The County Lads are a group from SDG providing their audiences, near and far, with the opportunity to enjoy an evening of musical entertainment. Courtesy Photo

The County Lads – A beat of their own

Monkland – If you enjoy listening to music that will have you up on the dance floor or tapping your toes to the beat, then The County Lads are the band to hear.

Formed in 2015, members of the band are, good friends Alec and Hamish McDonald, Nolan Laframboise and Joah Vaillancourt.   “The original group first met at a barn dance held by Rob and Lesley Ann McDonald’s at Munroe’s Mills” explained Alec, who continued how after being introduced to Michael Moffatt’s younger brother Robbie, the band was formed after discovering they all played musical instruments. Later a friend of Robbie’s, Nolan Laframboise joined the band and when the group was looking for a drummer Joah Vaillancourt began playing with the group.  “We also owe a lot to a man named Allister MacDonell who was always looking out for us at the beginning and got us some of our very first shows around the area” mentioned Alec.

Guitarist and lead singer Alec and his brother Hamish, who plays the fiddle, are from the Monkland area and work on their family farm.  Bass player and harmony vocalist Nolan Laframbroise currently attends St. Lawrence College and lives in Williamstown, with drummer and back up vocalist Joah Vaillancourt studying at St. Lawrence College in Kingston and grew up in Alexandria.

Alec explained each member in the band play multiple instruments, noting he plays the mandolin, accordion and bass guitar, Hamish plays the mandolin, Nolan the guitar, ukuelele and piano and Joah plays the keyboard, bass, guitar and harmonica in addition to the instruments they usually play in the band.

When asked about the musical training of group members, Alec explained how he and Hamish “both took fiddle lessons from one of Glengarry’s most patient and well respected men, Ian MacLeod.” He discovered the guitar as a young teenager and taught himself to play, with Nolan and Joah also self taught with some musical instruction when young.

Performing in a musical group necessitates a great deal of personal commitment and time.  Alec noted how as some members are still in school, it is sometimes difficult to organize a practice.  He noted how as they travel a lot, travelling time is used “to learn, write and practice new tunes.  He continued how the time commitment for a performance depends “on where it is we are playing, so we have to take into consideration the length of drive and the length of performance, where we play; anywhere between one to four hour shows.”   Alec explained how when performing for an audience, walking on stage and knowing that you are sharing time with the people in the audience makes all the time and effort worthwhile.

The group is well known for their popular performances at many fairs, festivals fundraisers and special events, and have played all over eastern Canada.  “We’ve had the pleasure of playing all over eastern Canada such as London to Sudbury, even the Maritimes and everywhere in between” said Alex, before noting the farthest location has been Miramichi in New Brunswick and hope to head west in the future.

The type of music performed by The County Lads includes a mix of Celtic, country, rock, bluegrass, and some pop music,  to ensure all in the audience have an enjoyable experience.  He continued how “the band also performs a growing amount of original songs and are always writing more.”  In addition to performing live, The County Lads have videos on Facebook and Instagram and are in the process of recording their first album.

Members of the group began performing when none of them had their driver’s licence, and Alec was thankful that their parents “drove us to every gig and hauled our sound equipment for us as well.”  He explained “Now we have our own vehicles, and we don’t have to worry about keeping our parents up till we finish and pack up and it is much easier now.”

For those who are looking at forming a band, Alec suggests to “get out there and pick up whatever gigs you can.  Find a group of people that share the same passion you do for performing and playing.  You’ll most likely be spending lots of time together so find things other than music everyone has in common.  They’ll be many obstacles faced along the way and it’s important to keep your head up and not get discouraged.  Lastly, do your best and be kind to everyone, you never know who might be looking your way.”

You can follow The County Lads on Facebook or Instagram, with Alec suggesting “If you’re looking to hire us please feel free to contact us via email or phone: 613-362-4820.”


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