Lowell Van Carroll and Insufficient Funds rock on
Newly released self-titled EP gives fans and new listeners a taste of the group's diversity
The music of Lowell Van Carroll and Insufficient Funds is, by design, a bit hard to define. With elements of blues, rock, and folk, Lowell Van Carroll said the band aims to provide a unique and diverse musical experience.
The 28-year-old musician and his band have only been playing together as a group for about two years, but their ties go back much further.
"Dallas Lobb (the band's drummer) and myself knew each other from our days at Innisfail High School. We've been playing together for several years now," said Carroll. "Dallas played with Brett (Winnichuk, bass player) in a different band and we all just started getting together at our jam space in Innisfail every once in a while to play." Eventually the group began meeting more regularly, and ultimately began performing and recording together.
The results of this effort are a new self-titled EP, which they launched at a CD release show on July 12 at the Palomino in Calgary.
Carroll said that the EP demonstrates the group's diversity. "We have many different musical influences," he said. "Mine are folk singers like Bob Dylan and Neil Young as well as more obscure artists like Townes Van Zandt and Tom Waits. We really wanted to provide a sampling of all these different types of styles and genres."
There is, in fact, a Tom Waits cover on the EP, a dark and eerie number called The Earth Died Screaming, off of Waits' 1992 album Bone Machine. "Although some people tell me I sound a bit like Tom Waits, it is really hard to imitate someone like that," said Carroll. "He's so unique. But we do our own thing with the song while still respecting a lot of the original elements. I think it turned out well."
The band recently had the opportunity to promote their new EP on a CKUA radio interview. "If you missed it," said Carroll. "You can still listen to it as a podcast on ckua.com. We talk a lot about Innisfail. It's worth a listen," he laughed.
The band will be heading back into the studio in August, to begin work on a full length CD. "With money and time being what it is," said Carroll, "we'll probably be releasing it sometime next year."
Time and money are always elusive in these ventures, especially if you already lead a full life. Like his band mates, Carroll holds down a full time job. By day, he is a Legal Services Officer. He is also engaged and has a two-year-old son. "Finding the time to pursue my interests can tough, but it gets easier as my son gets older," said Carroll. "My fiancée gives me a lot of opportunity to do what I have to. None of this would happen without her," he said. While the other band members don't have children, they are happy to stick to a regular rehearsal schedule, which makes things easier for everyone.
While performing and touring obviously takes up a lot of time, recording can also be surprisingly time consuming. "Actually, sitting down and recording doesn't really take very long. It is the fine tuning that goes on and on," said Carroll.
The band was lucky enough to enlist the help of fellow musician Jesse Northey of Jesse and the Dandelions, who did the entire recording and mixing of the band's EP in his Lethbridge studio. "It's this dilapidated little cabin, but it's really comfortable and a lot like our regular jam space, so we could relax and just play music. Jesse was laid-back and not at all intrusive. He was really easy to work with, and also gave us a really good deal!"
Which is pretty important when you are in a band called Insufficient Funds.
The EP is available on iTunes, and at the band's live appearances. "You should also be able to hear the songs by visiting our websites at ReverbNation, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter," said Carroll. These sites will also list upcoming show dates. "Keep watching," he said. "I'm know we will be playing in Innisfail again very soon!"