West of Mabou is a 5-member contemporary Celtic band based in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and they’ve just been nominated for Instrumental Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards.  

“We play a lot of traditional music that is hundreds of years old – Scottish and Irish traditional tunes, but we put a contemporary twist on it,” explained band member Scott Benson.  

The band features the fiddles of Scott Benson and Roberta Wallace, pipes and whistles of Alex Rasmussen, Justin Easton on guitar and bass, and percussion of Jared Dormer. They released their most recent album, Horizons, in March 2024, which was recorded over 3 days in Saskatoon in July 2023.  

“A lot of the music that's on that, we’ve been playing live for probably a year or two prior, gauging what audiences were gravitating towards [and] what people liked,” said Benson.  

They used an Indiegogo campaign to assist them in releasing Horizons. “We don’t have a record label or anything like that – we’re independent. I think it’s just a good way for us to help with a lot of the costs. It’s an expensive process, making an album.” 

He said there’s plenty of variety on their new album, and his favourite tune depends on the day. “We have full band tracks, we have a track with just a solo whistle, we have up-tempo and slower tunes.” 

They’ve played shows across Canada and into the United States. “Wherever there’s a lively crowd, we love it,” said Benson.  

Benson reacted to the nomination for this year’s Western Canadian Music Awards, with winners to be announced at the BreakOut West conference and music festival happening in Saskatoon from September 25 through September 29.  

“It’s really exciting – our last two albums were nominated for Western Canadian Music Awards as well, so very excited to have the new one nominated, too, especially since it’s only been out for a couple of months,” said Benson.  

He said the entire band is planning to head to Saskatoon for the awards night.  

West of Mabou next hits the stage at Mosaic in Regina on May 30 and 31. You can find more on the band on their website.