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Stampeders to stop by old stomping grounds in Lethbridge next week

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Canadian Classic rock icons the Stampeders return to Lethbridge for kick off their latest tour in Lethbridge at the Yates Theatre with two  shows, May 2 and 3.

The Stampeders return to Lethbridge, May 2 and 3. Photo Submitted

 Drummer Kim Berly is looking forward to touring with long time band mates and friends, guitarist Rich Dodson and bassist Ronnie King.


The Juno Award winning band had numerous hits in the early ’70s including their  signature songs “ Sweet City Woman,”  “ Wild Eyes,” “ Carry Me,” “Devil You,” “Oh My Lady “ Then Came the White Man” and  “ Hit the Road Jack ” to name a few.

 They formed in  Calgary in the mid ’60s  trimmed down to a trio in the early ’70s, moved on the other projects, scattered all over the country then reunited in the ’90s on the Didi Petty Show and played the Calgary Stampede and have been together ever since.


“I’ve got some rehearsal under my belt already and it only noon,” said Berly from his home Vernon, B.C, where he has been living for at least a dozen years.


“Ronnies in Calgary, Richard stayed in Toronto, since we came there in 1966, that’s been his home. I lived in Toronto for 30 years. I stayed there for a long time too. and Ronnie too. He was the first to go back to Calgary. I stayed in Toronto  too. My life was there until about 14, 15 years ago and everything shifted and I started to move around, now my wife and I are here in Vernon. Which is a very nice place to be,” Berly said , adding  expect the Lethbridge shows to be full of hits.


“You’re going to be hearing all the stuff you’ve come to hear. You’re going to hear all the hit songs that people remember from the radio. And also people have told us over the  years what their favourite album cuts because a lot of the really good songs weren't’ released as singles. Maybe they were too long or maybe they just didn’t have pop hooks, but they were good songs. So we do a number of album cuts, but all the hits. So it’s a  pretty entertaining  evening , lot of stories. We’re old guys now. We just show  up with our guitars. We have a really nice sound system and a really good sound man up front. It’s easy. We somehow manage to summon 25 year old energy for 90 minutes, then we go back to the hotel and go to bed. The parties just aren”t what they used to be,” Berly laughed.


The Stampeders have a long history in Lethbridge.


“Lethbridge was prominent. One of our main gigs was the Henderson Lake Dance pavilion in the summers of 64 and 65 and it was. When we headed east at the end of June in 1966 .  We stopped there on maybe a Thursday or Friday night. I guess we’d play  on A Friday night and get a few bucks in cash for gas and then we headed on to Regina where we were supposed to play again and then head  in Ontario. We had a series of gigs booked for the whole summer and that’s a another story, he said adding that story could take a while.


“I was 16 and 17 then. There was a six piece band. It was an odd band. We had the four man instrumentals like the Beatles, two guitars bass and drums and then two guys singing up front. Two frontmen. That was the regular stuff. We‘d go play Henderson Lake. That was a summer thing so maybe  two or three times over the summer.”


 They switched to a three piece after  a few summers of that.

“That was after two years on the road. We got to Ontario with a six piece band. And basically the other guys, they were all older.  Ronnie, Rich and I were all late teenagers. I’m the youngest by a year. They would have been about 19. I was 18 when we go to Ontario. We were all summer babies. So we all had our birthdays down there. The other guys were anywhere between 25 to  27. And after a couple years on the road they realized that if it didn’t work  and we managed to get a deal with MGM records  in New York. That was what we waited for. We went down there and recorded and nothing came of it. It  didn't turn into a hit. It was just a one off. If we managed to crank out a hit single then they would do an album, but we didn’t. And the other guys decided well, this  was our  shot, we didn’t hit, we’re going home. And that]s what they did. One by one they kind of fell away. So by the autumn of 1968 we were a trio and another two-and-a-half,  three years, we had a hit record,” he said, adding things took off from there as a trio.


