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Workshops heat things up as rain drenches day two of South Country Fair

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I cut Saturday at South Country Fair in the Fort Macleod  Fish and Games Park short, July 20, because of weather.Blackfoot Medicine Speaks opening South Country Fair, Saturday, July 20. Photo by Richard Amery
 Because as much as I love live music, I’m not willing to wade through mud and dodge rain to hear it, let alone take pictures in it.
Being on duty in the CKXU booth stationed in front of the south stage, I missed all of the awesome music happening on the east stage including Tara Warburton and Rancho Deluxe plus Edmonton’s Bad Buddy.

 Luckily, Bad Buddy  was part of “Abigail Lapell at the South Country Fair, July 20. Photo by Richard AmeryThere’s a Party Going on,” which was the workshop of the weekend, sharing the stage with Jack Garton and Demon Squadron, who also had an evening set on the south stage, and Revel in Dimes, who wound up Friday night.
 Jack Garton and Demon Squadron are playing the Owl Acoustic Lounge, July 26 and are not to be missed especially if you like zydeco music and accordion music.

This workshop was worth getting soaked for. While most workshops have each participant taking turns playing a song each,  for this one, each band played three songs in a row with everyone else playing along, which lead to a really special experience as the rain started pelting down.

 They played a selection of originals and jammed on a couple of blues classics. It was going so well that Revel in Dimes lead singer Kia Warren quipped “ This is now our band. We’re taking them all on the road with us.”
 Jack Garton was especially  impressive , as he came flying out of the gate with the upbeat “ Too Much Jesus, Not Enough Whiskey,” during which he simultaneously played accordion and trumpet as well as singing.
 They carried on with a massive jam on blues classic “ Shake, Rattle and Roll,” and “Hip Shake.”

 Bad Buddy, which featured solo artist Alex Vissia on bass, played a quick set of loud, profanity laced fun, including a cover of the Beatles’ “ Helter Skelter,” which they joked they wrote.
 Vissia switched from bass to guitar to sing a more ’50s doo woo wop style number.


Owl Poetry open mic celebrating first anniversary

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 If you’re a poet and you know it, then show it at the Owl Acoustic Lounge’s monthly poetry open mic.
The group celebrates their  first anniversary on the Owl stage with  poems, trees and possibly cake and Shaw TV, July 24.

Cat Charissage and Teri Petz  have enjoyed hosting the Owl Poetry Open mic for the past year. Photo by Richard Amery
 While local poets have  bared their souls and worn their hearts on their sleeves for a year at the open mic, the roots of the group lie in co-organizer Cat Charissage’s living room, two years ago.
“ Teri was always the most enthusiastic about it,” Charissage said, adding she would hold a variety of special workshops in her home.
“At first, it was just a chance for people to share their love for poetry, it wasn’t  about original work at  at all,” she continued, adding one of of the few rules for the poetry open mic is that all works must be originals and performers  must keep to five minutes to allow everyone a chance to perform.

“ Though we haven’t had to use the hook on anybody yet,” she laughed.
“She had a poetry and story circle happening,” enthused co-organizer Teri Petz.
“So when that ended, I wanted to continue and we were looking for  another location. I went to the lady at the library and she suggest I talk to Steve at the Owl and he asked over the phone if we were interested in doing a poetry open mic every month,” said Petz, noting the event turned out to be more popular than she expected.
“ For the first one, we had four or five people we knew would perform, because we didn’t know how many people would show up. Now we have at least 20 people  performing, and we always have new people,” Petz continued.

The open mics draw poets from aged 8 to 85 and everywhere in between, including published poets and people who have never been in front on a microphone before.
“We have all of these different people talking about different things from young women talking about break ups. We have an 85-year-old man talking about losing his wife who had never been in front of a microphone before. And he was followed by a young man talking about blow jobs,” Charissage chucked, emphasizing the  open mics are a safe, non judgemental space.
“There’s no sneering. Everyone is open to listening,” she stressed, adding creating a supportive environment is essential.

“And we try to get everybody to applaud a little longer if someone has never been up before,” Petz added.
“Now we have close to 100 people and most weeks a re a full house or close to a full house,” she said,  adding  they have an active presence on Facebook and posters all over the community. Shaw TV has a regular spotlight feature on the poetry open mic.


