The BackYard Devils
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The BackYard Devils

Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Band Country Bluegrass


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"I have seen the future of rockabilly-bluegrass-classic country and its name is Backyard Devils."

I have seen the future of rockabilly-bluegrass-classic country and its name is Backyard Devils - Bob Mersereau Facebook Status

"Fridays with.....The BackYard Devils"

I didn’t know a thing about The BackYard Devils when I accidentally happened upon one of their shows maybe a year ago, but the band was tearing it up in Moncton’s Plan B Lounge. Playing a mix of bluegrass, folk and country, the band sounded tighter than they probably should have, considering they’d only been together a short time.

The band formed when Erik Arsenault decided to move back to New Brunswick from out west. Brother Remi flew to meet with him for the long drive back, and on the way, they decided to start a band, later recruiting Christien Belliveau and Dillon Robichaud.

The band’s self-titled debut album was recorded over three cold nights in January, with country musician George Belliveau at the helm in his Studio Belivo. Featuring 13 tracks (12 originals along with a Jimmie Rodgers cover), the whole thing was recorded live off the floor with few overdubs.

Tomorrow night, the Moncton-based four-piece launches its debut at The Igloo Beverage Room, 300 Elmwood Dr., Moncton. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. with special guest singer-songwriter Julie Aubé. Entrance for tomorrow’s show at the Igloo is $5 at the door. Copies of the CD will also be on sale for the special price of $10.

Erik Arsenault joins us this week for a chat …

1. You and Remi formed the foundation for the band in the car on the way home from Alberta? When was this? Is BackYard Devils exactly what you guys envisioned?
Remi flew to Calgary, and we spent a week together in Kananaskis where I was living. We drove back from Alberta, I guess, in Oct. 2008. Over the next four-five days we talked about what we wanted to do with the project. The idea was always a roots band with a bit of an edge to it. We really wanted to blend a variety of sounds of stuff we were into like bluegrass, old country and rockabilly.
Another thing that we talked a lot about was finding the right players to join the band. From the beginning we knew we would need some really good pickers but they also had to be able to bring the right energy to the table. It took almost a year after that cross country car ride to find those guys but when Chris and Dillon joined the band there was no question that they were exactly the kind of people we talked about early on. Is the band exactly what we envisioned? I’m not sure to be honest with you … but what we’re doing definitely feels right.

2. What’s the journey been like for the band so far?
It’s been an absolute blast so far! I’m still blown away by how quickly everything has happened and how people have really caught on to what we’re doing. When we played our first gig as a four-piece we all knew we had something special. It seems from there everything just started to really come together.
For me, this my first band, and I just turned 30. The other guys have been playing in bands for years but they’re just as passionate about this as I am. I have no doubt that we can really make this work well for us. Most of all though is how much fun we have playing together. If there was a hidden camera at our rehearsals I swear some big network would pick it up and make a sitcom out of it!

3. Why a debut album now?
I guess it just seemed like the right time to do it. We were actually scheduled to go in the studio for a demo. But sometime in December I talked to the guys about just skipping the demo process and doing an album. We had been doing some original material already, and I’d been writing lots over that past year. It just seemed to make more sense to just go ahead and do an album. From there we just worked on the songs I had and I wrote a few more before our studio sessions. Remi had some stuff as well so it was just a matter of putting all the material together and seeing what worked and what didn’t.

4. What was the recording process like? If you recorded the whole thing in three days, you must have really ripped through everything.
From day one there was no question that we would record live off the floor. Once we decided what songs to record we worked really hard about two weeks prior to the sessions to make sure the music was really solid. Although three days seems like a really short period of time to record an album we went into the studio really prepared. We all knew our parts and all of the structures were in place.
Also, it just seemed to us that that recording the album live off the floor was the only way to go. All of the rhythm tracks and lead vocals are all one solid take and then we overdubbed solos and harmonies. We could’ve taken more time and track everything but it just didn’t seem right to us. I think we would’ve lost a lot of the energy the band has playing together. Recording this way also didn’t allow much downtime while in studio for us to drink too much!

