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United Steelworkers of Montreal explore the roots of the scene

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Montreal is not the first city that comes to mind when you think of roots music, however United Steelworkers ofUnited Steelworkers of Montreal play the Slice, July 26. Photo by Trevor Weeks Montreal guitarist/ singer/harmonica player Gern f. disagrees.
The popular Montreal based roots band’s summer tour of folk festivals brings them to Lethbridge, July 26 at the Slice — their first visit  Lethbridge  in over a year, right after a  gig at the Calgary Folk Festival.
“It’s one of the strongest scenes we have there, it just isn’t the one that is usually exported. But there must be 30-40 organized roots bands there. It’s the backbone of all of the other scenes, but that’s not the big thing you hear about,”  he said adding, like many Montreal roots bands, the band ( including vocalist/ accordion player Felicity Hamer, Telecaster/banjo/ mandolin player Matt Watson, rhythm guitarist and mandolinist Shawn ‘Gus ’ Beauchamp’ , stand-up bassist Phil ‘Flipper’ Frumignac  and banjo/mandolin/ vocalist Dylan Perron) sprung from the seeds of one of numerous roots and old time jam sessions happening in Montreal.
“All of the bands out there are sitting on top of this old time jam and roots scene, though maybe in a couple of years Montreal will be known for their roots scene,” he said adding people like Bob Fuller have been running old time jams for 40 years.

“You can’t play anything released after the 60’s, so there is a continuous influx of kids coming up with acoustic guitars, banjos and mandolins,” he said.
“It’s the same old story whenever you have a Mecca or semi-Mecca for music, all of these folks move in from rural areas and it becomes a big melting pot of roots and traditional music. And then there’s the French side of the city,” he continued adding the United Steelworkers of Montreal came out of a long-standing Sunday jam  called the Dirty Ol Band Train Songs jam.


It’s a jungle out there for Said the Whale

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Thanks to extensive touring, Vancouver pop rock band Said the Whale have become Lethbridge favourites, though they weren’t prepared for the jungle they found themselves in the midst of last time they were here in November at Henotic where they were surrounded by a sold out house of jungle clad ravers.

“It was a night that will go down in history. I feSaid The Whale playing a jungle rave at Henotic in November. Photo 
by Richard Amerylt bad for the 15 or 20 Said the Whale fans who bought tickets to see the band and found themselves in the middle of a crazy jungle rave,” reminisced guitarist/ vocalist Tyler Bancroft, who is looking forward to being back in Lethbridge, this time at the Slice, July 27.

“ But it was out bass player Peter (Carruthers)’s birthday so we all got really drunk and forgot the whole thing,” he said.

The band isn’t above doing something unusual, they just completed the Malahat Revue — a seven show cycling tour of British Columbia with Jeremy Fisher, Hannah Georgas, Aidan Knight and We Are The City.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 20 July 2010 11:13 ) Read more...

Peace love and great music at South Country Fair

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In addition to the community of peace , love and understanding which permeates among music lovers at a Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra’s Kurt small, intimate folk festival like the South Country Fair (which ran July 16-18) in Fort Macleod, the best part of going to folk festivals, is discovering  new artists you may not have heard before.

“It has just been the best one so far,” said organizer Maureen Chambers, sitting next to the stage, listening to Indio Saravanja  adding she has enjoyed the whole thing and couldn’t choose  a favourite performer.

I arrived a little late, Saturday, July 17, but luckily things were behind schedule anyway. So I caught parts of the Heather Blush Trio on the South Stage and French cabaret accordion player Marie Josee Houle who was playing at the same time on the East Stage. Luckily the stages are close together, so I was able to hop between the two and catch as much as possible.

Jana Mackenzie dances to Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra. Photo by Richard AmeryJay Crocker put on the strangest performance of the afternoon, playing a variety of unusual instruments laden with effects.
I left the one of the most unique shows of  the fair to catch a pleasant surprise on the East Stage —  Daniel Moir. The young Edmonton based songwriter is beginning his first cross Canadian tour, but played some pleasant indie rock tinged folk music with his band and switched between a couple guitars and a banjo.

Dana Wylie was another afternoon highlight on the South Stage, beginning her set with a beautiful a cappella song sung in harmony with her band.
I also enjoyed more harmonies with Low Flying Planes, an Indigo Girls inspired Edmonton duo featuring Lynett McKell and Megan Kemshead, who wound down their set with the “first song we ever sang and performed together”— Ketchup, which had the crowd cheering.

The Beez put on a quirky and upbeat show, Saturday night. Photo by Richard AmeryThe curse of having two stages so close together is having two acts you really want to see playing at the same time. This was the case of David Essig and Rick Scott with Shelley Brown on stand up bass. They were playing an outstanding set of blues tinged folk, featuring some laid back slide guitar and some weird faces from Rick Scott who was bouncing around and mugging for the crowd while  playing an Appalachian mountain dulcimer, which looked like its nickname — the electric snowshoe.

Rick Scott even wrote a song about the history of the instrument, which he was playing in the children’s tent on Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile the sounds of local indie rock band  the Record Holder wafted across the grounds. They had the audience on their feet for the first time all afternoon. They played my favourite “Amsterdam.”
People also really liked Swedish singer/songwriter Wendy McNeil who added some awesome accordion  to start off the evening shows.

Last Updated ( Monday, 19 July 2010 12:15 ) Read more...

Two thirds of Ben Brown play Street Wheelers

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 Ben Brown  and Doug Pierzchala at the Owl. Can you spot the owl in this picture? Photo By Richard AmeryThe Owl Acoustic Lounge had a couple of excellent shows beginning on Friday, July 9, during Street Wheelers.

Two thirds of the Ben Brown Trio,  aka Salem Abraha and bassist Doug Pierzchala played a couple originals as well as several covers from  the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Neil Young.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Bridgette Yarwood sings jazz at Owl

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Bridgette Yarwood performed an outstanding set of  solo jazz music, July 10. As always she sang some gorgeous melodies and played some catchy guitar. She played several jazzy originals and a jazzy vBridgette Yarwood sings jazz at the Owl. Photo by Richard Ameryersion of an NSR/Living Luca song ‘Member of Your Club.’ She also introduced a good sized audience to a new originals.
 Collin McInnes  joined her on stage to add some impressive flamenco and classical  guitar solos as well as extra vocals.
They played a variety of music ranging from jazz standards by Gershwin to the Beatles and ended their set with Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Landslide.’
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Thursday, 15 July 2010 08:48 )
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