The Wonkytonk-folk-a-rockabilly dads

By Ted Simpson – 

Three local dads are combining their love of music and children into the wonkytonk-folk-a-rockabilly, family friendly, child inspired sonic powerhouse that is, Hey Buster.

Geoff Paisley of Wellington West, Matt Young of Wellington West and Sherwood Lumsden who lives on Preston Street, make up the core, songwriting trifecta of the band that took Kitchissippi by storm a few years ago, playing in venues appealing to both kids and their parents including school gym, The Elmdale Tavern and ArtsPark. The trio get by with a little help from their friend, local legend Slo’ Tom, formerly of the iconic Ottawa rock band, Furnaceface.

The music continues to revolve around the chaotic and curious lives of the band’s children. “It’s all inspired by the trials and tribulations of our kids, really,” says Young. And they have a lot of material to work with: Young and Paisley have 3 kids each while Lumsden – the brains of the group – has only one. All the band member’s kids are seven years old or younger.

Also to keep in mind: Paisley and Young are both elementary school teachers. So, it’s safe to say they know how to connect with their demographic. That demographic, the band says, is the coveted one to seven age range. “It still works on grade two, but I don’t think it would fly with grade three,” says Lumsden.

As a grade school teachers and fathers, the boys have herd their fair share of child oriented music, and were far from satisfied with the status quo, “We couldn’t stand the music that they were always singing, which was preachy music, it’s awful music, it’s not fun to listen to,” says Young, reminiscing antiquated tunes about brushing teeth and saying prayers. “We also wanted the appeal to be to parents, we wanted it to be music they could listen to and enjoy.”

And from the adult perspective, the music is pretty damn appealing. There is a nice mix of old school rockabilly and country with folky vocal harmonies that could be reminiscent of The Beatles or Simon and Garfunkel – after a few drinks.

All three members collaborate on the songwriting process, with Lumsden’s strong musical background holding down the instrumentals and Young’s experience with musical theatre makes him an outstanding vocalist and performer while Paisley can sing… and that’s always helpful.

The trio’s real strength is on stage, when they get to let loose and be entertainers. “Mark, with his musical theatre background, he really lifts it up, he can get the kids to dance,” says Lumsden. “A lot of our music we get the kids to participate, so it’s not just stand and listen, a lot of our songs the kids have to move around and shake.”

Hey Buster would like to invite Kitchissippi families to their CD release party for their second album, aptly titled, Yeti Likes Spaghetti. The party is happening on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 12th at 3 p.m. in the Westboro Legion, 389 Richmond Road.

Kids are guaranteed an afternoon of singing and dancing, just don’t expect them to learn anything, says Lumsden, “The fundamental irony of it is, these guys are teachers and there is no educational value whatsoever.”

More information and links to stream and download the band’s music can all be found at www.heybuster.ca.

MORE: Hey Buster’s first CD release party for Bing Bang Bong

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