Sarah and Rob Skinner, a British husband and wife musical duo, have been playing music for decades. Taking inspiration from the ordinary, and the extraordinary, they will bring their mix of original music and a couple of well-known covers to the Village Playhouse on April 7. Now, as new Canadians, The Red Dirt Skinners are looking forward to the opportunity.
Sarah Skinner says the band’s name came from a Google search when they were trying to figure out how to describe their eclectic musical stylings.
“We Googled ‘Skinner’ plus several of the genres that we cross, and we came-up with a style of music called ‘Red Dirt’ based out of Oklahoma/Texas which was pioneered by a man called Tom Skinner,” Sarah Skinner explains. “Red Dirt music is described as a blend of folk, roots, rock, country, blues and several other musical styles. It’s also described as more of an attitude than a genre and also, ‘hard to describe’. We think that suits us.”
Hard to describe is right when it comes to their music but so is easy to like.
The duo have picked-up a huge number of awards through their career including “Instrumentalist of the Year” in 2014 at the British Blues Awards and “Folk/Roots album of the year” in several polls across the UK and North America. Now that the Skinners are permanent residents of Canada, it’s about making music and finding their fit in the Canadian music industry.
Sarah says their first Canadian tour took them by surprise.
“We were still in the UK and we were emailed and asked if we’d be interested in playing a festival in a place called Stratford and when they offered to pay our flight costs, we corrected them and said that wasn’t necessary. We assumed they meant Stratford, England!” Sarah recalls. “They came back and corrected us and told us they were in Ontario and they’d heard us on CBC.”
After much planning, the Red Dirt Skinners managed to book a 12-date tour back in June 2015 and they fell in love with Canada from day one.
“It felt like home,” Sarah says. “After a whirlwind tour and the most amazing audience responses we’ve ever received, we went straight back to the UK and started researching whether we could possibly emigrate.”
Sarah said when they started making inquiries in May of 2016 it turned out that Canadian Immigration was specifically looking for self-employed musicians that could prove that they were “performers of a world class level.”
“We sent in our biography, some press cuttings, copies of our awards and crossed our fingers,” Skinner says. “Within the year, we’d been invited to become permanent residents.”
Sarah says their forthcoming album, “Under Utopian Skies,” is a testament to their love of Canada; lyrically and musically. It’s due out later this year and the Red Dirt Skinners will be debuting some songs from it at their Bancroft show.
The Red Dirt Skinners will blend their exceptional, almost telepathic, harmonies with the unique instrumentation of soprano saxophone and acoustic guitar at the Village Playhouse on April 7. The show starts at 7pm and tickets are on-sale now, for $20, at Harvest Moon, Posie’s, Vintage on Hastings and Hospice House. Doors and bar open at 6pm for the show.