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Lots of laughs to open February as January ends on a rocking note

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February opens with a lot of laughs as January ends on a rock and roll note. One Bad Son rock out January, Jan 20 at Average Joes. Tickets for the make up show for their cancelled December show, cost $25.One Bad Son return to Average Joes this week. Photo by Richard Amery
 It’s a busy Thursday because Makiisma host the open mic at the Slice as well. And the Sean Burns duo with Skinny Dyck wind up a busy week of Southern Alberta shows at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. Admission is by donation. Aaron Landry hosts Honker‘s Pub’s Friday night open mic while The Trippy Hippys host a special Saturday open mic at Honker’s Pub on Feb. 1.
Just out of town, The Geomatic Attic presents blues/rock duo Whitehorse at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod, Jan. 29.
Ryland Moranz opens the show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $49.50 on the main floor and $39.50 in the balcony. Later on, the Geomatic Attic features Levon Helm’s daughter Amy Helm at the Attic, Feb. 4. As usual the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40 members, $45 non-members.

There is something for everyone on the weekend.
 American Gommorrah: Hotel, the improvised soap opera returns to Didi’s Playhaus, Feb. 1.

 Friday features the Herb Hicks Quartet with Sheena Lawson  playing jazz music at the Mocha Cabana.
 The University of Lethbridge Opera Society and Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra’s annual collaboration is Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 as they present two evenings of comic operettas in Gilbert and Sullivan’s the Gondoliers at Southminster United Church. Tickets range from $25-$75. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

If your sense of humour is to more modern tastes, the Snowed In Comedy Tour returns to the Yates Theatre, Jan. 31 with Debra DiGiovanni, Pete Zedlacher, Dan Quinn and Paul Myrehaug performing beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are $28 for students, $38 for seniors and $48 for adults. Jim Gaffigan will be making you laugh  as he brings his The Pale Tourist tour to the Enmax Centre, Feb. 1. Tickets range from $61.50-$97.50 for the show which begins at 8 p.m.

Old School are playing your favourite ’80s hits at Casino Lethbridge, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. The Casino is hosting a Superbowl party on Sunday, Feb. 2. If you aren’t a football fan, casa features Play your ukulele in public day, from 2-3 p.m.,Feb. 2. Reid and Writes play the Bavura Brunch at the old firehall beginning at 10:30 a.m.


U of L Opera Workshop and Lethbridge Symphony present the Gondoliers this week

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The University of Lethbridge Opera Workshop and Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra plus special guests Vox Musical collaborate for this year’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera the Gondoliers.
The show runs Jan 31 and Feb. 1 at Southminster United Church.

Kevin Schuwer (Luiz) and Alexandra Morgan (Cassilda) rehearse for the Gondoliers. Photo By Richard Amery
“ It’s one of their funniest,” enthused assistant director Megan Wittig, who was part of  their first full scale collaboration of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” in 2012, has been on stage with them before and backstage for several other productions.

“ It’s a full show with costumes and a big set,” Wittig enthused.

“ There’s eight leads in this production where there’s usually only four. But we have so many talented singers, so we’re happy to do this production this year,” Wittig said, noting there is a cast of close to 30 performers, most of whom are veterans of the annual collaborations.

“ And there’s a smaller orchestra, because Gilbert and Sullivan always wrote for a smaller orchestra,” she continued.


Small Glories having big success in United States

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Winnipeg based the Small Glories make their Lethbridge debut at the Lethbridge College Cave for the Lethbridge Folk Club.Small Glories make their Lethbridge debut, Feb. 9. Photo by Arron Ives
 They come hot on the heals of winning artist of the year at the International Folk Awards and getting four Canadian Folk Association Awards.
“ Winning the artist of the year at the  International Folk Awards was a real coup for us because you can’t apply for that like you do for the Juno Awards or Canadian Folk Alliance. And there were only two Canadians nominated for the whole thing — Dave Gunning and he’s amazing,” enthused Cara Luft, one half of the Small Glories, who is no stranger to winning accolades in the business as she won two Juno Awards with the Wailin’ Jennys.

 After leaving the Wailin’ Jennys, she recorded a solo album with 54 40’s Neil Osborne, then recorded the Small Glories’ debut with them as well as the current album’ “Assiniboine and the Red,” which celebrates the Canadian prairies. The Small Glories also have released two EPs.

 She enjoys working with Neil Osborne.
“Even though he’s a rock and roller, he has the heart of a folk musician,” Luft enthused.
“ He really embraces the importance of the song. He doesn’t try to turn you into someone you’re not. He’s all about getting the best performance out of you that you can and for us, after the song, performance comes second,” continued Luft, who along with multi-instrumentalist J.D Edwards, make up the Small Glories.

 There is a lot of banjo and fiddle on the CD. Luft plays the banjo, which is a relatively new instrument for her.
“ I’m a banjo player now. I’ve only been playing banjo for nine years. And my dad is a great banjo player, so I’m surprised it took me this long to get into it,” she said.
“I played guitar and some mandolin in the Jennys and when you’ve been playing the same instrument for a long time, you get into a bit of a dry spell creatively. So I picked up the banjo during one of these dry spells,” she said.
“But JD and I play some dual guitar which is a lot of fun. And we sing together,” she said.

 Trent Freeman from the band the Fretless adds extra fiddle to a couple tracks as well as members of Irish band Socks in the Frying Pan are also on the album.
“We met them at a festival in Denmark , and we had a song that just had to have Irish fiddle playing on it, so we asked them to be on the album and they said yes,” she enthused adding it will just be Luft  and Edwards  performing for the Folk Club.
“ That’s our configuration. And we make a lot of noise for two people,” she said.

“I still believe an album and a live show should be two different experiences. Though we do have stripped down music if people want to have something that reflects the live show,” she said, adding it doesn’t make sense financially to bring a big band on the road.


Eamon McGrath excited to tour with new music

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Toronto musician Eamon McGrath returns to Lethbridge in the dead of winter, Jan. 31 when he plays the Owl Acoustic Lounge with local band Starpainter, aka a rebranded Utilities.Eamon McGrath returns to Lethbridge, Jan. 31. Photo submitted
“Winter is a good time to tour because people really appreciate live music,” said McGrath, who had a busy year last year, releasing a book and two albums including his most recent CD “Guts,” which came out in September.

 “I thought the last album cycle would be two and a half years, but grant money came in so I recorded another album,” said the Edmonton born musician, taking a brief break at home in Toronto, where he has been living for the past 10 years.

 He released “Tantramar” in June 2018 and less than a year later, released “Guts” in May, which continues to explore alt country music.
He is touring with his long time band pedal steel guitarist Darrek Sanderson, drummer Connor Ellinger and bassist Tavo de Bonilla. Half of the band live in Edmonton, which he noted isn’t a problem as they spend most of the year touring.

“Tavo also plays with Jenn Grant,” he observed.
“We play a lot on the road and that is how we grow to make it better,” he continued.

“We’ve probably played 600 shows since Tantramar was released. It’s really been non-stop. It’s been relentless,” he continued, adding musicians have to tour a lot if they want to make a living making music.


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