5. What did George Belliveau bring to the table?
George has been recording and playing music for years and he is a pro in every sense of the word. He’s very efficient and as soon as we walked in the studio we knew we would have no problems working with him.
Although his musical style is way different than ours, he let us do our thing and he said what needed to be said. George is a straight shooter all the way so if he expressed his opinion … we listened. We couldn’t be more please with George’s work.

6. Times change, but bluegrass and traditional country music don’t change a great deal. The music, the themes, the playing style … and yet, when done well, it still seems timeless. Any thoughts on why that is?
I think we’re so bombarded with corporate music these days that when we hear old styles (country, blues, bluegrass) of music it reminds us of simpler times. It really is as simple as that I think. But also I think the themes of the songs are just something that most people across generations can relate to. Songs about death, god, guns, girls, drinking, drugs … those things are just as real now as they were in the ’20s or ’50s or ’80s.

7. You’ve built a name for yourselves in Moncton. Any plans for the band to hit the road?
We don’t have a national tour booked but we are hoping to plan something next year. We’re all basically in a position to go on tour if duty calls though. It cost a lot of money to tour so hopefully we’ll be able to figure it all out. This year we’re going stick around the Maritimes mostly. This fall, we’re hoping to do a mini-tour in the Atlantic provinces.

8. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned lately?
Here is what I’ve learned about myself lately: I’m a cat lover. There I said it. I’ve never been a cat kind of person but we just got our second cat and I’m really happy about it! We bought a sphinx cat (hairless cat like Dr Evil’s) this time last year. He was just three months old and tiny.
Well, we picked up a second kitten last week and brought him home … we had no idea how big our first cat had gotten over this past year until we brought another kitten home! And before I get some heat for buying cats rather than rescuing them at the SPCA … my girlfriend is allergic so that’s why we got hairless ones!

9. What song(s), album(s) or artist(s) have you been listening to lately?
Fred Eaglesmith all the way. He’s the best damn Canadian songwriter there is, period. So Fred is always playing in my car or in my house. I’ve also been listening to lots of The Steeldrivers lately.

10. What do the next few months hold for the band?
We’ve got some festival dates lined up this summer. We’ll be playing the FeelsGood Folly festival (Gagetown, N.B.) at the end of June as well as the Country Folk Trash Festival up in Petit-Rocher on June 25. Also, we’re playing Messtival (Moncton) which we’re looking forward to. We’re at the Casino N.B. as well on July 2 for an Acadian Kitchen Party. We’re working on some other things but nothing firm right now.

11. Anything else you’d like to add?
Five or six years ago if you asked me if I would be playing in a country and bluegrass band I would have looked at you like you lost your mind. But here I am. So if you’re reading this and your saying to yourself “I don’t like country and bluegrass” … you might be wrong!
Also, if you can’t make it to the CD release show this Saturday at The Igloo, you’ll be able to find our album at Spin It, Live Wire and Frank’s Music (all in Moncton). We’ll be on iTunes as well in the next few weeks. We’re also trying to get some sort of Canadian distribution deal set up but in the meantime, feel free to look us up on Facebook or send us a message via ReverbNation if you’d like a physical copy.

"The BackYard Devils – S/T (Independent)"

One of the most anticipated releases from the Moncton area, The BackYard Devils finally unleash their debut effort for the world’s listening pleasure. Throughout the record’s 13 tracks, The BackYard Devils honour country and bluegrass tradition, making for a familiar yet gratifying listen. With the ghosts of bluegrass and country greats past and present looking approvingly upon them, the boys show they’re capable of writing catchy tunes including the hilarious Mean Moonshine Blues, while tracks like For My Lord and House On The Coast seem instantly recognizable. That seems to be a big part of the Devils’ charm; their ability to honour a time-tested genre like bluegrass while injecting a modern take on it. Frankly, their ability to walk that line so well will help them appeal to the traditional fan while also most likely winning over non-typical bluegrass - The Music Nerd Chronicles

"Music Review: The Backyard Devils"

Wed, Jun 1, 2011.
In today's music world, everything old is new again. For some people, listening to Lady Gaga just doesn't cut it. They'd rather hear, and see real instruments and classic songs with melodies. That's especially true among many young people. I'm finding it easier and easier to hang in the alternative music world of late, because often it's roots and acoustic music, something I grew up with in the folk clubs. When I see a kid with a mandolin, it takes me back, but for them, it's the hippest scene around.

