Sackville songstress back on stage where she belongs

Katie
Katie Tower
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Faye Tower and her band Black Steel Lace will perform at the Sackville Legion on Saturday, Oct. 22.

Faye Tower is a strong believer in second chances.

The Sackville songstress may have had to give up on her big break to make it into Nashville's music scene nearly 20 years ago but that doesn't mean she's ever turned her back on that life-long dream.

Now, back on stage years later with a new band, set to release their first album, Tower says she is excited about the next stage of her music career -wherever that happens to take her.

"We're not going into it with any expectations," says Tower. "If it takes off, all the better. But we're having lots of fun while we're doing it."

The band itself has gone through a renewal of sorts lately - with a new name that reflects their new sound and new attitude.

Formerly known as Crossover, the band is now known as Black Steel Lace, an apt description for a group of musicians who deliver a mix of "a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n' roll and spices of funk."

The five members of Black Steel Lace - Faye Tower on lead vocals, Victor Fagan on rhythm guitar, Dana Smith on drums, Anthony Thorimbert on bass and Andre Saulnier on lead guitar - have only been performing together for about a year but they are already generating great reviews from their fans and their peers alike.

Tower says she was introduced to fellow band member Dana Smith by a mutual friend about two years ago and they began jamming together on occasion. From there, the two began to play some gigs in the area "and it's just kind of expanded from there."

Adding three more members to their line-up, the band has found even more success, says Tower, playing to a number of audiences throughout the Maritimes.

"It's really starting to take a life of its own."

Tower says she believes the key reason why their popularity is beginning to soar is because of their distinctive talents.

"Everyone's brought their own mix to it. Tony, he likes the funk. I'm a country girl. Dana's the rocker. Vic brings the rhythm. And Andre, he plays a little bit of everything."

And so, with a strong fan base beginning to emerge, the band knew the next logical step was putting together an album. So they headed to the recording studio.

Black Steel Lace has spent the past six months at Saint John's Atlantica Records studio, producing songs for their debut CD. But unfortunately the project has come to a standstill because the band has run out of money.

With $4,000 already sunk into the project, Tower says they need to raise about $3,000 more to complete the album, which will feature 10 original titles written by some of the band members as well as Tower's son Brandon Strong.

To generate some money for their new album, the band has organized a fundraising concert and auction at the Sackville Legion on Saturday, Oct. 22. Starting at 9 p.m., admission for the event is by donation.

"We thought we'd do a nice big show in town. That way, Sackville will get to see the new band, with a new name and a new sound."

Tower herself has been entertaining Sackville audiences for more than three decades. The talented youngster first picked up a guitar at the age of six, playing at weddings, music festivals, variety shows and radio shows.

By the age of 12, Tower had joined her first band Harvester, a band she performed with throughout high school. The band appeared regularly at various dance halls, nightclubs and bars.

It was at the age of 23 when Tower was approached by Nashville producer and Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame president Gary Buck to record her first album Ghost of a Chance.

Tower says she raised about $10,000 in the community before heading out to Nashville to record the mini-album, which featured five songs.

Returning to Sackville, Buck informed her she would need to spend more money if she wanted to market herself to radio stations and record companies throughout North America in hopes of earning a recording contract.

But then, the unthinkable happened. Buck suffered a fatal heart attack. She had lost her contact with the music industry.

At about the same time, Tower's marriage was falling apart and her priority needed to be on her two boys and ensuring she could make ends meet for her family. To keep from losing her home at the time, she had to sell her band gear and her truck.

Although she admits she was disappointed she had to set aside her music career, mostly because of the hard work and the money she and her supporters had put into it, her family was her top concern.

"It just wasn't in the cards at the time."

After having taken several years off, Tower returned to the stage several years ago, entering several karaoke and singing competitions.

And in the past year, her new band has taken her down another path that she is heading down with open arms.

"Now the opportunity's knocking on the door once more . . . and I'm jumping right back into it with both feet."

 

Geographic location: Nashville, Faye Tower, Saint John's Country Music Hall North America

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  • VICTOR FAGAN
    October 16, 2011 - 11:09

    Very well written Katie . Can't wait to see you at the show .