Take your confession to the Blue Banana

By Nicole Kobie

Hallelujah! The Blue Banana Lounge is being blessed with the presence of the Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir.

No, it’s not how it sounds.

Don’t go expecting sacred songs of salvation this Fri., March 9. If you want to repent, go to confession. If you want fabulous blues-styled music, don’t miss the Choir.

A recent Calgary creation, the Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir combines the musical talents of Judd Palmer, Bob Keelghan, Shannon Anderson, Peter Balkwell and Vladimir Sobolewski.

"[It’s] the brainchild of Judd Palmer," explains bassist Sobo-lewski. "Originally the concept was to have a choir [of] a half a dozen or a dozen vocals behind us."

Don’t let the Church nomenclature fool you, though; it’s just a name.

"If you go watch the Barenaked Ladies, you’re not going to see barenaked ladies," explaines Sobolewski.

Palmer came up with the name while walking through the woods one day. Only six live shows old, the Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir have played such local venues as the Night Gallery and the Emerald Café. However, don’t expect them to go touring and traveling any time soon. After six years of pushing his other Calgary band, The Puritans,Sobolewski is ready to stick around Calgary.

"I think that for myself and for Bob [Keelghan] who have been pushing a band for six years, The Puritans, and really not seeing anything, I don’t know how bands can do it for so long and not see or get recognized or make some kind of an impact," explains Sobolewski.

After touring non-stop and chasing after record deals, Sobolewski had a revelation.

"We’re not rock stars, and we’re not going to become rock stars," he explains. "I’m not in this to make money. We’re making money… just very little money."

It’s a good thing the music matters more than the money, considering the low pay-levels of musicians in Calgary. Nevertheless, Sobolewski is happy with how his alt-blues style fits into the local scene.

"It’s something that isn’t really happening in town," he said. "There’s not a lot of what we’re doing in town."

That doesn’t mean Sobolewski thinks nothing’s happening in Calgary, however. The breaking up and reforming of new bands always excites and intrigues Sobolewski, and he thinks the local scene is entering a new era.

Part of that new scene, the Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir have been well-received in their few local showings. Sobolewski thinks he knows why.

"We’re all acoustic, we’re not up there with loud amps, screaming, trying to bring down the man," he says. "If you come to see us you’re going to be entertained."

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