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Ken Hamm taking his time to release new music with “Mokomon”

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Forget, Saskatchewan based delta bluesman Ken Hamm  is never in a hurry to put out  new material.
 He released his latest CD “Mokomon” in 2018. Before that his last releases was a double CD set in 2006 called “Live in 05.”
 So he is excited to return to the Lethbridge College Cave to play for the Lethbridge Folk Club, Saturday, April 27.

Ken Hamm plays the Lethbridge College Cave for the Lethbridge Folk Club, April 27. Photo By Richard Amery
“I have a lot of die hard fans there who have been listening to me for 40 years and I hate to let them down,” said Hamm, from his home in Forget, Saskatchewan, where he has called home for the past 15 years and has been keeping busy chopping wood and  enjoying  the thriving music  community.

“ There’s only 40 people here and there are five bands who play a lot,” he said.
He is excited to finally have a new CD out, which includes old blues, folk, classical music and even gospel, which he was excited to record in the comfort of his own home.

“I have a friend, Tom Richards, who has a small computer studio. So we meet every Sunday to work on songs. We started working on several of his songs, which I hope to have on the next album and then we started recording my songs,” he said, adding he enjoyed the no pressure circumstances.
“It was very liberating. Usually when you’re renting a studio, you have 20 songs. But we started doing this for fun,” he said, adding he plays most of the instruments himself.
“That’s me playing guitar, banjo, dobro, foot stomps, hand claps,” he said.

“Really this whole CD was an experiment to see what it would be like to record at home,” he said, adding it has drawn a really positive response from fans and critics, though he didn’t really  do a lot of promo on it.

  The title track “Mokomon,” was written by his neighbour.
“She wrote a poem about Mokomon, which is a little town in Ontario where my grandparents settled. She’s from there, so I put music to her poem. I’ve been playing it a lot. I even played it  at her wedding because she got married since I wrote it,” he said.
 Hamm has been playing a lot of festivals and house concerts from everywhere from Kakabeka Falls, Ontario  to Horsefly, B.C. since He was last in Lethbridge in 2015.


The Tea Party enjoying second wind with Black River

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Windsor, Ontario born ’90s rockers the Tea Party are enjoying a second life after taking a break in 2005 after scoring a string of exotic flavoured hard rock hits in the late ’90s including “the Bazaar,” “the Messenger,“ “Temptation” and “Heaven Coming Down.”The Tea Party play a sold out show at the Yates Theatre, May. 1. Photo submitted.
 But they came back with a vengeance with a live album Live From Australia in 2012, and released a full length  CD “The Ocean at the End” and are enjoying more success from their new single. “Black River,” which they named their tour after.

“It’s been on the charts for several months at number 5 and hasn’t really shifted. It’s a pretty nice accomplishment,“ noted drummer Jeff Burrows, who is excited excited to embark on a new tour with band mates, bassist Stuart Chatwood and frontman Jeff Martin, who now lives in Australia.
“He’s been there for awhile now. So when we want to work on new material, we book a tour there and arrive a couple of weeks in advance. We’re going to stay there for a couple of weeks after the next tour,” he observed, adding that will be in June.

“Not to compare ourselves to the Rolling Stones, but they don’t live anywhere near each other either,” he said. The tour comes to Lethbridge for a sold out show at the Yates Theatre/ Sterndale Theatre with Proud Sons, May 1.
“A lot of them are sold out, and a lot of the others are already 90 per cent sold out,” observed Burrows.
 A lot of the shows are in theatre like the Yates Sterndale Bennett Theatre.

“We’re playing a lot of bigger clubs and theatres. It’s great and it’s a lot of fun being able to play theatres we weren’t privy to when we were young. You just roll in and there’s this nice big stage for you. We’re used to playing cramped clubs were it’s really loud and you can feel the drums beating against your chest,” he said, adding they don’t change the style of the show for a theatre.


B.A. Johnston back with The Skid is Hot Tonight and Van Halen parody video

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Pete isn’t dead or in jail, according to Hamilton funnyman B.A, Johnston, who  returns to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Tuesday, April 23 with J Blissette in  support of his new CD “The Skid is Hot Tonight.”B.A. Johnston returns to The Owl Acoustic Lounge, Tuesday, April 23. Photo by Richard Amery
“Pete loves that song,” chuckled Johnston of the first single from the CD “We’re All Going to Jail (Except Pete, He’s Gonna Die), which also inspired a frame by frame re-creation of Van Halen’s “Jump” video.

