Musician creates stage where his music and other talented singers can be appreciated
Lemberg, Sask. — When Richard Groulx started looking for an affordable, musician-friendly location that he might someday call home, he found Lemberg, Sask.
Here the 32-year-old musician established the Jam Space, an entertainment venue with bar, green room and concert seating for 50.
“I’m just trying to use my musical talents to deliver something that is positive and good in other people’s lives,” he says.
“I’d never been to this town before and it just so happened that the most awesome people in Lemberg were at the hotel the night I performed,” says Groulx.
He was struck by the friendliness of the community of 300, where he moved and started working at a local agricultural business. The job helped pay the bills while he pursued his music.
Groulx refined his guitar playing and songwriting skills at Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton, eventually earning a bachelor of music degree from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. He returned to Regina, and started a recording and touring band, the Co-accused, before setting out on a solo career in 2008.
His gig in Lemberg in 2009 was the turning point that led him to purchase, renovate, paint and decorate a large rundown building that would become the music studio of his dreams.
“I never had a big space that I could just go into and play music and renting something in Regina just wasn’t in the cards financially,” says Groulx.
“The whole idea was to get into a space where my music, and the music of other live performers throughout Saskatchewan, could be presented in an environment where it was fully appreciated.”
He paid $2, plus the $4,600 in back taxes owing to the town. Groulx moved into the former garage and seniors’ centre to save money for renovations.
His three-year stint teaching music lessons and living in the Jam Space and hosting concerts paid off, and in 2013, he bought a separate home.
The spacious stage of the renovated performance venue now comes to life regularly as Groulx hosts Saskatchewan performers as well as jam sessions. The jams, featuring some of his guitar and drum students as well as regional performers, are all about inclusion.
“I look at this space now that it’s the way I want it and I think what a long way we’ve come, but there’s still a ways to go. I’m very proud of it.”
Groulx keeps his business afloat with income from lessons and the $20 cover charge for concerts by prairie performers like Blake Berglund, Belle Plain, Megan Nash, JJ Voss and The Dead South.
Nate Hilts, lead singer of The Dead South, a Regina band, enjoyed performing at Groulx’s rural venue.
“The Jam Space is one of the most inviting and friendly experiences you can encounter around Saskatchewan and that is saying a lot too because we have encountered quite a bit of great places,” he says.