Edmonton band brings redneck back

By Kevin de Vlaming

With sexy well re-established, the Uncas are bringing redneck back. Band members Sook, Futch, Louis and John are your average Alberta-born, boot-knocking, high-kicking prairie rockers. Think of them as E-town’s answer to local purveyors of alt-country-rock, Agriculture Club.

“We play east central Alberta rock ‘n’ Roll,” says vocalist/guitarist Sook Uncas. “Real bumpkin music that makes beer taste good.”

While the verdict is still out what exactly east central Alberta rock ‘n’ roll actually is, (really, who can keep track of what those crazy east central Alberta scene kids get up to?) one thing’s for sure about the Uncas–they wear lots of plaid. That, and they put on a killer live show.

“When we go on stage,” says Sook. “It’s all lots of bravado and yellin’ and cheerin’ and throwin’ your arms up in the air. Jumping around wildly, and what-have-you.”

The band, which Sook claims has been together for as long as he can remember, borrowed its name from a small town just outside of Edmonton. This is where the boys who would form the Uncas grew up, learned how to strum six-strings, and forged the camaraderie that would see them through to becoming the musical force they are today. When citing their influences, the honky-tonk foursome mention acts as diverse as Waylon Jennings, Ween and The Band.

“We like to write music about girls, our travels, and our great province,” says Sook. “All of its ins and outs.”

The Uncas somehow manage to roll up this cornucopia of creativity into an upbeat, whiskey-soaked fusion of country twang and cowpunk sensibility. It is this uniquely Albertan sound that has lent impetus to the successful sales of their two albums, Sunny Uncas and Drop the Ball. The band is presently working on a third album, which they expect to be due out summer or fall of this year. The new release will strive to capture more of the intangible matrix of drunken redneckery that the Uncas have become renowned for bringing to the stage.

“When folks come to our show, they could expect to see power tools, chickens, scissor kicks, jumping off of ramps, climbing things–lotsa stuff like that,” says Sook. “We’ve been working on some choreographed moves too, like on the high kicks for the chorus lines–that’s way harder than it looks.”

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