South Country Fair 2019 begins with lots of rock and roll

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It always seems that South Country Fair is plagued by  unpleasant weather on the first day. It is also Leeroy Stagger playing South Country Fair. Photo by Richard Amerya given that the attendees don't seem to mind at all.
 I was able to get to the Flor macleod Fish and Games Park, Friday, July 19, in good time due to Macbeth being canceled due to weather.
 While parking, I heard Ali Stuart belting out “Like it That Way,” her second place entry in the South Country Fair  songwriting contest.
 I was just in time for a gripping set  from Leeroy Stagger and his hot band including Ryland Moranz, keyboardist Michael Ayotte, long time bassist Tyson Maiko and drummer Kyle Harmon.

 The started off slow, with some newer songs but including  favourites like “ I Want it All,.”
 They explored their pop side more on a couple new songs like “Strange Attractor,” the single from their next CD. They also showed their love for punk music on “ Joe Strummer  and Joey Ramone.”
 I was really looking forward to Edmonton born, Salish B.C. based  blues/jazz trio Blue Moon Marquee as it has been a while since I had seen them.

Guitarist/vocalist AW Cardinal, and bassist/drummer/ singer Jasmine Collette had added a keyboardist since I last saw them,  which allowed them to further explore the worlds of jazz/ shuffle and  gritty traditional blues.
 They played a lot of new music from their brand new record “ Bare Knuckles and Brawn.”
  A highlight was a song about rats, which iAerial artists performing during Blue Moon Marquee’|s set at South Country Fair. Photo by Richard Amerysn’t on the new CD.

  They played  sweltering blues warming up a chilly and rainy night. As always,  Cardinal growled out a  gripping version of  blues classic “St. James Infirmary.” While they were playing, aerial artists performed a variety of tricks hanging from a hoop, placed next to the stage.

 Peter and the Wolves are always a lot of fun. Now they have expanded  their lineup to include three back  up singers, one of whom plays saxophone and  another playing frontman Peter Cormier’s guitar, they are able to further  explore vintage rock and roll sounds and for Cormier to focus on piano.

Cormier also played some rapid fire  guitar solos, and playing it behind his head.


Shakespeare in the Park dominates slower week due to South Country Fair

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With the two main live music venues being closed for South South Country fair and most of the music loving audience at the Fair, the pickings are pretty slim.Shakespeare in the Park performs all over Southern Alberta this week. Photo by Richard Amery
Shakespeare in the Park has the busiest week of their run of Macbeth.

 There will be a special evening of excerpts plus stories, song and lot of fun at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, Wednesday, July 17.  The witches/fates  Kayla Turnbull, Megan Fennell and Anastasia Sicieac will be performing some Kabuki style scenes, and there will be songs and music performed by Stephanie Savage, Chris Kyle Peterson, Kaylee Joynson, Chelsey Fitzsimmons, Kayla Turnbull and Keith (MacDuff) Miller playing ukulele.
 The show begins at 7:30 p.m.

 There will be regular performances of Macbeth in Galt Gardens, at 7 p.m., July 18 and 19 and the troupe hits the road to play the Coutts Arts Centre in Nanton at noon on Sunday, July  21.
 The Slice closes Wednesday for South Country Fair so there is no open mic on Thursday and the Owl Acoustic Lounge is closed July 19 and 20. The Owl Acoustic Lounge re-opens, July 22 with the Country Casanovas hosting their usual Monday open mic.

 The Slice reopens on Monday, July 23 with a special performance by Tennyson King and local singer songwriter Max Hopkins.
 For comedy, Vancouver comedian  Andrew Packer performs  two shows at Good Times, July 20 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. He is host and creator of the Jokes N Tokes Comedy show in Vancouver and  hosts the Joker Broker Podcast.
 Tickets are $10.

 Casino Lethbridge brings back country band Ryerson Road, July 19 and 20.
 And High River country musician Bruce Peterson plays a  couple of solo shows at the Water Tower Grill on Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20. Where he will be playing hits of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.


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

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