Rain Over St. Ambrose was initially conceived during a period of loss. A year-and-a-half ago, longtime Yarmouth musician Curtis LeBlanc passed away onstage---shortly after urging his son Cory to try fronting a band.
Cory had spent a long time as a drummer playing with musicians like Jon McKiel and Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees. After his father's death, he switched to guitar and put together a band with his brother Curt, close friend Marc Durkee and local musicians Luke and Matt Amirault as a tribute.
"Our dad loved the '60s and '70s rock ---the Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival," says Curt LeBlanc. "In the beginning, the band was just straightforward rock 'n' roll."
Rain Over St. Ambrose (named after the weather on the day of Curtis LeBlanc's funeral) has since become a powerful band in its own right. Their second EP Overton Window is tough, catchy and heartfelt. It's rare to hear such assurance from such a relatively young band. LeBlanc says that the songs---written by Cory over a year ago---have evolved quickly over time. "We've played the hell out of them," he says. "We've figured out what sounds best."
The band received a major infusion to their development this past April, when they won first place at the DevCom competition at the Seahorse. As part of their prize, they were whisked to Codapop Studios to crank out Overton Window. They're currently enjoying another portion of the prize---a tour promoting the EP, out November 1.
"Winning gave us a new direction," says LeBlanc. "Getting the real studio experience, doing this tour---this is the biggest tour we've ever done."
Once the band wraps up the tour with a gig in their Yarmouth hometown as part of Nova Scotia Music Week, they plan to film a music video with filmmaker Thomas Cantley and work toward recording a full-length. It seems that Cory made the right choice in getting out from behind the kit.
"My father was a natural frontman," says Curt. "My brother definitely has that quality."
Rain Over St. Ambrose w/The Town Heroes, The Space Age, Friday, October 7, 10pm, The Seahorse Tavern, 1665 Argyle Street, $7