Lotus Shaker talks new lineup, new music ahead of Toucan gig
Kingston’s Lotus Shaker has become, by accident, one of the busiest and most talked about bands in town. At the core of the band is powerhouse singer Brittany Blanche and her fiance, guitarist Dan Chisholm, who started performing together in 2010. As a duo, they just wrapped up a lengthy residency at Musiikki Cafe. Earlier this year, veteran Kingston musicians Tim Archibald (bass) and Jeff Salmon (drums) joined the band – another happy accident. Now, as a full four-piece band, Lotus Shaker has been keeping themselves busy on the bustling Kingston scene with a series of shows at local venues like BluMartini, Riverhead Brewing Company, and, this coming Friday, The Toucan.
“We came across each other by accident,” says Chisholm, of getting together with Archibald and Salmon.
“They were going to play as a duo and our band at the time was going to play after, but at the last minute our singer decided not to show up,” says Salmon. “So we had a guitarist and a singer right there. We played a few songs together and people loved it.”
“Then we didn’t do anything for about five months,” interjects Archibald, “but here we are now!”
Blanche and Chisholm had been known previously as Drop Down Mama (“heavy prog-metal stuff”) and the admittedly-embarrassing Libido Blues Band (“lots of Stevie Ray Vaughan covers”) before settling on Lotus Shaker (“atmospheric vibes, kind of heavy stuff, with funk.”)
It was around that time that another series of accidents gave Lotus Shaker another great opportunity: a year-and-a-half-long gig playing every Sunday at Musiikki as a duo. It came about after two separate musicians who usually played on Sundays fell ill.
“This all has been a wonderful, beautiful, magical accident,” says Blanche. “Dan didn’t even want to do it at first, because he wasn’t much of an acoustic guitar player. But we were able to become better players because of it.”
Lotus Shaker has been known primarily for the strength of their cover songs, but the band is now planning to release an album of original material later in 2019.
“We’ve been trying to create our sound through cover songs, but it will be a nice switch to develop that sound further with our own music,” says Blanche.
“Dan is a riff machine,” says Archibald. “He’ll just send me riffs all day long, and I’ll be cradling my baby daughter trying to write the bass lines while holding her.”
Lyrically, Blanche has always leaned towards darker content but recognizes a need to be a bit less morose.
“I’m trying to get better,” says Blanche. “It’s going to be a challenge to step away from the dark stuff, but I write a lot.”
Lotus Shaker returns this Friday to The Toucan. The show starts at 10:30 pm.
“There are really good people in this community who support us a lot,” says Blanche. “It’s been such a great series of accidents, and I hope it doesn’t stop any time soon.”