Virginia Leaves
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Virginia Leaves

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Band Rock Country




"Virginia Leaves, Leaving their Mark"

The second annual Band Fight begins next week and one Tsawwassen resident is hoping his group will have the knockout power to put the other 11 bands away and win the top prize.

Lead singer Mike West and his band Virginia Leaves are competing in the competition in Vancouver, running Wednesdays, Nov. 7-21 in Vancouver at Library Square, until a winner is declared Nov. 28.

The scrappiest band will win a radio promotion on 99.3 The Fox and their song professionally produced by Amp Records.

"I think it's a phenomenal idea," says West, who will get to play a 30-minute set with his band on Nov. 14. "There's so much good music being made in Vancouver right now and there's a lot of people who are behind the music scene and they really want to see it flourish."

Virginia Leaves have spent the past several months working on their new album, Portrait. It was three songs selected from that album that earned them a juried entry into the competition.

West, who has lived in Tsawwassen for the past three years, began the band in 2008 while writing acoustic songs with his friend Strides Brown. After renting a rehearsal space in Vancouver, they bumped into old friend Brian Michals, who came on board to play drums. He brought along bass guitarist Glenn Kelly, from North Delta.

West says the band has a broad spectrum of influences from old school country to punk rock.

"There's so many sub genres out there. I wouldn't want to necessarily peg it down to anything," says West, adding the band draws inspiration from musical artists that try to break the mould with new ideas.

"Personally, I think it is shameful to say things like I like all music, except country. Or rap, or classical. To me, that's nonsense."

There's some good music in every genre out there, the key is taking parts of each influence and creating something new, says West.

The group came up with the name Virginia Leaves after seeing a concert in Vancouver in 2008. West says he likes that the name is ambiguous and means what the person wants it to mean.

"It can be a heartbreak name if you think of Virginia as a girl's name, she leaves and sort of breaks your heart. Or Virginia Leaves as in the state of Virginia and the auburn maple trees."

Their logo, which features a horse munching on a feedbag of hooch, is based on a lyric from one of the bands' early songs, "horses of whiskey." - South Delta Leader

"Just what the Doctor ordered..."

Need a little pick-me-up? A little hows-ya-fatha-nip for the upcoming frosty season?

Virginia Leaves will warm you up and tickle all your fancies with their charismatic charm and very cool vibe. I loved them at first listen - what a nice change from over-produced hype. Now sit back and relax and let me rub your feet.

"Virginia Leaves is a band from Vancouver, Canada. The band was initially an acoustic venture put together by long time friends Mike West (guitar/vocals) and Mike “Strides” Brown (guitar), but in 2009 Glenn Kelly (bass/vocals) and Brian Michals (percussion) entered the picture, to round out the act.

Their music is a blend of indie rock with a rural country twang. Producer Pierre Fraser of Resonant Mind Productions describes it as: “Elements of rock, with a thick mist of country blowing its way up from the south”. Vocalists, Mike West and Glenn Kelly write a unique blend of saccharine harmonies that are catchy singalongs. Fans have referenced the Virginia Leaves’ sound to iconic bands such as Social Distortion, Lucero and Deertick.

In April of 2010, Virginia Leaves played a free show at the Media Club in Vancouver for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society raising $2000 for their cause.

Virginia Leaves’ self titled 5 song EP was released in August 2010. The EP was an opportunity for the band to work with Pierre Fraser at Resonant Productions and be the first project out of his newly opened jam space/recording studio. Pleased with the outcome, the members of Virginia Leaves are playing more live shows to promote its’ recent release.

While having a tonne of fun performing and creating music, Virginia Leaves are hoping to make a lasting contribution into indie rock music. The name may conjure images of sweet tobacco, acres of auburn maple trees or the tragic girl that ran away. First impressions aside, Virginia Leaves have started to plant their wooden roots into the Vancouver music scene." - NXEW

"What's so good?"

I know that Vancouver is not necessarily a town where you’d expect to find some rockin’ Americana — especially by a band named Virginia Leaves — but that is exactly what this Canadian alt-country band is cranking out.

Starting off simply as some friends playing acoustic tunes and later building into a full band, Virginia Leaves draws inspiration from the No Depression scene that helped make guys like Jay Fararr and Jeff Tweedy household names. Cranking out old time country-influenced tracks, with distorted electric guitars meant to be played loud in half empty bars in middle America, Virginia Leaves just released their album, Portrait, via Whiskey Horse Records.

The second track on the album is a rocker called “No Where’s Worse.” Starting off with a driving drum beat, an old guitar amp armed with overdrive, and smoke and whiskey-tinged vocals, it sets the stage for Virginia Leaves’ take on what a rock album should sound like. Filled with some self-deprecating lyrics like, “I feel like I am nothing, but no where’s worse,” and some fiddle, the track reminds me of some of the country greats of old, like George Jones.

Virginia Leaves know exactly what their sound is, and they aren’t afraid to be who they are as they look to carry on the alt-country torch to future generations — they’re keeping alive the independent spirit of bands like Uncle Tupelo who came before them. Long live Americana, no matter what country it comes from. - Indie Shuffle


09/2010 Virginia Leaves - Self titled EP

02/2013 Virginia Leaves - Portrait



Virginia Leaves have been etching their mark in the Vancouver music scene since 2009. It started acoustically - riffing songs at the Five Point on Main St. The crowd's reaction to their rocked-out take on old-school country told them they were on to something. Before long, they hauled a bunch of drums and amps to the second floor of an auto body shop, plugged in and turned up.

After releasing an EP in 2010, VL generated a lot of buzz from local bands and venues. This led to sold-out shows around the city, sharing bills with local favourites like Northcote and Carpenter. The energy of VL's live performance has garnered them a greater fan base with each new gig. As of February 2013, Virginia Leaves released their debut album, Portrait, and are stoked to be promoting it with their vicious live shows. In-between gigs, they continue to write, develop and refine their unique sound.

Local music producers Peter Fraser and Phil Lehman have described their music as a blend of 'indie rock with deep southern roots' and 'the alternative rock of now'. Fans have likened their sound to iconic bands like Social Distortion, the Gaslight Anthem and CCR. The band themselves share a deep respect for the lineage of music knowing full well Nirvana would not exist without the Beatles nor Johnny Cash without Led Belly.

Take it or leave it… You ain't heard nothing like it.