The Snake Oil Salesmen
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The Snake Oil Salesmen

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Folk Rock




"Deadly Brew: Local band drops debut CD and gets set to tour."

The gents in The Snake Oil Salesmen are thrilled. Having bottled 10 songs into their first full-length album, Take Your Time, they’re playing a release show at the Exchange June 26. To sweeten the tonic further, they’re set to embark on a western tour that will see them hocking their musical wares all the way to Vancouver and back.

The heart of the band consists of three beating parts: songwriter Shane Bellegarde and Danny Blondeau share guitar and vocal duties, while Sterling Brass keeps the bass in check. All originate from small towns and First Nations communities in southern Saskatchewan and descend from, in their words, long lines of storytellers, musicians and healers.

“We’ve all done different things to pay for our artistic habits,” Bellegarde laughs. “I’ve had so many different jobs, whether it’s been construction or (more recently) three years as a sous-chef at Bocados restaurant.

“Sterling has been a hairdresser for 12 years — now at Salon Snax — and is a staple downtown. Everyone knows him. Danny works at Ipsco. He’s a boilermaker. It’s that story where we all work as hard as we can and save up and scrounge and try to hit the road.”

The Snake Oil Salesmen will plot their way westward on a nine-date tour with Sound Society drummer Mack Hubick. Local piano player Ray Grieves will join the band for the first few shows to help translate the album’s instrumentation to the stage.

Recorded and produced by local music maven Val Halla, Take Your Time is a country-infused blues rock record with a classic western story-telling vibe, complete with accordion and piano accompaniment. To get a sense of their genre blend, look no further than their online biography, which cites both Johnny Cash and Guns N’ Roses as influences.

The songs on Take Your Time are a unique document of the last six years of Bellegarde’s life. He first picked up the guitar at the relatively late age of 26 — needing an outlet to express the intensity of his feelings after having his heart broken. “I just wanted to be able to play around a campfire, you know,” he muses about his musical start. “But after [Danny and I] got jamming and had a couple of songs written, those goals changed and it became a lot more fun.

“Most of the songs I do are absolutely story songs,” Bellegarde adds. “We grew up listening to country music, but also rock ‘n’ roll, and I think that’s one thing we all share because we grew up in small towns, and so the story is very important to me.”

Bellegarde describes the songs on the album as personal in nature. Included are love songs and tunes about long-distance travel (a prairie staple, no doubt) and loss.

During our phone conversation, his young nephews played in the background as they do once a week when they visit their uncle’s house. The last song he wrote for the album, he says, “was for my brother who passed away. It’s called “First of December” [and it’s also] the last song on the album.”

While initially difficult for him to share, the band has since turned “First of December” into a rockin’ celebration of his brother’s life, complete with honky-tonk piano and group back-up vocals.

For the recording, Bellegarde contacted his two other brothers who were in Vancouver and Kingston and had them contribute by singing into their phones and computer microphones. As Bellegarde recalls, “we got my brothers singing along, as well as a bunch of friends, and we all just got drunk and sang for [my brother].”

These days the band is in full celebration mode and can’t wait to tour the album. “Man, it’s just so exciting,” Bellegarde says. “Just waking up and knowing that you have somewhere else to be; you have a goal to get somewhere and play a show. I can’t think of anything better.”

2013-06-13 - The Prairie Dog

"DOWNLOAD: The Snake Oil Salesmen – “Be Okay""

From the new basement recordings by The Snake Oil Salesmen out of Regina, Saskatchewan, we bring you the song Be Okay.

The Snake Oil Salesmen (Little Black Bear)have been playing the open mic circuit in Regina, Saskatchewan, for years and have now come together as a collective to record some tracks. Be Okay is an alternative-folk-rock tune with a relaxed groove and a story to tell. The vibe is indicative of the style of music coming out of Regina’s acoustic scene these days and we recommend taking the lyrics to heart – just come out and play, step into our haze, dance your cares away…

Stay on the lookout for more from The Snake Oil Salesmen coming soon!

- Ron Dean Harris aka Ostwelve -

"Lots of Life in The Snake Oil Salesmen's 'Dead & Breathing'"

It's hard to describe the Snake Oil Salesmen because they're composed of many different elements. The endgame, however, is the same for all four members... make great songs people will feel; great songs to be proud of.

Some of my favourite albums are the ones that make you ask which genre is this? Albums like Nebraska, El Corazón, and Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell. Those records appeal to a lot of people because the songs came first. Genre second.

If it's folk, or rock, or country you like, you'll find it here on 'Dead & Breathing'. In fact, probably in the same song.

'Bring Out Your Dead' has a cinematic Tex-Mex feel that Townes Van Zandt could have written with its wonderful imagery.

'Don't Say Nothin'' and 'No Rest For the Wicked' are sing-a-longs that are sure to get stuck in your head.

'Long Way to Go' is a Sunday afternoon dirt road pickup truck cruiser; while the content of 'First Day of School' will make the hair on your neck stand up.

For the movers and shakers, you have 'Drive Slow', a fun little ditty you can dance to.

So there is a lot here for you to enjoy.

Sometimes sophomore records are leftovers that didn't make the debut album or were too late. Not here. On 'Dead & Breathing' there are no leftovers, these entrées are served piping hot!

The Snake Oil Salesmen go old school in the style of our favourite punk rock records. That's 45 minutes, 5 songs per side. No filler.

Justin Bender of Blue Door Studios gives you the experience of the live show from your couch, at the gym, or in your car. This album sounds really full and each member produces. Shane offers brilliant imagery and foot tapping melodies, Danny with his slick leads, and Stu and Cade play in the pocket letting every aspect of the song shine when needed. They even have the part man, part wizard Andy Beisel lending his sweet sweet pedal steel skills to several tracks. All four members sound like they are playing with their toes off the edge of the stage, giving it all they got, brothers in arms.

This fall you're going to want to make sure you pick up a copy of 'Dead & Breathing'. A Saskatchewan record by Saskatchewan good ol' boys!

- Kent Rocks of
CJTR's 'The Road' on 91.3 FM - Kent Rocks of CJTR's 'The Road' on 91.3 FM


The Snake Oil Salesmen: Take Your Time (June 2013)

The Snake Oil Salesmen: Dead and Breathing (Sep 2017)



The Snake Oil Salesmen began creating their unique blend of alt-folk-rock back in 2011. The strength of their music has always lay in heartfelt, honest story telling which they deliver during highly energized shows.  Touting themselves as musical healers, ‘The Salesmen’ released a debut album in 2013 guaranteed to alleviate the pain and worries of any troubled soul who happened upon their music or live show. They’ve been honing this self-tested remedy during the years since its release, increasing the potency and perfecting the flavour. 

‘Dead and Breathing,’ The Snake Oil Salesmen’s sophomore album released September 23rd, 2017 and features 10 powerful, genre-bending tracks that deal with loss, grief and leaving something behind when you pass on. Despite the heavy subject matter, the songs and stories take you on a journey that is uplifting and full of hope. 

‘Dead and Breathing’ has captured the urgency found in the band’s live performances and made it available to listeners worldwide. Hard working and ever-evolving, The Snake Oil Salesmen are looking to solidify themselves as a household name and a radio mainstay.  

Band Members