Matthew Harder — Guitars, Bouzouki ,Piano, Vocals
Rebecca Harder — Flutes, Whistles, Accordion, Banjo, Vocals
Dan Wiebe — Guitars, Mandos, Vocals, harp, violin, etc.
Dan Wiebe, sister Rebecca Harder, and husband Matthew Harder compose and perform as only a family does, with uncanny unity and cohesion. The entire Wiebe family has been singing together since early childhood where they first began to hone their craft as Sunday morning vocalists in a Mennonite congregation. House of Doc was born after Matthew Harder, already a professional musician, clearly saw the potential in this remarkable family of musicians. Though only 5′ 6″ Matthew has used his strength as a performer, composer and guitarist to help drive the group from the status of gifted amateurs to serious entertainment up and comers, and he hasn’t needed to stand on an apple box to do it.
Dan Wiebe, the baby of the group, is a serious up & coming songwriter, but is also a gifted composer and arranger of classical and choral music, a multi-instrumentalist, and a remarkable vocalist.
Big sister Rebecca Harder has extensive experience not only in flutes, whistles, accordion, and of course vocals but is also a highly regarded music educator.
Named after their family home, presided over by Grandfather David ‘Doc’ Schroeder, Ph. D., House of Doc family history in Canada dates back to the late 1800s. Infusing musical inspirations such as Gordon Lightfoot, Simon & Garfunkel & Spirit of the West with intricate harmonies, sophisticated counterpoint and a rocking, down-home delivery, the band has captured its story with a rich and sensitive attention to detail.
“…We come from a pretty broad musical background.” says Matthew Harder. Daniel Wiebe explains, “We have a pretty large instrumental capability, flutes, whistles, harmonicas, bouzoukis, bassoons, piano, guitars, squeezeboxes, and we’re not afraid to use it. I’ve played bassoon with the Winnipeg Symphony; besides playing guitar Matthew’s also a concert pianist. As a group we’ve got a lifetime of singing Sacred music — a cappella and in choirs …It’s just a great big smorgasbord of sounds and influences…A huge palette for a composer / arranger.”
“East of West” — The New Album
Listeners quickly realize, as soon as they’ve heard ‘East of West’, that House of Doc wants to revamp Folk music.
They begin by putting their best foot forward in the form of superb 4-part vocals. But dazzling instrumental capabilities covering everything from drums to piccolo, with a few detours along the way to places such as bass recorder & bassoon makes it apparent that House of Doc is so much more than just a singing group.
Their 2005 effort was named ‘Prairiegrass’ – a tip of the hat to the band’s Bluegrass background, but with ‘East of West’, the group’s third CD, they have pulled out the stops and removed all firewalls. House of Doc’s musical imagination hits a new stride; and though the touchstones of Bluegrass & Gospel are still visited they are reinvented and energized. Stylistic limitations have gone the way of the Do-Do.
From stripped-down, a cappella ‘Simple Times’, recorded in one pristine take, to the unapologetically epic ‘Summerstone’, replete with full orchestra (performed entirely by House of Doc) ‘East of West’ a very rich & deep collection of songs about family, love, loss & life. Included also is a timely and vibrant cover of ‘Sweet City Woman’, originally recorded by the Stampeders in 1971 — ripe for a revisit and sounding new again.
Produced by Vince R. Ditrich (Spirit of the West) and recorded at the old and rambling ‘Bath House’ belonging to The Tragically Hip, the month-long residential session brought out the very best in House of Doc and steeped their recordings with a mood & atmosphere that makes itself felt from the very first notes.