‘On the Road’ to Delhi

Small Town Girls re­turn to Fall Fest Satur­day at 7 p.m.

The Delhi News-Record - - FALL FEST - CHRIS AB­BOTT

Week after week, 12-year-old twins Ha­ley and Han­nah, and 15-year-old Cassie Van Maele have been ‘on the road again’ in their sec­ond Small Town Girls sum­mer.

This week­end is no ex­cep­tion - Small Town Girls will play at the 4th Annual Delhi Fall Fest Satur­day, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. The one-hour set will in­clude new coun­try, clas­sic coun­try and some orig­i­nals.

“It’s been re­ally busy,” said Ha­ley. “Like a show every week­end.” “Too busy,” Cassie smiled. “Very ex­cit­ing,” said Han­nah. “Yeah, ex­cit­ing,” Ha­ley agreed. “We got to go to new places, too, like Burk’s Falls. That was fun.”

“I loved it,” said Cassie, re­call­ing the long­est road trip of their young mu­sic ca­reers - four hours to the Mag­nete­wan River area be­tween North Bay and Huntsville (Aug. 18-20).

Al­though it rained most of the week­end - and while they were on stage - they did en­joy a tour of the vil­lage falls and dam, the rented ac­com­mo­da­tions, and see­ing Burk’s Fall Coun­try Jam­boree the next day, which in­cluded their mu­sic teach­ers, Ali­son and Dar­rin Schott.

Be­tween Till­son­burg’s Turtle­fest in June and Bayfest in Port Rowan last week­end, they’ve banked some money, spent some money, and had some left over for school sup­plies.

School was fresh on their minds, es­pe­cially Ha­ley and Han­nah be­gin­ning Grade 8 this week.

“We have this huge step of be­ing pop­u­lar in Grade 8,” said Ha­ley, not­ing they want to team up to run for stu­dent coun­cil pres­i­dent(s).

All three sis­ters agreed Lynn River Mu­sic & Arts Fes­ti­val in Sim­coe was the sum­mer high­light.

“There was just so much to do, so much to see,” said Ha­ley.

“See­ing so many other peo­ple per­form,” said Cassie. “Plus we got like five sets. I liked Bush­stock too, I thought it was cool.”

Dur­ing the sum­mer they learned more new cov­ers, co-wrote more orig­i­nals, and pushed the band’s song list well past 40.

“Way more than 40, close to 50,” said Ha­ley, who knew in 2015 ‘about 10 songs’ when she com­peted in the Lang­ton and Nor­folk County Fairs.

Just one year ago at the Till­son­burg Fair the band’s reper­toire had grown to just over 20 - with two not quite mem­o­rized yet. And that took some work, Han­nah noted in August 2016, cram­ming to learn six new songs for the one­hour set.

“We keep do­ing them over and over again,” Cassie ex­plained. “If you keep prac­tic­ing, then you remember.”

Ha­ley con­tin­ues to shine as lead singer. Han­nah, who ex­cels at solo parts and har­mo­niz­ing, hasn’t ( yet) reached a point where she’s con­fi­dent tak­ing over if Ha­ley is ill.

“No, I’m not good at remembering stuff,” she said.

“I know most of them. I know most of You’re Lookin’ at Coun­try, Walkin’ After Mid­night is sim­ple, My Church, I Could Use a Love Song... I think I could do 10 songs. Maybe.”

In­cluded in the band’s 50-song list are five orig­i­nals - four they cowrote since the spring. More are com­ing, but song-writ­ing took a back seat re­cently.

“We’ve had a lit­tle bit of a break,” said Cassie.

“It’s been go­ing pretty good,” said Ha­ley, “but yeah, we haven’t been do­ing it lately. It’s been like a cou­ple weeks.”

Their first in­de­pen­dently writ­ten song is also in the works, a song Han­nah sat down to write.

“It was one ca­sual af­ter­noon... I was sit­ting on the couch watch­ing Net­flix. I got up to get a drink, saw the drums, and I was like, ‘ hmmm... I’m go­ing to play the drums to­day.’ So I was just bang­ing on the drums and you know, it sounded bad. But then it came to me! The song! So then I grabbed the ukelele and just started singing.

“The song is called ‘That’s Al­right With Me,’” said Cassie. “We’re try­ing to get a cho­rus for it. Well, we have a cho­rus but we don’t have the sound.”

“It’s hard to write a cho­rus,” Han­nah ad­mit­ted. “Me and Ha­ley ac­tu­ally tried to write the sec­ond verse to­gether.

“It’s about...” Han­nah started, but dropped into a whis­per. “It’s a sur­prise.”

A sur­prise she will re­veal when they launch the song.

What they learned this sum­mer is that song writ­ing is fun, but chal­leng­ing.

“It is pretty hard,” said Cassie. “It comes to you when you’re not think­ing about it, but when you try to think about it, it doesn’t usu­ally work out well.”

“It takes a lot of time,” said Ha­ley.

Delhi Fall Fest this Satur­day (7 p.m. - note the change from posters and web­site) and Corn­stock in Sim­coe Sun­day (2 p.m.) rep­re­sent the start of the 2017 ‘ home stretch’ for Small Town Girls. In com­ing weeks they will be on stage Sept. 23 in Port Rowan (11:30 a.m.), Sept. 29 in Mount El­gin, Oct. 5 at the Nor­folk County Fair (4:30 p.m.), and Oct. 14 at the Till­son­burg Le­gion (8 p.m.), which will con­clude the fes­ti­val/fair sea­son.

“I want to have a big break so we can learn more stuff,” said Cassie.

“And then we’ll come back and be three times bet­ter,” said Ha­ley.

“I’m go­ing to learn the drums dur­ing our big break,” said Han­nah.

Small Town Girls, man­aged by their par­ents, have al­ready booked their first show in April 2018 - the Dairy Expo in Strat­ford.

CHRIS AB­BOTT/ POSTMEDIA NET­WORK

Small Town Girls' Ha­ley, Han­nah and Cassie Van Maele will be play­ing at the Delhi Fall Fest Satur­day, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. Fall Fest stage en­ter­tain­ment (12:30-10 p.m.) be­gins Satur­day with zumba, fol­lowed by Danielle Ward (1:30), vin­tage band (3 p.m.), and dance mu­sic DJ at 5 p.m.

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