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Shaela Miller tells her story on Bad Ideas

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Local country musician Shaela Miller continues to tell her story on her third full length CD “Bad Ideas,” her long awaited follow up to “Curtains,” her 2014 collaboration with local band Treeline.Shaela Miller performing new music at the Windy City Opry at the Slice. photos by Richard Amery
“My songs all come from personal experience. My songs are just me telling my story,” Miller said.
“I hope my story will be relatable to other people. I just write from my heart,” she said.

“‘I Never Wanted’ is about my #metoo moment, though I wrote it before #metoo,” she continued, adding a lot of her songs have a darker, more melancholy themes.

“I like to call my genre country noir, though I don’t know who coined the term. A lot of classic country has darker themes, which is something that speaks to me,” she said.

 She has a released a video for Colour My Love,” for which she won a Storyhive $10,000 grant and on April 14 will start work on another video with the same director Laura Combden for “Hard Knock Upside My Mind.”

“My favourite song is  ‘Friend Tonight,’ which is probably the best song I’ve ever written. The concept is just so relatable about friends and how sometimes the lines can get blurred,” she explained.

On this Cd, Miller welcomes a familiar cast of characters in the core band of drummer Tyler Bird, pedal steel guitarist Skinny Dyck, bassist Paul Holden and lead guitarist Evan Uschenko.
She also sings a duet with Matt Patershuk on “Nothing Lives In this House.”

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 April 2018 14:50 ) Read more...

Good music on Friday the 13th

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There is a lot going on as we move into spring.
 The fun begins early on Wednesday, April 11 as the April edition of the Windy City Opry features Calgary born, Vancouver based folk duo Chicken-like Birds and Edmonton country band the Denim Daddies. as usual the show begins at 8 p.m. sharp and admission is $10.

Just out of town, local musician John Wort Hannam has an important annual fundraiser for ALS as the fourth annual Songs For Ken happens at the Empress Theatre, Thursday, April 12 with a house band  plus the Polyjesters, Mike StaDanny Vacon returns to lethbridge for two shows with the Dudes, April 13. Photo by Richard Ameryck, Brooke Wylie, Maria Dunn, John Rutherford and artist Annie Froese. Tickets are $25 for the show, which runs 7:30-10:30 p.m.

Friday the 13 might  be an unlucky day for some, but it’s good luck for anybody looking for live music this weekend.
 Calgary rock band The Dudes have a busy day, April 13 as they are not only playing the Last Class Bash at the University of Lethbridge in the Grove , but they are also playing a special ticketed gig at the Owl Acoustic lounge later that night.

 The Last Class bash begins at 3 p.m. with a variety of acts in addition to the Dudes including DJS WUKI from Denver, who is replacing the Smalltown DJs due to a scheduling conflict, Flavours, Freddy J, Burchill, ONTK, Zodiaque and Shannon Hart
 Tickets are $15 at the Gate, $10 in advance.

 The Dudes play the Owl Acoustic Lounge, at approximately 9 p.m. with local rock band Biloxi Parish. The $20 tickets are almost sold out.
 Just around the corner from that at the Old Firehall, it will be a night of noise rock and post punk as the Terrific Kids Collective present Calgary industrial noise meisters Dri Hiev and two new local acts, object_option and Touching God making their debuts. Admission is $10 for the show, which begins at 9 p.m.

 Winnipeg area country musician Sean Burns is becoming somewhat of a Lethbridge regular this year. This weekend he returns to Casino Lethbridge April 13 and 14. He also returns to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, on Thursday, April 12
 Also returning, Cal Toth brings Dueling Pianos back to Average Joes.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 10 April 2018 09:02 ) Read more...

Geoff Berner and Richard Inman entertain attentive weekday crowd with special guest

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There’s a good reason to always stay for the encore even on a weekday show, because you never know when Corb Lund will show up to sing.Corb Lund joins Geoff Berner on Stage during his encore at the owl Acoustic lounge, March 29. Photo by Richard Amery
Vancouver based folk/ punk/ comedian Geoff Berner has a new song called “Never Play Cards For money with Corby Lund,” on his new CD “ Canadiana Grotesquica,” so it was only fitting Corb Lund himself would show up at the Owl Acoustic Lounge , March 29.

 Corb Lund is usually touring or recording and when he returns home to Lethbridge he generally keeps a low profile, so it is always fun to see him.
Berner played to an attentive full house , probably the quietest audience I’ve ever seen at the Owl Acoustic Lounge.

