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Concert: Early Spirit

August 26, 2022 @ 7:00 pm 9:00 pm PDT


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After two years off, we’re excited to be bringing back evenings filled with some exceptional classical, traditional, folk, roots, world music, and acoustic blues talents as we welcome performers in the heritage gardens near our 1877 waterwheel-powered flour mill. We’re only a half hour drive from Penticton, OK Falls, Oliver or Osoyoos–come visit one of the most charming concert venues in the South Okanagan and Similkameen!


Early Spirit is Gabriel Dubreuil (violin), Ben Kelly (percussion), Aidan Goheen (bass) and Jay Knutson (guitar and vocals). This musical outfit is as intriguing as their diverse musical backgrounds and as captivating and exciting as a live band can be. From the first electrifying chord they will lead you through the musical mosaic of their own unique West Coast “Rockin’ Folkin’ Rollin’ Jazzin’ Celtic Swing-Grass”.

Since the release of their album “Unrelated” (2018), the band has been sought after from coast to coast, and they covered a good chunk of it chasin’ down the Spirit trail, getting folks from Victoria to Inuvik and Winnipeg to Moncton up out of their chairs and dancing. They invite you along to throw convention out the window, let loose and rise up to Early Spirit!

2018 saw the release of Early Spirit’s debut album “Unrelated”, which was produced by Grammy and Juno award winning musician and producer Leonard Podolak (The Dhuks), and featured Natalie MacMaster, Geoffrey Kelly, Leonard Podolak and Michelle Campagne. The record helped place the the band on folk club and festival stages around the Pacific Northwest including Mission Folk Festival, Northwest Folk Life, Salmon Arm Roots & Blues, and the Rogue Folk Club, and across Canada.

Jay Knutson sings the lead vocal for Early Spirit. Previously, he arranged, performed, and wrote Celtic folk-rock music with John Mann and Geoffrey Kelly in their band Spirit of the West. Later, Jay worked with major Canadian artists including Hart-Rouge and Connie Kaldor. His solo material, a constant throughout his career, draws from rock, jazz and roots music. As a singer- songwriter, Jay “puts the soul back into music, fun back into instruments, and conviction back into lyrics” (The Chronicle Herald, Halifax). He uses wisdom gathered from over 50 album projects to write for and perform with Early Spirit. Few performers in folk music can combine their experience with raw energy like Jay.

Ben Kelly is an organic and earthy drummer hailing from Vancouver. Raised on a sturdy diet of music of all kinds as a whipersnapper, he took took to drums at a young age. Working with such artists as Fish & Bird, Carmanah, Alexandria Maillot, and Jenny Ritter, Ben has spent the better part of 12 years recording and touring across Canada, USA, Europe, and the UK. Ben enjoys whiskey and can converse with you about power pop and new wave music until the sun comes up again

Gabriel Dubreuil is a violinist, and composer. A musical chameleon, he feels at home and blends naturally from Celtic, to Jazz to Classical. He is an established violin teacher and is a musical director for Vancouver’s North Shore Celtic Ensemble. He one half of the ‘Loose Root Duo’ with Toronto cellist George Crotty, and a session music having recorded and performed with local and international acts. Gabriel graduated from Berklee College of Music (Boston, USA) in 2016. His solo album ‘Back to Back Bay’ was released in 2016.

Aidan Goheen is a bassist and educator. He enjoys playing in a wide variety of styles stretching from punk to folk to jazz. As a school teacher and lifelong learner, Aidan believes that a curiosity for the world and the arts is the key to a good life. Aidan holds a Bachelors of Music from Capilano University. He is the band leader and founder of ska and funk band ‘Big Madge’.

Early Spirit is an ensemble that spans decades and was created through a unique take on folk music. They invite fans of all ages to remember how much they love music and get dancing!

“After catching Early Spirit at the 2018 Mission Folk Festival I immediately hired the group for the 2019 Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival. This is one inspired quartet that delivers superb stand alone concerts and one that can help take the process of collaboration and spontaneous interplay to a most memorable level in workshops and side stage settings. Exceptional instrumentalists, fine singers armed with a deep songbook that draws on all sorts of influences, makes Early Spirit is a festival programmers dream.”

Peter North – AD, Salmon Arm Roots and Blues


Through the summer of 2022, we will be hosting a variety of exceptional artists in June, July, August and September for an evening concert series in our picturesque Historic Site. Unless otherwise noted, doors open at 6:00PM and concerts start at 7:00PM.

You are encouraged to bring your own blankets and low-rise lawn chairs; taller chairs are also welcome, but you may be asked to sit in the back to avoid obstructing the view of others. You’re welcome to bring your own water bottles (reusable or factory-sealed) but outside food or drinks are prohibited on site. The Grist Mill & Gardens will be operating a concession at each show.

As soon as we announce the performer for each show, you’ll be able to buy tickets for that show online. You’ll also be able to purchase tickets at our front desk beginning on June 1st, 2022.   Some tickets may also be available at the door on the night of the event, depending on availability, but a small additional surcharge will apply.