“ That really was the whole deal. All the years that we had hits we were a trio. We made a bigger band in the latter ’70s  and all that did was kick up our expenses. And that’s not the thing to do. Bands cycle, right, it’s a sine wave. You have your high times and your low times and we were heading into a low time. So we thought we‘d beef up the band with more players which just ate up whatever revenue we were collecting and bit by bit we fell apart at that point. Richard had gone and finally I left the band to have my own band. And the Stampeders with Ronnie went on for maybe another year. And then he was being too burnt out and went back home to Calgary and started a band there, which he maintained for a number of years. And we were actually apart for almost 14 years and got back together on the (daytime entertainment  talk show) Dini Petty show on CFTV,” Berly related.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 April 2023 16:37 ) Read more...

April ends with a little bit of everything

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April ends with lots of laughs, poetry and jazz music and a lot more.

 The week starts early with  Hamilton funnyman B.A. Johnston who returns to the Owl Acoustic Lounge with Peace for Bombs on Tuesday, April 25.

B.A. Johnston returns to Lethbridge on Tuesday, April 26. Photo by Richard Amery

 Sheena Lawson and  Randy Paskuski return to the Watertower Grill to play some jazz music, on Wednesday, April 26.


 Wednesday is an eclectic night with  the monthly poetry open mic  at the Owl Acoustic Lounge hosted by Teri Petz.


The Slice rocks on Wednesday, April 27 with Switched off and Banff based skate punk band All Time Everywhere.


 Thursday  features  a couple great shows.

 the Geomatic Attic has an excellent roots and folk concert planned with Matt Patershuk, Carter Felker and Emily Triggs.

The Slice hosts Australian  born/ Chicago based bluesman Michael Charles. The weekend is full of something for everybody.

 FOE  (Fractures of  Etalon) bring the rock to honkers Pub’s open mic on Friday, April 28.

 For something a little more low key, The Place hosts  duelling Pianos  with Canmore based Duelling Piano Piano Kings, April 28. Tickets are $15. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Theoretically  Brewing has an excellent pop/ country show with Bailey  Kate and Slow Honey.

 The Bamboo Guppies return to Casino Lethbridge’s stage to play a little bit of everything.


 The Owl Acoustic Lounge has female powered rock and roll and dark roots music with Lady Grime and Makiisma.


Last Updated ( Sunday, 23 April 2023 23:46 ) Read more...

Australian born bluesman Michael Charles pays tribute to Glen Campbell

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Australian born , Chicago based blues musician Michael Charles  is showing his love for country music, particularly the music of  Glen Campbell by giving a bluesy dusting to  Campbell’s  1968 hit “ Wichita Lineman.”

Michael Charles and his band including drummer Ryder Olle and  bassist Luke Gill return to the Slice, Thursday, April 27.


Michael Charles returns to the Slice, Thursday, April 27. Photo by Richard Amery

“ Before the pandemic,  I was playing with the same guys for 16 or 17 years.


 But the moved on, so I had to form a new band. We were new  the last time we were in Lethbridge, but we’re a lot tighter now,” Charles observed.

 He played a marathon set of uninterrupted music last May for a dismal turnout, but had a decent crowd for his last Lethbridge show in October.

He is excited about his new single— a cover of one of his musical idols, Glen Campbell’s hit “Wichita Lineman.”


“Jimmy Webb wrote the song, but Glen Campbell popularized it. I was inspired by that song  the first time I heard it when I was  13 or 14. He  is an awesome guitar player who has inspired a lot of people,” Charles said, adding Campbell played on songs by the Everly Brothers, Sonny and Cher, Frank Sinatra Merle Haggard, the Monkees and even the Beach Boys, plus Elvis Presley and plenty of other chart toppers as a member of renown Los Angeles session players the Wrecking Crew and even toured with the Beach Boys in the mid 1960s.


“ Glen Campbell was a great guitar player. In the 1970s and ’80s he was everywhere,” Charles said.

 Coincidentally,   around the same time Charles decided to record “Wichita Lineman,” he was asked to perform at the opening of the Glen Campbell Museum in Nashville in 2020, a few years after Campbell passed away from Alzheimer’s disease in 2017.


“ It was just such a cool experience. And I just enjoy playing ‘Wichita Lineman.’ it’s been part of my set for a while now,” Charles said.


“ It was a surreal experience to be there and it was an honour to be asked to play,” Charles continued.


