A few years ago a group of musicians, just breaking into the industry, needed a name for their band.
They opted for The Boom Chucka Boys.
Guitarist Joel Rathjen voted against the name, but he was outnumbered.
“The other three wanted it and I guess it was the right choice. It’s pretty recognizable now.”
There is no doubt the name has become very well known and one would be hard pressed not to have at least heard of The Boom Chucka Boys.
The Sylvan Lake band has been nominated for Group of the Year, Fans’ Choice, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and the Rising Star Awards by the Association of Country Music in Alberta (ACMA). Winners will be announced when the ACMA holds its third annual awards show on Saturday.
They are also signed to Gord Bamford’s Cache Entertainment label.
The band has combined their love of music with a great deal of natural talent, and attracted audiences far and wide with their unique style which encompasses country, rock n’ roll, gospel and a little bit of soul.
Inspiration for their music came from such musicians as Johnny Cash, Elivs Presley, CCR, The Band, Dwight Yoakam, Dierks Bentley and Zac Brown Band.
When The Boom Chucka Boys formed their group they simply wanted to make music. The awards and recognition that followed have come as somewhat of a surprise.
“We are just normal guys trying to do our thing. It’s all trial and error, but we are just trying to make a career of music,” said Rathjen.
The popularity of the band has skyrocketed and in the past few years they have played extensively throughout Central Alberta, captivating audiences wherever they go with their collective electric energy.
Their debut album was produced by award winning producer/songwriter Byron Hill (who won a Canadian Country Music Award last year for the project along with Gord Bamford).
Their single, Find My Peace of Mind, was a Top 40 hit.
Rathjen said the band continues to “learn as we go”.
“We’ve been very fortunate. The recognition we have received has helped us get out and play. We’re very thankful. Many doors have opened for us and things have happened really fast.”
Rathjen and vocalist Ryan Langlois were the founding members of the band, combining their musical styles of pop rock and country. They were later joined by bassist Ted Roy Michaylow, who proved to be a popular addition with his stand-up bass style. Drummer Dave Grobe came on board a few years ago.
Life has put more than a few hurdles in the way of Rathjen’s own personal musical journey. His wife, Cristina was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer last year. The news came as a terrible shock to the couple who have two children, aged six and three.
After undergoing a double mastectomy, she is declared to be cancer free, but will still require chemotherapy.
“We’ve still got a hard few months to go,” Rathjen said.
Despite her illness, Cristina encouraged her husband to follow through with his band commitments, and even though it was extremely difficult at times, he managed to keep going.
“It’s what I was meant to do. It (music) always seems to find me again. And she has always been very supportive of that,” he said.
He is also grateful for the support from friends, musicians, their families and many others during the trying time his family has gone through.
Rathjen said his wife’s illness has taught them both not to be complacent about life and the blessings that it offers and how quickly it can all be taken away. He is looking forward to the new year and the band’s second album which will contain songs about love and the journey of life.
The Boom Chucka Boys will play at Big Valley Jamboree and Calgary Stampede and Rathjen is pretty sure they will perform for an event in Sylvan Lake this year.
“It is our home town and it’s always nice to do something here. I’m sure there will be something coming up.”