Just before the pandemic began, a group of local musicians decided to join forces to create a new band that may well take the Valley music scene by storm. Though it was on hiatus for a while due to COVID, Fieldstone Reverie has now started performing for audiences across the Valley and has many shows lined up heading into fall.
The band is composed of Daniel McKell (singer/songwriter and guitar), Kris Mah (bass guitar), Jake Morrissey (drums), and Noah Tolhurst (singer/songwriter and guitar). McKell, Mah, and Morrissey have been playing together for years, ever since McKell and Morrissey went to Chateauguay Valley Regional High School (CVR) together; Mah is McKell’s brother-in-law. Tolhurst entered the equation since he and McKell are distant cousins, and they were both already part of the local music scene. Tolhurst helped design some artwork for an album of McKell’s (Calliope Mountain), and McKell helped Tolhurst to produce his first album.The two had an album launch together during which Tolhurst opened the show for McKell (who was playing with Mah and Morrissey). Tolhurst then joined the rest of the group onstage for one number, and as that song went well, they started playing together casually afterwards until eventually they become Fieldstone Reverie.
Starting a band in a pandemic comes with a unique set of challenges. Tolhurst says throughout the past few years they’ve had to do “a fair amount of practicing a good six to 10 feet away from each other with masks on.” The only real performance opportunity they had was one virtual show that was recorded in Westmount in the fall of 2020. One of the biggest challenges the band faced was that performance venues were closed for so long; some have even had to close their doors for good due to the pandemic.
‘Things that have happened here’
Tolhurst describes the band’s music as “country regional folk,” but says that in their jam sessions, “It tends to take a bit more of a dreamy grungy kind of feel, but still staying within country.” He explains that a lot of their music “is based on either personal stories or local history.” He notes that his songwriting style in particular focuses on “a local history – sort of educating people in a casual way about things that have happened here or are ongoing here.”
A healthy local music scene in a region like the Valley helps to preserve its identity and history. “The internet is a great thing for spreading music, art, and culture in general, but it can make people forget what’s right in their own backyards,” Tolhurst explains. He reminds people that “It’s pretty nice to be able to express yourself within your own community too.” His and McKell’s family “has been in Howick for 200 years this year, so our local roots are pretty deep.”
The return of live performance has allowed Fieldstone Reverie to share their music in person again. One of their first gigs back was at Howick Elementary School, where Tolhurst’s kids attend classes. “It’s the kind of thing we’d probably like to do a bit more of. It’s always nice [to have] immediate feedback when the kids sing along at places you don’t expect them to.” Between them the bandmates have 11 kids, so many of them have also dabbled in children’s music.
Fieldstone Reverie has a few other shows lined up for the fall season. On September 17 they’ll perform at a Texas BBQ at Gary’s in Howick. Then on October 15 they’ll be playing a charity gig at the Howick United Church to benefit both the church and I am Heshima. To make sure you don’t miss out on anything Fieldstone Reverie is up to, you can follow their Facebook page for updates.