Local band the Boom Chucka Boys have seen a virtual whirlwind of activity over the past couple of years. And the summer months will see more gigs and opportunities – including performing at the Calgary Stampede – come their way.
“We’ve had a really accelerated growth curve,” explains front man Ryan Langlois. The guys first joined forces three years ago, and already they’ve accomplished much of what your typical band dreams of doing – releasing their first single and recording their debut CD, landing all kinds of gigs, and seeing their fan base steadily grow. Their single Find My Peace of Mind climbed to #41 on the Canadian Country charts and #15 on the Alberta Top 30.
“We’ve all – in our own little journeys – put a lot of time in. It hasn’t been overnight, but it’s been fast.”
The guys perform June 15 at the Sylvan Lake Multiplex as part of the town’s centennial celebrations. They also open for Gord Bamford on July 10 at Calgary’s Cowboys as part of Stampede week. They also perform during Westerner Days in Red Deer on July 17.
Merging classic country, 1950s rockabilly and slick modern Nashville sounds, the Boom Chucka Boys seem to have a knack for walking the fine line between many musical stylings. A whole lot of country, with a splash of rock n’ roll. Sprinkle in some gospel, and little bit of soul.
Rounding out the band are Joel Rathjen on lead guitar, Teddy Roy Michaylow on bass and Dave Grobe on the drums.
Langlois also credits the guys’ chemistry for not just producing a seamless sound but also helping to fuel the band’s momentum.
“There is such a camaraderie and a meshing on stage and with what we do musically, that it looks like we’ve been doing this for a long time,” he explains. “That comes from having true relationships and true friendships. We’re doing life together – we’re not just in a band. That comes across onstage.”
They’re also inspired by all eras of music they pull from the likes of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, CCR, The Band, Dwight Yoakam, Dierks Bentley and Zac Brown Band.
As mentioned, the band took shape about three years ago – in July of 2010.
They began honing their musicianship, songwriting, and performance at any live venue that would lend them a stage.
Then on a chilly night in January of 2011, CCMA award winning country artist Bamford happened to walk in on them in the middle of a three-set night. Before long a deal was made and The Boom Chucka Boys signed a record deal with Cache Entertainment.
Their debut album was produced by award winning producer/songwriter Byron Hill. Also, the band was essentially the brainchild of Langlois. And even though there was plenty of music around the house when he was growing up (“It was a pretty eclectic mix”) his knack for playing and singing didn’t surface until some time later.
“I didn’t start anything musical until I was about 22,” he explains of his own artistic ventures. He was inspired to start singing by watching the song leader at his church.
“I had extreme stage fright and nerves,” he recalls. But he kept at it just the same. That same music director eventually offered Langlois guitar lessons, and it proved a pivotal time.
“I picked it up extremely quickly, and before long I was singing in church. But I felt like I wanted to do more.” He started writing a few songs and taking opportunities at little coffee houses whenever he could.
“It wasn’t long after I started strumming away on the guitar that I started to get the songwriting bug and started thinking about my own songs.”
But he wanted to team up with other like-minded individuals. “There was always something in me about being in a band. I didn’t want to be a stand-alone solo artist.”
He started asking around, looking for musicians to hook up with. “I started calling myself Ryan Langlois and the Boom Chucka Trio – for whoever I would have with me.”
Later one when he connected with Grobe, Rathjen and Michaylow, we settled on the Boom Chucka Boys and operating as a band – not focusing on one guy but having four players in the show. It’s been good.”
Rockabilly with its nostalgic 1950s flair is very popular in the southern U.S. and it’s continually gaining ground in Canada.
“There’s a familiarity with it. I like that what we do is easily accessible to everybody. You don’t have to be a musician to appreciate it,” he adds. “You can just sit back and just enjoy it.
“It’s not that it’s simple and easy – it’s just that there’s something familiar about what we do. People easily gravitate to it and relate to it, and you see that when you are playing it.
“There’s an element of it that does pay homage to the older sound.” But the younger set are pretty excited about what they guys are coming up with as well.
“We’ve played shows where there are five-year-olds out there dancing as well as a 70-year-old couple out there spinning around the floor as well.”
Meanwhile, the guys are prepping for a busy summer, and they’re excited about introducing their tunes to bigger audiences.
“The four of us are doing what we were designed to do. When you do that, there’s a joy and something so incredibly appealing about that. That’s what people see and buy into.”