Love of music, life and each other is the essence of the 2019 winners of Inside the Festival.
Josh + Bex, a Canadian folk duo from Kelowna won the competition hosted by the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival and the Creative Okanagan Artist and Event Development Society, open to emerging artists in the Okanagan, Thompson and Shuswap. They were up against some 20 contestants looking to perform during the festival and discover the festival from behind the scenes.
“We were all really impressed with their harmonies and their confidence as a young act; they exude confidence,” says Roots and Blues Artistic Director Peter North. “And when they choose to do cover material, they really find a way to make it their own.”
Josh Smith and Bex Trook met four years ago at a gig at Big White and have been making beautiful music together ever since, both privately and in their careers.
“We’re crazy about each other and fans of each other, and we love that we can make music together,” says Smith.
He hails from the Maritimes and was raised in a musical family that enjoyed song-writing and kitchen parties which were attended by equally musical members of the extended family.
Trook was born in Oyama where she grew up taking vocal lessons and playing piano. She and her sister sang together and took part in vocal competitions.
The couple merge his Eastern soul-folk vibes with her her melody-driven West Coast influence to make music “that captures their tender vulnerabilities and draws listeners into their world with a deep-rooted transparency and open-hearted presence,” notes the couple’s website.
Feeling honoured and looking forward to coming to Salmon Arm, Smith says that while Bex has been able to attend several Roots and Blues festivals, last year was his first visit.
“It was fantastic and Colin James was awesome,” says an enthusiastic Smith. “It was a really cool spot and so well organized. I was super impressed – acts were on on time, vendors were great and we’re really excited to be there.”
The couple who have a five-song EP dropping in September put out their own rendition of a love song every Valentines Day.
“We just want to be respected in the music community as great songwriters and people who create awesome music,” he adds. “We love music and want to tour the world.”
Josh + Bex will perform Friday during the music crawl, on the pop-up stage in the Merch tent on Saturday and will participate in one of the weekend’s many workshops.
“We had more entries for Inside the Festival than ever before with very strong competition,” he says. “There were great acts, it’s a positive scene.”
Roots and Blues rolls out Aug. 15 to 18. For more information and tickets, go to www.rootsandblues.ca or call 250-833-4096.