Bushy Park is looking for some dyke or queer woman-identifying musicians who want to play bluegrass and country music with us.
Bushy Park is a Vancouver, Canada based dyke country band that does gender-flips on country classics and originals in a feel good, friendly style. We are a working band that plays gigs festivals, dances, weddings. We model our general musical ethics on Dolly Parton.
We love making music with dykes. We love taking this amazing working-class story musical tradition and adding a queer bend to it. Bushy Park has been lucky enough to rehearse outdoors all last spring and summer, and in a highly ventilated distanced, masked space during the fall up until the December restrictions. We had an amazing socially distanced Pride pop up concert in the park in 2020, and another early fall pop-up concert in a park.
We are looking to start up rehearsals shortly and need some new gals – guitar, banjo, drums, mandolin and/or bass would be great.
What it’s like to be in our band
Rehearsals (and gigs) are fun, professional and joyful. We get to grow in our skills and instrument, no one is required to be perfect, but we do our best and we work on it at home if we need to. We spend a lot of time in rehearsals laughing, collaborating and feeling the joy of making music together. We do what the music needs to sound good, even if it means playing the same chords rhythmically for many bars. There are some solos, and a lot of good ensemble music that clicks. If you write a song that fits the style (feel good quirky country) and our lead vocalist can make it work, we’ll likely perform it.
Easing on down the road
During the pandemic, a lot has changed – our beloved long-time rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist Shannon Ingersoll moved with her wife to Vernon to start a family early in 2021, and our amazing banjo player Elizabeth Dunn has needed to step back from the band due to other commitments.
We are all one shot vaccinated, and have already been booked for outdoor gigs beginning in late August, and we are looking for some dyke or queer woman-identifying musicicans to join us. Rehearsals will be outdoors, under a rain shelter as required, or in our indoor ventilated space if everyone agrees.
A Great Fit
A great fit would be a musician who identifies with queer and women’s communities, who has good chops on their instrument (or once had good chops and wants to work) and who has flexible schedule for gigs on weekends. She can play one or more of guitar, banjo, mandolin, drums (snare and brushes, or full kit), stand-up or electric bass. Backing vocals are nice, especially if you sing bluegrass harmony, but not necessary.
Rehearsals are weekly, with an expectation that members can learn the basics of the pieces in their own time. We are often busy during the June and August pride seasons, but would love to do barn dances in the fall and winter too.
Repertoire and Leadership
The band is colaborative, led by vocalist Sophia Kelly, who has final say on repertoire, and does bookings and other management stuff. Decisions about who to invite to join, arrangements or potential repertoire are made by the band as a whole. We do gender bends on classic and new country songs, along with originals in country and bluegrass. Our lyrics are overtly homo or queer, but not usually graphic (except that one song…) In general your mother will like it unless she’s homophobic or only into heavy metal. Pay for gigs is split evenly by all who played that gig. Costs are shared, with joint advance approval.
Four Chords and the Truth
Country music is described as chords and the truth., simple, heartfelt, honest.
Here’s the four chords of this band – we are professional, growth-oriented, assertive and kind.
Like the Dolly, we are support what we believe in, women’s and lgtbq equality and dignity, along with fun music and a good-times vibe. We work paid gigs, give good value, and build love and good fun community experiences among queers and straights alike.
Some questions answered:
Rehearsals and Commitment
We don’t currently pay for rehearsal space. If we end up doing that we will split the costs evenly. Rehearsals are weekly in Vancouver. You should plan to be at all rehearsals except in case of illness (you or your family), a trip out of the country or you get called in to work unavoidably, as it holds the group back if you bail. We try to set rehearsals at good times for everyone, and the schedule is out well in advance.
“I haven’t been in a band for a long time”
This is super common. If you’ve been playing solo, or on break, it can be daunting to get back into performing. It’s okay if you were once good but are rusty, or if you’ve got good skills but are on a newish-to-you instrument and are willing to work on your own time. The band sets a professional standard, but is a good place to grow. If in doubt, come and sit in, play a song with us and feel how you fit.
I’m not a lesbian but this is awesome
The band is advertized as a lesbian country band. If you a woman who is entirely cool with having everyone think you are a lesbian, are happy with the repertoire’s overtly queer lyrics and material and otherwise are a great fit, we’d be happy to have you. If you are a straight or queer man, and are willing to perform ironically in a dress and heels in a dyke band, have great chops and a feminist outlook we can talk. Also, we don’t care how old or young you are as long as long as you can play in bars.
Great! Let’s set you up to sit in on a rehearsal. You need to be comfortable with being in a band that is (and will continue to be) advertized as a lesbian country band and having people assume you are a dyke (if that’s not how you identify), but if that’s all good, so are we.
“I’m a professional musician and love the concept but am super busy”
If you are a busy pro musician, have room to gig with us, but aren’t going to be as available for rehearsals, contact us, we can likely have you sit in for some gigs if you can get up to speed using charts and recordings.
“I am a great singer / primarily a solo performer”
That’s awesome. We were founded by performers like you. We all got to grow our ensemble skills to learn to leave room for others in the mix and can show you how. We are not looking for lead vocals, though, or a vocals-only member.
How do I join?
After an initial phone call to assess your availability, what instrument you play, and experience level, you will be given access to online charts you can print and try out before coming to sit in with us, and invited to a rehearsal. You’ll be asked to get up to speed on one song before the rehearsal so you can play it with us. Then we can all decide if we want to play together. We are looking forward to meeting you!
Get in touch
Email to start, or text 604-813-7674.