“It’s not as good, because they have more money and we‘re older. But we painstakingly re-created every frame, but cut most of it,” he said.

“ But it features they guy who does my beats and the guy who does my album artwork, so it is nice to feature them,” he said, adding the song is partially based on a true story.

“Pete took too many magic mushrooms and thought security was chasing him. We lost him for a half hour. And he still thought security was chasing him, though I don’t think  they were,” he said.

It is a follow up to his last CD Gremlins 3.
“ That was like two years ago. Time flies. I have like 12 CDs out now,” he said, adding they will  probably only be playing three songs from the CD.
“I have a lot of ‘hits’ and people want to hear them. I know when I go see Iron Maiden and they mostly  play their new album, I don’t really like that,” he said, adding he is always writing.

“It’s a long CD. It’s 12 songs and 42 minutes long. So it‘s like a Grateful Dead album,” Johnston chuckled.


Ladies show they know how to rock for Easter weekend

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This week is all about the ladies and a little bit of rock and roll for Easter weekend.The Hockey Moms play one of several 4-20 parties ahppening this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery
But first, New West Theatre veterans Jeff Carlson, Greg Paskuski, Scott Carpenter, Jordana Kohn, Arlene Bedster, Andre Royer, Kelly Roberts and Erica Hunt perform their annual ’50s, ’60s and ’70s music comedy revue fundraiser for the NordBridge Centre during Old Favourites 7 at the Yates Theatre, April 16-18. The show begins at 7:30 p.m.Tickets are $35.

 The Slice starts things off heavy on a Wednesday with Vancouver hard rock band/ thrash/ death metal band Dead Asylum plus local bands  Chernoff and Revanchist. The show begins at 9 p.m.. Admission is $10.

 Then it is all about ladies who rock.
 Edmonton folk/ R and B songwriter Billie Zizi returns to the Slice, April 18 with her power trio.
It will indeed be a good Friday with several shows competing for that holiday dollar.
 Toronto indie rock band Ace of Wands plays the Slice with country band the Orchard and punk band J Blissette and dark folk band Makiisma.
 A little further down the line, The Slice has another big hard rock metal show, Wednesday, April 24 featuring the Decibel Worship tour featuring Vancouver’ bands Heron and Bort, Calgary doom metal band Monolith and the Rainbow Patrol. Admission is $10.
 Down the road at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, April 19, FLIPfest presents Calgary punk band the Shiverettes, who are touring in support of their new CD “Real Shrill Bitches.” They will be joined by Mombod and Wares. Admission is by donation.

 If you want to relive the ’80s, a couple of excellent tribute acts  Live Wire: the Motley Crüe experience and and the debut of Live Wire: The Def Leppard Experience featuring Kitty Chevelle. The show begins at 9 p.m. There is a $15 cover charge.
 And Honker’s Pub is closed for  Good Friday, so they are moving their usual Friday open mic to Thursday, April 18 with host Paul Kype.
They are open again on Saturday, April 20 for one of several 4/20 parties happening around the city.
 The Trippy Hippys host the afternoon open mic and 4-20 party at Honker’s Pub.

 The Slice is going hip hop for their 4-20 party with  the DJ Restrickted’ Rated R tour 420 mash up featuring Live Hip-Hop performances by:
The Psychonauts, JPB, HayZe, Tokey & Kid Killit, xRGx & Cliche and DJ Disko, plus host  F-Bomb and headliner DJ Restrickted who spins  hip hop, trap, dubstep, future bass and more. It will be hosted by Hosted by F-Bomb. Admission is $15.
Bang your head all day long at the Smokehouse. There is a metal matinee at 2 p.m. with Vancouver bands Of Artistry and Hawking and Vancouver Island’s Tama Hills, plus Calgary’s Gutter King and Widmore.  Doors open at 2 p.m. with the metal madness beginning at 3 p.m. sharp. Admission is $10 for this all ages gig.


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L.A. Beat is Lethbridge, Alberta's only online arts and entertainment magazine.

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