Based in the heart of the Warm Land on Vancouver Island, Canada, Hardware Girls use their rich captivating harmonies to draw the listener in to a world of peace and hope. Lyrics penned by this family of singers and songwriters speak to the heart, with a unified, harmonious purpose. Hardware Girls fix stuff. From broken drains to broken dreams, they take care of the environment around them. In song they hope to encourage listeners to join them to Bless This Place, Dance Up The Power or even to sing a Song Of Hope. With music from hauntingly beautiful to catchy folk-pop, their greatest wish is for their songs to inspire people to hope for world peace and not feel like a fool.
Sisters Jessica and Jade grew up in Victoria B.C., learning to play guitar and piano from their mom Barb, and being encouraged to write by their father Rob. The three girls spent countless hours playing and singing together, learning cover tunes from James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” to The Tragically Hip’s “Bobcaygeon”, to anything at all from Sarah McLachlan. Barb grew up under a strict code of piano lessons, rehearsals and competitions. In seeing the talent and interest her daughters shared in music, she told them she would not hound them to practice, but if they wanted to learn, she would always be there. They wanted to learn and Barb helped them flourish.
After living and working in Alberta for five years after the girls graduated from Victoria High School, the Blakney family wanted to move back to beautiful Vancouver Island, and so they purchased a small hardware store in Mural Town Chemainus. The family worked the store during the days, but continued to write, paint and play music in the evening hours. And then they met Longevity John Falkner. He heard the girls sing together one afternoon in their living room, and immediately encouraged them to work up a few songs to play for open mic night at the new venue he was just preparing to open, The Duncan Garage Showroom.
Long John’s encouragement led to the girls getting their feet wet on stage for the first time. Soon, the girls were playing every Tuesday night, opening up the open mic Dress Rehearsal Tuesdays for 74 Tuesdays in a row, getting their stage legs and giving Long John something to look forward to in the beginning stages of his new endeavor. Of course, if the girls were going to be playing on stage, they had to come up with a band name. Having run the hardware store now for four years, the girls had become what they called “Famous in Chemainus” and had already been dubbed by the community the “Hardware Girls”. When it came time to settle on a band name, there was one obvious choice. As Jess pointed out one day, it didn’t matter what they called themselves, they would always be referred to by those in the area as the Hardware Girls. And so it stuck. Now the Hardware Girls have taken on the mantle, and expanded the moniker to include competency in all endeavors.
Each of the girls is a songwriter in their own right, and Rob and Barb have been creating music together for forty years. Creativity blossoms as Rob continues to pen beautiful lyrics and, giving his poetry to his wife and daughters, they turn his words into song.
The years as hardware store owners has kept the girls busy in the day to day world of business, but life as the Hardware Girls has filled their days and nights with music, dancing, laughter and friendship. Creative fulfillment to balance the work-a-day world.
In terms of creative fulfillment, their big dream has been to record a CD. There have been many starts and stops over the years and time passed without a recording coming to fruition. And then Ray Materick moved down the road. Rob and Barb were very familiar with his early works, having listened to his music from the early seventies onward. Ray burst onto the Canadian music scene in 1972 with the release of Sidestreets on Kanata Records, considered to be one of Canada’s first independent record labels. His major national breakthrough came with the release of Neon Rain in 1974 on Warner Bros./Asylum Records, featuring the hit single “Linda Put The Coffee On”.
Once again, Longevity John and the Duncan Showroom came into play. Ray played a few shows there over the years, and Rob and the girls were always sure to be there. Finally Ray came to his senses and moved from Hamilton to the Island, settling in Ladysmith. It was Longevity John’s 14th Annual 50th Birthday Party at the old Duncan Garage Showroom when Long John mentioned to Ray that the Hardware Girls would be playing, and that he should come and check them out. Ray was impressed by the songs, lyrical content and melodies, the beautiful voices and the sweet harmonies. Soon after, the girls were sitting in their music room with Ray Materick and playing him a few of their songs. And before they knew it, the Hardware Girls were on their way to recording their debut album with none other than Ray Materick as their producer.