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10 Questions with Sam Roberts Band

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Welcome to the CP Holiday Train! Did you know about the Holiday Train before you signed on?

Thanks for the welcome and yes, we’ve known about the Holiday Train for some time now! It’s a long-standing tradition where I live in Montreal to bring the whole family down to see the train at Christmas time. Some of our friends like Jim Cuddy, Alan Doyle and Odds have been on the train as well, so we’re in good company.

What made you want to join our beautiful train of lights?

Aside from relishing the opportunity to become Canada’s foremost carolling band of the year, it’s also about the adventure, seeing the country from the vantage point of a train and going to communities which we might not otherwise get a chance to visit.

What part of the whole experience are you most looking forward to?

The frantic pace of the performances themselves. Sometimes the whole show is over in under twenty minutes and then the train starts rolling again. In the case of the HT, we’re also at the unpredictable mercy of nature!

Do you have any connections to the railway in your family or friends?

My grandfather worked for South African Railways and I always had a romantic connection with the idea of trains. When my family settled in Canada, that bond deepened after learning how much of a part the railway played in bringing the far corners of the country together.

A love of trains is very common among our past HT performers. Did you like trains when you were young?

I lived close to railroad tracks growing up and I had a model train set which I tried to set up like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. I love the idea that these machines were taking people on adventures and wanted to go on adventures too.

Have you had the wonderful experience of playing shows outside in winter?

Have you ever played outside during winter?! It’s like trying to tie your shoe laces when your fingers are frozen…nothing works the way you want them to. It’s all part of the challenge of playing in a Canadian rock n roll band. We’ve played New Year’s Eve, the Winter Classic and the Grey Cup. And soon…the Holiday Train!

The Holiday Train also encourages education about how to be safe around railway tracks and property. Do you look forward to being a rail safety ambassador?

I grew up riding passenger trains and living close to them. I’ve witnessed first hand how important rail safety is and I’m proud to be an ambassador!

We Were All Born In A Flame was rereleased in October. What made the band choose to re-release that album?

That record changed our lives. The re-release has represented an opportunity to dig into the vaults and to pull out some of the demos and lost tracks from that time - as well as old photos. It’s been a blast sifting through all of the old memories and bringing them back to life.

Will you be touring for the album in 2019?

We’re working on an album for 2019 and any touring we do will be based around that.

Living on a train for three weeks is like touring on a bus. What’s your favourite thing about touring?

Little did we realize that all of these years riding on a tour bus was simply a training ground for the Holiday Train! The best thing about it all is sharing that sense of adventure, of going places and knowing you’ll have the chance to play music there.

The Holiday Train focuses on raising money, food donations and the public’s awareness about the important work of food banks and the need for healthy donations. Does that resonate with you?

This represents the true spirit of the holidays - a chance to celebrate but also to bring a bit of comfort to people’s lives. The food bank in NDG (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce) where I live brings joy to families all year round! It’s very encouraging to see CP taking these matters to heart.

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