For the past year around Moncton, in some of those hipper clubs, one of the hot bands has been the new Backyard Devils. They are playing a blend of old country, bluegrass and rockabilly, real roots sounds, and have just released their first CD. The group is all acoustic, no drums, just strings and vocals, but really rocks it up. They can get swampy and spooky too, like that old mountain music. The band is four guys, two of them brothers, singer and guitar player Erik Arsenault, and his bro Remi on bass and vocals. The other two are specialist pickers, good ones, Christien Belliveau on guitars and Dillon Robichaud bringing the banjo and mandolin. Most of the songs feature either Christien or Dillon or both, sliding and picking some sweet solos. Erik is a gruff, outlaw-style singer, sounding about twice his 30 years, one of the those voices that sounds very familiar with strong liquor and smokes. Yet when the boys do the harmonies, they can be as pretty as...well pretty as Erik isn't.

Erik Arsenault is the main writer, although the rest of the guys chip in on some. You get the usual assortment of country-bluegrass objects coming at you, including big trucks, steel trains, mean moonshine, sin, good women, bad women, drinking, women, drinking alone, drinking to forget women, and oh yes, the Lord. Now, some is a little tongue-in-cheek, I don't know if these guys have ever seen, let alone done liver damage with actual moonshine, but you pretty much have to sing about that stuff when you're playing it. When you're doing that boom-chicka-boom rhythm that Johnny Cash used at Sun Records in the '50's, you're gonna sing about burning that whole damn town, even if, by all accounts, Moncton was not burned to the ground after the CD was launched on Saturday. However, it was hot.
In case you haven't noticed, Moncton has become a hot bed of this outlaw country-bluegrass sound of late. Ever since The Divorcees blew into town and started winning ECMA's and playing everywhere, it's been cool in the clubs, and almost every night you can find some form of roots-country happening in the city, there are lots of players. These four guys with Acadian roots, that's no surprise, there's always been a strong country scene in Acadie, and of course, Moncton has been an English country headquarters ever since Hank Snow did his radio show out of there in the 40's, before he went to Nashville.

Anyway, The Backyard Devils are a strong band, excellent players, as this CD was done pretty much live from studio to disc, with the hot solos happening in real time, not overdubbed. They play lots, and are starting to get out around the province this summer, including a date at the Feels Good Folly Fest happening in Gagetown from June 29th to July 1.


The BackYard Devils - Self titled. Released May 2011



MUSIC NB AWARDS 2011 - Emerging Artist of the Year, Country Album of the Year & Group Recording of the Year

Fancy isn’t a word often heard in Eastern Canada and there is nothing fancy about The BackYard Devils. They're simply playing the music they love. Their debut album is a well blended mix of dirty country, rockabilly and bluegrass. The musicianship runs deep in this band and although they’re playing old styles they have managed to put their own twist to it.

When lead singer Erik Arsenault made a decision to move back to his hometown after a 4 year stay in the mountains of Alberta, big brother Remi flew west, and on the long drive home, the brothers laid down the foundation for The Backyard Devils. A dirty country and bluegrass band that would cater to young and old. From punk rockers to country & bluegrass fans. The brothers recruited Chris Belliveau, a talented and highly demanded guitar player with a love for roots music and Dillon Robicheau, a seasoned bluegrass mandolin and banjo player out of Nova Scotia to help create the vision. With a swinging guitar rhythm, doghouse bass slaps, smashing guitar solos and lightning quick banjo and mandolin lines, The BackYard Devils managed to hammer down their own sound in an old fashion style, just like the brothers had planned.

In January 2011, over three of the coldest days that winter, the band laid down 13 tracks live off the floor. With songs about guns, girls, god, drinking and outlaws, The BackYard Devils left the studio knowing that they recorded exactly what they intended to; an album that reflected what they sounded like onstage. From the first note, you can feel how much these guys love playing together.

With their first album under their belt and 3 Music NB awards (Emerging Artist, Country Album of the Year & Group Recording of the Year) you’ll find The BackYard Devils raising hell with their foot stomping music any place they can. And that’s just the way they like it.