“We kinda think we have an old sound, but a new sound at the same time”
Steve Jevne is a familiar face in the Airdrie musicscape; he hosts Bambino’s popular Monday night open mike stage, plays several gigs a week, solo and in bands, and teaches guitar.
He’s been making a living this way for years, but his latest venture has stirred something in him he hasn’t felt for awhile.
“I’ve been playing in bands for 15 years, and I’ve never been this excited about playing in a band.”
Jevne is talking about his new band As High As We Go.
He plays guitar and piano, and acts as the band’s manager.
Lead singer Kyle Miller, who also plays violin, is from Nova Scotia but has lived in Calgary since 2012.
“I moved here mostly for the music scene,” he says.
He works at a Toyota dealership, but singing is his passion.
“Music has always been my go-to. I won a few talent shows back home,” he laughs. “But of course when only five people go in, you’re gonna win.”
“I needed more challenge; I needed more experience.”
Completing the trio is Jordan Wilkinson, who grew up in Crossfield but now lives in Airdrie, and is known for his time with the rock band Sharp Hill.
Wilkinson, who wasn’t present for the interview, plays electric and upright bass, and is the reason the band has excelled musically, Jevne says.
“Jordan is – and he wouldn’t mind me saying this – a music nerd. He can play anything.”
The band’s sound is country, though Jevne says it wasn’t part of the plan.
“It just sorta happened,” he laughs.
“Even when we don’t play country, it just somehow sounds country,” Miller jokes.
“It’s Kyle’s voice,” Jevne explains. “His voice is so big – it just sounds like country.”
It was Miller’s voice that first caught Jevne’s attention.
He heard him one night at Bambino’s, and was impressed.
“I was like, ‘What? You just opened your mouth and – boom!’”
They played together off and on in the spring of 2018, but it wasn’t until Miller asked Jevne to join him for a gig at Calgary’s Blind Beggar Pub that he realized the potential for a band.
He invited Wilkinson to join them that night, and as the three played together they all felt a connection.
“It was such an easy click,” Jevne recalls.
A video of the concert drew more than 3,000 social media views, and soon they were getting gigs in Airdrie and Calgary, without even settling on a name.
The name, As High As We Go, came about one night when Jevne asked Miller how far he wanted to go with the band.
Miller shrugged and said, “I don’t know, as high as we go.”
Jevne suddenly said, “Hey, that’s a great name for a band.”
And it stuck.
Their country sound is somewhere between the swagger of Merle Haggard and the storytelling of Johnny Cash.
“We kinda think we have an old sound, but a new sound at the same time,” Miller explains.
They perform covers and originals at their gigs, and are putting together an EP for release in early spring.
Jevne does most of the writing, but says that songs he’s penned, such as Starlight, a smooth ballad about a musician’s life on the road, exhilarate him when performed by the trio.
Miller’s deep voice is clear and commanding, and when blended with Jevne’s harmonies and skilled guitar work, and Wilkinson’s rhythmic upright bass, As High As We Go is dynamic and entertaining.
This has Jevne excited.
“When something works like this with three people, you just get excited.”