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54 40 show a different side of themselves by going acoustic

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If you grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, chances are Vancouver rock band 54 40 provided the soundtrack to some of your life with a passel of hits including ‘Baby Ran,’ ‘One Gun,’ ‘Ocean Pearl,’  ‘She La’ and ‘I Go Blind.’54 40 play an acoustic show in Lethbridge, Feb. 2. Photo submitted

 The scrappy rockers might seem, on first listen, to be an unlikely candidate for an acoustic album, but they seized to opportunity to revamp some of their biggest hits and a few obscurities while recording at Blue Frog Studios in White Rock, B.C.. The result — “La Difference: A History unplugged” which you can see for yourself when they come to the Southminster United Church for the Geomatic Attic,Feb. 2.

“When business is slow, they bring in an audience,” said frontman Neil Osborne of Blue Frog studios. Knowing they were going to be recording  there, the band decided to re-imagine their biggest hits with extra instrumentation, which showcased the talents of multi-instrumentalist David Genn who plays piano plus guitar and mandolin on the tracks plus  special guests like Daniel Lapp who adds fiddle, octave fiddle, mandolin, trumpet, Flumpet flute, Tuba, peck horn, guitar and phono fiddle to the tracks.
“ Dave can pretty much play anything,” Osborn said.

“ Daniel can’t come on tour with us. He’s the artistic director of Victoria  Conservatory of Music and can’t get away from that,” Osborne said, adding  the core of the band including Genn, drummer/percussionist Matt Johnson and bassist Brad Merritt will be playing an intimate evening of hits and some brand new songs  the band has been working on for a full electric CD to be released later this year.

“ We had 50 to 100 songs to look at, but we focussed on our biggest hits, some more obscure ones and a couple  of songs that were already acoustic songs that all seemed to work together,” he said, adding the band is pleased with how well the CD turned out.


“It’s a nice departure for us. It’s nice to be able to play some of our deeper tracks that people want to hear. We’re starting to get  festival gigs and  theatre gigs, so this shows another side of what we can do,” he said.

This tour includes a lot of theatres, but Lethbridge is the only stop where they’re playing a church.
“They’re a little more intimate. We want to get people dancing it up. We’re going to be playing two sets. We’ll be playing the album, a few covers and a couple of new songs,” he said.

“We’ve only done a few quote unquote official  gigs, but we played a couple in June and it was fun,” he said adding they are working on new material as always in addition to  their other musical endeavours.
“ I’ve been producing albums. The latest is Small Glories which features Cara Luft and JD Edwards. They’re were touring Scotland,” Osborne said, adding he is looking forward to releasing the new 54 40 album.
“It will be called Future History, because this one is History,” he said.
54 40 unplugged play the Southminster united Church at 8 p.m., Feb. 2. Tickets are $42.50.

—  By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Friday, 29 January 2016 17:59 )  
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