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This article was published 15/6/2015 (2325 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Twin brothers from Transcona are about to drop their first record — and they’re only 11 years old.
On Thurs., July 2, Double the Trouble will release Keep Calm and Fiddle On, a collection of traditional and contemporary fiddle tunes. The group is made up of 11-year-old twins Aidan and Luc Wrigley, with their father Rob accompanying the boys on guitar.
Aidan and Luc have been fiddling since they were three and a half years old. Neither can really remember a time when there wasn’t a fiddle close at hand.
"My mother-in-law had enrolled them in fiddle classes," Rob said. "Being Métis, she wanted them to be exposed to Métis music and culture."
Rob, who has been a musician most of his life, encouraged the boys to keep playing.
"In the beginning I’d kind of have to bribe them to play," Rob said with a chuckle.
"With candy or video games," Aidan added, grinning.
Rob gave the boys their first taste of the spotlight when they were four, regularly bringing them onstage to sing a song or play a tune on the fiddle when he’d play gigs or host open mic nights at the Folk Exchange on Bannatyne Avenue. By the age of six, Aidan and Luc were onstage at the MTS Centre.
"It was with a whole bunch of other fiddlers that my teacher (Clint Dutiaume) taught," Aidan explained. "We all just played the one song, ‘Rubber Dolly.’ That was the first actual song."
The boys took to the weekly lessons with Dutiaume, despite still requiring a bit of coaxing to practice at home.
"I’d notice them getting better really fast," Rob said, who started playing along with the boys at home on his guitar. "When they first began playing, we had no idea that we would ever do this kind of stuff."
The time spent together was so much fun that they took their family band act on the road. Now, Double the Trouble play community events (like Hi Neighbour) and big events (like Festival du Voyageur and the Winnipeg Folk Festival, where they appeared last year as "travelling minstrels") alike.
"All of them (are memorable)," Aidan said of gigs past. "They all mean something to me."
Rob estimates the band has a repertoire of "about 35 songs," while Aidan and Luc figure they’ve learned "way more" over the years.
Asked about their favourites, the bilingual boys—who are finishing Grade 5 at École Tache (744 Langevins St.)—are quick to reply.
"For me it’s ‘Whiskey Before Breakfast’,’ Luc said.
"‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia,’" Aidan replied, while Luc agreed that tune was tops. The boys had been bugging Dutiaume to learn the classic jam from the Charlie Daniels Band for quite some time before he agreed to teach it to them.
"We got pretty excited," Aidan said.
Double the Trouble debuted the song at on Canada Day last year. "We never told anybody we were learning that song (until) we spilled the beans. I felt so happy. I felt, like, open. I saw my grandpa, and I couldn’t tell but I think he was crying."
Onstage the boys draw from traditional Métis and Cajun tunes to contemporary cuts by the White Stripes and the Lumineers. And now they have some of those tracks down on disc.
The Wrigley boys recently went into Studio B in Warren, Man., with Lyle Baldwin (of Foster Martin Band fame). It was a new experience for Aidan and Luc.
"It’s a lot of work," Rob admitted. "It can be gruelling for seasoned musicians at the best of times."
But all that hard work has paid off, the album’s in the can, and now it’s time to throw a good old fashioned CD release party. For a taste of what Double the Trouble can deliver, head on down to the Park Theatre (698 Osborne St.) on Thurs., July 2. Tickets are $10, but kids five years old and under get in free. The family friendly show starts at 8 p.m., with a couple interesting acts opening.
"Opening acts are Nico & Alexandre, and also Adam Smallwood," Luc explained.
Nico is a guitar student of Rob’s, Alexandre an accompanying fiddler, and Adam Smallwood a student at Riverview Elementary School, where Luc and Aidan’s mom works.
What’s next for Luc and Aidan? After a family trip to Banff — where Double the Trouble have already secured a busking permit — the boys will be back at their lessons. And they’ve already set their sights on the next tune they want to tackle.
"We want to learn ‘Thunderstruck!’" Considering how much of the classic AC/DC riff Aidan and Luc can already bust out on their fiddles, they’ll be ripping that one up onstage in no time.
Sheldon Birnie is the reporter/photographer for The Herald. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Call him at 204-697-7112