Happy Trails, Prospector’s May 25th performance at the Valemount Legion will be a part of the band’s very first tour, which kicked off in Calgary on May 17th. /SUBMITTED

By Spencer Hall

The Canadian bluegrass group known as Happy Trails, Prospector, are heading to Valemount to play a show at the Legion on Saturday, May 25th.

The group features Sarah Hamilton and Nathan Smith on twin fiddles, Miles Zurawell on the bluegrass style banjo, Patrick Hamilton on the rhythm guitar, and Nico Humby on upright bass. Every member of the group sings lead vocals and harmony throughout their performances, which the band says offers audience members a “diverse ” yet cohesive ” sound with tons of energy.”

Genre-wise, the band merges bluegrass, classic country, and old-time fiddle tunes.

Humby chatted with The Goat earlier this month and said the group first played together at a bluegrass camp held in Saskatchewan back in 2021.

“I don’t think everyone knew each other, but the five of us ended up just hanging out all week and becoming friends,” Humby said.

He said at the end of the camp, there was a festival where they each had to play their individual sets and when siblings Patrick and Sarah Hamilton got up to perform, they invited Humby, Smith, and Zurawell to join them.

“So we did that, then afterwards we took a band photo, kind of just as a joke of the five of us,” Humby said. “We kind of already had a band name because there was a saying we were saying all week while leaving one jam to go join another jam. We would say Happy Trails, Prospector to the people before heading off.”

After posting the picture online for fun, Humby said a bluegrass festival on Vancouver Island reached out to the group wanting to hire them.

“We weren’t actually a band, but we’re like ‘Well, we’re friends and we’d like to hang out more, so why don’t we go do this festival?’,” Humby recalled.

After playing a few more festivals together, the band decided to record an album, titled “The Good, The Bad, & The Dreadful,† at Sarah and Patrick’s father’s studio in Whitehorse in January 2023. Humby said it took them five days of non-stop work to record the album in the dead of the Yukon winter.

“Every song on [the album], there’s no originals. They’re all covers. So it’s basically just a selection of all our favourite tunes that fit our vibe. So a lot of funny subject matter and ripping fiddle tunes,” he said.

He said audience members can expect a high-energy show that even folks who don’t typically listen to bluegrass will enjoy.

“Some people see bluegrass and see old time [country], they shy away from it a bit, just because it’s something they’re not really interested in. I really think that people, even if they don’t like listening to it on the radio,  if they see a live performance, it’s just like a whole different experience,” he said. “We’re playing around a single mic, so there’s a lot of movement on stage and it’s just a great live performance experience that I think everyone should get to experience once in life.”

The band’s performance at the Legion will be a part of their very first tour, which kicked off in Calgary on May 17th. 

Catch Happy Trails, Prospector live at the Valemount Legion Saturday, May 25th. Doors open at 7pm and the show kicks off at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.