Fort St. John's Last Horse Standing grounded in sense of place, community

For Joseph te Bulte, there's power in one's sense of place in the world. 

Indeed, it's the backbone of his song B.C., the lead track off his debut album with his band Last Horse Standing, set to be released Saturday night at a concert at Evangel Chapel. In it, te Bulte croons of his travels across the province, from being born in the cradle of Selkirk Mountains to finding his home in the wheat fields of the Peace Country. 

"I've lived all over B.C. and I really love the land and I love the people here. I just wanted to pay tribute to that in my own way," says te Bulte, a 34-year-old electrician and instrument mechanic who moved to Fort St. John 10 years ago.

"In the process of writing that song, I felt this is something that could connect with an audience, the whole idea of connecting with your home and the land."

That was roughly three years ago, and it was the song that helped push him to record an album. The last few years have been spent penning and perfecting four more tracks about life, family and friends to round out the five-song self-titled EP. 

Along the way, a list of long-time friends and staples of Fort St. John's music scene have helped shape those songs. Today, te Bulte counts his wife, Amy (background vocals), and bandmates Jon Meyer (bass) and Todd Koponyas (drums) as the bandmates who keep him honing his Canadiana-folk inspired sound. 

"He's always been interested in people's stories … who they are and what they do," says Amy, who met Joseph around 12 years ago singing vocals for him at a concert at the time. 

"It's natural for him to write those kind of songs. That's who he is and what he loves."

The tracks were recorded at Earthtone Studios in the Shuswap and Five Acres Studios in Abbotsford.

Meyer has been playing music with te Bulte since he moved to Fort St. John, but said, as a mechanic, travelling the province to record an album took him outside the scope of daily life, laughing that he's used to fixing broken things.

Instead, "(we're) making something cool that's shiny and new," he says.

Te Bulte looks at the album as a community effort, and counts himself blessed to have the support of the local arts community, whittling off a list of local favourites including Twin Peaks, Ryan Hennessey and Craig Brooks, among others, as a few who have helped push him along. 

"Being in that environment of creative people here has really helped spur us on to complete this, to try to make something," he says.

"Every different musician that we've played with … there's been a number, close to a dozen, adds something and brings somethingout and helps shapes a song .

"The CD really shows just a celebration of that, of the community that we've been lucky to be a part of in music and in Fort St. John," he says. 

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See Last Horse Standing live this Saturday, March 12, at the Fireside Room at Evangel Chapel in Fort St. John. Lorissa Scriven will also perform. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8. Tickets are available at Systems By Trail or at the door.

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