He’s a little bit rock and roll. She’s a little bit folk and classical.
But together as The Wilds, singer/songwriters Holly Arntzen and Kevin Wright — along with world-class guitarist David Sinclair (Sarah McLachlan, k.d. lang) and Steve Moyer or Brian Newcombe on bass — are something completely different.
“We’re folk pop to rock your world,” Wright said.
The Vancouver Island-based group plays the Brackendale Art Gallery on Saturday (Jan. 12) at 8 p.m.
The Wilds’ original songs “take you on a cultural, ecological journey,” mixing serious musical chops with the serious issues of the day.
“The foundation of what we do is music,” Arntzen said. “I’ve been performing songs about the ecology for so long.”
Based on Vancouver Island, Arntzen has over the past 30 years appeared at most major music festivals in Canada and shared the stage with artists like Bruce Cockburn, Stan Rogers and Herbie Hancock.
Wright is a prominent figure in the Victoria rock scene, having performed in seminal bands such as Armoros, Turk and the Rat (Q100 fm Rocktoria 1 winner) and After Dark.
“We’ve all been playing together for a long time,” Arntzen said.
“At first, before I joined the band, it was Holly Arntzen and the Dream Band,” said Wright. “Then, after I joined, it was Holly Arntzen and Kevin Wright and The Dream Band.”
“We changed our name to The Wilds, basically because we were tired of saying our names,” Arntzen said with a laugh. “But also, The Wilds is appropriate because of what we sing about.”
In addition to original songs about the environment — such as “Mr. Douglas,” about old-growth forest, and “Up Your Watershed,” about sockeye salmon — The Wilds also perform a few quirky cover songs.
“We do a rendition of The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’… and it seems at first it doesn’t fit with our other material, but it really does,” Arntzen said.
The two also form the core of the Artist Response Team (ART), a production house that delivers environmental community outreach events throughout the province.
“We’ve visited Squamish with the program and it was great,” she said.
They visit schools and bring music and science education during a four-day artist-in-residence school music program featuring music, theatre and concerts focusing on sustainability.
Arntzen said the band was even brushing up on some special tunes for Squamish audiences.
“We are digging up some eagle songs,” she said.
“Not The Eagles… like the ’70s band,” clarified Wright, “but songs about eagles. Well… we have one.”
The Wilds entertain and educate on Saturday (Jan. 12) at the Brackendale Art Gallery at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $20 at the venue or Xocolatl.
For more on the band, go to http://www.artistresponseteam.com/about/the-wilds.