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Sean Ashby plays fantastic show for few people

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I was expecting a better crowd for an outstanding by Toronto based musician Sean Ashby at the Mocha Cabana, Thursday, Aug. 12.

After all, he’s an established Canadian talent who spent  12 years touring with Sarah Sean Ashby and his band at the Mocha Cabana. Photo by Richard AmeryMcLachlan,  a couple years with Ginger (featuring former members of the Grapes of Wrath), the Wild Strawberries and even toured with industrial acts Delerium, featuring members of Skinny Puppy, and he has had songs placed in movies and television, fronted his own indie rock band Jack Tripper. In addition, he has just released his fine sophomore CD “24 Hours of Daylight.”

“I’m not used to playing coffee houses. I’m running out of mellow stuff to play,” Ashby told the handful of people braving the pouring rain, after finishing a tender version of Steve Earle‘s My Old Friend The Blues.” The song featured Ashby  playing lap steel guitar as well as acoustic guitar. He also threw in a Dwight Yoakam cover and then donned a beautiful green Gretsch for a subdued but incendiary version of surf classic Mirsirlou which included a few bars of the James Bond theme. The band sang some superb background vocals as well.

 “I’m not used to playing this quietly,” he joked to the audience before alternating through six different guitars including a beautiful Weissenborn, on which he played some sick blues slide before playing several tracks off his new CD including “Leone Western,” “Sweet Tuesday,“ “Centre Line,” and then ended on a quieter note with  the mournfully steel guitar powered “3 Sides.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 August 2010 10:23 )

Roots music this week

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In addition to lots of open mics, there is a lot of roots/country music happening this week to get you in the mood Leeroy Stagger and the Wildflowers play the Slice, Aug. 20. Photo by Richard Ameryfor Whoop-Up Days.

Leeroy Stagger and the Wildflowers return to the Slice, Aug. 20. He is also opening the Lethbridge Folk Club’s new season season on Sept. 11. Local country/folk songwriter Karen Romanchuk opens the folk club show.

On Aug 19, The Slice has an unusual roots musician performing— Vancouver’s  Bocephus King.
The Mocha Cabana  brings in Herky Cutler, Aug. 21 and local country/ folk musician Karen Romanchuk, Aug. 20.

For people who are a little more rock and roll, Billie Vegas plays Casino Lethbridge this weekend and Whoop Up Days kicks off on Tuesday with a couple big shows.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 17 August 2010 10:42 ) Read more...

Aaron Lines has the line on success

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Canadian country star Aaron Lines is looking  forward to help kick off Whoop-up Days, Aug. 24 in Pioneer Park.

Lines is the most played country artist in Canada thanks to a string of Top 10 hits including “Cheaper To Keep Her,” “Moments That MatterAaron Lines opens up Whoop-Up Days, Aug, 24. photo submitted,” “Somebody’s Son,” Let’s Get Drunk and Fight,” Waitin’ On The Wonderful, “It Takes a Man,” Turn it Up — I Like the Sound of That” and the latest single“ The Trouble With California” off his most recent CD “Sunday Afternoon.”

His success as come as somewhat of a surprise.
“It‘s been very surprising, but it’s been a slow process. I didn‘t expect the award for most played musician. When I started I just thought I’d get one, maybe two songs on the radio. But I’ve met a lot of good people along the way who have really helped me,” he said adding he didn’t expect to become a top selling country musician.
“When you decide to  be a musician, There’s no real career plan. I went to university and I thought I was going to be a medical doctor. But music has always been a big part of my life. I’ve always tried to treat people right,” he said adding he never anticipated this level of success when he was 16 and writing songs in his bedroom.

“When I was growing up, I was always a shy kid. Playing was always my passion, but performing, I never wanted to do it because I was shy but people kept asking me to.  I’ve grown to enjoy it,” he said adding the live show includes selections from all of his albums and a lot of music from his new CD, for which he wrote all of the songs for or co-wrote with friends.

“I have 16 or 17 top 10s so I play a lot of songs people recognize. I keep it uptempo and fun. I usually try to get people to sing along and have fun,” he said.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 17 August 2010 10:18 ) Read more...

Romi Mayes is A-Mayesing

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Winnipeg singer/ songwriter Romi Mayes gets better and better every time I see her. I’ve been following her career for years and seen her evolve from solo singer/songwriter folkster to full fledged rocker chick. Especially now she has the Perpetrators’ guitarist Jason Nowicki in hRomi Mayes and Jason Nowicki. Photo by Richard Ameryer band who adds massive dose of the blues to Mayes’ music

 I’ve never seen them play a tighter set than their Aug. 6 show at the Slice.
 Two fifths of the Skilletlikkers, George Arsene and Pat MacNamara, opened the set with several upbeat acoustic originals and choice covers of Fred Eaglesmith’s “Freight Train,” and  the D-Rangers’s “Trois Rivieres.”

Mayes kicked thing into high gear right from the get-go with my favourite “The Other Dame” and then a couple tracks from her most recent 2008 CD “Achin’ in Yer Bones” including a highlight “Tire Marks.”
Mayes owned the stage as  per usual, but Nowicki easily stepped up with some searing Hound Dog Taylor style dirty blues solos, and her rhythm section played as tight as a drum skin.

I loved her “aggressive sex song” “Make You Love Me and that just was one of many highlights which had a decent sized crowd of about 50-60 people moving and grooving to Mayes’ roots-rock groove.
Somehow her voice is reminiscent of country stars  like Miranda Lambert, but comes across as a lot more authentic when she sings of shooting whiskey shots and smoking more than she drinks, living on the road and falling in and out of love.

She ended her first set with an amped up version of  “ Styx and BTO,”  (which is a bluegrass song on her debut CD) by request of George Arsene.
 They came back after the break for a more laid back blues flavoured set which featured a lot of new music and ended their set with “Sweet Something Steady,” before being called back for an encore of “Bible.”

She had a decent sized Lethbridge crowd for once, though she usually plays mid week rather than a weekend. But a monster talent like Romi Mayes deserves a big, appreciative audience like the one at the Slice, Aug. 6.

 — by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 August 2010 13:49 )

Not quite Johnny Cash— but pretty close

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Sometimes tribute acts suck, other times they don’t, sometimes they are just plain strange, other times they are bang on the mark.

So I had to check out Big River — Almost Johnny Cash  at Coyote Joes, Aug. 6. Dave Pitett is Almost Johnny Cash. Photo by Richard Amery

The B.C. based tribute act featuring Dave Pittet, who is a dead ringer for a young Johnny Cash and even Joaquin Phoenix’s Johnny Cash from the movie, “Walk The Line,” definitely had the look down and they definitely had the sound.

They played an array of Johnny Cash hits, alternating between familiar standards, like “Cry, Cry , Cry”,  and “I Got Stripes” and more modern songs like his covers of “Hurt,” Rusty Cage” and “Solitary Man.”

He also played several I’d never heard before like “One Piece At a Time” about a Detroit auto plant worker who steals one piece of a Cadillac at a time.

Pittet had a magnificent baritone like Cash and  had his moves down and quite  a few people from the good sized crowd  trying to two step.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 August 2010 09:51 )
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