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Centric Music Festival showing concerts online

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Time sure flies when you’re in quarantine. In a Covid free world, by the end of June, Lethbridge would usually be full throes in the middle of a busy festival filled summer.
Music lovers would be gearing up foCentric Music  Festival Executive and Artistic Director Ryan Kolodziejr The Rotary Dragon Boat Festival followed by Canada Day celebrations, which have also been cancelled, as well as the Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival celebrations, and Shakespeare in the Park would be finishing up rehearsals for their production of the Merry Wives of Windsor, which will be online this year.

 In the middle of all of the that, classical music lovers would be enjoying the Centric Music Festival at venues all over Lethbridge.

But this year,  three Centric Music Festival concerts are also going to be online beginning Sunday, June 21, with a live streamed concert by Toronto based pianist Younggun Kim, which takes place on the Centric Music Festival Facebook page at 2 p.m. MST.

The next concert, Livestream Concert II: Dances from the Old Country, features Montreal violinists Diane Bayard and Guillaume Villeneuve, who will be performing excerpts of 44 duos for two violins including works by B Bartok, S Prokofiev, C Gardel and traditional folk song Danny Boy.That concert will be broadcasted live, June 28 at 2 p.m. MST

 The third concert Summertime-celebrating Life and Season, features Vancouver violinist Teodora Dimova and pianist Perri Lo performing works by Mozart, Sibelius, J Massenet, G Bizet, G Gershwin and A Piazzolla. That concert will be July 5 at 2 p.m. There may be more concerts in July.

“It won’t be the same experience with the the musician feeding off of the energy of the audience in the same room. People want all of the experience,” agreed Centric Music Festival Executive and Artistic Director Ryan Kolodziej, noting Centric looking for alternate ways for musicians to get their music to the public.

 While the concerts will be live streamed, they will also feature local performers, who put their performances on video, which will be broadcast before the concerts.
 “We asked the performers to perform a 45 minute show, which gives us time to  feature local artists,” he continued.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 20 June 2020 21:25 ) Read more...

Vanden Dool releases new electronica CD inspired by Lethbridge

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When one thinks of small rural cities like Lethbridge, electronica music usually isn’t the first type of music to come to mind, usually one thinks of folk or country music.
However on July 3, Lethbridge electronica musician Tyler Vanden Dool releases his first official  EP of  ’80s pop inspired music “The View From Here,” which is about living in Lethbridge.

Tyler Vanden Dool playing the Owl Acoustic Lounge. photo by Richard Amery
“It follows my first full length album so it’s my first official EP, though I released two pandemic EPs for charity, said Vanden Dool, 25, noting his parents were more into ’80s hard rock  like Def Leppard and Bon Jovi than ’80s electro pop.

“But I heard it on the retro radio station, 94.1, and I realized that was the direction I wanted to go, noting he took to the music of Depeche Mode, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (OMD)  and the Pet Shop Boys, who he is often compared to.

 “Then I got into bands like M83 and Chvrches who are influenced by ’80s music,” he said.
“I just liked the grandness of the sound,” he said, adding he also appreciates the willingness of artists in the late ’70s and early ’80s to experiment with their music.

He wrote, produced and recorded the EP at home, beginning last summer and finishing the last song in February. He had to replace  his computer, so  the EP was delayed while he learned the new  machine.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 21 June 2020 08:58 ) Read more...

Live entertainment venues reopening for Phase 2 of Covid recovery

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It has been a long few months with no live music to enjoy. A lot of artists have been woodshedding and making new music, some have been releasing new CDs or perfoming online, but it’s just not the same watching a concert on a computer screen versus being  there in person and enjoying the vibe and the camaraderie of fellow music lovers.
I’ve felt a little adrift and without purpose not having music to cover. I forgot how much I enjoyed  it when I went to the first post Covid Honker’s open mic a few weeks ago with the Trippy Hippys.

 Knock on wood, things are cautiously re-opening as Stage 2 of Covid recovery begins on Friday, June 12.
A  few entertainment venues have  already started to reopen. The Slice restarted their Thursday open mics two weeks ago and Honker’s Pub’s open mics returned two weeks ago. They had a Saturday open mic two weeks ago and both Friday and Saturday open mics last weekend. They also opened up a patio in their parking lot.
Good Times also reopened with regular live comedy. They focussed on local comedy for the last two weeks. This week they feature Calgary comedian Malik Elassal on Saturday, June 13. He will be performing two shows at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.


Starpainter evolves from The Utilities into new country style sound and new CD

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As people change , evolve and grow up and move away, so do their bands.The Utilities have evolved into Starpainter. Photo by Richard Amery
Local indie rock band the Utilities, tweaked their line up upon the departure of long time drummer Drake McCheyne, reformed, embraced their love of alternative country and country music and rebranded as Starpainter.
Starpainter, featuring Joel Stretch - guitar, vocals, Keys; Colby Stolson - bass; Tyson Wiebe - guitar, vocals; Mick Hayward - drums, percussion and guitarist Joel Gray, just released their debut album “Bury Me With My Family.”  which they record with Jesse Northey at Moose Farm studios, north of Edmonton.

