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Jr. Gone Wild rock the country while Big Rude Jake gets jazzed for South Country Fair

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I usually try to do daily updates of the South Country Fair, but it was not to be  this year.Jr. Gone Wild playing the South Country Fair, July 16. Photo by Richard Amery
 So I missed a female powered night of rock and roll and blues  not to mention torrential rain and tornado warnings on Friday night as I was in Missoula enjoying my own amazing evening of female powered rock and roll and pop music courtesy of Grace Potter.

 I also missed most of Saturday as well, but arrived in time to hear my two key acts — Jr. Gone Wild and Big Rude Jake and a few surprises.
 I arrived in the middle of Jr. Gone Wild’s set of upbeat country fuelled cow-punk music and as they were in the middle of a old favourite “Poets Dream.”
 They brought back a lot of  great memories of the ’80s and early ’90s as they played an extremely catchy set of jangling roots rock which sounded like R.E.M mixed with a touch of punk. There were plenty of addictive sing-along melodies and beautiful playing.

Circus Act Insomniacs do a routine in time to Big Rude Jake’s Song For Lily Christine. Photo by Richard Amery
Frontman Mike McDonald, bassist Dove Brown and drummer Larry Shelast followed it up with a couple of newer songs  including the always  fun “ Barricades,” a Steve Loree penned song about hockey riots in Edmonton.

Another one of my favourites “I’m So Glad,”  had me singing along.
 Fortunately the rain had cleared away for the apt “ Rhythm of the Rain,” featured a sweet Steve Loree guitar solo, as he had switched from playing pedal steel guitar. They picked up the tempo for some more hot , loud more rock influenced numbers to wind down their set.

 While Big Rude Jake set up, George Fowler  played a tweener with violinist  Megan Brown, who had just returned home from overseas just in time for the fair.

 Big Rude Jake was  impressive.

 He began his set by confessing he couldn’t remember playing the fair  20 years ago and laughed “ I’ve written a few new songs since them, so here’s one of them.”Megan Brown and George Fowler play a tweener. Photo by Richard Amery
 He got the enthusiastic crowd excited and moving  with the swampy New Orleans groove of “ Mississippi Rising.” before moving more into a up jazz vibe, which got the crowd jump, jiving and wailing.

 There were surprisingly a lot of children still out and about by the 11 p.m. start time of Big Rude Jake and his killer  Alberta band including the wicked horn section of saxophonist Dave Babcock and trombonist Audrey Ochoa whose gut busting horns spoke to the soul.

Pianist Graham Guest’s fingers flew over the keys of his keyboard through several hot solos, which drew applause from the audience. And rhythm section drummer Jon May and  upright bassist Cody Hutchinson were locked in.

 Big Rude Jake was full of jokes and joy, playing a variety of jazz, jump and blues music, a slower jazzy tune about a 68 Cadillac, some delightfully risqué songs like “ the Jelly Song,” which had the crowd howling and “ A Saint She Ain’t.”

 Along the side of the stage, as the new BFL light shot multiNomadic Missive blending a variety of styles with hip hop. Photo by Richard Ameryple rays of light across the cloudy sky underlying the almost full moon, the audience was somewhat distracted by the antics of the Circus Act Insomniacs, who were performing a display of light juggling and then gorgeous rope acrobatics.

“ What’s going on over there, all of the sudden everyone’s head turned. Is someone naked over there,” asked Jake, which inspired him to lead the band through a sultry burlesque number “Song For Lily Christine,” which in turn inspired the acrobat to perform another routine with a big smile on her face.

 He ended the set  “ the same way we began it” — with a taste of New Orleans. It was so well received they were called back for an encore, which they were happy to do and played an old Cab Calloway song “Reefer Man” which was no coincidence as the smell of skunk weed wafted through the night.

“ I like to play songs about reefer to remind hippies that they didn’t invent smoking reefer, that guys dressed like me were smoking reefer before your parents were pretending they didn’t know what it was,” he laughed and made way for Montreal hip hop collective Nomadic Missive.Big Rude Jake entertains the crowd. Photo by Richard Amery

 George Fowler and Megan Brown lead the  audience through a sing-along of the Proclaimers’ ’80s hit “500 Miles” while the band set up.

He noted Nomadic Missive speak seven languages and listed them all off, noted he and Brown only spoke two, but thought it fitting to play a bilingual Daniel Lanois song.
 I couldn’t stay for all of Nomadic Missive’s set but they blended a variety of linguistic and stylistic influences, encompassing, Latin, French, English, Jazz, Creole, R and B and a  lot of hip hop. The band members included a full horn section.

 The last day of the thirtieth annual South Country Fair begins bright and early at 11 a.m. on the South stage with Blackfoot Medicine Speaks and a workshop including  Nomadic missive and Ryan McNally.
 Fantastic folk trio the Fates follow at 1:30 p.m., poet Blaine Greenwood and another  great workshop at 3 p.m. with mayor Washboard Hank, Ryland Moranz and Amelia Curran. Australian folk rock duo The Imprints close off the stage at 4 p.m.

 The East stage has a short and sweet lineup beginning with  the Big Grass jam at noon, quirky country/roots duo Boots and The Hoots at 1:05, a workshop at 2:10 with Scott Cook, Robt Sarazin Blake and Carter Felker. Billie Zizi closes off the east stage at 3:40 p.m. with a set of gypsy/jazz and swing music.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

South Stage Lineup
Jr. Gone Wild’s Dove Brown. Photo by Richard Amery

Sunday, July 17:
MC – Alison Brock/Leaf Rapids
11 a.m.: Blackfoot Medicine Speaks
12:15 p.m.: Workshop: Nomadic Massive, Ryan McNally, and TBD
1:30 p.m.: The Fates (folk)
2:45 p.m.: Poet – TBA
3 p.m.: Workshop: Mayor Washboard Hank, Ryland Moranz, Amelia Curran
4:15p.m.: The Imprints (folk rock)

East Stage Lineup

Noon: Big Grass Jam
1:05 p.m.: Boots & the Hoots (country) http://BOOTSANDTHEHOOTS.COM
2:10 p.m.: Workshop: Scott Cook, Robt Sarazin Blake, Carter Felker
3:40 p.m.: Billie Zizi (gypsy jazz/swing)

Last Updated ( Sunday, 17 July 2016 22:46 )  
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