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Echo Nebraska expand on pop side on new CD

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Vancouver folk/rock band Echo Nebraska have embraced their  more pop side on their sophomore  CD “Hold up to the Fire.”Echo Nebraska play Lethbridge this week. photo submitted
 They visit the Owl Acoustic Lounge, June 8. as part of a two week tour of Alberta and B.C.

“ Though I flew in to Regina to do a solo show,” said frontman Devon Christoudoulou, back with his band mates Carly Frey, Mike Lauder, Dan Ponich and Andy Schichternear, just outside of Kamloops.

“We’ve been working on this new record. We recorded it with Jeff Dawson. We’re really excited about it, so we want to play it for people,” he said, adding it marks a change in direction for the band.

Last Updated ( Monday, 04 June 2018 15:06 ) Read more...

Nobuki Takamen excited to return to Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival with trio

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Hiroshima born, New York city based guitarist Nobuki Takamen returns to play The Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens  for the Lethbridge Jazz and blues Festival, June 10.Nobuki Takamen returns to the Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival this year. photo submitted
“The Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens thought it was a great show and wanted to do it again, so they thought about how to make it different. So this time he brings his trio,” said festival organizer Don Robb Tickets are available through for $35.

“I played Lethbridge back in 2010, and always wanted to go back, but never did until last year,” said Takamen who is excited to  return to the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens for this year’s festival, with his trio of  drummer Naoki  Aikawa and bassist Toshiyuki Tanahashi.

“I met Naoki in 2005 shortly after I moved to New York. And I have been playing with both of them for a while, but we formed the trio in  March,” he said, adding they went into the studio to record music together shortly after.

“ I enjoy playing with the trio. I write music including bass lines and percussion. With the trio, I can focus on soloing,” he said, noting he counts the fingerpicking style of Chet Atkins as being one of many influences on his playing.

“We’ll be playing a lot of new music that we‘re releasing  on Nov. 27,” he said, noting two of the songs were inspired by and written during his previous visits to Lethbridge.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 09 June 2018 23:22 ) Read more...

Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra ready to “Make Really Party” for Windy City Opry

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Victoria based, eastern European influenced indie rock and folk band the Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra are excited to return to Lethbridge to play the Windy City Opry, Wednesday, June 13 at the Slice.

The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra return to Lethbridge, June. 13. photo by Richard Amery
“We‘re excited Shaela (Miller) asked us to do it because we‘ve never done that before,” said frontman Kurt Loewen from his home in Edmonton.

 They are supporting a new EP “We make Really Party, which was released late last year.
“This album goes back to our beginnings, when we were really interested in eastern European music,” he said.
“There are songs we‘ve been playing live for a while.  A lot of them have a gypsy vibe to them and went well together. And a lot of them, like ‘Bella Ciao,’ have really changed so we needed to get them onto wax,“ he continued.

 The name of the Ep comes from a friend they met while touring in Eastern Europe.
“He always says, ‘We make really party,’ which is what we do,” he continued.
 As expected, the fiddle plays a prominent role on the CD.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 05 June 2018 06:54 ) Read more...

MonkeyJunk's return a highlight of the week

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I’ve been busier than a one armed paper hanger  with Hatrix’s production of a Comedy of Tenors this past few months,  so I haven’t made it to all of the shows I wanted to, especially last week.

However my timing was on after our opening night,Thursday as the play ended in time for me to catch all of the second set of Ottawa blues rock trio MonkeyJunk at the Geomatic Attic, May 24.

MonkeyJunk’s Tony D and Steve Marriner at the Geomatic Attic, May 24. photo by Richard Amery
 The good sized crowd was already hot and sweaty as Mike Spencer had cleared away a couple rows of chairs to create an improvised dance floor for several of the patrons to enjoy.
 I always look forward  to MonkeyJunk’s blend of blues, rock, soul and the inimitable sound of lead singer Steve Marriner’s baritone guitar and harp.

 They began the second set with “Light it Up,” and kept the energy and good vibes high and the dancers bodies moving throughout.

Lead guitarist Tony D drew many a burst of applause for short sweet and effective guitar solos and catchy riffs. Marriner told stories and jokes. He introduced “Pray For Rain” by talking about performing with Mic Mac traditional dancers in Ottawa.

 They played several familiar tacks including tracks from their first Juno award Winning album “To Behold,” including their cover of Hank Williams’ “You’re Gonna Change or I’m Gonna Go.”
Matt Sobb held a steady beat and got to show his skill at the end of the show as they played “Gone” from their second Juno Award winning album “Time to Roll.”

Marriner put down his guitar and picked up a harp and wandered through the crowd while playing to much applause.

They were called back for an encore of a spirited version of Chubby Checker’s  ’50s hit ‘ The Twist.” and wound things up with another, slower ‘50 sounding doo wop number “Lonely Heart.”

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 May 2018 14:24 )

Royal Wood and Fionn play beautiful folk and pop at the Geomatic Attic.

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 I caught one of two sold out shows at the Geomatic Attic with Royal Wood and White Rock, B.C duo Fionn, Tuesday, May 22 they had a great week with the two sold out shows and a close to sold out MonkeyJunk show.

Royal Wood made a long awaited return to the Geomatic Attic, May 22. photo by Richard Amery
 I was impressed by twin sisters Alanna and Brianne Finn-Morris aka Fionn who harmonized like they shared a brain and a set of vocal chords. They sounded like twin Jane Siberries with a touch of the Indigo Girls, singing a variety of original femme positive folk/pop music including  “Tell me I’m Pretty,” and “Magazine Face” though I was disappointed not to hear their catchy new  earworm of a single “Skeletons.”

 Mandolin wielding Alanna sang lead for the first half of the set as her guitar picking sister sang  effortless harmonies. I enjoyed their song “Sad Boys, and especially enjoyed listening to  Brianne taking over on lead vocals  as they explored their Irish roots and Celtic musical background on “Pagan March” and giggled  as she sang about her first love “Robert.”

 Royal Wood has had an interesting couple  years of upheaval since he last played here, at the Southminster United Church with the Good Lovelies in 2014— his father died of Alzheimer’s and he met and married his wife. So he had a lot of life experiences to draw from. He joked he wasn’t used to  singing happy songs, but played a couple of new ones anyway.

 He started out slowly, solo on the piano before being joined by two back up singers, a drummer and a bassist who alternated between upright bass and electric bass. He reminded me of a young Julian Lennon, especially on piano.

 he asked the audience to applaud for “those talented kids” Fionn before getting started on “ I’m Going to be Your Lover.”Fionn aka Alanna and Brianne Finn-Morris, opened for Royal Wood in Lethbridge, May 22 and 23. Photo by Richard Amery
 He  played a new song he wrote while recording his new CD “Ever After the Farewell” about being single, noting “I wrote it right before meeting my wife.” He introduced his talented backup singers, who added a l touch of gospel and soul as he switched to a 12 string guitar for a song.

Then it was time for the crowd to sing the “Hey Hey hey Forever and ever” chorus of one of his more  popular songs “Hey Hey hey, Forever and Ever.”

The affable  Royal Wood, laughed and joked and tried to play matchmaker for his single bassist Steve Sirai.
 After that he dug deep for a song he wrote in 2001.

 He ended an enjoyable set with “ Not Giving Up,” on piano and was, of course called back for an encore, which he played solo.

 He called back his band for a peppy cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “ Dancing in the Dark.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 May 2018 14:00 )
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