The Lethbridge Folk club featured a fantastic non-traditional bluegrass Edmonton based band the Misery Mountain Boys, March 4 in the Lethbridge College Cave.
The band, including members who live in Edmonton, Saskatchewan and northern Alberta. played a tight an upbeat set which was more jazz than traditional bluegrass, mostly due to Sam Toms’ clarinet standing out among Lindsay Bueckert’s upright bass, mandolinist Dom Golec, percussionist/drummer Eric Redekopp and frontman’s Steven Gevenich’s guitar.
So while they had one foot firmly planted in the roots of roots and bluegrass music, the unique instrumentation gave them a unique sound which transcended jazz, gypsy music , country and a touch of traditional blues.
Some excellent playing was enhanced by multi-part vocal harmonies.
A song about playing “old Whyte Avenue” was a highlight. They even included a jam on the Star Wars Cantina theme, enhanced by the clarinet. Gevenich’s tenor voice was immediately appealing throughout songs and stories for example about how the band is named after a peace River Ski hill.
And Bueckert provided groovy basslines and harmony vocals.
Everybody got to solo throughout as they embraced each other’s musical talents.
A bluesy highlight was song about a the local corn mill breaking down, so the locals couldn’t make their corn bread.the band got a crowd of approximately 70 to sing “ the mill done broke down” for that song.
A peppy instrumental “Tipsy Gypsy” was a crowd favourite which allowed an effortless trading of clarinet and mandolin licks. That segued into another jazzy instrumental featuring multiple time changes and explored jazz, reggae and country all in the same tune.
They wound down their show with an upbeat jazz song “Everybody Wants to Be A Cat.”
They thanked Folk Club president Morris Soenen for asking the band to play Lethbridge after seeing them playing the Shady Grove Music Festival, where they made an impression with their different sound.
They were called back for an encore of a classic jazz song “ It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Don’t Got that Swing.”