When Reuben Bullock invited the entire audience on stage in Banff recently, it was a moment of pure magic.
“We had a 250 person choir,” Reuben describes. “It was really touching; it’s so amazing singing with the people.”
It’s those moments of intimacy and personal experience that Reuben, front-man for Canadian folk-rock band Reuben and the Dark, tries to bring into each one of his performances. The Pioneer caught up with Reuben by phone in Banff, where he had just had two nights of sold-out shows. Reuben said he constantly tries to find connection with audiences, so on the second night, he invited everyone on stage with him to croon along to “Hold Me Like a Fire”. The sound man knew he was witnessing something special, grabbed his mobile phone, and began recording.
On their Facebook page, Reuben wrote, “We are so grateful to share these intimate moments with our audience.”
And while he has never played at Pynelogs in Invermere before, he looks forward to bringing that same energy and connection to the local audience when he tours through next week.
Columbia Valley audiences will be amongst the first to listen to Reuben and the Dark perform following the release of their third album, un / love.
Reuben’s first album, Funeral Sky, was released in 2014, followed four years later by Arms of a Dream. He said he spent four or five years writing that second album. But his latest album, un / love, was written and recorded quickly.
“This album is kind of a response to the last one, almost like an undoing of the whole process,” Reuben reflected. He went to Mexico, to a cabin in the jungle, and just started writing. You can hear the rawness of the record in the songs, he commented.
“You can definitely tell it (the new album) was more intuitive,” he says, reflecting the musician’s longstanding roots in the music world.
“I have a practice of just writing every single day. When something really grips me – if I get shivers when I write something or play something on my guitar,” then he knows he has found something worth keeping, he said.
Reuben and the Dark have been teasing fans with a couple new songs from the album. On Monday, October 21st, the band put a clip of “Dancer” on their Instagram page.
“We are very excited to release DANCER today! This is one of my favourite songs on the album. It is so tender … and very dear to me. I’m not sure how to talk about this song yet. Including it on the record was a pivotal moment in deciding just how open I was willing to be with an audience,” Reuben wrote. “It is vulnerability’s lullaby. It is honest. It is soft. It is empathy and also an apology.”
un / love will be released October 25th, with Reuben set to perform at Pynelogs Cultural Centre three days later. Tickets are $25, available online at columbiavalleyarts.com.
Reuben and the Dark perform at Pynelogs Cultural Centre Monday, October 28th at 7 p.m. (with opening act at 6 p.m. by Hannah Epperson).