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CKXU celebrates independent country music at For the Record Festival

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University of Lethbridge based community radio station CKXU celebrated  Alberta]s country music underground with the For the Record Festival in the grove next to the Students Union building, Saturday, Aug. 13.

D’Orjay The Singing Shaman performing at CKXU’s  For The Record festival, Aug. 13. Phot by RichardAmery


I only caught a few acts. Approximately a hundred people lounged in front of the stage and in the beer gardens listening to an assortment of alternative country band. I missed Mariya Stokes and The Cody Hall band plus Robert Adam , who played earlier.


 Hut I was in time to catch D’Orjay the Singing Shaman. She was dressed in a pinstriped white suit and white skirt, crooning out  more gospel and pop inspired country music as a  keyboardist, fiddle player, drummer and bassist supplied the bedrock of the music and the more country leanings.


 The singing Shaman sang gorgeous, soulful melodies before making way for Amy Nelson.



Amy Nelson performing at CKXU’s  For The Record festival, Aug. 13. Phot by RichardAmery

 I always look forward to the Calgary based traditional country musician. She  observed “ it’s hard to play a 20 minute set when you’re used to  jamming on six minute songs.”

That’s exactly what she did, backed by a hot   lap steel guitarist and Lethbridge musician Clayton Smith on drums.


Amy Nelson, not Willy Nelson’s daughter Amy, had a vintage twang and played her usual entrancing set of her own take on classic country music.


She played her own music, but also covered an old spiritual originally covered by Johnny Cash.


Shaela Miller  wound up the festival.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor

Last Updated ( Thursday, 18 August 2022 16:19 )

Friends get loud to remember a friend through music

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 Things got loud at the Slice, Friday, Aug. 12 in honour of one of the loudest guys in the room— Brent Sorge, who passed away last April.


Geoff plays Brent  Sorge’s memorial , Aug. 12 bat the Slice. photo by RichardAmery

A lot of friends were attendance to remember Sorge through music. A big poster of him was pasted on the Slice speakers.


I missed Queen of the Worms’ opening set, but frontman Tyler Bird would be rocking with Public Execution a little later in the night.


 Calgary band Geoff played a massively detuned set of loud alternative rock, punk and dissonant metal music.


 The band was tight and wore their influences on their chests. The frontman, wearing a Melvins T-shirt, crouched over his mic, bellowed out vocals. The guitarist pounded out power chords on a detuned Telecaster.



Public Execution, featuring some familiar faces including Tyler Bird and Jon Vornbrock described Sorge as “ a rock star without a band, so this is his band,” as they launched into a high energy, solid set of unstoppable and brutally loud, dissonant punk and alternative rock which also had elements of the Misfits.


Jesse Hill sings Nomeansno with Public Execution, Aug. 12. photo by RichardAmery


Vornbrock broke a string in the first song, so the rest of the band improvised while he changed it.


They tore it up for the rest of the night as things got a little drunk out in a fitting tribute for a beloved member of  the Lethbridge music scene.


They brought Jesa Hill on stage to sing a sizzling version of Nomeansno’s “ Let’s Get Started Now.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Thursday, 18 August 2022 16:06 )

Jesse Northey returns with piano powered pop

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Jesse Northey made his musical bones  in Lethbridge before moving on to bigger things in Edmonton and now Toronto, so it was great to see him back for a visit and a show.


 He  played a wonderful show at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Friday , Aug 12.

Jesse Northey and Chloé Doucet at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Aug. 12. Photo by RichardAmery

 While I missed Chloë Doucet’s opening set but caught Starpainter They always put on a good show and will be playing Upside Downtown today from 5-7 p.m.


 Starpainter played their usual strong set of laid back, mid tempo country tinged rock music , playing music from their CD “Bury Me With my Family,” which they recorded with Northey.


Northey sat happily behind his keyboards playing enjoyable, groovy  ’70s style soft rock.

Starpainter at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Aug. 12. Photo by RichardAmery


“ I Am An Island,” from his new CD “Onion Knight” was a highlight as was “ Is This Real Love.”

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor 

Last Updated ( Thursday, 18 August 2022 15:48 )

Calgary’s Syryn continues exploring the realms of pirate metal on “Heads or Tails”

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Calgary metal band Syryn continue to explore the unexplored seas of pirate metal on their new sophomore CD “ Heads or Tails.

They return to the Slice, Saturday, Aug. 20 with local bands  Eons of Earth and Chernoff.


“We never set out to be a pirate metal band, it just found us. It is kind of a rare niche. I was singing about sirens and we just rolled with it,” said vocalist Sloan Voxx, adding she is pleased with the new CD, which is officially released Aug 26.


Syryn return to the Slice, Aug. 20  pHoto by RichardAmery

“ It’s our second  full length, eight track album. We continued the theme of a siren (a creature from Greek mythology known to lure sailors to their deaths with their alluring voices). But it is more from the pirate’s perspective,“ she said.


“ We veered away from the pirate theme, but we still kept it,” she added, noting  the lyrics delve deeper then just the pirate milieu.


“The lyrics usually come last. The music is first and sometimes I was writing lyrics on the way to the studio,” she said.


Syryn’s core including  guitarists Paulo Rage, Byron Gorieu and drummer Brian Campbell have been together for six years. Bassist Alexis Rose joined approximately a year ago.

“ We’re like a second family. We do things outside of just band practice too,” Voxx said.


Voxx’s powerhouse voice is at the bow of the Syryn ship.


 It has evolved naturally.


“ I started out with the Royal Conservatory of Music in piano and voice and then started singing with an a cappella singing group in school,” she said, adding she eased her way into metal.


“ My parents always listened to country music, then I moved into pop, then R and B, then classic rock, then hard rock and then metal,” she said adding seeing the band Into Eternity set her on her course.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 August 2022 11:07 ) Read more...

Tyrants of Chaos celebrate new wave of British heavy metal with third CD and videos

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Local metal stalwarts Tyrants of Chaos are excited to release their third release and first full length album “Relentless Thirst for Power” which is officially out on Aug. 19 on all platforms.

Tyrants of Chaos have released their new album Relentless thirst For Power. Photo by RichardAmery

 The new album gives a massive head banging nod to the new wave of British heavy metal icons like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. 


That means there are plenty of galloping rhythms powered by bassist Sean Simpson and drummer Ryan Dyck, twin guitar pyrotechnics from Arik Wagner and Curtiss Vaselenak, not to mention the operatic, multi-octave vocals of Phil Sirias, which go from unearthly growls to ear piercing air siren screams , sometimes in the space of a single song.


 They have released videos for  “T.O.C” and  “ Slay the Hostages,” which they shot in their north side rehearsal space earlier this summer.


“Everyone in the crowd for the ‘Slay the Hostages’ video is local, so you’ll recognize some familiar faces,” said Vaselenak, before a band rehearsal in the former Hothouse Studios.

“ A lot of people are looking at the videos and sharing them,” said lead singer Phil Sirias.


The band is excited about the new album and hired a top management team and  PR  team to promote it. It has received interest from metal and rock publications all over the world.


“It’s pretty amazing that people in  Italy and Germany are writing about us,” Vaselenak said.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 16 August 2022 17:59 ) Read more...
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