The Rural Alberta Advantage

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The Rural Alberta Advantage
Background information
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Indie rock
Labels Paper Bag
Saddle Creek
Associated acts Henri Fabergé and the Adorables
Members Nils Edenloff
Robin Hatch
Paul Banwatt
Past members Amy Cole

The Rural Alberta Advantage is a Canadian indie rock band that formed in 2005 in Toronto. The band consists of Nils Edenloff on lead vocals and guitar, Robin Hatch (Amy Cole till Sept 2016) on keyboards, bass, and backing vocals, and Paul Banwatt on drums.[1] They have released three albums and are signed to Paper Bag Records in Canada and Saddle Creek Records internationally. In 2011 they were nominated for a Polaris Music Prize.


Regarding how they met, the band has said in an interview: "We all hosted an open stage at The Winchester in Cabbagetown, and that led to us forming The RAA. Nobody ever came to our night, and now that place is a Tim Hortons. I'm not saying it was our fault. I'm just saying it's a pretty big coincidence. I mean, the place was around for 120 years, but less than one year with us.... We have no regrets though. We'll close as many venues as it takes."[2] The band's name was coined by Edenloff's brother, when he wrote in an e-mail to Edenloff that he was planning to explore "the rural Alberta advantage" by spending some time back on the family farm near Donalda, Alberta where they had spent part of their childhoods.[3]

First formed in 2005, the band recorded a demo tape and released an EP independently before completing their first full-length album, Hometowns, in early 2008. Hometowns was recorded and produced from April 2007 to March 2008 by Roger Leavens at BoomBox Sound in Toronto, Ontario. The band toured extensively across Canada, including shows at the Pop Montreal and Halifax Pop Explosion festivals, to support Hometowns.

The band was selected as eMusic's featured artist of the month for November 2008.[4] The band subsequently signed to Saddle Creek Records in 2009, and Hometowns was re-released by the label in July.[5] The band was also selected as the X3 Artist of the month by, CBC Radio 3 and Exclaim! for July 2009.

Their second LP, Departing, was released on March 1, 2011.[6] The album was named as a longlisted nominee for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize.[7]

Their third album Mended with Gold was released on September 30, 2014. In the fall of 2014, Mended with Gold was featured on NPR's All Songs Considered list for the top albums of September.[8]

On September 12, 2016 Amy Cole announced her departure from the group via the band's website. On September 18, the band announced a new tour with keyboard, bass pedal and backup vocals being supplied by Robin Hatch. On November 7, the band announced that their fourth studio album is forthcoming.

Their song "Beacon Hill" was inspired by the 2016 Fort McMurray, AB wildfires.[9]



Title Album details Peak chart positions
US Heat
US Indie
Hometowns 49
Departing 4 30
Mended with Gold
  • Released: October 30, 2014
  • Label: Paper Bag Records / Saddle Creek Records
8 38
"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released


  • The Rural Alberta Advantage EP (2006)


Year Title Peak chart positions Album


2009 "Frank, AB (Remix)" / "The Deadroads" Hometowns
2010 "Drain the Blood" 50
2011 "Tornado '87" Departing
2014 "Terrified" 40 Mended with Gold
2016 "White Lights" 41 White Light
2017 "Beacon Hill"
"—" denotes single that did not chart or was not released



External links[edit]