[Cover photo credit to Colin Medley]

Percussive Folk-Rock trio, The Rural Alberta Advantage (The RAA) have released two new songs, their first since 2017’s album The Wild. “Candu” and “AB Bride” are also the first recordings since the return of core band member, Amy Cole, and hint at the new influences informing the band’s songwriting and creative evolution.  

The RAA have set out on a “distinctly divergent course” for releasing their music and plan an ongoing series of new songs and EPs to be shared over the coming year, with intentional release dates set via Saddle Creek Records (U.S.) and Paper Bag Records (Canada/EU), as well as live shows to support each release.  

Cocalist/guitarist Nils Edenloff gives the history behind “Candu”:

‘CANDU’ is a rustic, anthemic reply to a once-booming Northern settlement that was abruptly forgotten and the band’s lament on the common connections that emerge when you’ve unknowingly tied your hopes to a sinking ship. My mom’s uncle worked up in Uranium City, Saskatchewan in the late 70s/early 80s, when it was a small but very active mining settlement. We went to visit and it was the first time I was ever on a plane – as a young kid then, I’m not sure if the pictures in my mind now are real or just something from a dream. Candu was the local high school and only open for a couple of years while the town was booming; it was abandoned like everything else after the mines abruptly closed in the early 80s leaving most families stranded without work, and now sits completely vandalized. Growing up in a mining town myself, it’s hard not to think about who or what would have remained for me if the jobs all suddenly dried up, and where my friends and I would have ended up.

Drummer Paul Banwatt shares a related experience:

When Nils said he was writing a song called ‘CANDU’ about Uranium City, it made me think of my Dad. He spent decades working as an engineer helping design the CANDU nuclear reactors. I remember the uranium fuel rod bundle display that was at my dad’s work. What happened to the people in Uranium City is really tragic, but I didn’t know about it until Nils wrote these lyrics. So the song also makes me think about all the different and hidden ways people across Canada are connected. 

The “Candu” single cover art is credit to Edmonton-based photographer, Leroy Schulz. A long time live photographer of The RAA, Schulz will be a regular collaborator on imagery throughout the coming releases. The RAA continue to focus on “untold stories” and an “unpacked history” that might provide us with a broader view of things in “the overview effect”. “