Frontman Joel Stretch answered a few questions about the album through e-mail.
“Starpainter is a sort of continuation and rebirth of The Utilities. The sound is a little different and the lineup changed. It felt like a new band so we renamed it. Drake (McCheyne) played on this record (beautifully) but that was his last hurrah with the band, so we decided we'd get a new lineup figured and put this out as the first record of a new project. Drake and I started The Utilities when we were kids so without him playing drums it felt like the end of a chapter for sure,” Stretch noted, adding this CD is more song focused.

“This record is more song-first than any of the stuff with The Utilities. The melodies, lyrics, and chord progressions got workshopped pretty hard leading up to recording. This is also a roomier record than any of The Utilities records were, too — we wanted to capture the sound of a band playing together, not just individual parts. The sound is a bit more twangy, but continues the trajectory we were on with The Utilities in many ways too,” Stretch added, noting they band members have always loved country  and folk influenced music.

“Lots of what we listen to is folk and country and that element reared its head a little more on this record. The Flying Burrito Brothers, Wilco, and Neil Young are a few favourites that get played a lot in whatever vehicle we're driving around to shows … there have been elements of twang or alt-country or whatever word you want to use from the very beginning of the band, but it’s true that this is more of a country record than stuff we did under the old name,” he continued, noting while there is no overreaching theme to the CD, he wanted the  songs to fit together.

“We wanted the songs to fit together, so we made some rules that we sometimes broke but mostly stuck to. We tried to use just guitars and organs for melody instruments for example. We were also very purposeful about keeping the songs short and the arrangements tight.” The CD has already been receiving airplay from radio stations like CKUA.

“CKUA is my favourite radio station. It means a lot to have their support. The hosts and all the behind the scenes folks at CKUA are genuine music lovers and it comes across in the programming. I want to especially thank Grant Stovel and Amy Van Keeken for including our songs in their programming — it makes a big difference for our band,” he noted.

Stretch focussed on melody when he was writing the songs.
“I was writing mostly short, melodic songs for this record. Songwriting is sort of mysterious to me. I can usually get six or seven songs out of any given process and then have to find new ways of working. I'm always having to find different doors into the same room. Some of the songs, “County Line” and “Grocery Store” and maybe a few others, started with lyrics and I worked backwards from there. Wild Azaleas started with that omnichord beat you hear on the recording. Most start with an intro or verse melody that I'll write lyrics for and build the song kind of front to back in that way,” he continued, adding the lyrics are about all kind of relationships.

“The lyrics focus on regrets and on relationships of all kinds. Switching towns and people moving away comes up lots too. The inevitability of death makes its way into a lot of these songs. My songs aren't exactly autobiographical, but I am inspired by conversations and stuff that happens to me or people I know. I listen to conversations and write about the way I'm feeling a lot of the time, but I always take whatever liberties to just make stuff up too,” he wrote, noting they chose from many different songs, but chose the ones with a similar mood and feel.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 June 2020 13:34 ) Read more...

Musicians spread message of hope and unity with fundraising song Together We’re Strong

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When the world’s in such a bad condition, music brings people together.Dustin Bird is excited about Together We’re Strong. Photo by Curtis Bird
 So Stirling, Ontario based rising country star Dustin Bird got together with Brian John Harwood of up and coming country band Kansas Stone write the uplifting song “Together We’re Strong.

 They got over a dozen of their picking and singing friends to participate in the recording. They include Kansas Stone (Barrie, ON); Alee (Edmonton, AB); The Road Hammers’  Jason McCoy & Clayton Bellamy (Barrie, ON) ; Cory Marks (North Bay, ON); Alli Walker (PEI); Ches Anthony (Saskatchewan); Danielle Bourjeaurd (ON); Dani Strong (ON); Chris Buck (BC); The Heels (BC);Jason Blaine (Pembroke, ON); Dustin Bird (Stirling, ON); Aaron Allen (London, ON); Aaron Pritchett (BC) and Chrystal Leigh (of Sons of Daughters) (BC).

The video features The Washboard Union, Gord Bamford, Beverly Mahood, Jason Benoit, Chris Labelle, Peter Walker (KX96), The Good Brothers, Tom Cochrane, Kelly Prescott, Russell Decarle (Prairie Oyster), Paul Ferguson (Cool100), Tracy Martin (CCMA), Nice Horse, Royale Lynn, Kendra Kay, Sacha, Cory Kelly (Tour Bus Ent./Complete Country), Chris Bray, Rich Cloke, Jamie Warren, Verle Mobbs (CMAOntario), Vanessa Marie, Carter Dani Doucette, Kelsi Mayne, River Town Saints, Dan Sadowski, Stephano Barberis, Missy Knott, Genevieve Fisher and the Snowbirds, who appear at the end including Jennifer Casey.

The song and video was released in honour of the Snowbirds’ Captain Jennifer Casey, who died in a tragic accident, May 17 in Kamloops. Proceeds from the single  will go towards Unison Benevolent Fund, a Canadian music industry charity whose mission is to help professional music-makers in times of hardship, illness or economic difficulties.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 07 June 2020 20:56 ) Read more...
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