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Dark Wrangler band and Danica Sommer play country tinged rock

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There are always new talented local musicians performing in Lethbridge.
 Danica Sommer  performs with several different bands, but played a quick solo set at the Owl Acoustic lounge, opening for the Dark Wrangler Band, Friday, Jan. 24.


 She sDon Cassell of The Dark Wrangler Band at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Jan 24. Photo by Richard Ameryat seated in front of a microphone and mic stand, belting out a variety of covers  including some Amy Winehouse and Shovels and Rope. She has a big, beautiful, folk singer voice along the lines of Joan Baez or Joni Mitchell and a charismatic  and captivating stage demeanour.
She had the audience clapping along to one song, which she started off a capella.


 And ended her set with a rousing version of  Counting Crows’ ’90s chestnut “Mr. Jones.”

Danica Sommer at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Jan 24. Photo by Richard Amery
 she returned to the stage to add background vocals for Don Cassell’s new project  the Dark Wrangler band featuring  Dil Jopp on bass, Megan Brown on fiddle and vocals and lead guitarist Mel, who Cassell chuckled he had been playing with longer than most of the audience were alive.


 As usual he  had a ragged , raspy voice similar to John Fogerty, to the set had a strong CCR feel.
 He belted through a strong set of original material, then stood up to blow some hot harp while his lead guitarist sang lead on a song.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Sunday, 26 January 2020 17:24 )
 

Plenty of country for February

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There is a whole lot of country music coming up in the beginning of February.
 To start things off, local country/ folk musician Chris Drew hosts the Slice’s open mic, Thursday, Feb. 6. And for Canadian country music, it doesn’t get much better than Ian Tyson, so some of his former band mates, collaborators and biggest fans present the“ The Gift; A tribute to Ian Tyson at the Empress Theatre in  Fort Macleod, Thursday, Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m.


Performers include Trevor Panczak plays the Lethbridge Symphony Love Notes Fundraiser, Feb. 8. Photo by Richard Amerymembers of Tyson’s former band, led by Stewart MacDougall, an Edmonton singer-songwriter who has written, toured and recorded with Tyson, along with Thom Moon (percussion), Myran Szott (fiddle, vocals) and Gord Matthews (guitar, vocals) will be joined by Julian Kerr (bass, vocals), Ian Oscar (acoustic guitar, vocals), Tracy Millar (guitar, vocals) and John Wort Hannam (guitar, vocals).
 Tickets are $40.


 There is a lot of country music on Feb. 7 with Makiisma returning to the Slice,  The Cody Hall band and High River singer songwriter Craig Carswell coming to the Owl Acoustic Lounge and the Karen Romanchuk band revisiting Casino Lethbridge for the weekend.

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Last Updated ( Monday, 03 February 2020 10:28 ) Read more...
 

Dungarees get more serious on new CD

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Edmonton country band the Dungarees bring their new EP Twenty -Something to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Feb. 14.The Dungarees play the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Feb. 14. Photo submitted

Anybody who has elderly parents or grand parents will identify with their latest single “ Don’t Make Em Like They Used To,” the second single off the EP, which was released six months ago on Road Angel Records with Warner and Sony distributing it, though it was just released digitally on Jan. 18.


“I think a lot of people  identify with that song,” said bassist / vocalist James Murdoch, who is joined by guitarist/vocalist Robb Angus, guitarist/vocalist Kiron Jhass, steel player Darrek Anderson and drummer Ben Shillabeer.
 “The three of us in the band all had different ideas about the song. We started thinking about things like a sweater or guitar that are like an anchor in our lives. It could be a car, a guitar or an old sweater or a person. For me , I was thinking about my grandfather who passed away a year ago, who always said ‘do it right the first time and it will last a lifetime. Which means don’t start changing yourself. Have pride in yourself and your work,” Murdoch continued, adding this Cd is a little more  serious than their previous work.


“ We’ve been playing for 10 years. And it was all about having a good time. We wanted to write about more serious things,” he said.
 The band has done things right the first time They had a top 50 single in Canada in 2014 with “I Ain’t Through Being Happy yet,” and followed it up with “ “I’m Down,” which broke the Top 40.
 In 2017, they had another hit with ‘Anywhere With You,” which earned them three ACMA awards for Group of the Year, Video of the Year and the Rising Star Award.

