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Kimberley MacGregor and Elliott Thomas return to Lethbridge

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I arrived in the middle of a long set break at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, May 11 where Edmontonians Kimberley MacGregor and Elliott Thomas were playing a songwriters in the round show with local musicians Ryan Phillips and Burning Bridge.

Kimberley macGregor and Elliott returning to Lethbridge. Photo by Richard Amery
 They were pretty much done, as the audience started to trickle away, but they played a special encore, playing a couple of songs each. Elliott Thomas played some deadly lap steel slide guitar, singing a touching version of Neil Young‘s “Long My You Run.”

 Kimberley macGregor brandished her beautiful red electric guitar and belted out a hair raisingly beautifully bluesy version of a song I think was called “So Many Ways You Done Me Wrong.”

 Ryan Phillips of the Silkstones followed that with a slower, acoustic number, to which Thomas added subtle slide guitar.

 Steve Foord also stayed in a the mellower mood for his song.

Elliott Thomas wound down the second set with another big, bluesy number and more powerful , electrified lap steel.

Kimberley MacGregor brought the show to a close with a rousing version of my favourite Kimberley MacGregor song “Trouble.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 May 2017 11:32 )

Carter Felker wins tough South Country Fair songwriting contest

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I forgot how much fun the South Country Fair Songwriting competition is, if only because it shows how much talent there is in Southern Alberta. The event didn’t happen last year, but it returned in style to the Slice, Sunday, May 7. Carter Felker won the South Country Fair Songwriting Competition, May 7 at the Slice. Photo by Richard Amery

A lot of people missed it, as the Slice was standing room only, as it usually is for the competition, for a more-or-less quiescent crowd. Host Corlee Torok was forced to shush some of them, as were the audience members, which I still find more distracting than people talking during a song.

A lot of people have been hard at work writing great songs. Judges George Arsene, Jesse Freed and John Wort Hannam were doing the devil’s work of choosing the best song from an impressive slate of performers featuring a lot of familiar faces from the Lethbridge music scene like Jon Martin, Cathy Hawley, Megan Brown, George Fowler and several folks who have frequently played here including Carter Felker, Chris Gheran, Jay Bowcott and Amy Nelson. And some folks who returned to play like Michael Granzow and a couple I had’t heard including Emily Triggs, Chris Drew and Maddie Conrad.
Most of the ones I saw accompanied themselves, but a few others brought accompanists.

The competition was so close, the judges added a fourth prize, which went to Chris Drew for the Whiskey Song. Cathey Hawley, who won the competition a few years ago took third place. George Fowler won second place for his song Raven Bairne. Carter Felker, who has played Lethbridge a lot in the past couple of years won first place and the opportunity to play his song “Ain’t Got Time For” on
the south stage of the Fair. Fowler will also be playing his song on the South Stage during this year’s Fair, July 21-23.

Artistic Director Jana MacKenzie and East stage co-ordinator Gillian Moranz announced some of the highlights of this years fair including Jaxon Haldane and Gordie Tentrees doing a tribute to Willie P Bennett, Eliza Doyle, Ben Rogers, Joe Nolan and the Dogs. Other highlights will be Scott Nolan, Lindsay Beaver and the 24th Street Wailers, Chicken-like Birds, Bad Pop and much more, which can be found at

— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 May 2017 11:23 )

Few in the mood for great blues with Danny Brooks and Lil miss Debi

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Barely a handful of people showed up to see Toronto born Texas based Texassissippi Soul Man Danny Brooks and his wife Lil Miss Debi at the Slice, May 6.

Lil Miss Debi and Danny Brooks. Photo by Richard Amery
They played an impassioned set of delta style blues with Brooks on guitar and an array of harps as and Debi adding a variety of  percussion, mostly from a cajon box drum.

 Brooks’ impassioned voice that was equally soulful and blues with a Shel Silverstein tinge. He played beautiful upbeat blues music, witching between several guitars including a battered acoustic and a beautiful resonator.

“Hard Working Man” was a highlight which ended the first set of the show.
 Debi was singing a wonderful version of “Angel From Montgomery” by the time I called it a night.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 May 2017 11:15 )

Back Porch Swing finish Lethbridge Folk Club season

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The Lethbridge folk club wound down their season, May 6 at the Lethbridge College Cave with a great show from Edmonton/ Saint Albert based Back Porch Swing.

Back porch Swing winding up the season for the Lethbridge Folk Club at the Lethbridge College Cave,May 6. Photo by Richard Amery
 An attentive audience of approximately 60 enjoyed  a set of jazz tinged western swing , bluegrass and quirky country music from guitarist/vocalist Penny Malmberg, mandolinist/ guitarist Jim Malmberg, violinist Cam Neufeld and upright bassist Kevin Jacobson.

Everybody got to solo, especially when Jim Malmberg traded his guitar for the mandolin.

 I arrived in time to hear a quirky song about aging called “Muffin Top.”

 Penny Malmberg introduced the songs and told stories in addition to singing most of the lead vocals. As usual, Cam Neufeld played beautiful violin lines.

They happily fulfilled a request  for a song about a pig called Francine who made a bid for freedom en route to the abattoir. Jim Malmberg played a hot acoustic guitar lead before exchanging it for the mandolin and playing sizzling leads on that including a medley of “What the Fox,” which incorporated a wicked version of the “Spiderman” theme song, which wound down the show.
One highlight was a song about canned music as was a bluegrass version of the Rolling Stones “Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 May 2017 11:04 )

Sam Weber trio blend country, blues and rock with funk

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Not a lot of people were out and about on the weekend, at least not that I saw, though SoundGarden was packed for comedians Randy and Mr. Lahey of the Trailer Park Boys.

Sam Weber at the Owl Acoustic lounge, May 6. Photo by Richard Amery
 I missed that, but caught a couple excellent , but poorly attended shows.

I caught the last couple songs from the Sam Weber band at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Saturday, May 6.

The Saanich B.C. trio including Sam Weber on guitar and vocals plus Marshall Wildman and Esme John, played an up tempo set of  music which was equal parts, country, blues and rock and roll with a touch of funk and  R and B.

 Weber, not the Sam Weber from The Weber Brothers who return to the Slice, Sept. 11, played some excellent guitar including some beautiful slide on a slower song.

— By Richard Amery, L.A Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 May 2017 10:49 )
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