 He  always puts his own stamp on the rare cover he performs.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 23 April 2023 23:27 ) Read more...

Multi-instrumentalist and author James Gordon to make long awaited return to Lethbridge

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Guelph based musician James Gordon is a man of many talents. He’s a playwright, Stephen Leacock award nominated novelist, and multi-instrumentalist, but above all a folk singer who gained renown with folk band Tamarack, which also featured frequent collaborator and future Cowboy Junkie Jeff Bird.

James Gordon plays Lethbridge on Saturday.Photo by Trina Koster


 Gordon knows how to turn a phrase. He has a quick wit and a way with a story all of which will be on display when he makes a long awaited return to Lethbridge for two shows including a book signing and mini concert at Analog Books at 4 p.m. and at the Lethbridge Folk Club at 8 p.m. with Reid and Writes.


 He took full advantage of not being able to tour during Covid to write and record a new album “ When I Stayed Home” on which he played all of the instruments.


He also wrote two books — his novel and accompanying soundtrack and audiobook “The Ark of the  ‘Oven Mitt,’ a “where are they now” story of a fictional ’80s band  ‘Miles and Myles” and a memoir of his life in music, making 40 albums with Tamarack and solo “The Highway and I.”


“The novel is a pretty new idea because it comes with a QR code that you scan with your phone and the music of the band plays,” he said.


“Another thing I do is I go into schools and teach a class songwriting. So I started  writing a textbook of it for teachers to use so I don’t even have to show up. I had a lot of time during the pandemic when I wasn’t touring to work on a lot of different projects. But now I’m touring again, I don't have as much time anymore to work on them,” he said.


“ I’ve been really pleased with the response (to his debut novel). It was nominated for a Stephen Leacock award for humour but that bugger Rick Mercer beat me out,” he laughed, adding there will be some overlap from the Analog Books mini-concert and the Folk Club show.


“I’m playing solo. But I’ll be featuring songs from the book’s soundtrack and from the latest album, and some old Tamarack songs that people want to hear,” he said, deciding what instruments to pack to the trek out west.

He enjoys working in different mediums like novels and songs.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 April 2023 17:28 ) Read more...

A lot of laughter and plenty of plays this week

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It’s all about dramatic arts this week. Quaint, Quirky and Queer winds up this week with multiple presentations of Improvised drama comedy  No Way Out.

Playgoers of Lethbridge has a busy weekend planned  as they showcase some of Southern Alberta’s best arts for A Taste of the Arts 100th Anniversary Festival. There will be music and drama happening all  over the Yates Theatre and Sterndale Bennett Theatre, April 21 and 22.  There is a little bit of everything.

If you missed the One Act Play Festival over Easter weekend, all three Taber Players  presentation\s will be returning. “The Break Up” is at  4:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, The winner Alternative Accommodation is  Friday at 6:45 and a Dog’s life is at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday. And the Lethbridge Shakespeare performance Society will  be performing excerpts from some of their favourites, Friday at 8:30 p.m.


 Playgoers favourite Priscilla Pringles’ Predicament is  Saturday at 7 p.m. performed by Lethbridge Musical Theatre.

 There will be Metis jigging, jazz music, Rufus the Mime and children’s music and much more.

 The Yates  Theatre will be busy as  they also host comedian Brent Butt on Sunday, April 23. Unfortunately tickets are sold out for the show.  Adam Ruby will be making you laugh at  the Onion on Saturday. Tickets are  $20 at the door, $15 in advance.


Annie -Jo Lee in A Dog’s Life, which will be part of  A Taste of Arts this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery

 Juan Forno brings the laughter to Good Times Friday and Saturday.

 Things begin with the opening ceremonies and plaque unveiling Friday at 5 p.m.


 The Yates Theatre hosts Chicks Tribute Gaslighter on Thursday, April 20 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $42.


So You Think you Can comic returns to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Wednesday, April 19.


Drunk Queer Prov returns to Good Times, April 20.

But there is also a lot of music before that .


The Owl Acoustic Lounge’s Open mic is tonight.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 18 April 2023 20:50 ) Read more...
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