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Tim Hus carries the torch for Canadian music

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Even though none other than Stompin’ Tom Connors himself has said he wants to pass the torch of Canadiana songwriting to Tim Hus, he remains grounded.
 So it is great to be able  to e-mail him and  have him call within a half hour.Tim Hus at the Wolf’s Den, Feb. 19. Photo by Richard Amery
“Hello, this is Canadian cowboy poet Tim Hus speaking,” he says over they phone from Calgary, taking a quick breather from a  year which usually includes about 300 concert dates “We’ve played Lethbridge lots of times at the rodeo, at the University and  the Tongue N’ Groove.  And we’ve played Taber a lot. So we’re definitely familiar with Southern Alberta,” he continues.

“I think we’ve even played the Folk Club,” he continues adding he is looking forward to returning the Lethbridge Folk Club’s Wolf’s Den, Feb. 19.
He never expected to become known as the torch bearer for Canadiana music, let alone, recording for Stony Plain, the record label Ian Tyson calls home, or to tour with Stomping Tom Connors, let alone have him heap lavish praise on him.

“It’s not a joke for a Canadian country singer to  tour with Stomping Tom Connors. It’s like a hockey player getting to play with Wayne Gretzky,” Hus marvels adding his first tour  with Stompin’ Tom was from Ontario to Newfoundland and they enjoyed it so much that they decided to do the other half of the country the following summer from Thunder Bay to Vancouver.
 He has since added  Stomping Tom’s  fiddle player and guitarist, Billy MacInnis to his band.
“He’s from Prince Edward Island. I kind of stole him from Stompin’ Tom because Stompin’ Tom doesn’t tour as much anymore. So I asked him if he wanted to join my band. Now it’s been better than it ever has been,” he said adding Macinnis has been in Hus’ band since the fall.

“And Stomping Tom is 75  today ( Feb. 9) and is going to retire soon, he confessed he wants to pass the torch on to me. I’ve become  ‘the Canadian guy’ where ever I go. I didn’t set out to do that. But people like to hear songs about things they are familiar with, and not everybody is doing it,” he observes adding while  he started out very British Columbia orientated from a songwriting perspective,  traveling through his world has expanded his songwriting horizons.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 10 March 2011 15:51 ) Read more...

Oliver Swain bringing his own brand of subsistence folk to Lethbridge

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Oliver Swain has been playing ‘subsistence folk music’ for a number of years with a variety of high profile folk bands like the Duhks, Bills, Outlaw Social and Rustic Jennies, but is pleased to being his own band to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Feb. 9.Oliver Swain. Photo submitted

While he has enjoyed  his numerous projects, and learned alot playing with them, he is overjoyed to be playing with Ashley MacIsaac’s 14-year-old guitar whiz Quinn Bachan and Aidrian Dolan.

“I trust these people. Folk musicians have a lot in common with farmers. You plant the seeds in the ground and try to live off of what grows out of them,” he said adding sometimes  you get a good crop, other times , all of the work gets wiped out.

“Sometimes it happens. Years of work gets lost. It seems to be  a recurring theme especially when you play subsistance folk for a living. A lot of these projects fell apart or I left on my own accord,” Swain said of Oliver Swain’s Big Machine which combines guitar  virtuosity with intense fiddle playing and Swain holding it together on clawhammer banjo and ‘fiddling,’ the bass.

“We got together in the fall around November and we played all over B.C. and now Alberta,” he said.
 the band has come a long way considering they only formed last year.

“It’s been great. We’re getting played on CBC and CKUA,” he said.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 10 March 2011 15:22 ) Read more...

DL Incognito says the future is now for Canadian hip hop

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Juno nominated  hip hop artist DL Incognito is looking forward to  his Friday night show at Studio 54.
“Basically we want to put on a real hip hop show,”  said DL Incognito, aka Ottawa raised, Toronto based rapper/ DJ Oliver Nestor over a fading cell phone from the middle of the mountains on the road from Jasper to Canmore.

“For people who have heard us, we’ll be performing music from the other records and we’ll be dropping some new music  from a new record we’re going to drop really soon. For people who haven’t heard us, we want to introduce them to a real hip DL Incognito. Photo submittedhop show,” he said adding the tour, which has included four gigs since beginning in Vancouver with a  DJ gig last Wednesday, is going well.

