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South Country Fair 2014 gets off to a rocking start

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The South Country Fair community came out in force for the first night of the long standing beloved  Fort Macleod  folk festival, July 18 at the Fort Macleod Fish and Game Park.
The South Country Fair is a place for new friends to meet and old friends to reconnect.Little Miss Higgins gets the crowd to sing along with Bargain Shop Panties. Photo by Richard Amery

 The lovely and talented bassist Terri Upton (of Beekeeper, the Gruff and numerous other acts)  is playing with David Newberry this weekend. I got to visit with  Cowpuncher bassist Shari Rae who is just hanging out and got to see some people I haven’t seen in years.

 I don’t usually make it to the Fair on the first night due to other commitments and often stormy weather, but as soon as I was done performing in Shakespeare in the Park's production of A Twelfth Night, I rushed west just in time to catch one of my favourite acts — Little Miss Higgins backed by the Winnipeg Five aka The F-Holes.

 They had a thousand some people dancing in front of the stage to toe tapping jazz tinged folk music, mostly from their most recent Juno nominated CD “The Bison Ranch Recording Sessions.”

Cousin harley's paul Pigat. Photo by Richard Amery
 Little Miss Higgins aka Jolene Higgins a was at her best, crooning her original folk in the sultry/ sassy way she does.

“Dead Cow Hill” was an early highlight as was the catchy “ Chateau Poulet.”

Upright bassist Patrick  Alexandre sang harmonies and grooved while Jimmie James McKee exchanged his trumpet for a euphonium to add a little extra oom pah pah. She sang a sultry Memphis Minnie cover as the sun set and the brand new BFL switched on, shining green rays of  light across the ecstatic audience.

 That was just in time for the band to play a crowd favourite and request “Bargain Shop Panties” which she had most of the audience sing along with.The F-Holes Jimmie James McKee. Photo by Richard Amery

 After a quick changeover,  Russian/ Mongolian world jazz act Namgar group took the stage. The skies opened up upon them at their last South Country Fair appearance approximately five years ago, but it was clear sailing  on this clear albeit smoky night. 

Some of the audience members remembered them from that performance.

It was a whole new experience for those of us who  either missed the  performance or didn’t bother sticking it out in the rain last time.
 They were unusual.

 The lead singer strummed an exotic Mongolian harp and sang in an ethereal, spooky voice while making incredibly unique vocalizations. There were elements of jazz and modern dance music and a computer provided extra exotic sounds. I heard something that sounded like a  didgeridoo.

The four piece band played several different traditional instruments as well as drums, bass and guitar.  In heavily accented English, the guitarist looked at a computer and read out a description and explanation of some of their songs. There were songs about weddings and other cultural events. You could really see the impact of the new BFL. Namgar sharing a taste of Mongolian and Siberian culture. Photo by Richard Amery

 The main act I wanted to see was rockabilly trio Cousin Harley. As always, they did not disappoint. If the Fair had a roof, Cousin Harley would have torn the roof off of it. You can’t be unhappy at a rockabilly show even when your camera dies, like mine did.

 This was rock and roll music and as always Paul Pigat shredded on his Telecaster and made me want to go home and practice my guitar.
 There was plenty of twang and a toe tapping  groove.

An older song “Jukin’” turned into an incredible jam including a few bars of classic rock hits like “Smoke on the Water.”

 Cousin Harley was called back for an encore, like the previous two bands.

 Cousin Harley ended with a  singalong on the Johnny Cash classic “Ring of Fire.”Cousin Harley. photo by Richard Amery

 Long, lean upright bassist Keith Picot was in the moment as he writhed and dance and  made  crazy faces  and never letting up on the groove.

 DrummerJesse Cahill held it all together with his unstoppable beat.

 This is going to be a busy day.
 Some of the highlights for me will be  Declan O ’Donovan at 3:30 p.m. and I don[t want to miss Geoff Berner and Kris Demeanor's 6:30 set. And this afternoon there are a lot of great acts  including Ryan McNally, Blackberry Woods and  the Whiskey Sheikhs who I am excited to see.
 This evening features a lot of rock and roll and a touch of jazz with  Mamselle Ruiz, the Young Benjamins , Good Co. and organ powered rockers Bend Sinister ending the show at midnight.

South Stage

Noon Dance Workshop

1 p.m. Workshop Little Miss Higgins, Steve Brockley, Ryan McNally

2:10 p.m. Maria Dunn (folk)

3:10 p.m. poet: Andre Prefontaine

3:30 p.m. Declan O’Donovan (blues)

4:30 p.m. volunteer photo

5 p.m. : Workshop Aroara, Stephanie Niles, Blackberry Wood 

 6:15 p.m.: Geoff Berner and Kris Demeanor (folk/ rock/ klezmer)

7:20 p.m. Mamselle Ruiz (Jazz/folk/ Latin)

8:30 p.m.  Aroara (wold/fusion)

9:45 p.m.  Songwriting contest winner Curtis Glas
Fans dress up for South Country Fair. Photo by Richard Amery

10 p.m. Young Benjamins (indie rock/folk)

11:15 p.m. Good Co. (jazz/electronica)

12:30 a.m. : Bend Sinister (rock/pop)


East Stage

Noon— Tin and the Toad

1:05 p.m. Jennie Thai (jazz/ pop)

2:10 p.m.: Ryan McNally (blues/ folk)

3:15 p.m.: Adam and Chelsea  from High Society) (rock/ jazz/ folk)
4:30 p.m. Blackberry Wood
5:25 p.m. Whiskey Sheikhs


 Lotos land

6 p.m. PT for Young Audiences

10:30 Heliosols ( CineImagine's H Short)

12:30 a.m. CSIF film projection 
Saturday Night jammers:  "The" Tod Robinson will be rocking out the Jam Stage with Chris "Hendo the Barber" Henderson on Saturday night. These heavyweights of the Lethbridge scene boast impressive pedigrees: Jil, The Vespas, John Gleu 3 and Guerrista to name but a few. Tod and Chris will keep you up all night with stompin' grooves and funky chords. Then after the sun comes back up, party in Tod's van! (Actually don't do that, Tod is a pilot. Pilots need rest.)

Last Updated ( Saturday, 19 July 2014 14:28 )  
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