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McKindred: Rising Up


Folk-pop band McKindred is rising up. Known for their killer harmonies, the six-piece group is nearly done recording their second album, just in time for summertime shows.

Formed in 2020, the group is fronted by Kelsi McInnes, a singer-songwriter with a background in music therapy. It all started years ago at Hotchkiss Guitar Camp near Manning, AB.

McInnes met the group’s backing vocalist Brooke Loewen and drummer Dave Oostra there, when they were youngsters. “Brooke and I have this really magical connection,” she says. “Our voices harmonize together to the point that we actually can’t tell our voices apart on recordings sometimes.”

A few years ago, McInnes asked Loewen if she wanted to take their harmonies beyond camp. They recruited Oostra and the first version of McKindred was born.

As they started putting together their first record, Ascend, McInnes asked Arjun Roy if he’d help out. The two had known each other from their days as music students at the Grande Prairie Regional College. An alum of music studies at Berklee Boston and Berklee Valencia, the classically trained musician/rocker/producer jumped on board to assist with production.

Eventually the group decided to expand from a trio and found itself in need of a lead guitar.

“’You already know all the songs from playing on the album,’ I said, ‘can you just play one show with us?’ And then the rest is history. I tricked him,” McInnes laughs, of the way she recruited Roy to join the band.

Later they added multi-instrumentalist Colin Munroe as their bass player.  Music teacher and vocalist Kristy Petersen completed the group.

“Now we can have three-part harmony in all our songs,” says McInnes. “We are all just harmony freaks. There’s something about a good harmony that we can’t get enough of.”

Up next is releasing their sophomore album. They gave CKUA the exclusive on revealing its name, Sideways, but said we’ll have to wait for its release to know why that name was chosen.

“I put my soul into it,” says McInnes. “’When words fail, music speaks’ is something that runs through my brain all the time. I use music to express what needs to be expressed.”

They’re working with JUNO Award-winning designer Roberta Landreth on the album artwork. (If you find that last name familiar, yes, she is married to David of Bros. Landreth fame.) “It’s super exciting. She’s done artwork for so many incredible people.”

Now they’re completing work on the album with an eye to having it released before taking the stage at the Bear Creek Folk Music Festival.

“We’re in a pretty steady trajectory and I would love to just keep going with that,” says McInnes. “Keep bringing music that speaks to people, keep continuing to play shows, in Alberta, outside of Alberta, keep growing our network, our market…”

“All of the things,” says Roy, and they laugh.

To keep an eye out for upcoming McKindred shows, check out their website.

“Gone” from McKindred’s first album, Ascent: