The Coastal Chicks make friends, fans and lots of great music along the Eastern Shore

·3 min read

ST. MARY’S – Move over Dixie Chicks. Here comes the Eastern Shore’s very own Coastal Chicks, a group of six women living in Guysborough County who play guitar, sing and espouse a simple, yet unassailable, motto: “Great friendships are created around music.”

According to the band’s founder, Peggy Kaiser-Kirk of Port Bickerton, the whole thing began as a lark back in January 2018. “I invited some ladies I knew who played guitar to a ladies guitar day at my home,” she says. “Five showed up and a day of great fellowship, laughter, good food, guitar playing and singing happened.”

She says the whole affair was simply too much fun to be a ‘one-off,’ so she extended the invitation every month. In due course, the Coastal Chicks began to take shape. “A few left the group due to health issues and worktime constraints, but a few more joined in and, after a few months, the group formed into the same six ladies attending regularly.”

Today, that group consists of Kaiser-Kirk, Lisa Hallett, Wanda Jamieson, Angie Kaiser, Loretta Lambourne, and Belinda (BJ) Jordan. Each contributes a unique voice, along with six-string and 12-string guitars, an upright bass, Cajun drum and percussion instruments, such as shaker and spoons. Musical genres include country, rock, gospel and east coast. Says Kaiser-Kirk: “The music appeals to most people. We have all come with a favourite genre of music and have expanded our own horizons to appreciate other genres that we may not have ever tried.”

That goes to the group’s underlying philosophy. “We’ve learned so much from each other, musically and in so many other ways,” she explains. “We love each other and share the good and the bad, including grief and joy, accomplishments in our personal lives, good food, much, much laughter and appreciate the special talents we each bring.”

The camaraderie, good humour and enthusiasm seems to be contagious. The group has performed at Christmas concerts; fundraisers for a playground, a refugee family and the music program at St. Mary’s Education Centre; and with group of musicians who play to help fund the small Stormont Union Church. In 2019, the Coastal Chicks provided an evening of musical entertainment at the Sherbrooke Village courthouse concert series.

“We have entertained audiences across Guysborough, Antigonish and Pictou Counties, and in Halifax Regional Municipality,” Kaiser-Kirk says.

Sidelined during the pandemic, the Chicks made their triumphant comeback last month at Moser River Days (July 22-24).

“Once we could start visiting again, the jam sessions started again at my home,” she says. “We were approached by the organizer to do our first concert since the pandemic. We were so happy to be back sharing what we love with people.”

She adds: “We don’t consider ourselves to be professionals. We became The Coastal Chicks when a name was needed because we were being asked to asked to play at local concerts… We have a love of music and I believe that shines through. The camaraderie and love we have for each other is evident. Before we start any concert, we have a prayer together and do the ‘All for One and One for All’ hand stack, then we’re ready to go.”

The Coastal Chicks will next perform in the Sherbrooke Village concert series at St. James church on Thursday, Aug. 4, from 7-9 p.m.

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal

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