It’s all about country music this week with a touch of rock and Pretty, Witty and Gay
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 11:42
If you like country music, this is the perfect week for you with a couple of excellent country and roots acts coming through Lethbridge. For real, authentic cowboy music, check out a special show at the Lethbridge Folk Club Wolf’s Den, March 1 with New Mexico based musician/ college professor/ actor and cowboy Steve Cormier, who returns to Canada for the first time in almost 30 years. He will be playing with Peter Paul Van Camp.
The other big country show is Regina musician Blake Bergland who will be bringing his band plus Manitoba musician Quinton Blair to the Slice, Feb. 26.
The Owl Acoustic Lounge also has some excellent roots acts as they welcome back Kampukasing born musician Al Lukas on Feb. 28. The night before, the Owl Acoustic Lounge welcomes Warspite, Alberta musician Jake Ian to the stage. You can laugh out February with Toronto based, Cape Breton raised comedian Ron James who performs the at the Yates Theatre, Feb. 28. The show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $55.
Blake Berglund excited to turn the tables over in Lethbridge show
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 11:37
Saskatchewan country musician Blake Berglund may have started his music career playing grunge inspired rock music, but discovered a love for ’60s and ’70s country music. “ I listen to a lot of Kris Kristofferson. I listen to everything from Roger Miller to Willie Nelson and of course Kris Kristofferson,” he said from his home in Regina. He comes to the Slice with his band and Manitoba country musician Quinton Blair, Feb. 26.
“ We’ve been on the road for 10 years,” he said. He has sold 15,000 copies of his earlier albums off the stage. He noted everything came together on a new live album called “Jasper” he recorded at the Jasper Legion, which originally was put together for a free promotion for a beer company. However when that fell through, he decided to release it and tour on it anyway. It includes a lot of the songs from his previous album “Coyote” and his previous two Eps.
Berglund hit his stride with the last CD “Coyote,” which combined a lot of his different influences. “ We really twanged it up. But there’s western blues and I’ve always been a fan of ’90s country like Alan Jackson,” he said. He credited Jasper Legion’s Ken Kuzminski for the live album.
“He called the company up and got it all started,” he said adding Kuzminski has been a huge long time supporter of Berglund and many other country musicians.
Steve Cormier back on the road singing cowboy songs
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 11:17
New Mexico based cowboy singer Steve Cormier has seen and done it all.
He grew up in Minnesota, has competed in rodeos as a bareback rider, played hockey, has acted in movies and TV shows like Breaking Bad toured as a musician, retired from that to become a college history professor and is back on the road to play a couple of Lethbridge shows, March 1 at the Lethbridge Folk Club Wolf’s den and a week later for a Home Routes Concert at Valerie McQuaid’s house, March 7. “ I’ll be playing the Folk club with Peter Paul Van Camp. We’ll each do a set. Then I’ll be back in a week to do a whole show,” Cormier observed from his New Mexico home.
“ People tell me I’ve had an interesting life, but it’s not over yet,” he continued adding he is looking forward to coming back to Canada especially with Peter Van Camp.
“I don”t think there is a better MC than Peter Paul Van Camp. I’m picking him up at the bus station,” he said. “I’ve got 10 concerts for Home Routes in Edmonton, Evansburg, High River, Lethbridge, Eastend, Saskatchewan, Medicine Hat, Rocky Mountain House, Olds and Okotoks,” he observed.
“ This is the first time I’ll have played Canada since the ’80s, he said adding he used to hit the summer festival circuit including Winnipeg Folk Festival, Edmonton Folk Festival and Toronto Folk Festival.
“ I don’t think I’ve ever played a bad show in Canada. I haven’t toured Canada since 1987. I took off 22 years to become an academic to be a college history professor,” he said. He is excited to play Alberta because of the cowboy history. “ I play working cowboy songs, not Hollywood cowboy songs, there is a difference” Cormier said.
Rotary Park excited to play energetic bluegrass for Lethbridge Folk Club
Thursday, 19 February 2015 16:43
Calgary bluegrass band Rotary Park have found their niche since recording their CD last year.
“We’ve been together for three years. Since releasing the album last year, we play a lot,” said Rotary Park double bassist Matt Coldwell, who brings the band to the Cave at Lethbridge College for a Feb. 21 show for the Lethbridge Folk Club.
“ We have a regular gig at Original Joes in Calgary. We play a lot of corporate gigs and we play a lot during Stampede. We play the Windward stage during Stampede,” he said.
He noted the band members, Alex Ginella - Vocals/Guitar/Fiddle/Harmonica; Colton Daigle - Vocals/Mandolin/Percussion; Liam Testa - Vocals/Guitar and Tanner Day - Vocals/Banjo, all have a variety of influences.
“ I always liked people like Neil Young and the Eagles and ended up getting into Flatt and Scruggs. They always had lots of high energy,” he continued adding the blend classic bluegrass with modern and classic rock influences.
Paul Reddick and Steve Marriner blow beautiful upbeat blues
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 12:15
For me, February is a great time to sing the blues or else hear a couple of Canada’s best sing it.
So I was simultaneously pleased and disappointed to hear harp-meister Paul Reddick and MonkeyJunk’s Steve Marriner backed by drummer Peter Hendrickson at the Slice, Feb. 12.
Disappointed because there were only 25 or so people there to see them and they deserve 10 times more and pleased because it was about three times as many as were there the last time Paul Reddick came to town and pleased because, like I said, Marriner and Reddick are among Canada’s best blues rockers. Bassist Chris Bryszyki was touring with them for most of their tour but had headed home to Edmonton for another gig. That left Marriner to hold down the bottom end with his baritone guitar as well as lead duties. He also took a turn on harp, playing a beautiful harmonized harp on Reddick’s song “Villanelle,” to end their first set.
Marriner a adds a different string to traditional blues with the baritone guitar, adding an almost countryish feel to it. He is a phenomenal musician. He is a talented guitarist and also has a gorgeous tenor voice which showed on a couple of songs.
Reddick and company are far from traditional bluesmen, though they are firmly rooted in the traditional but both take it into strange and very cool new directions. Drummer Peter Hendrickson kept everything grounded solidly in rock and roll music.
Reddick showed he has a distinctive voice throughout as he played songs from throughout his career. The trio have some impressive musical chops which they showed on a couple of impressive jams including “ Working at the Smokehouse” which ended the first set.
They took a break during which they lost a lot of their audience who left because they had to get up early for work. But by the time the second set rolled around they had acquired an almost entirely new audience which was great to see.
I arrived back in time to hear the end of an extended jam on “Whiskey is the Life of a man” from Reddick’s most recent CD “Wishbone.”
Reddick played some wicked harp and turned lead vocal duties to Marriner for a couple of songs including the catchy “Let’s Do the Wrong,” which sounded a little like Dr. John. They wound down their second set with a close to 10 minute jam on a cover of Lazy Lester’s “ I’m A Lover Not A Fighter” featuring vocals by Marriner which sounded similar to JW Jones’ vocals and a beautiful harp solo from Reddick plus another uptempo drum solo from drummer Peter Hendrickson. They wound up their show just after 1 a.m. with Reddick’s own “ I’m A Criminal” from his 2001 CD “Rattlebag.”
— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 February 2015 12:23 )