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Percussionist Graeme Francis plays jazz with a Texas twist and Lethbridge talent

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 I don’t get to a lot of jazz gigs, but was glad to catch and amazing evening of improvised jazz music featuring PEI born, Houston, Texas based percussionist  and  drummer Dr.Graeme Francis at the Owl Acoustic lounge, Wednesday, Nov. 22.


 Francis was backed by a couple of Lethbridge’s most seasoned performers– upright bassist Kurt Ciesla and saxophonist Michael Carter.


Graeme Francis, Michael Carter and Kurt Ciesla playing the Owl Acoustic lounge, Nov. 22. Photo by Richard Amery

While Francis, who also played music at noon at the University earlier in the day, was the main event, the local talent pretty much stole the show.

 The Owl was packed for the concert with enthusiastic but also enraptured jazz aficionados, who gave Ciesla and Carter rousing  rounds of applause  for their multiple solos.


Graeme Francis, Michael Carter and Kurt Ciesla playing the Owl Acoustic lounge, Nov. 22. Photo by Richard Amery

 Carter, seated centre stage, who I’d never seen before, played beautiful lines mostly on soprano saxophone, though he switched to tenor for the last couple songs.


 Ciesla got to really show off some impressive skills on upright bass.

 Francis seldom took the spotlight, preferring to let the local talent shine,  though he was alternately using toms, sticks, brushes and even his hands on a couple songs to hold down the rhythm.


 There wasn’t a  lot of talk or song introductions, though Francis did introduce a beautiful John Coltrane song “ Equinox”   which let Carter show his best tasty, soulful chops.


 The trio was so hot, there weren’t any more notes left to play after their set,  which is what Francis observed after they were called back for an encore anyway.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat editor

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 November 2023 16:47 )

Plenty of blues and jazz and Kids Choirs leading into December

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There are a lot early week shows happening this week and November turns into December.

 Gabe Thaine was to  host a blues jam at the Slice beginning at 8 p.m. tonight, Nov. 28 , but unfortunately it has been cancelled. Keith Catfish Woodrow will host  the next blues jam on  Dec. 12 at the Slice .


Steve Keenan will be playing a show with Paul Kype art Hinkers Pub on Saturday, Dec. 2. Photo by Richard Amery

 The Owl Acoustic Lounge has their weekly open mic tonight as well.


 Casino Lethbridge features the Cody hall band on Friday and Saturday.


James Oldenburg and Paul Holden return to the Watertower Grill, Wednesday,  Nov. 29.

 They also play  a Christmas themed performances at Streatside Eateries last jazz Saturday of the year on Dec. 2 from 5:30 p.m.- 7:30 p.m. 


 The Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra continues their collaborations with local kids choirs on Wednesday,  Nov. 29 with Nicholas Sheran Junior and Senior Choirs, Dr. Probe Senior Choir and St. Patrick’s Fine Arts Division 1 Choir performing on Wednesday.


Coalbanks  Junior and Senior Choirs , plus Dr. Hamman Elementary School Choir and St. Mary’s School choir perform with the Symphony on Thursday, Nov. 30. Performances are at 7 p.m. each night.. Tickets are $10.


Jared Wolf Child and Cole Howg return to the Good Times Stage to  host pro-Amateur night on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Admission is five dollars.

Ed Hill returns to Good Times to make you laugh, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1 and 2.

 The Slice has an open mic on Nov. 29.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 28 November 2023 18:46 ) Read more...

Shred Kelly to share new music from ‘Blurry Vision’ for Lethbridge show

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Shred Kelly  has a clear view of the future on their new, introspective sixth album “Blurry Vision”  which they will bring to Lethbridge at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Dec. 15.

“ I think the last time we were there was summer of 2021, so it’s been a few years. We‘re excited to come back,” said Shred Kelly keyboardist/ vocalist Sage McBride, who along with her partner Tim Newton / vocals, banjo/ guitar; guitarist Ty West and drummer Ryan Mildenberger, make up Shred Kelly.

Shred Kelly return to Lethbridge, Dec. 15. Photo by Richard Amery

 McBride is looking forward to sharing the new music though it is little more darker and introspective than their previous works.

They released their latest album on Oct 20.


“ It was our sixth album so we’re getting up there in albums,” she chuckled.

“It’s good. It feels good. The process of writing is always fun. Our writing style has definitely evolved and changed since we’ve began. But it’s always fun, like the production of it all and writing the songs and working on it and then it feels nice to put it out there . But then you want to start working on the next thing right away too. So it doesn’t ever end,” McBride continued

 The album is a lot more low key than their previous albums.


“ There‘s still a few high energy songs in there, but we definitely wrote it during the years 2020 and 2021. So times were feeling a little bit heavier in our personal lives and also just in the world. So I guess we weren’t feeling as sort of anthemic as we have in the past in our writing and we’re sort of evaluating the world a little more in our personal lives and dealing with some anxiety and stress related to what was happening in the world around us. But the album still reaches for hope throughout. There is still the hopefulness that I think that we’re known for and there are some songs that are pretty joyous. So we tried not to make it too depressing, even though that’s how we were feeling,” McBride said.


McBride and Newton recently had a baby which also contributed to the music.