 Berner was somewhat humbled by the guitar playing and insightful, heartfelt songwriting of opening act Richard Inman.
 Inman made a room full of instant fans with his big, resonant baritone voice and pretty guitar picking. He played a strong set of mostly original and always thought provoking folk music.
Inman told stories and played several new songs to open the show and noted he would be back in Lethbridge with a band in June. I arrived as he was telling a story about Anne Murray and noted his song “Snowbird” wasn’t the same as her song.
He ended his set with an Adam Carroll cover “Rough Side,” noting there was accordion on the original and asked Berner if he’d like to play with him, who joked there might be too many chords in it so nothing came of it.
Inman ended his set with the apt “Hasta la Vista.”

Berner was equally parts folk singer, activist and stand up comedian, wielding his accordion and telling stories and cracking jokes.
 He opened with a couple of new songs including the Ghost of Terry Fox from his new CD. He joked Terry Fox is what Canadians  aspire to be  while Steve Fonyo is who Canadians really are.
 He called back to a line in one of  Inman’s songs about a John Wayne western, noting he also had a line about John Wayne in one of his new satirical songs about survivalists.

Berner wore his left leaning politics on his sleeve, conveying it with liberal doses of humour. What was especially prevalent on “Super Subtle Folk Song” from his new Cd, one of several tracks he played from it including “Gino Odjick” about his favourite ’90s Vancouver Canucks enforcer.

 He went back a few albums with “We Are Going to Breman to be Musicians,” and cracked up the room with “Half German Girlfriend,” about his relationship as a Jewish man and his actual half German girlfriend and their respective families.
“Never Play Cards For Money with Corby Lund” was a highlight as Lund yelled ‘You’re cutting into my action, buddy.” Berner prefaced that with a story about the smalls touring with a Norwegian band and Corb teaching them to play poker for toothpicks.
 He was winding down his set, but there were plenty of  audience  requests, provoking Berner to quip “ Don’t you all have to work in the morning? I shouldn’t have played all of the new stuff first.”
 So he lead the audience in a singalong of crowd favourite “ Dalloy Polizei.”
 And “left” but was called back for an encore request of “ The Rich will move to the High Ground,” his “funny song about climate change.”

 Richard  Inman was going to join him on guitar but was a little too inebriated to  play the C, Am and G chords of the song and had to be helped off the  stage. That inspired Corb Lund to get up on stage and sing the second verse with Berner.
 He officially ended the set with “Rule of the Road,” the last track off the CD, inspired by Country Dick Montana, who observed everything you bring on tour comes back broken.

—by Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 April 2018 10:03 )

Curtis Glas, Makiisma and Kimberley MacGregor share songs and stories.

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My timing was completely off on Saturday, so missed most of the shows I wanted to see  including Tyrants of Chaos, who just finished  by the time I arrived at the Slice.

Kimberley MacGregor at the Owl Acoustic lounge. photo by Richard Amery
 I caught the main Saturday night  show I wanted to see at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, March 24 — a songwriter in the round featuring Makiisma (Megan Brown), Kimberley MacGregor and Curtis Glas, who usually plays bass with Boots and The Hoots.

 I missed most of this set too, including my favourite Kimberley MacGregor song “Trouble,” but she played some excellent new songs including  a highlight comparing dating to shopping for clothes and trying them on.
 Curtis Glas had the similarly sassy “What She Wants,” from his  “The Hired Guns” EP from a  few years ago.

Curtis Glas, Megan Brown and Kimberley MacGregor. photo by Richard Amery
 The trio provided a contrast in styles with MacGregor’s big, soulful, bluesy voice, the more country and folk of Curtis Glas and Megan Brown’s alternative  folk stylings.

She played guitar on her own songs and added fiddle to the other songs.

 —By Richard Amery,L.A. beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 April 2018 09:35 )

Todd Stewart and Danny Vacon trade songs and share styles

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 Todd Stewart and the Danny Vacon, who will be back at the Owl Acoustic Lounge  with the Dudes, April 13, made a good duo at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, March 23.Todd Stewart and Danny Vacon playing togehter. Photo by Richard Amery
 They took turns playing songs and playing and singing harmonies on each others’ songs.

It was a cool contrast of Todd Stewart’s more folk  and country and Danny Vacon’s more soul and R and B influenced pop.

 Stewart plucked his acoustic guitar as he played more straight ahead roots and folk as on his new solo CD “Everything you Want.”

 Vacon sang more soul drenched pop  and R and B music, accompanying himself on an electric guitar.

 Both of them added a harmonies and extra guitar to each others’ songs.

There were several people celebrating their 31st birthdays so Vacon lead the audience through a count of 31.

—By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 April 2018 08:56 )
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