Gettin’ my classic country on with Big Tobacco & The Pickers

I have never been much of a country music fan.  In fact, it was the one genre about which I openly claimed, “I can’t stand it!”  Until recently.

Big Tobacco & The Pickers are a six-piece country band based in Toronto, complete with a female steel-guitar player (very cool).  I think they just might make a convert outta me yet.

One Saturday night a few months back, my best friend and I went to The Underdown Pub, a local spot in Old Cabbagetown.  Kayla Howran was the musical entertainer and, without all members of her regular band, a few members of Big Tobacco & The Pickers were part of the supporting band that night.  Holy smokes!  I was blown away by the level of musicianship.  You would have thought they had been playing together for years!  Big Tobacco’s Jamie Oliver provided perfect harmonies to Kayla’s vocals, and they had such great musical chemistry I couldn’t help but think of them as a modern day June-and-Johnny.  Throughout the evening I kept thinking, “So this is what real country music is all about.”  I dug it.

So, when I was combing through the Now live music listings and saw that Big Tobacco & The Pickers were playing The Cameron House front room last night, I wanted to catch the show.  They played two sets of classic country covers (including songs by Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson) and original tunes.  And I loved every minute of it!

What about you?  Which band(s) have made you a fan of a genre you previously didn’t care for?