Like the great rock & blues bands that paved the runway for music, Vintage Flight’s fans not only wear their cool band shirt, but actually listen to the music. They set out to make new music with a vintage edge… songs written with the passionate riffs and relatable lyrics that memories are made of. Four prodigious teens bent on bringing rock music back: Avalon Bridger vocals-14, Jake Shepherd guitar-18, Braydon Kains bass-20, Quinlan Missikowski drums-16.
Everywhere from private parties under popup tents to local bars, international showcases and festival stages for thousands - Vintage Flight's tight, high energy live performances are often compared to the many epic bands they admire. Vocalist Avalon Bridger, while just 14 and known as an old soul, puts her heart into every note as if she were born on a stage. Guitarist Jake Shepherd makes a lasting impression with his soulful bends and epic solos. Bassist Braydon Kains fat bass lines and vocals are the backbone of the band. And drummer, Quinlan Missikowski adds just the right beat to round out their sound.
Band members were honoured to be selected as Canadian representatives in the 2017 International Blues Challenge in Memphis and have also been fortunate to play Grand Bend Canada 150 Main Stage on the beach for 15,000 people, Niagara Winter Wine Fest Main Stage and acoustic tent, Roots on the Twenty Main Stage, Kitchener Blues Fest Main and Tri-City stages, Summers End Fest, Big Music Fest, Kitchener City Hall NYE, Rock & Rumble, as well as several local clubs and bars. All of this a clear indication that this group isn’t just good for their ages, they are simply good.
Be sure to catch one of their regular shows, or look for their EP released in August 2017 and available through iTunes, Spotify, Google, Amazon and more. A new EP is on track to take off this year with an Ontario tour.
Growing up, Classic Rock was often playing in the house or in the car. Even on his own, it quickly became Jake’s music of choice. By grade 8, you would always hear epic bands like The Who, Boston, and Rolling Stones coming from his room. And soon after that, intrigued by the idea of creating so many different sounds and types of music with an electric guitar, Jake started lessons at a local community centre with Steve Rose.
When he just couldn’t put the guitar down, even during meals, it became clear that he needed more. Lessons continued with School of Rock, where Jake met some of his AshenBlue bandmates. “It was my first experience doing live shows, and it was great, but I kept coming back to the roots of rock with a blues influence. Artists like Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Big Sugar, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Joe Bonamassa, to name a few.”
On top of homework and the young Canadian experience of working at Tim Horton’s, Jake spends the majority of his time practicing the lightning fast solos he’s becoming known for in the local music scene. He studies now with Robert Reid, an excellent mentor who is a well known and loved sideman. When asked about his favourite parts of being in the band he stops briefly to think. “There have been so many, I would say playing our first big gig at Blues Fest, and our fundraiser at the Church when everyone came and I got to play with Shawn Kellerman. And getting to go out to watch (and sometimes play with) a lot of amazing local musicians that I didn’t even know existed a year ago.”
Music is his passion, but for 8 years, he also played competitive soccer. When he had to make a choice between the two, he chose music. “Now I hope that music chooses me, but if a career in music is not in my future, I hope my upcoming university education in Computer Science or Engineering will take me places.”
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A natural born fidgeter, it wasn't much of a stretch for Quinlan to find drumming as his calling. Encouraged at an early age by how easily primary school teachers are annoyed with constantly tapping out whatever came to mind with pencils, fingers and sneakers… things he'd later find out had cool names like paradiddles and flamadoodles.
Quinlan spent the first 12 years of his life in Hong Kong, where he started learning drums at the age of 8. In Hong Kong, his favourite activities included judo, swimming, and eating sushi. Fast forward half a lifetime, and catching up with him now could mean eating trail dust in a high school cross-country running race, getting thrown flat on your back at a judo tournament, taking your mark at a 100m butterfly, dodging rapid fire annihilation in game of Counter-Strike, or hanging out with his AshenBlue bandmates at a marathon practice session.
His first live performance that didn’t get him into trouble with his teachers was playing Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams at a primary school assembly. When he moved to Canada Quinlan met several new rock minded friends, including his AshenBlue bandmates, at The School of Rock. He’s also had the opportunity to learn at Blues Camp and now from his new mentor and teacher, the award winning Jimmy Boudreau.
Quinlan loves the off beat, both in drumming and in his musical taste that includes alt rock like Cake, classic Canadian like Rush, Blues icons like Muddy and Sonny Boy, and Jazz legends like Buddy Rich.
