Five Questions With A New Ground

Photo Credit: Mirror Photography, Meghan Elizabeth Weber

We recently had a chat with Claryssa Webb and Ryan Dugal of Celtic-folk duo, A New Ground. Now is the time to find out all you can about this talented duo as they are working on a new album and tour, both for this summer. Check out their video for “The Maze” below, and find out more about them via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi, I’m Ryan and this is Claryssa. Together we are A New Ground. Claryssa grew up in Sault Ste Marie playing fiddle tunes at trad camp, studying classical music, and playing the classics with her family band Webb Surround all around the soo area. I grew up in Kitchener playing drums in rock bands, writing songs, recording my own albums, and gigging around southern Ontario. So we have quite the mix of influences and experience to draw from. We’re based out of Kitchener now and run a music school/recording studio.

Tell us a bit about your music and writing style.

Claryssa and I both love playing a whole variety of genres. But when we started the band I was and still am going through a folk music kick. It’s no wonder I was drawn to Claryssa’s fiddle chops! So stylistically the folky acoustic guitar and fiddle support each other nicely and gave us our sound (at least for this album). As for our writing style, personally, I’ve been on a quest since I was a kid to figure out how to put songs together that can really affect people. Songwriting is probably the most important thing to me about music. Claryssa has a much more spontaneous style, capturing what she feels in that moment. I think our approaches compliment each other the same way our styles do.

Do you have any upcoming shows? For someone who has yet to see you live, how would you explain your live performance?

Our live performance often depends on how much room for instruments we have on stage! We like to vary the sound a lot, including hand percussion, drum kit, cello, tin whistle, and mandolin when we can. So that makes our show quite dynamic. But when it’s just the two of us with a guitar and a fiddle, feeling the music in the moment and connecting with each other is still the center stage for our performance. When we get lost in the music and the moment, we hope to draw the audience in with us.

If you were asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be?

Our first instinct is to pick whatever song might help us the most commercially. But after a second thought, we think the message of “Parasite” is the most important for people to hear right now. The song is a conversation between a young humanity and it’s inner demon, namely, it’s thirst for oil. Fast and cheap energy without much consideration for consequences. However, the takeaway message is a positive one. After all, we’ve come this far! But you’ll have to wait until the album’s out this July.

Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favourite Canadian bands/ artists? 

For great sing-along road trips, we’ll throw on some Chromeo or Japandroids. But we’ve been playing a lot of Brian Pickell’s fiddle tunes and singing songs from an Ottawa indie folk band, The Acorn. Such great variety in this country!

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