Jacob Bryce: Neighbourhood musician headlines for Westfest's 10th anniversary

Jacob Bryce is ready for Westfest. Photo by Ted Simpson.
Jacob Bryce is ready for Westfest. Photo by Ted Simpson.

Story and photos by Ted Simpson

Westboro resident Jacob Bryce is a creative artist, family man and musician whose band, Fiftymen, will be closing out this year’s tenth anniversary Westfest on June 9.

Bryce and his wife moved to the neighbourhood about four years ago, shortly after the birth of their first child. Bryce was lucky to take up ownership of one of the older houses on Winston Avenue, which he says they purchased from the “widow of the son of the people who built the house.”

Since moving to the area, the Bryces have grown their family with a new baby, now just one year old. Bryce and his family enjoy the neighbourhood for easy accessibility and range of services, “Even at any edge of Westboro, you’re still close to stuff. It’s nice to be able to just get on a bike and you’re a five minute bike ride from any amenity,” he says.

Of course, it’s the people in the community that make it a neighbourhood. Speaking of the community on his street, Bryce comments that on a sunny Saturday “there were about 16 kids out on one block, learning how to ride their bikes and stuff, I like that, being a family man.”
At his day job, Bryce works as an Associate Creative Director at the McMillan advertising agency.

Photo by Ted Simpson
After family and work, the remainder of drummer Jacob Bryce’s free time goes into his band, Fiftymen. Photo by Ted Simpson

After family and work, the remaining free time in Bryce’s life goes into his band, Fiftymen, a group he’s been a part of for the past 12 years.

Fiftymen are gearing up to release their third full length album, recorded with Dave Draves at Little Bull Horn Productions, located just outside Kitchissippi, on Spruce Street near City Centre. The band went back to the old, simple recording style for the new self-titled record, using analogue tape as a recording medium and opting for “live off the floor, feel takes” as Bryce says, as opposed to looking for perfection in layered recordings.

The sound of the new album, called Fiftymen, will be familiar to fans, bringing the group’s signature country and rockabilly blending with roots rock and 60s psychedellia, “It’s a bit of a mish-mash,” says Bryce.

The group are just waiting on final touches to the album artwork and finalizing the manufacturing process for the vinyl pressings. Bands often divide the distribution of their music between the physical and digital realms. “It’s a weird point in physical music listening,” says Bryce. “CDs are kinda on their way out, you want to listen to records because it sounds great and it’s tactile, but you also want to have your music in the online cloud.”

Bryce and Fiftymen will be bringing that music home to Westboro next month at Westfest. Fiftymen will be headlining Sunday night, the final act of the tenth anniversary of the now four day festival. Bryce, a long time Westfest goer, is excited to be playing a show so close to home and at such a vibrant and accessible festival, “It’s something to look forward to every summer in the neighbourhood,” he says, noting the relaxed and family friendly atmosphere. “There are people there…you don’t usually get to play for.”

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