“It’s strong, traditional early ’90s hip hop,” he said adding the new music shows  continued evolution.

“The new record will be called ‘Someday is Less Than  Second Away,’  and it’s almost done,” he said adding  he has an eye on releasing in in the Spring, around April or May. The last CD, “A Captured Moment In Time” was released in 2008.

“Things change. I write about the the things in my personal life and things I’ve seen. But maturity is the biggest difference. Musically it’s  a lot of the same stuff people have  heard me do before, it’s samples and MPCs. There’s a lot of programmed drums,” he continued.
“But we’ll bring in live musicians to fill out the sound,” he said.
“It’s a pretty classic hip hop setup, just me and my DJ,” he said.


Sadies can’t wait to return to Lethbridge

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What do you call the Sadies? Psychedelic rock? country? Punk? Cowpunk?
 Either way, they are on the road again, and making their long awaited return to Lethbridge for the first time in many years.

 The Sadies. Photo submittedWhile their Februrary show had to be postponed due to Dallas Good breaking his leg in an unfortunate accident, it  has been rescheduled for June 27 and may be moved to a bigger room as tickets are close to sold out.

“I remember we played in a kind of converted warehouse. And the opening band was incredible. I think the guy who organized at that show was in the band. I’m ashamed I can’t remember the name of the band. It’s been four or five years, (possibly John Brooks’ project ‘Forever,’ playing at the Starlight Lounge),” reminisced drummer Mike Belitsky relaxing at home, taking a bite out of a peanut butter and jam sandwich, before  leaving on a western Canadian tour, beginning Wednesday, Feb. 8 in Thunder Bay.

“After all these years, I’m still eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” he said adding he is looking forward to hitting the road, even in the dead of winter,  with the band who also include Dallas and Travis Good and bassist Sean Dean.

“It’s been really cold in Toronto, so we’ve been in cold training. I love it, this is the life I chose and I chose it, but ask me in week when we’re stuck in a ditch somewhere on the Prairies,” he laughed adding he is looking forward to  playing the Geomatic Attic, Feb. 15.
“We’re still the Sadies. We’re a loud band, that’s why people like us.  But this whole tour is in sit down theatres, which we love because the audience is there to really listen to us. It’s different  than playing in a loud bar with people drinking and jumping around,” he said.
“We have a great sound guy, so he’ll make it sound just perfect,” Belitsky said adding it has been a while since they last last played Lethbridge, so they have a lot of material to play for their fans.

“It’s not like we’re just playing for 35 minutes, we’ll play a fair amount of ‘Darker Circles’ and we can draw from  a lot of our older material,” he said adding  the psychedelic feel of the new CD, which was shortlisted for a Polaris prize,  shows the continued musical development of the band.
“It’s a sound we have been developing. It’s not a radical jump from the last CD, but it is a radical jump from our first album, which was released in 1998, 13  or so years ago.

“If you listen to them chronologically, you can see how we ended up in the strange place we are in,” he said adding the band is pleased with being short listed for the Polaris Prize.


Old New West back to help seniors centres

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The first time was great, but the second will be even better for “Old West”  Favourites (2).

Old is new again  for  former  and current members of New West Theatre, who are resurrecting their favourite numbers from years gone by this week. Last year‘s two show fundraiser for the  Nord Bridge Seniors Centre and  the Lethbridge Senior Citizen’s Organizat

Old West cast. Photo by Richard Amery


ion featuring  numerous New West Theatre veterans performing “old favourites” from the early days of the popular local theatre group, was so popular that they decided to do it again with a  third show.
“It’s more of the same as last year’s show, but  it’s a different show,  said performer Jeff Carlson of this year’s shows, which take place in the Yates Centre, Feb. 25  at 8 p.m. and Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

“We sold out both performances last year, so when organizers contacted us, the original plan was to do the  same show as last year, but we got together and decided to put together a completely new show,” Carlson continued adding other than the opening number and  “River Deep, Mountain High”  and a “a fun little piece called “Comedy Tonight” plus two new improv bits, the show consists of new material drawn from the old days.
“I’m just enjoying rehearsing with these guys again,” said performer Arlene Bedster, who was with New West Theatre from 1991-2006. She is looking forward to performing “Queen of Hearts.”
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