“ Yeah, for sure, and I think that played into our emotions a lot too, just feeling really isolated and then also sort of everything in the world shifted as we became new parents. So we were kind of cut off from family and friends so we had to kind of lean on each other a lot more so there’s songs like ‘Cracks In the Finish’ kind of like being able to love each other even though how you’re  kind of realizing you’re not entirely perfect or it’s hard to be something for the one person being everything that you need is kind of a challenge. And then the song ‘ The Days We have Left’ is feeling like not being your best self and asking your partner to love you despite your flaws and love you  in those periods where you don’t feel your best. So there’s definitely some heavier themes,” she said.

“And the opening song ‘Stained Glass’ is about a storm coming in. And when we wrote that one, it was sort of like the storm that was coming towards the world and kinds of sets the tone for whole album. But the album ends with ‘Nothing for Awhile’ which is sort of like our signature high energy song that it’s definitely a bit of a darker theme than maybe what we’ve sung about in the past,” she said, 

Shred Kelly has three videos out for the new album for “ Cracks In the Finish,”  and “Nothing for a While” and “Another Place.”


“We filmed all of the videos so far from the record with our neighbour Dylan Siggers. So he was also the guy who filmed the ‘Sing to the Night’ video in one shot and then he moved in next  to Tim and I so now we collaborate on lots of things. On our last record he did a lot of the videos for that one too. Because he’s right next door, we just send a text saying ‘come on over we’re brainstorming some  ideas,’” she said.

“With ‘Cracks In the Finish,’ we just tried to keep it fairly simple and feature Fernie as a background in it. Then ‘Nothing For a While,’ the song is sort of about the frustrations with being constantly overstimulated by bad news or having your phone on you all the time so you have access to information but it’s not always the information that you want to be flooded with so it’s sort of that frustration with the modern world. So Tim gets to act really frustrated in that video, which I think he does a really good job at. He’s a great actor,” McBride laughed.


“And then ‘Another Place’ we had different backgrounds and everybody  wore different coloured shirts and we were able to film that one in our rehearsal space which was kind of  nice because a lot of our videos are weather dependent and we can’t shoot at certain times of day because of lighting. So it was nice to just be able to do it in a controlled environment in our rehearsal space and have some fun with it. So yeah, they’re really super fun videos. And we have another one in the works for the song ‘Lost Without You.” which will probably come out  before the end of the year, but not exactly sure,” she said, adding she is not sure how many they will shoot for the album.


“ We love making music videos. We’ll just make as many as we can. With the last album we just kept as long as we could come up with a budget or come up with  a DIY way of making things. We’ll do as many as possible, but  sometimes the budget runs out so I guess until then,” she said.

McBride said response to the new music has been very positive. They played some of the new songs on a recent tour of Germany.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 26 November 2023 13:21 ) Read more...

Fourth Place Ribbons put on top notch show of Tyler Childers inspired originals

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Chris Drew featured  some of Lethbridge’s busiest  country musicians in his new band Fourth Place Ribbons, Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Owl Acoustic Lounge.

Chris Drew of Fourth Place Ribbons at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Nov. 18. Photo by Richard Amery

 I was in time for their second set.


 The band, featuring Chris Drew on vocals and rhythm  guitar, Kevin Peters on lead guitar, bassist Kieren Swinney and  TJ Waltho on Keyboards with Shyloh Haberman holding down the backbeat on on drums.


 They opened with John Prine’s “ Ain’t Hurtin Nobody.”


 They focused on  their originals after that as Drew channelled his inner Tyler Childers, and indeed played  Childers’ “ While House Road.”

 They played a tight set, Drew  had a pleasant  tenor voice  very much reminiscent of Childers on upbeat, mid tempo country songs like “ Sweet Violet.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Thursday, 23 November 2023 19:05 )

Misery Mountain Boys bring out the smiles and the swing dancers to Lethbridge Folk Club

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 The Lethbridge Folk Club  brings in great shows but deserves a much better turnout  for them.


 Granted  there was a lot of things going on, on Saturday, Nov. 18 like Terri Clark and Paul Brandt down the road at the Enmax Centre, but nevertheless approximately 60 people enjoyed an excellent evening of Western Swing music with the always affable Misery Mountain Boys.


The Misery Mountain Bus Playing thew Lethbridge Folk Club, Nov. 18. Photo by Richard Amery

 They had  members of Lethbridge Swing Bridge Dance  showing their best moves to the side of the tables

 Frontman Steven Gevenich, bassist Lindsey Bueckert, clarinetist/saxophonist Sam Toms and drummer Ethan Markwart were digging the jazz tinged country music  they were playing.


 Gevenich told stories and joked about  the North Country fair before leading the band into a song about northern girls. Vocally and musically, he reminded me of a mix of Steve Dawson and a touch of Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson.


 Markwart grinned as he rolled up his sleeves and hunched over his drum kit , giving it a good workout while upright bassist Lindsey Bueckert grinned and sat back, emerging to solo, which also got applause.


 Clarinetist/saxophonist Sam Toms was lost in concentration  and  got a lot of polite applause from the enraptured audience for his solos.

 They wound down their show with an animal theme.


Gevenich cut complex jazz chords, and crooned ”Sometimes I Feel Like a Dog,” and ended with a fun number “ Froggy Bottom Blues.”

 Gevenich thanked the Swing dancers for  dancing.

 They were called back for a spirited encore of  “ Blue Drag.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Thursday, 23 November 2023 18:52 )
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