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The Rural Alberta Advantage are an indie rock band from Toronto whose self-released debut album became an Internet sensation in 2008. Founded in 2005 in Toronto, Canada, the band is a trio comprised of Nils Edenloff, Amy Cole, and Paul Banwatt. Born and raised in Alberta, Canada, singer/guitarist Edenloff anchors the band. The Rural Alberta Advantage self-released a demo recording in 2005 and then self-released The Rural Alberta Advantage EP (2006). A couple years later the band self-released its full-length album debut, Hometowns (2008). While little known at the time of its release, Hometowns got a big boost when influential online music retailer eMusic championed the album, declaring it eMusic Select album of the month for November 2008. The band got another boost in March 2009 when it played a high-profile showcase at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, alongside one of the festival's most anticipated bands, Grizzly Bear. The buzz about the Rural Alberta Advantage reached the point where the Omaha-based indie label Saddle Creek Records picked up Hometowns for reissue in 2009. The group's much anticipated second studio album, Departing, arrived in March 2011, and was followed by Mended with Gold in 2014. ~ Jason Birchmeier