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Kimberley MacGregor excited to tour with Matt Patershuk, Ryland Moranz and Mike Stack

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The roots of Edmonton based singer -songwriter Kimberley MacGregor’s tour with Matt Patershuk, Mike Stack and Lethbridge songwriter Ryland Moranz  lie in last year’s the Folk Alliance Conference in Kansas City.
 The foursome begin their tour together in Lethbridge at the Geomatic Attic, March 31.

Kimberley MacGregor playing the Owl Acoustic Lounge  earlier this year. Photo by Richard AmeryIt’s kind of cool, Folk Alliance is where I met Matt last year. I learned some of his songs and we toured together,” she said.

 She learned some of Patershuk’s songs and accompanied him on his CD release shows in Calgary and Edmonton.

“ And I got to play with him during Wide Cut Weekend,” she said, adding that is the essence of the current tour— having all four songwriters play on each other’s songs.

“For the first couple of shows you’re just getting used to each other’s music. By the end of the tour it comes naturally, but we want it to be natural on the first show of the tour,” MacGregor said.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 28 March 2017 08:03 ) Read more...

Elise Roller shows heavier edge with Solhounds

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Elise Roller explores her heavier side with a new musical projects the Sollhounds, which comes to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, March 30.

Elise Roller is excited to return to Lethbridge with the Solhounds. Photo by Richard Amery
 Roller, who was last in Lethbridge as vocalist/ keyboardist and sometimes guitarist of popular Calgary pop rock band Go For the Eyes, is excited to  sing with the Solhounds.

“ I’m not playing any instruments in this band. I can just focus on singing, which is great because performers tend to hide behind their instruments,” she observed from her new home in Winnipeg, where she has been living for the past four years.

“I hit the Winnipeg groove about two years ago. And I actually love it. They have actual seasons here, Spring , Summer, Fall, Winter, instead of a different season every day,” she giggled.
 She is excited to be part of the Solhounds.

“I met drummer Ian (Clements) at a show and started talking to him. We were friends on Facebook, but didn’t really know each other. Then I saw they were looking for a new lead singer. They had a male singer before and I really needed a new musical outlet so I asked if I could try out. And we meshed so well musically and personally, so it was very organic,” she said.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 28 March 2017 07:47 ) Read more...

Real McKenzies and Isotopes get good crowd primed for St.Patrick’s Day

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The Real McKenzies annual pre-St. Patrick’s Day party in Lethbridge is always a good time.The Real McKenzies Paul Mckenzie and Troy Jak at Average joes, March 16. photo by Richard Amery

 Their March 16 show at Average Joes was no exception. It got pretty drunk out for quite a few people. It goes with the territory at a Real McKenzies show.
 I missed the opening set from the Lethbridge Firefighters Pipes and Drums.

 But I was just in time for a rollicking set from baseball themed  punk band the Isotopes.

 I love to see a band so completely committed to a bit.
 They all sported baseball hats, baseball sunglasses and even had a manager / hype man on stage dressed in nothing but a leather jacket and jock strap, swinging a baseball bat and introducing the band. Frontman Evan October, in between singing all manner of songs about baseball players, incidents and the game itself and the  “Bleacher Creature Girl ” about baseball mascots and set ending “Chicks Dig The Long Ball” in his adenoidal, nasally voice reminiscent of the Dickies and Blink -182, did pushups on stage during the odd guitar solo. Musically the band drew a lot from the Ramones and their pop punk protégés.

The Real mcKenzies} Paul McKenzie and piper Aspy. Photo by Richard Amery
 The Isotopes began their set with several highlights from their most recent CD “Nuclear Strikezone,” including “Total Juicehead,” “Hasta La Vista, Baby” and “Situation No No.”

They also introduced a couple of brand new songs from a new CD which is due out on April 18. They lead the audience through a drunken, rousing a cappella version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” and then punked the song up.
The Real McKenzies are always a good time.

 The classic Celtic rockers, celebrating  25 years as a band came crashing out of the gate with “Due West”  just before 11 p.m. with the first single off their new CD “ Two Devils Will Talk.” A mosh pit soon started in front of the stage early in the show.

The Real McKenzies’ exciting, and energetic set  focused on songs from the new CD, though they added old crowd favourite “Nessie” early on in the set, which lead to charismatic and talkative frontman Paul McKenzie to promise he’d write a song about the Okanagan lake’s sea monster Ogopogo.
 There were plenty of snarling guitars and high voltage whining bagpipes from towering piper Aspy.

But the band also showed off their vocal harmonies on a couple of a cappella Robbie Burns poems and on Stan Roger‘s Canadian classic “Northwest Passage,” which is also on the new CD and helped wind down their set.
 The Real McKenzies bring back one of their very oldest covers “Scots Wha Ha’e” on the new Cd and it was a highlight of this show.

