Judging from their name, you might think that blues duo The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer (Shawn Hall and Matt Rogers) might be a travelling carnival show act, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. These Vancouver bluesmen are not about gimmicks.“The interaction between two people performing is much different then that of a larger band,” says Rogers. “We can twist and turn, and adapt where we’re going on a whim.”

Meeting in the unlikely situation of writing a jingle together, Hall and Rogers soon bonded over love of the classic blues by the likes of Robert Johnson and Blind Willie McTell. “We connect most with the songs and stories of the blues more than virtuosic playing,” says Rogers. The duo’s debut album, Checkered Past, garnered nominations for Blues Recording of the Year at the 2012 Western Canadian Music Awards, the 2013 SiriusXM Indie Awards, and the 2013 Maple Blues Awards, where they were also nominated for New Artist of the Year. They’re spending the summer hitting more than 15 festivals across Canada and the U.S., and working on their sophomore record.