This  year, they are nominated for six Alberta Country Music Association awards and played the ceremonies in Red Deer, Jan 24 and 25.
“ We’ve been nominated for best album of the year, best single of the year for ‘Twenty-Something, group of the year and community spirit award which is really special, because  we played the 24 hour gig challenge, where we played for 24 hours to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society,” he said adding he has also been nominated for ‘Just Drive,’ a song he co-wrote with Justin Hogg,  plus video of the year for ‘Twenty Something.’ They release the video  for “ Don’t Make Em Like They Used to” on Feb. 4.

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Last Updated ( Friday, 14 February 2020 08:21 ) Read more...
 

Small Glories having big success in United States

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Winnipeg based the Small Glories make their Lethbridge debut at the Lethbridge College Cave for the Lethbridge Folk Club.Small Glories make their Lethbridge debut, Feb. 9. Photo by Arron Ives
 They come hot on the heals of winning artist of the year at the International Folk Awards and getting four Canadian Folk Association Awards.
“ Winning the artist of the year at the  International Folk Awards was a real coup for us because you can’t apply for that like you do for the Juno Awards or Canadian Folk Alliance. And there were only two Canadians nominated for the whole thing — Dave Gunning and he’s amazing,” enthused Cara Luft, one half of the Small Glories, who is no stranger to winning accolades in the business as she won two Juno Awards with the Wailin’ Jennys.


 After leaving the Wailin’ Jennys, she recorded a solo album with 54 40’s Neil Osborne, then recorded the Small Glories’ debut with them as well as the current album’ “Assiniboine and the Red,” which celebrates the Canadian prairies. The Small Glories also have released two EPs.


 She enjoys working with Neil Osborne.
“Even though he’s a rock and roller, he has the heart of a folk musician,” Luft enthused.
“ He really embraces the importance of the song. He doesn’t try to turn you into someone you’re not. He’s all about getting the best performance out of you that you can and for us, after the song, performance comes second,” continued Luft, who along with multi-instrumentalist J.D Edwards, make up the Small Glories.


 There is a lot of banjo and fiddle on the CD. Luft plays the banjo, which is a relatively new instrument for her.
“ I’m a banjo player now. I’ve only been playing banjo for nine years. And my dad is a great banjo player, so I’m surprised it took me this long to get into it,” she said.
“I played guitar and some mandolin in the Jennys and when you’ve been playing the same instrument for a long time, you get into a bit of a dry spell creatively. So I picked up the banjo during one of these dry spells,” she said.
“But JD and I play some dual guitar which is a lot of fun. And we sing together,” she said.


 Trent Freeman from the band the Fretless adds extra fiddle to a couple tracks as well as members of Irish band Socks in the Frying Pan are also on the album.
“We met them at a festival in Denmark , and we had a song that just had to have Irish fiddle playing on it, so we asked them to be on the album and they said yes,” she enthused adding it will just be Luft  and Edwards  performing for the Folk Club.
“ That’s our configuration. And we make a lot of noise for two people,” she said.


“I still believe an album and a live show should be two different experiences. Though we do have stripped down music if people want to have something that reflects the live show,” she said, adding it doesn’t make sense financially to bring a big band on the road.

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 25 January 2020 14:06 ) Read more...
 

Eamon McGrath excited to tour with new music

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Toronto musician Eamon McGrath returns to Lethbridge in the dead of winter, Jan. 31 when he plays the Owl Acoustic Lounge with local band Starpainter, aka a rebranded Utilities.Eamon McGrath returns to Lethbridge, Jan. 31. Photo submitted
“Winter is a good time to tour because people really appreciate live music,” said McGrath, who had a busy year last year, releasing a book and two albums including his most recent CD “Guts,” which came out in September.


 “I thought the last album cycle would be two and a half years, but grant money came in so I recorded another album,” said the Edmonton born musician, taking a brief break at home in Toronto, where he has been living for the past 10 years.


 He released “Tantramar” in June 2018 and less than a year later, released “Guts” in May, which continues to explore alt country music.
He is touring with his long time band pedal steel guitarist Darrek Sanderson, drummer Connor Ellinger and bassist Tavo de Bonilla. Half of the band live in Edmonton, which he noted isn’t a problem as they spend most of the year touring.


“Tavo also plays with Jenn Grant,” he observed.
“We play a lot on the road and that is how we grow to make it better,” he continued.


“We’ve probably played 600 shows since Tantramar was released. It’s really been non-stop. It’s been relentless,” he continued, adding musicians have to tour a lot if they want to make a living making music.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 January 2020 16:52 ) Read more...
 
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