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L.A. Beat

Highway 3 Roots revue begins in Lethbridge with new music

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The umpteenth Highway 3 Roots Revue show, featuring Leeroy Stagger, Dave McCann and John Wort Hannam, was exactly what you’d expect, Dec. 12 at the Slice. There was plenty of  solid heartfelt songwriting from three of Southern Alberta’s ’s best  songwriters. The Highway 3 Roots Revue returned to Lethbridge, Dec. 12. Photo by Richard Amery

 They didn’t have as many people as usual for the abbreviated tour’s kick off in Lethbridge.

The show, which is usually sold out and usually starts at 8 p.m. sharp, was delayed as more people trickled in.

Each songwriter took turns playing some of their favourite songs as well as new songs and added extra guitar and vocal harmonies and the occasional harmonica solo to each other‘s songs when it was needed.

Leeroy Stagger began with one of my favourites —‘Stormy,’ about an old biker. Dave McCann was next with a song I didn’t recognize then John Wort Hannam followed it up with ‘Church of the Long Grass,’ another crowd favourite.

 They took turns playing in that order. McCann played “a folk song for people who like AC DC” and played ‘Standing In the River, ’ one of his older songs.

Dave McCann gets into a song. Photo by Richard Amery Hannam followed that with one of many pretty ballads with ‘Love Lives On.’ Another of his highlights was a new song ‘20 Hours’ which he prefaced with a story abut going up north to write with Inuit children.
 Leeroy Stagger quoted songwriter Tom Womack about every songwriter is about a millimetre away from being  found out as a fraud, and followed that up with sad, minor key number autobiographical song called ‘10 Long Years,’ about his career in the  music business.

 None of them were to be found out as a fraud  though.
 McCann delved way back into his back catalogue for one of the first songs he ever wrote and told a story about moving to Alberta from Peterborough 22 years ago and busking on Calgary streets and playing for residents of a homeless shelter.

John Wort Hannam ended the first set by leaving everybody though an old country song ‘Goodbye Rosalie.
The second set began with Leeroy Stagger thanking sound man Jon Martin and congratulating John Wort Hannam sings a crowd favourite. Photo by Richard Ameryhim on graduating with a music degree. John Wort Hannam began that set with another new song, while Dave McCann followed it up with ‘Unfamiliar Ground.’

It was time for audience requests after that as  Stagger played ‘Dirty Windshields,’ a highlight off his CD ‘Radiant Land.’
 John Wort Hannam told a story about a girl he met and fell in love with at Mount Royal  College only to discover she was just graduating from high school and a sang ‘Molly May.’

 McCann decided to play a new song after that and played a catchy number called ‘Wooden  Wings,’ which had Stagger singing along.
Leeroy Stagger adds a harp solo to a song. Photo by Ricahrd Amery Stagger decided to go full on country and did his best Marty Robbins impression with ‘Maria.’

 Stagger also played a really touching newer song ‘Brothers’  for a friend he grew up with and did everything with.
McCann played one of his newer songs ‘Can’t Cheat The Mountain,’ about the Crowsnest Pass, which is my new favourite.
He talked about his father in law's cabin in the Crowsnest  Pass where McCann goes to get songwriting one while his kids watch TV.

Leeroy Stagger wound things down by singing ‘Radiant Land,’ the title track off his latest CD and got John Wort Hannam to sing a verse as it is also on his new CD.

 Stagger also went way back to his early career with the last song, which he wrote in a theatre in Victoria while Jim Carrey’s  ‘Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind ’ was playing, and got everyone to sing along with ‘Beautiful Houses.’
They ended with an encore of Robert Earle Keen’s ‘Merry Christmas from the Family’ as per usual.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 December 2013 16:32 )  
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