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Braydon Kains is the newest addition to our band. At 20 years old, Braydon has been playing music for 9 years, and performing live for 6. Though his primary instrument is guitar, he has always had a love for bass and takes it seriously as a secondary instrument. Adopting his style from present bass players such as Jack Bruce, Paul McCartney, and John Paul Jones, Braydon works as hard as he can to make his bass playing just as interesting as every other member of the band. With his thick, rubbery bass sound, and his gravelly baritone backing vocals, Braydon works tirelessly to provide a solid foundation for the band, and lives to serve the song.
Outside of his love for music, Braydon is an undergraduate student at Laurier for Computer Science. He is an avid gamer, a passionate comic book fanatic, and (barring a career as a musician) plans to go into a career in the field of Data Science and Database Administration.
Braydon is always working to improve his abilities and continue to flourish in his new role as bass player and backup vocalist.
Braydon is listed in The Record under musicians to watch in 2017 http://m.therecord.com/…/7043012-looking-back-at-2016-plus-… (yes, we are lucky to be listed there too, who knew we'd be doing it together!)
...and Coral Andrews wrote a great feature about him here - http://m.therecord.com/…/5768630-friday-performance-braydon…
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At only fourteen, Avalon is most often described as an old soul. The energy and passion of her on stage performances have been likened to her many musical idols, both locally and globally known. When you
meet Avalon, her gentle smile lets you know her greatest secret. Anyone who has seen her naturally compelling performances, and how she clearly becomes her true self on stage, is always surprised to learn that she is quite shy. Just like any thirteen year old girl, when she's not performing or practicing, she enjoys hanging out with her friends, as well as skiing competitively, sailing, swimming or simply curling up with her dog on the couch and reading a great book.
People may wonder how a young girl seems to put so much soul into the music she performs and writes. The truth is that while the years have not been many, a few major life experiences, and a natural empathy have taught her a lot about the human experience. “For me music is a way to connect with people, to say to them that other people have felt the way they feel, that they aren't alone. For me it's better to sing this than to say it.”.
It is rare for someone so young to have already found their passion, and Avalon plans to do whatever she can to achieve her dreams. “I call it the bonus 5-years, it's the time when I can focus on making music a career. It's a hard career to choose, but I think it's worth it.”. It helps that her introduction to music has been so incredible, and her mentors and the KW community so supportive. She has had many starting with Piano at Maxwell's and with Scott Galloway. Continuing with performance camps, programs and houseband at School of Rock. As well as mentorship at Blues Camp from many local musicians, especially Alana Leonard and Cheryl Lescom. She has also recently started vocal lessons and is learning to play bass.
All of this to continue working and growing as a musician, and to spend more time doing what she loves. Avalon particularly loves the experiences she has as part of the band. “It is so good to work with people who love music the way I love music, and who want to work hard to create it and make it right. And we have a lot of fun too. It's like a family.” <PHOTO CREDS M.JAYNE IMAGES>
To see more about band alumni and our time as AshenBlue click here.
From a very young age it was clear that Dalton was willing to do whatever it takes to reach his goals. Dalton spent 13 years in the discipline of Karate, and in addition to having a Black Belt, has worked as a sensei for children. It is obvious to all of us that he must spend almost every waking hour playing and practicing bass, but in his spare time Dalton also enjoys building custom bass guitars from scratch. His latest, in indigo blue, is featured in the photos here wearing his BlackWing logo.
Dalton selected the bass for elementary school band and has never looked back, and he has continued in Jazz band and Concert band all through high school. He took that even further by taking private lessons with Joe Orlando and participating in the Many Moods of Music, Bluevale’s unique music performance program… both are a big part of who he is as a musician today. In grade 12 he earned the role of director for ‘Moods”, an experience that led to a major life decision. “Moods was a big stepping stone for me in terms of my music and my personality. It is a big part of what drove me to pursue a career in music.” That’s right, Dalton is all in. He will be attending university for music in the fall and hopes his budding career as a professional musician grows into a life as a working musician. He really enjoyed AshenBlue’s recent recording experience with Wayne Bond, and would love to get the opportunity to work with many great talents as a session bassist.
From Jazz to Blues to Rock, Dalton uses deep understanding and skill to show how key the bass is in any genre, and especially in AshenBlue’s arrangements. While his favourite bands to listen to for pleasure include Three Days Grace, Billy Talent, From Ashes to New and I Prevail, the types of music he loves to play are diverse. As a founding member of AshenBlue, Dalton has been a big part of growing it from an open mic Duo into the band it is today. There have been many great moments along the way, but some of Dalton’s favourites are meeting the music family in KW, and all of the great support the band has gotten from the community. There are a few favourite gigs for him as well, and the common theme is how much pride Dalton takes in the band coming together for a tight and fun performance.
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Peter, our original drummer, was one of the four founding members of AshenBlue and is now doing a double major in Bio Mechanical Engineering at the University of Ottawa.