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Billie Zizi plays impressive guitar chops

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It‘s been a few years since I saw Edmonton musician Billie Zizi, probably the last time I saw her was playing a mellow set at the South Country FBillie Zizi at the Slice, April 18. Photo by Richard Ameryair in 2016. It was a pretty mellow set on acoustic guitar with her dad Cam Neufeld on fiddle.

But she picked up an electric guitar, plugged in and turned up at the Slice, Thursday, April 18 with her band, bassist Ryan Funk and drummer Jesse Miller for a good sized Wednesday night crowd.


 They played an eclectic set of mostly original music ranging from smooth jazz to alternative rock and groovy experimental music, all of it featuring a lot of solid, tasteful guitar playing from Billie Zizi and her Telecaster.


Her high pitched, wavering vocals reminded me of fellow Edmontonian Colleen Brown and Major Love. Drummer Jesse Miller adding background harmonies on a couple of songs as Funk added a few too on other tunes.


In addition to upbeat originals, she also put her own stamp on covers of “Angel From Montgomery” and The Zutons/Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie.”


 Then bassist Ryan Funk announced “Let’s get weird” before launching into a funky, bass powered  jazz rock jam before turning over the stage for The Slice’s regular Thursday night jam.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Jolene Draper and the Inquisitive Few play quite a few hits

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Jolene Draper and the Inquisitive Few returned to the Watertower Grill, Friday, April 12 in a ’50s and ’60s rock and roll mood.

Jolene Draper and the Inquisitive Few were at the Watertower Grill, April 12. Photo by Richard Amery
 They played several jazz tinged originals and  an array of covers  including rock and roll classics like “Oh Boy,” a solid version if Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock,” and ’90s rock including the Spin Doctors ’Three Princes.”


 A new original “Should Have Been” was a highlight of the second set.


 They played a disco flavoured number and wound up the set with Jefferson Airplanes’ “ White Rabbit.”
They stayed in the psychedelic  rock vein for their third set with a cover of Shocking Blue’s “Venus,” popularized in the ’80s by Bananarama.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Charlie Jacobson plays the blues as a one man band

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Red Deer based one man band and bluesman Charlie Jacobson had a decent crowd at the Slice, Friday, April 12.

Charlie Jacobson returned to the Slice, April 12. Photo by Richard Amery
 He was in the middle of a spirited version of  John Lee Hooker’s classic “Boom, Boom, Boom,” accompanying himself on a bass drum and cymbal, keeping a steady beat as he played and danced in place. He followed that up with Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Cold Shot.”


 It was one of several blues and rock and roll classics plus modern blues tunes he played including a stunning version of Albert King’s The Hunter and an outstanding version of Gary Clark Jr‘s blues groove “When My Train Pulls In.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Proud Sons excited to play sold out shows with the Tea Party

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Winnipeg alt country band Proud Sons are, well, proud to have been asked to spend  a couple months touring with ’90s alt rockers the Tea Party including playing a sold out show, May 1 at the Yates Theatre.The Proud sons play Lethbridge with the Tea Party, May 1. Photo by Francesca Ludikar


“Actually in another interview, someone asked us what our favourite show we played was and that opening for the Tea Party in Winnipeg at the Burton Cummings Theatre. So we put it on Instagram and one of the band members wrote and said hey, why don’t you tour with us and the rest is history,” said guitarist/ vocalist Ryan McConnell, noting they are also both on the same record label, Coalition Music.
 They began the tour on March 17 and wind down the first half of the tour in Lethbridge.
“Then we go back to Winnipeg for five days to get some sleep and go out again for the second half out to Vancouver and down to Los Angeles,” he said, adding the tour ends on May 17, after which the Proud Sons have a few music festivals planned.
“We’ve been playing a lot of sold out or close to sold out shows. And even though our music is a lot different than the Tea Party’s music, people really seem to like it,” he said.


 The band formed in 2012 after two different bands blended, after discovering mutual affinity for vocal harmonies.


“It’s something we sort of stumbled upon,” he said.
“We were all doing our own things. I was a singer/songwriter. Me and Jason (Stanley, guitarist vocalist were in one band and the brothers, (bassist/vocalist Jesse Meyer and Lead guitarist/vocalist Kyle Meyer) were in another. (Drummer Jay Mymryk rounds out the line up). So when we formed, we all decided to sing. We‘ve always liked the Eagles,” he said.


 One of the early  highlights of  their career was getting to record in the renown Sun Studios in Memphis in 2013, Where Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and numerous blues musicians recorded in the ’40s and ’50s.

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Lots of laughs, stoner rock, blues and new art this week

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April has just flown by. And as usual, at the end of the month, there is comedy.Papa King plays one of several blues shows happening this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery


 The Owl Acoustic Lounge hosts their monthly stand up comedy open mic, Wednesday beginning at 9 p.m. Good Times features their regular  amateur comedy night on Thursday, April 26. Good Times welcomes Bronx based, Dominican comic Vlad Caamano for a special show on April 26  beginning at 7 p.m. He has performed at just For laughs, was part of the CW Comedy Gala with  Howie Mandel and is working on a pilot for a new TV show with Undateable writer Adam Styzikiel. He has also been named on of the top 10 comics to watch by Variety magazine in 2016. He has also played roles on Brooklyn 99, Superstore and Marvel’s Runaways. Tickets are $25.
Comedy veteran Lori Ferguson performs two shows at Good Times, At 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Saturday, April 27. Tickets are $10. Good Times even has a Monday show with comedian and magician Wes Barker, performing at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 for that show.
 And Club Didi features Drunk Improv, Friday,  April 26 as well beginning at 8:30 p.m. There is $10 cover.


 The Owl Acoustic Lounge welcomes local poets with a poetry open mic on April 25 with host Teri Petz.
 Down the street at the Slice, bang your head desert rock style with the Decibel Worship tour featuring Vancouver atmospheric sludge band Heron,  fellow Vancouver desert rock band Bort, plus Lethbridge’s own Monolith and Rainbow Patrol. The music begins at 9 p.m. There is a $10 cover charge.


Stoner rock seems to be the order of the week as Vancouver islands Wise Youngblood share the stage with Red Deer’s King Bull on Friday, April 26.
 Down the street, Blazed Gringo and the Man return to the Owl Acoustic Lounge with a  touch of jazz, plus Eat your Vegetables. Admission is by donation.


 Local jazz trio HBO3 featuring Paul Holden, Brad Brouwer and James Oldenburg will be at the Watertower Grill, Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27.
 Get your dose of the blues at Casino Lethbridge with Zojo Black, Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27.


 And delta blues fans or just fans of fleet fingered guitar picking should not miss Forget, Saskatchewan based  bluesman Ken Hamm’s long awaited return to Lethbridge in support of his equally  long awaited new CD Mokoman, which he released last year. He plays a Lethbridge Folk Club show at the Lethbridge College Cave, Saturday, April 27 at 8 p.m. sharp with the Karen Romanchuk 3 opening the show. Tickets are $30.” There is a lot of blues happening this week, as competing with that, Papa King Cole and the Boogiemen return to the Slice, April 27. King will be joined by lead guitarist Steve Keenan and keyboardist T.J Waltho will be playing all the blues you can use. Down the road from that show, Galiano Island country/ blues musician Jack Garton and the Demon Squadron will be playing the Owl Acoustic Lounge. They will be joined by  The Dark Wrangler aka Don Cassell and Dil Jopp from in Cahoots.

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