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Sean Hogan plays country for a country in need

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Vancouver Island/Nashville  based country star  Sean Hogan has a  lot on his mind these days— a new CD, a new hit single and most importantly raising money for Haiti. He wants to make sure people don’t for get about the  quarter of a million people killed in  the devastating earthquake which struck the island in January.
Sean Hogan plays the Yates Centre with Duane Steele and guests, May 21.“ That’s Lethbridge times three — dead and another million displaced. And they don’t have the tax base to help them. So they’re counting on richer countries to help,” Hogan said adding the news inspired him to organize and perform in a series of shows  — Country for a Country in Need across Canada, which will raise money for the Red Cross to use to help  the Haitian people. The Lethbridge show, May 21, features Duane Steele, local talent Alyssa McQuaid plus Trevor Panczac and Rough Stock and of course Hogan.
“I was running on Vancouver Island when I keep seeing  messages to text to send $10  to Haiti, and  I thought there’s got to be more I can do than that,” he said emphasizing he isn’t getting paid for his performances. All of the money raised from these concerts goes directly  to the Red Cross.
Hogan  feels blessed with the success he has experienced in Canada, which has included  a 1997  CCMA Independent  Male Artist of the Year Award,  and two West Coast  Music Awards for best Country  Album of the year.
“They also had floods in Nashville, but I don’t want Haiti to fly beneath the radar. They are going to need help for a long time. I’ve had a lot of favourable accolades in Canada, so I feel it’s my responsibility  to help out those who need help, any way I can,” he said.
The series has started with shows in Timmins (which featured Kim Mitchell) and in Sudbury, which he hoped would have been more successful.
“So far they haven’t been bad, though I  would have thought there would have been more support. I don’t know what to expect out west,” he continued adding in addition to Lethbridge, the tour is also going to Olds on May 18, Cranbrook on May 20 and Summerland on May 26.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 May 2010 13:45 ) Read more...

Steve Coffey and the Lokels play country in the Attic

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Mike Spencer wound up his season at the Geomatic Attic, May 7, with an evening of country music courtesy of Steve Coffey and the Lokels.' A decent crowd enjoyed Coffey and the Lokels including Lance Loree, Steve Coffey stops the band mid song and Lance Loree grins. Photo by Richard AmeryRuss Baker and David Bauer switching through a variety of  different instruments to back Coffey’s original country/folk flavoured music.
 Coffey told stories and sang about small towns and small town people as well as many tracks off the band’s latest CD ‘Twirlin’ Girl Boogie,’ including the title track and a very cool version of Johnny Cash’s ‘Get Rhythm.’ One of my favourites  included the line ‘It’s the artist’s job to contradict, not  the politicians.’

He told stories about being part of the artist in residence program in local schools and asking the students if they knew what a caboose was, which inspired them to play a song about a caboose crew after they said they had never heard of  a caboose.
He also performed a touching version of his song ‘Two Brothers.’

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 May 2010 11:41 ) Read more...

John Henrys and Madison Violet rock it roots style

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The Slice had one of the coolest roots - rock shows of the year, Thursday, May 6.The John Henrys joined Madison Violet on stage for an encore of their song ‘Small of my Heart.’ Photo by Richard Amery
 A good sized crowd enjoyed Ottawa roots rock band the John Henrys who brought back the spirit of early Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers mixed with a touch of the Byrds. They had cool down to earth vocal melodies, some harmonized guitars and catchy songs. There was superb organ playing behind it all.
Despite suffering from colds, headliners Madison Violet displayed superb vocal harmonies and impressive musicianship on a variety of  instruments.

Some of my favourites from their new CD  ‘No Fool For trying’ including ‘Baby in the Black and White’ were highlights of the show. ‘I Ran’ was another highlight as was a moving version of “The Woodshop’ which was inspired by the murder of  Brenley MacEachern’s brother in Toronto.
 Lisa MacIsaac played a variety of instruments including some mandolin and alot of cool fiddle.
And they brought the John Henrys back on stages  for an encore of ‘Small of my Heart,’ which sounded fantastic with a backing band.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 May 2010 11:30 )

South Country Fair Songwriting Contest finals this week

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There are lots of awesome local shows by local bands happening this week.

The Shaela Miller Threesome plays the Slice, Thursday, May 13 with the Record Holder. And the Skilletlikkers play on Friday, May 14 with the Granzow Brothers.Heather Blush caps off the South Country Fair Songwriting  cometition finals, May 15. Photo submitted

Probably the biggest show this weekend is at the Slice, May 15 where the winners of this year’s South Country Fair Competition will be chosen. All of the finalists will be performing their songs for a panel of judges and Heather Blush and the Uppercuts will be closing off the night.
The semi-finalists are, for the beginner’s category, are: Ryan Dyck — Four White Walls (Hospice Blues);
Jolene Draper — Deal Breakin' Shake; Steve Foord — The Cricket Song (death to the san!); Bruce Allan Roome — Ride Away (Why Should I Stay); Robert Mulder — One of Those Days; Roy Sternhagen & Rick Mogg — Cowboy's Dream; Tyler Bird — Sleep; Brenna Lowrie — The Slipping.
 The the experienced category, or artists who have released a commercial CD, the semi-finalists are: Jon Martin — Razor Heart Strings; Ira Provost — True North's Strong; Richard Leigh Doerksen — Love Shapes; Gaven Moore — The Wise Open Eyes; Karen Romanchuk — Go On Now Go; Sidney York — Roll With Me; Cort Delano — Finest Suit in Town and Chris Gheran — No Milk Today.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 May 2010 10:57 ) Read more...

Kelliane excited about new CD

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Lethbridge pop rocker Kelliane Litchfield is excited about releasing her new CD, ‘Say It’ which was officially released at a CD release party April 30 at the Blarney Stone.
Kelliane performing at Mood, Jan. 29. Photo by Richard Amery“It was standing room only, so that surprised  us,” Kelliane said, adding her band, including husband Curtis Litchfield on guitar and vocals, drummer/guitarist/vocalist David LeBel, Kate LeRocque on keyboards and vocals and Jaron Hearty on bass and cello, recorded the CCD in their own studio with Curtis and LeBel handling recording and producer duties.

“It’s been about two years since I formed the band and we began writing songs,” she said adding after many years of playing popular  cover hits all over the world, including six months overseas  playing in Asia with a Phillipine band which toured South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the Phillipines.
“My belief  from the beginning was if you get a record deal, they provide the songs, so I just performed cover material but at the same time I started singing jingles and met Grammy award winning producer Ian Price,” she said adding she just decided to start writing her own material.

“ I decided to just do it and put the music out there. And if people like it, then great. If not, it doesn’t matter. I wrote all of the lyrics and the band does all of the instrumentation,” she said noting  most of the 100 CDs they had pressed sold out at the  release party.
“We thought we’d  have enough to sell throughout the summer,” she continued adding the band will get more CDs done.

“We have another order placed. The goal now is to build a following and get some exposure,” she said adding they are in the midst of booking gigs for the summer which they can fit in around their day jobs. She enjoys playing in a band with her husband.
“It gives us something to do on the weekend,” she laughed.
 The music has a strong upbeat  Pat Benetar early ’80s  rock sound to it, though  she grew up listening to more modern Top 40 music as her father used to be a DJ on The River 107.7 FM. So she is influenced by everything from Christina Aguilera to 30 Seconds From Mars.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 May 2010 10:04 ) Read more...
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