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Ghostwood studio and records to support Lethbridge music

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At one in the morning on a Friday night, the traffic lights are flashing and the north side streets are desolate but  in a basement below Luigis’s restaurant, Ghostwood studios  and  record company is buzzing with activity.
As new owner  John Paul Smith and I enter the dimly lit control room, the new bed tracks of local blues-rock duo Smokestack Jacks’ brand new full length CD  blast from the speakers, drummer Geoff McDonald is flaked out on a comfortable couch, guitarist David Bullied is admiring an array of Telecasters  and Les Pauls hanging on the wall, engineer Aaron Bay is gazing at a massive monitor watching the sound waves of the new tracks.John Paul Smith surrounded by an array of keyboards in Ghostwood Studio. Photo by Richard Amery
Smith bought the studio, formerly known as Crossroads Studios, from Dino Caravaggio who wanted to spend more time with his kids and concentrate on his new sound systems business.
“The idea is to get some of the incredible talent in Lethbridge recorded,” said Elkford born, Fernie based Smith on forming the new label with partner Aaron Bay. Smith lived in Lethbridge for eight years as well and used to play with Tod Robinson.
Smith, who fronts the JPS trio including  Dino Scavo on bass and drummer Kyle Harmon, just finished a Nov. 27 gig at the Slice. They will be filming a video at Henotic, Dec. 11. The band tours all over western Canada. So Bay will take care of the day-to-day operations of the studio, and Smith will run the company in the midst of numerous other projects.
“We’re not  doing this for the money, we both have other incomes, what we’re offering is  professional quality recordings at a reasonable price. $2,000 for an entire album? I think that’s pretty reasonable,” he said.
In addition to Smokestack Jacks, the JPS  Trio is also recording their CD in the studio. Smith said the company is interested in working with any band who is interested in making a career of music, which means they must be willing to tour on their CD, though if bands don’t want to be involved with the record label, they will still record anybody.
Last Updated ( Friday, 18 December 2009 10:40 ) Read more...

Jean Greer McCarthy films video for summer gigs

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A local performance by Lethbridge country-folk  singer songwriter Jean Greer McCarthy is a rare treat, so I  didn’t want to miss her video shoot at the Penny Coffee House, Dec. 14.Jean Greer McCarthy at the Penny Coffee House. Photo By Richard Amery
 I caught one of my favourites , “ I Own It”  from her latest CD, “Blessings and Burdens” as well as  the title track plus several sweet songs. She played a Shawn Colvin cover then took a break. Lethbridge Folk Club veteran Peter Gillian   had a quick set next which included some  Tom Waits Then McCarthy  was back to play a couple more of her originals including “Footsteps,” “Avoidance”  which was to be in the independent film Eight Dates of Paul and  ‘her mother’s favourite song,’ ‘Watch and Learn.’
 McCarthy showed off her stage presence, charisma and pretty country twanged voice.  She will be using the video on her Facebook, Myspace  and Sonicbids  pages as well as to get summer festival gigs.
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 15 December 2009 16:12 )

Skilletlikkers tear it up at the Slice

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On Dec. 12,  The Skilletlikkers heated up the Slice with some  down home alt country twang, knocking off a set of upbeat originals and covers by the like oGeorge Arsene of Skilletlikkers. Photo by Richard Ameryf Fred Eaglesmith. Their second set included  crowd favourites, including an ode to Pilsner, done originally by the Agriculture Club, and one of my favourites, an impassioned ‘I wouldn’t take a million dollars for a single  Maple Leaf,” which lead guitarist Andy McNamara sang.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 15 December 2009 15:30 )

Planet Telex has busy week

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Planet Telex played pretty much every day this week. I caught the end of their energetic opening  set for the JPS Trio, Dec. 10 but caught their entire last minute scheduled set at the Slice Planet Telex played throughout the week. Photo by Richard Amerythe next day, as Bil Hetherington and the Asian Tigers canceled their show due to the weather.
 They were in fine form, playing their  original post grunge flavoured originals for  maybe 15  brave souls who braved the cold to support local talent. They played my favourite, ‘Money Tree,’ and most of their CD ‘Nova’  then branched out into a bit of reggae, then some mellower fare, which segued directly into an amped up version of Motorhead’s  ‘Ace of Spades,’ and something which sounded like ‘Melt with You’ though I couldn’t be sure due to a poor sound mix.
Another local act, The Darby and Joan Club put on their usual set of  mesmerizing modern  ambient rock in the style of Radiohead. bassist Silvana Campus  sang some  haunting harmonies and  laid down some pretty cool bass lines. And while the band’s songs sometimes sound very similar, they have a way of enveloping the audience.
 They ended with a couple of uptempo numbers.
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 15 December 2009 14:39 )

JPS Trio exhibit diversity

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John Pual Smith and Dino Scavo. Photo by Richard AmeryAt Henotic, a sparse crowd took in a video shoot for the JPS Trio, aka Kyle Harmon, Dino Scavo and John Paul Smith. They showed they could play anything from reggae to tripped out  psychedelic jams, like their version of Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall Part 2’ which kicked off their set. John Paul Smith was using an e-bow to  make some weird sustained notes  to add to the  psychedelic feel, but soon crashed into familiar, pop tinged punk and rock which morphed into a bit of reggae then effortlessly into some  fast paced funk.
 The supremely talented rhythm section, Scavo and Harmon, locked in with each other through time tempo  changes and a variety of  different genres, styles and a variety of numbers including  originals  and covers  including an punk flavored version of Men at Work’s ‘Down Under.’ Unfortunately I couldn’t understand a lot of  Smith’s vocals, being drowned out by the band, but they were a lot of fun, had a heap of energy and  they got the crowd dancing  within the first couple of numbers.

— By Richard Amery, L.A Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 15 December 2009 14:24 )
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