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Okotoks blues musicians sign deal for new releases

The Prairie Dogz kick off releases with '40 Dollars' after signing deal with Emanant Music/Blues Vox Records.
Okotoks blues band The Prairie Dogz' new single '40 Dollars' will be released this month.

An Okotoks blues band is getting real with its new releases.

Recently signing a deal with Emanant Music/Blues Vox Records, to be distributed through Sony’s label The Orchard, The Prairie Dogz are kicking off by releasing their single 40 Dollars.

“We’d written it a while ago and we started talking to them (Emanant), and they picked out a few songs and the song the president liked the most was 40 Dollars,” said The Prairie Dogz guitarist Keith Hambrook. "We’ve got these other really deep and hard-hitting lyrics – we just love the groove of that one.

“I think we’re going to have a really full dance card this year for playing.”

Their body of work is growing as the Prairie Dogz dig deep.

“We’re pretty happy with the recordings. There’s one song coming out called Could Almost See the Sun,” Hambrook said. “It’s definitely a rock song, it’s about fighting depression and stuff like that, so it’s a pretty personal song."

The group started with Hambrook meeting Dwight Koenning, both based in Okotoks, during a three-year stint in a classic rock cover band about a decade ago along with guitarist Terry Studd, hailing from Diamond Valley.

“I was really happy to get the part, and Terry was already in there, and Dwight was the new singer and it just turned out we lived two blocks apart,” Hambrook said. “So we rode together all the time and developed a friendship.

“Terry, we just spent so much time travelling and playing so many shows together, it was always the three of us staying up all night and we just became very good friends.”

Years later, following innumerable gigs, Hambrook and Koenning struck out on their own, joined by Studd, to form The Prairie Dogz, playing their special brew of country and blues.

“Dwight’s a real blues singer – you listen to most of our country stuff and you can hear the growl in his voice,” said Hambrook, adding they were able to find the right fit with the rest of their crew. “Then with bass player and drummer we actually went through lots of guys before we got lucky with Dave and Martin – similar taste in music.

“They were just able to follow and catch it and find the groove where my thoughts were.”

The Prairie Dogz’ new music, including 40 Dollars releasing January, can be found on most major streaming platforms.

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Brent Calver

About the Author: Brent Calver

Award-winning photojournalist for the Western Wheel newspaper covering Okotoks and the Foothills region.
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