With headliners such as Burton Cummings, Jefferson Starship and Teenage Head, the upcoming Sturgis Canada festival at the old Merritt Mountain Music Festival grounds is mainly focused on rock ’n’ roll.
And while country band Me and Mae may plays a different style of music, festivalgoers can expect the atmosphere to stay light, energetic and party-like.
“If you’re not a country fan, don’t let that label get in the way,” Me and Mae guitarist Shawn Meehan said. “We tend to attract a lot of fans who don’t normally like country, but who like us because we tend to bring the pop element and the bluegrass, the rock element. It’s kind of a crossover thing,” he said.
It won’t be Me and Mae’s first appearance before a classic rock crowd; the band is just coming off a couple of dates opening for Canrock classic Trooper.
“It was a packed house and the response was great,” he said.
The band’s name is derived from the last name of singer Jacky Mae, with the rest of the band comprising the “Me.” Mae became part of the band when Meehan and bass player Adam Reid were in Prince George to play with another band. A local radio station there held a contest to find a female singer for a duet the band planned to play at their show.
“They picked the winner, and we didn’t really care whether the winner could sing or not. We just wanted to have fun with it,” Meehan said.
“Obviously, the winner was Jacky and she just blew us away. We [Reid and I] looked at each other and went, ‘I think that’s our next singer.’”
That duet turned out to be the band’s first single, Love Me Leave Me Lonely, which has a back story of its own. Meehan had written the song with pop sensation and former guitar student Carly Rae Jepsen, whom he knew through a former manager.
After the release of that single, Me and Mae inked a deal with Victoria-based Cordova Bay Records, and in May of this year released its first full-length record Off the Rails.
“We’re basically a power-pop, party-country band,” Meehan said. “It’s got the elements of all that. Really, the CD was the show recorded.
“It’s just all up-tempo, good times. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. Come out and forget about life for a couple of hours.”
After Sturgis, the band will finish up its festival circuit in B.C. and then fly to Nashville in September to play some showcase shows and perform at some American dates. Then it’s back in the studio to record more of the songs they’ve been writing as they tour.
“We’re just going to keep playing and playing. It’s what we do, it’s what we love to do and it’s what we plan to do,” Meehan said.
Me and Mae plays the Iron Mountain Saloon at the festival grounds Sunday, Aug. 24 at 9:30 p.m.