coast, across Canada and – since a gig this past summer at Denmark’s Tonder Festival and with more international dates slated for 2019 –are poised to do so globally.
And although the stories they tell on Hanging On are based on Pretty Archie’s Maritime roots, they know from experience that they’ll resonate with pretty much anyone.