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L.A. Studios introduces Mark Nivet and Mike Maguire’s sensitve singer-songwriter style music

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Mike Maguire playing the Sterndale Bennett Theatre. PHoto by Richard AmeryI’m not a big fan of  earnest, sensitive singer songwriters, or pop music in general, however, new record label L.A. Studio Productions introduced two of their new artists to Lethbridge at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, Jan. 13.

As most people know Mark Nivet from New West Theatre and seemed to know opening act Mike Maguire, the 100 seat event was pretty close to sold out.

Maguire’s boisterous fans packed the Sterndale-Bennett Theatre, cheering “I love you Mike,” as he played the earstwhile sensitive singer-songwriter schtick to a tee. He told stories in between all of his songs which were all about relationships past, and fingerpicked some impressive guitar lines throughout.
 He has a pleasant voice, reminiscent of Matchbox 20 and Rob Thomas.

 He played the music  from his CD “Things Unsaid”  note for note, and had the appreciative crowd laughing at his stage patter and affable stage presence.

He spoke of his songwriting, saying he writes songs so people can interpret them the way they like  and talked of his travels to Cambodia and his work as a counsellor, all of which inspire him to write.

While the songs do tend to sound very similar and have a similar theme, there were some standouts like “ Fall From Grace,” which he said was inspired by his grandmother and “Losing Control,” which reminded me of Todd Snider he said it was inspired by a “crazy bitch.”


The Matinee play good time upbeat country folk

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The matinee’s Mike Young on banjo. Photo by Richard AmeryA busy week began Wednesday, Jan. 12, on the Slice’s brand new stage with two excellent Vancouver based roots/country rock bands.

 The Gastown Royals were up first with some upbeat folk-country including a stand -up bass.
 They reminded me of a more acoustic White Cowbell Oklahoma, partially because  they all sported cowboy hats and alternated lead vocals including  the soulful lead singer, who  also played some excellent harmonica.

 They ended their set with a  cover of Bob Dylan/ The Old Crow Medicine Show’s  “Wagon Wheel,” then were called back for an encore of J-Z’s “99 Problems.”

 The Matinee were up next with a set of upbeat, foot stomping  country-fried Sadies style country rock, which included a couple newer songs from an upcoming records.The Matinee performing a mult-person drum solo. Photo by Richard Amery
 They played several of their own songs including a Ryan Adams cover and “one from our older catalogue ” called ‘50 bucks,’  which incorporated a few countrified bars of  Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In the Wall Part 2,” done Luther Wright and the Wrongs’ bluegrass style, for which the lead singer  donned a banjo.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 April 2017 12:15 ) Read more...

Band wars at the Barn a highlight of this week

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There is all sorts of music happening this week in Lethbridge for all tastes.The Living Luca are among 10 bands playing Band Wars at the Barn, Jan. 21. Photo by Richard Amery
 But tonight there are two open mics. Check out the new open mic at Cudos Lounge. It is hosted by  the Neccessities’ Devin Gergel. Last week, the stage was packed, so get there early. It begins at 8:30 p.m.
 And open mics are back at the Slice on their newly renovated stage. Toques and Beards are the hosts this week.

A variety of bands have been chosen for Lethbridge College’s one day  band wars gala, Jan. 21 at the Barn. Look for the folk country of the Clapping Monkeys, hard rock band the Living Luca and folk/ blues singer Matt Robinson, to name just a few. Others who made the cut out of 25 applicants are the punk/ hard rock band Kenzi Kill, blues rockers Smokestack Jacks, metal from Pilgrimage of the Lost, Caste of Shadows and Enceladus as well as Penny Fortune and folk from Taber’s As We Migrate.

 The winning band wins $800. Tickets to the show, which begins at 7 p.m., are five dollars.

The Lethbridge Folk Club also opens up the new year with John Wort Hannam with special guests Dalliance Elixir, Jan. 22 at the Wolf’s Den.

 Also on Jan, 22, Smokestack Jacks will be performing at the Slice with the Gorgon Horde and Miesha and the Spanks.
Rockabilly fans, however, will want to be at the Tongue N Groove for  their rockabilly showdown featuring Hurricane Felix and the Southern Twisters along with Bent 8. Admission is $10 for the show, which begins at 8:30 p.m.

 There are even a couple choices for classical music fans this week. Not only is Dale Ketcheson playing the Mocha Cabana, Jan 21 and Jan. 22, but  Classical Winds is at the University of Lethbridge recital hall, Jan. 22 at 8 p.m.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 January 2011 18:07 ) Read more...

John Wort Hannam bringing band back to Lethbridge Folk Club

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John Wort Hannam is looking forward to returning to the Lethbridge Folk Club, Jan. 22 with a full band.John Wort Hannam playing with the Highway 3 Roots Revue. Photo by Richard Amery

The last time I played here was with the Highway 3 Roots revue (in December). I don’t think I’ve picked up a guitar since,” said Hannam, getting ready for weekend gigs in Calgary and Edmonton.

“So I am eager to get going again,” he continued adding he is looking forward to bringing stand up bassist Tyler Bird, drummer Brad Brouwer and fiddler Scott Duncan to play the folk club show.

“It will be the full band. Whenever I play western Canada, I try to bring the whole band,” he continued.
“It all depends on the nature of the gig,” he said adding he may not be able to afford to bring the band on tours to the U.S or Europe, of which he has one coming up this year.

“We play together a lot. We do a little rehearsing, but it is difficult because the fiddle player lives in Calgary, he said adding he will be playing a couple new songs at the folk club show.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 January 2011 12:08 ) Read more...

Leeroy Stagger pleased with new CD

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Local singer/songwriter Leeoy Stagger  enjoys  the “Little Victories” of life.
 And that’s not just his excellent new CD by  the same name, which will officially be released in Canada on Feb. 5 on his own record label, Rebeltone Records.

Leeroy Stagger with the highway 3 Roots Revue. Photo by Richard AmeryHe capped off a successful year by  ending this year’s Highway 3 Roots Revue tour, with Dave McCann and John Wort Hannam, with an excellent show in Lethbridge, plus touring with his band the Wildflowers which took him all over Canada, the United States and Europe, where his CD has already been released to critical acclaim.

“I made it in my own studio in Lethbridge. It’s the first time I’ve produced a record,” he said adding he enlisted former Wildflowers and Grapes of Wrath member Kevin Kane to help as well.

“His biggest contribution was in the arrangements because he has such a great ear for different sounds, especially classic rock, while I’m more contemporary,” Stagger said adding they examined about 20 different songs for the CD, and chose 13 of them, some of which he has been playing live for a while like ‘Long Way Home,’ ‘I Believe in Love,’ and ‘George’s Blues.’

 The CD has more of a consistent sound from laid back more John Lennon inspired singer songwriter material, some country folk as well as uptempo rockers which still maintain the laid back feel.

“It’s called ‘Little Victories,’” because it’s about stepping back and wondering why something hasn’t happened and instead, looking at all the cool things that have happened,” Stagger said adidng a lot of the songs came together while on tour with the band in Europe.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 January 2011 13:01 ) Read more...
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