Block Heater’s Alberta Gems: 100 Mile House

With the Calgary Folk Music Festival’s annual Block Heater event getting you grooving online this year, theSCENE — while drooling over international artists like Washington State’s Damien Jurado,  Mexico’s Maria Mezcal and Irish acts Lisa Hannigan and Saint Sister — decided keep with the theme by shopping local. 

We spoke with three Alberta artists who will be appearing at Block Heater, which runs from Feb. 16 to 20 this year.

The final story in our series is Edmonton husband-and-wife duo 100 Mile House.

For tickets and more information, including the complete schedule, please go to

Paul and Linda McCartney. That went well – they were married for 29 years before she died of cancer. Richard and Linda Thompson. Not so good, as after 10 years of marriage he left her for his Los Angeles concert manager. And let’s not even start with Ike and Tina Turner. But. In times of a pandemic, being in a band with your wife turns out to be a great thing, because you can practice all you want without Big Brother getting involved.

“We can always do stuff as a duo,” songwriter Peter Stone reflects from the Edmonton home he shares with his wife and bandmate, Denise MacKay, and their three-year-old son, London, where they have spent time building treehouses on the ground together during lockdown. “It’s great! One thing, people always joke about being in a band with your wife or partner, but during pandemic times it definitely pays off.”

Thus, the Edmonton team who are the core of the dreamy, bravely personal and unflinching music created by 100 Mile House, were ready to go when contacted to play online from their home studio at the upcoming 6th annual Block Heater fest. And while their original plans for a nine-piece ensemble to support them at Festival Hall last year when they released their fourth album, Love and Leave You, during the first week of the declared pandemic, didn’t work out, their songs have always come alive with just two of them onstage. 

“We released on March 27, which was officially the worst date of all dates to release an album because that was the first week of the pandemic and everyone was terrified and everyone was wondering what it’s going to look like. So, we joke that we’re going to release it again this year, just with a different name,” Stone says.

No doubt the duo will be ready for live music, as, in spite of loving spending the first few months of the pandemic with baby London and his wife before getting deep into his three-year Master of Social Work program in May, Stone, who also works as a sound engineer, is jonesing badly for live music — not just playing it, but seeing it. So much so that at times, he goes out to the car and blasts the speakers.

“I told Denise one day when I came home, ‘Do you know our stereo only goes up to 38? It doesn’t go up to 40 in the car?’ She was lik,e ‘Is it broken?’ ” 

Turns out it wasn’t, and now Stone knows they can turn it up all the way without blowing anything up.

100 Mile House appears at Block Heater online on Saturday, February 20. 

Mary-Lynn Wardle is a Bragg Creek writer.