“ My Luck is So Bad,” one of my favourites from  their “Westwinds” album from a few years ago was another highlight.The isotopes opening for The Real McKenzies. Photo by Richard Amery

A newer highlight was their performance of “ Sail Again,” which brought out the more metal side of the band.

 The good thing about a band like the Real McKenzies, who have never had a hit per se, is that they can do pretty much anything in their show. But they still added some set mainstays like “Mainland,” “Pour Decisions, and the always fun “ Drink With Me,” adding to the party atmosphere of their show, though punctuated from the occasional C bomb from an enthusiastic McKenzie who also shared some shots about politics. They were called back for an encore after another highlight from the CD, “Fuck the Real McKenzies, which was a hit with the audience.
 They started their encore with an a capella number and cranked things up a notch for a Turbonegro cover and their usual show ender “Bugger Off” which wound things up around 12:30 a.m.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 March 2017 09:49 )

Andrea Superstein trio play super set of jazz and pop

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Vancouver based jazz trio, The Andrea Superstein trio, featuring pianist Jen Lewin and drummer Nino DiPasquale backing vocalist Superstein, put on a super show at the Geomatic Attic, March 16.

The Andrea Superstein Trio playing the Geomatic Attic. Photo by Richard Amery
 They had set up the room as a jazz club with the patrons sitting around round tables, noshing on treats from Plum. It was a beautiful atmosphere for a laid back show that was a lot more than traditional jazz.

The Montreal born Superstein sang superb, sultry vocals, opening up the first set with a reworked jazz/ lounge version of Bananarama’s ’80s pop hit “Venus.”

Most of the first set included tracks from her eclectic new CD “What Goes on” including originals and rearranged jazz,  R and B and pop hits, plus a few excellent new originals.
She followed “Venus” by reworking a Carole King penned, 1960 Shirelles hit “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.”

Jen Lewin played gorgeous piano, drawing applause from the appreciative audience, as Superstein stood back, sipped a bottle of water and watched Lewin’s fingers fly.

 Drummer Nino Di Pasquale soloed as well which also drew applause.
Superstein chatted about the origins of each song, as she spoke about looking at Cole Porter’s “I Love Paris” from the opposite point of view by way of introducing her beautifully melancholy arrangement of the jazz standard.

 She followed it up with the first original of the night, a brand new song  “I Tried” about trying to be someone she was not for her partner.

“It didn’t work out well for me, but I can slander him in the song,” she chuckled.

She emphasized this was not a jazz show in the traditional sense as she talked about growing up in a house which only listened to talk radio, before looking to her parents for musical inspiration and eventually finding a box of 8-Track tapes which included  James Taylor, Peter, Paul and Mary and Bob Dylan. Which lead to Superstein performing a very cool, laid back version of Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.”

 She talked about balancing being a touring musician and high school teacher and played a song “Garden of Love” which she wrote when she was supposed to be supervising final exams.
They wound up their first set with “I Want to Be Evil,”  another original from her CD, and got the audience to sing along with the chorus.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 March 2017 09:24 )

Tin and the Toad play old and new favourites at Windy City Opry

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People love the Windy City Opry, partially because it always features excellent country and roots music and partially  it starts early and ends early on  a weeknight. Such was the case for the latest edition, March 15 at the Slice, moved to the third Wednesday of the month this time, rather than the usual second Brooke Wylie sings with Tin and the Toad, March 15 at the Slice. Photo by Richard AmeryWednesday.

 It didn’t hurt that It featured Southern Alberta country band Tin and the Toad, who are always a popular draw.

 I missed host Shaela Miller as well as  the opening set from Brooke Wylie and Tin and the Toad’s first set which focused on the CD release party for their latest CD “Out of the Wind.”

 Luckily they returned for a second set of crowd favourites and well chosen covers including a request for Andrew Neville and the Poor Choices’“Coming Home To You.”

 They also played a couple of my favourites from their first CD as Pete Loughlin traded his bass for an acoustic guitar to sing “Keeping this Bar Alive,” which he dedicated to former Slice owners Jesse and Tyler Freed and new owner Jesse Smith.
 Brooke Wylie joined them to add extra harmonies to Tin and the Toad’s already excellent vocal harmonies.

Tin and the Toad playing the Windy City Opry. Photo by Richard Amery
 Their vocal harmonies are one of the things  I like the most about Tin and the Toad along with their down home country song and Steve Loree’s steel guitar and electric guitar solos. The band includes four different songwriters who each have their own appealing unique voices, which come together as one on each other’s songs.

They also included another of my favourites “ Reminders.”

 And just to be cool, they ended their show before midnight by turning punk band SNFU’s “Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump” into a solid country song.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 March 2017 09:12 )
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