August 2019

WINNIE BRAVE describe themselves as a foot stompin’ Americana/Roots duo comprised of Amy McIsaac (vocals/guitar) and “one-man-band” Brad McIsaac (bass/foot drums/keys). Established in 2012, this husband-and-wife
team hail from Holden, Alberta. In 2016 they travelled over 20,000 road miles for 9-months in their 1976 Winnebago touring their self-title debut album throughout Canada and the USA. They’re on the road again with their 2017 album Cheap Gin.

Amy McIsaac is my auntie’s best friend’s daughter. I rst met her and her husband Brad at a WINNIE BRAVE Toronto gig I was invited to years ago. I’m not sure if it was just before or just after the publication of their self-titled album in 2014.

I wanted to write about WINNIE BRAVE back then, but I was under-whelmed at the time and had other music to cover. I thought I’d leave it and try to see them again to properly formulate an opinion. It has taken me all these years to see WINNIE BRAVE again, and this time it was in Winnipeg at the Trans Canada Brewing Co. They performed on a little stage in the corner of the very impressive restaurant while patrons sipped freshly brewed beer and ate World Pizza Championship winning Timmy Tom’s pizza.

With the release of their brand new album, Cheap Gin (Oct 2017), the duo is hitting the road once again for another year of solid touring throughout the USA and western Canada. Brad told me they are working full time on their music these days. If they are not on the road gigging, then they are at home in Holden writing and recording.

WINNIE BRAVE are a pleasure to watch. They have moved away from working with the full band that I originally saw them with. Now Mr. and Mrs. McIssac perform as a duo with Amy singing the songs they wrote or covers perfectly suited to her voice, while Brad bops up and down stepping on pedals that hit a suitcase with one foot and a snare with the other. While he does this, he very skillfully plays bass and sings backup. I kept waiting for Brad to miss a kick, but he never did and his bopping up and down in his demin overalls and trucker hat was very entertaining.

“We love playing our music. Our life is this now.”

Brad McIssac

Brad said “When we decided to do music full time, we had to find a way to make it work with just the two of us. I saw someone else doing this, so I practiced until I got it right.” He definitely has it right and it works
perfectly as shtick for an otherwise relaxing and casual music duo.

Another piece of shtick for WINNIE BRAVE is their outfits. Brad and Amy both don farm style hats and Brad wears denim overalls. They look like the perfect country bumpkins. Amy said “The hat means I don’t have to worry about my hair while touring.”

I’m much more impressed with WINNIE BRAVE now then I was years ago. They have come a long way with an interesting array of originals and a well-crafted stage show. If they are touring through your town, I highly recommend them. Here’s a list of upcoming shows: Also, their album Cheap Gin is recorded well, with Amy’s endearing voice telling her country stories.

I hope to see WINNIE BRAVE when they travel through again next year.

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