The Toronto-based Andrew Collins Trio are bringing their award-winning sound to Oak Bay on Saturday night.
Between them, the trio of Collins, lead vocalist and guitarist, Mike Mezzatesta, the other guitarist, and James McEleney, the bassist, play up to 10 instruments at a show. McEleney is steady on the bass while Collins also plays the mandolin, mandocello, fiddle, mandola, and Mezzatesta also plays the guitar, mandolin, mandola and fiddle.
Their sound has earned them five separate Juno nominations and seven Canadian Folk Music awards.
Collins originally met Mezzatesta about 10 years ago when the latter asked Collins after one of his shows if he would give him a lesson.
“We got together and it was obvious [Mezzatesta] didn’t need lessons,” Collins said. “Instead we just jammed and became friends.”
Collins then learned that Mezzatesta had taught himself many of Collin’s recorded songs.
It took a while but Mezzatesta eventually relocated back to Toronto from B.C. Collins was in a band called the Unseen Strangers with McEleney.
“…As a courtesy, I checked to make sure that the band leader [Adam Shier] wouldn’t mind if I asked James to play with me and he responded, ‘Not if you don’t mind if I ask Mike to play with me,’” Collins said. “So we did a little band sharing and the rest is history.”
Collins’ previous work was in bluegrass and “newgrass,” including seven albums with the Foggy Hogtown Boys, and four albums with the Creaking Tree String Quartet.
This tour supports the latest Andrew Collins Trio’s fourth album, a double-album, Tongue & Groove. It features one album of all vocal material and one album of all instrumental music.
“So much of my material has been instrumental over the years,” Collins said. “People expect an ACT show to be almost all instrumental.”
The trio take the stage at the Upstairs Lounge at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8. Get a sample of their music at Andrewcollinstrio.com.
Oak Bay Recreation centre is also hosting Pearl Django on Friday, Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.).
Pearl Django performs Gypsy Jazz and Hot Club style music, including many pieces by Django Reinhardt.
Tickets for both shows are available at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre or at the door.