Blake Unruly and The Rainy Day Apparel coming to Carman

Emily Stobbe-Wiebe

Musicians The Rainy Day Apparel and Blake Unruly will be taking to the Golden Prairie Arts Council stage Thursday, August 3. The concert is in support of the Golden Prairie Arts Council with a barbecue starting at 5:30 pm and music beginning at 6:00 pm.

Blake Unruly, stage name of Jonathan Blake Unruh originally from Carman, is an acoustic musician whose music features folksy and pop-styled features and sometimes even a Doo-wop feel. Back in Carman for a stop on his rambles across the country, he will be headlining the upcoming concert.

According to his online biography, he is man from many places and his music boils down his random life experiences in an ear-catching sound.

With a musical sound that includes roots, folk, rock and roll, storytelling and bellowing, he describes himself as "a folk Songwriter whose quest for truth takes him strange places."

From "stark beginnings in the prairies," he's influenced by "out-of-tune pianos in stain-glassed churches, and dusty front stoops on lazy days."

Following his muse has led him all across Canada and the world as a multi-instrumentalist, composer, bandleader and music instructor.

An "interactive and introspective performer who makes your hearts thump and your boots jump," Unruh says his coast to coast living, breathing in the Canadian experience, has resulted in a blend of music that catches the ear, and the soul, surmising likes wows and woes.

His goal, he says, is to constantly make art that is better than his flawed human self: "To say something beautiful that can't always be put into words."

Local music buffs will remember Unruh as the creator of Carman's two-year music festival Bloomfest, which brought musicians from the area and the province to the Ryall Park stage.

The Rainy Day Apparel, from Saskatchewan but a Carman resident for the last ten years, is excited to be playing in Carman, opening for Blake Unruly. “Carman is a pretty good place for artists looking for shows,” he said. “A lot of small towns don’t have a lot of options, but here there are things like Bloomfest and the Golden Prairie Arts Council that give local artists and lesser known artists a chance to play.”

It is important to the Rainy Day Apparel to share his music. “It’s kind of that tree falling in the forest thing. If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” he said. “I think when you make something and you’re proud of it, you don’t want to keep it to yourself.”

The name Rainy Day Apparel may sound more like a clothing company than the title of a musical act, but Nathan Strange, sole member of the band, is anything but old hat. Even his unique surname speaks to the distinctive indie-folk flavour of his music characterized by mellow guitar and acoustic sounds.

It is because of his given name that Strange had to find a new name to go by in his musical career since there is already another Nathan Strange in the music business.

“Nathan Strange is a kind of funny name to begin with, but that being said, there is another musician with that name out there,” said Strange. “I wanted to avoid getting mixed up with that person.”

Strange said the Rainy Day Apparel owes its beginnings to a high school assignment. “We had an English project. I was going to write songs and perform them,” he said. “The teacher suggested that I should have a name.”

Thinking about the tone of the music he was writing, Strange thought the Rainy Day Apparel was the perfect fit. “My music has kind of, I wouldn’t say a depressing or sad flavour, but it definitely kind of has that rainy sort of vibe to it,” he said. “The name Rainy Day Apparel sort of became something you put on when it’s rainy outside.”

Strange draws inspiration not only from the state of the weather but primarily from his own life experiences and those around him, including the goal of showing off to his future wife and expressing the pain of a friend’s divorce.

“Since 2015 I had a pretty rough patch with some back problems and dealing with a lot of chronic pain. . . so the last batch of songs I wrote were kind of about that,” he said. “I have six songs recorded right now and it’s kind of looking at it from the other side of that feeling. It’s more or an optimistic kind of looking at the road ahead.”

Strange hopes that his music can help put life into perspective and be meaningful to his listeners. “I can write a song and it can mean one thing to me and then someone else can listen to it . . . and make a completely different meaning out of it,” he said. “I think that’s what makes creating music so special: the effect that it can have on other people.”

With over 10,000 views on SoundCloud, Strange is definitely effecting people. After reaching out to YouTuber, Alex Rainbird, and sending him music, Strange’s popularity skyrocketed.

“The one video that I am a part of [with Alex Rainbird] has north of half a million views or closer to 1 million views on it,” he said. “It’s kind of humbling to be on a thing that a million people have heard.”

In the meantime, Strange is enjoying life in Carman. “I’m just doing typical small-town stuff,” he said.

Admission to the Golden Prairie Arts Council concert is $20 for adults, $10 for students, and age five and under are free. For more information about the concert, visit the Golden Prairie Arts Council website at goldenprairieartscouncil.wordpress.com.

To learn more about Blake Unruly or The Rainy Day Apparel, “like” them on Facebook.