By James Keller
Edmonton natives Painting Daisies look at touring as time off work more than anything else. The all-female band, who play the Blue Banana Lounge Jan. 19, make a habit of taking in the attractions of cities they visit on the road, engaging in everything from shopping to hiking to the occasional banjo playing–vocalist and guitarist Daisy Blue Groff’s latest musical exploration.
"It’s like a fucking vacation,"
explains Blue Groff. "I don’t mean that it’s not a lot of hard work, because it is–but it’s so much fun now that I work day jobs."
Blue Groff’s day jobs, much like those of bandmates Kim Gyrba, Rachelle Van Zanten and Carolyn Fortowsky, range from working at a bookstore café to parking services for a certain Edmonton university she doesn’t want to name.
While on "vacation" in Calgary this week, Blue Groff expects to be busy.
"I think that I’d like to go skating," she begins. "We will probably be walking around 17th [ave.] or Kensington just visiting people or taking in the city."
During their vacations, they make time to play music too. The ladies are just about to begin touring to promote their second record, Fortissimo, a humble blend of folk, blues and pop accented by clever lyrics and vocals. This sound is achieved through a largely collaborative process that doesn’t feature just one member in the writer’s seat.
"Everybody writes their own parts," Blue Groff explains. "I can’t imagine being a singer-songwriter having to write 12 tunes because I struggle to write six or seven that I have confidence in."
Although their work has garnered lots of critical praise in Edmonton, the group now have their sights set on the world beyond the local music scene.
"We’ve kind of done our part here," says Blue Groff, pointing out that lately, Edmonton shows have been few and far between. "It’s more worthwhile coming down to Calgary because we have to start a fan base right now–we’ve kind of done all we can do at home, [so] we’ve got to get out on the road."
While some critics are quick to point out that the Daisies are an all-female band, Blue Groff doesn’t see it as an issue. It just might even be an advantage. "I just think about our poster," Blue Groff says. "Someone walks by a club and says ‘oh, it’s an all-women band,’ it just attracts people’s curiosity." She noted people might walk in because they find this concept interesting or because "they expect [us] to really suck."