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Lots of jazz and strings for Saturday at South Country Fair

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I only caught part of  Saturday afternoon, July 19 at South Country Fair, but caught most of the acts I wanted to.


 I arrived just in time to catch the last song froThe Whiskey Sheikhs played energetic sting band music on the East Stage, July 19. Photo by Richard Amerym Declan O’Donovan, one of several pianists performing for this year's fair. And while I missed Stephanie Nilles’ Friday night set, I got to hear a couple of her piano powered folk songs including one about shooting bankers and another  dark murder ballad during an excellent workshop with Tin and the Toad on Saturday afternoon.


Several of the bands I really wanted to see were on the East Stage.
Blackberry Wood played a colourful, energetic set of jazz fuelled folk fun, which had much of the audience dancing in front of their stage to upbeat, toe tapping,  originals about pirates and circus folk plus crowd favourites like their cover of Tom Waits’  “I Don’t Want to Grow Up” and their quirky cover of the Star Wars “Cantina Theme.”


 Old time stringband the Whiskey Shiekhs provided another great show on the EaBlackberry Wood's Kris Wood. Photo by Richard Ameryst stage. They were reminiscent of one of the best stringbands of all time the Mississippi Shieks. So there was plenty of fiddle,  banjo, stand up  bass, stellar vocal harmonies and a whole lot of sweaty energy on stage. One of the members even played the spoons on his thigh  for extra percussion. Their  multi-part vocal harmonies were absolutely impressive.


 Back on the  South Stage, Geoff Berner and Kris Demeanor were playing politically charged and often politically incorrect folk songs. Berner's  Jewish  protest songs  “Daloy Polizei” was an instant highlight as he had most of the seated crowd shouting along with him “ f..k the police” while kids obliviously danced to the upbeat accordion.

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 20 July 2014 10:23 ) Read more...
 

Hot afternoon at South country Fair

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I only caught part of a windy Saturday afternoon, July 19 at South Country Fair, but caught all of the acts I wanted to.


 I arrived just in time to catch the last song from Declan O’Donovan, one of several pianists performing for this year's fair. And while I missed Stephanie Niles’ Friday night set, I got to hear a couple of her piano powered folk songs during an excellent workshop with Tin and the Toad on Saturday afternoon.


Several of the bands aI really wanted to see were on the East Stage.
Blackberry Wood  put on a colourful, energetic set of jazz fuelled folk fun, which had much of the audience dancing in front of their stage to upbeat, toe tapping,  originals about pirates and circus folk plus crowd favourites like their cover of Tom Wait’s  “I Don’t Want to Grow Up” and their quirky cover of the Star Wars “Cantina Theme.”


 Old time stringband the Whiskey Shiekhs  provided another great show on the East stage. They were reminiscent of one of the best stringbands of all time the Mississippi Shieks. So there was plenty of fiddle, banjo, stand up bass, stellar vocal harmonies and a whole lot of sweaty energy on stage. One of the members even played the spoons on his thigh  for extra percussion. Their  multi-part vocal harmonies were absolutely impressive.


 Back on the  South Stage, Geoff Berner and Kris Demeanor were playing politically charged and often politically incorrect folk songs. Berner's  Jewish  protest songs  “Daloy Polizei” was an instant highlight has he had most of the seated crowd shouting along with him “ f..k the police” while kids obliviously danced to the upbeat accordion.
 Catchy punk folk shared the stage with wry, sarcastic “poetically incorrect”  and sometimes self deprecating humour and politically charged rants about abusive police officers, unions and  greedy oil companies and corporations not to mention celebrities coming to Alberta to protest them.
 The duo work well together. Berner can make a person laugh their head off while simultaneously opening their minds.
 They introduced an old Pete Seeger song “What Side Are You On”  with  Kris Demeanour teasing the B.C based Berner about coming to Alberta like Neil Young and protesting oil companies. They had the audience singing along with them for it.
 Unfortunately I missed a hot  night time line up, but thanks to the beauty of workshops, I’ll  catch the Good Co and Bend Sinister on the last workshop of the day on the south stage at 4:20. They will be joined by northern B.C based ukulele powered folk duo Twin Peaks, who also have a solo set on the East stage at 2:15 p.m. I’ll also be able to catch Declan O Donovan with Kris Demeanor and Clinton St. John who open the day with a 12:30 workshop on the South Stage.
 There is an excellent closing day at South Country Fair with performances by folk singer David Newberry, alt country trio Steve Brockley and Australian musician Kim Churchill among the highlights.



 South Stage

 Noon: workshop: Maria Dunn, Declan O’Donovan, Kris Demeanor, Clinton St. John
1:40 p.m.: Steve Brockley (Alt country) http://stevebrockley.com/
 2:50 p.m.: Poet Dia Davina
3:15 p.m.: Kim Churchill (folk/ blues) http://kimchurchill.com/
 4:20 p.m.: Workshop Bend Sinister, Good Co. Twin Peaks

East Stage


Noon: Little Gill's Big Grass jam
1:05 p.m. David Newberry (folk/ singer songwriter) http://www.davidnewberry.ca/about.html
 2:10 p.m, Twin Peaks (folk) http://www.twinpeaksmusic.ca/band-bio
3:15 p.m.  The Crooked Brothers (Alt Country) http://crookedbrothers.com/bio.php

— By Richard Amery, L.A.. Beat Editor

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South Country Fair 2014 gets off to a rocking start

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The South Country Fair community came out in force for the first night of the long standing beloved  Fort Macleod  folk festival, July 18 at the Fort Macleod Fish and Game Park.
The South Country Fair is a place for new friends to meet and old friends to reconnect.Little Miss Higgins gets the crowd to sing along with Bargain Shop Panties. Photo by Richard Amery


 The lovely and talented bassist Terri Upton (of Beekeeper, the Gruff and numerous other acts)  is playing with David Newberry this weekend. I got to visit with  Cowpuncher bassist Shari Rae who is just hanging out and got to see some people I haven’t seen in years.


 I don’t usually make it to the Fair on the first night due to other commitments and often stormy weather, but as soon as I was done performing in Shakespeare in the Park's production of A Twelfth Night, I rushed west just in time to catch one of my favourite acts — Little Miss Higgins backed by the Winnipeg Five aka The F-Holes.


 They had a thousand some people dancing in front of the stage to toe tapping jazz tinged folk music, mostly from their most recent Juno nominated CD “The Bison Ranch Recording Sessions.”

Cousin harley's paul Pigat. Photo by Richard Amery
 Little Miss Higgins aka Jolene Higgins a was at her best, crooning her original folk in the sultry/ sassy way she does.


“Dead Cow Hill” was an early highlight as was the catchy “ Chateau Poulet.”


Upright bassist Patrick  Alexandre sang harmonies and grooved while Jimmie James McKee exchanged his trumpet for a euphonium to add a little extra oom pah pah. She sang a sultry Memphis Minnie cover as the sun set and the brand new BFL switched on, shining green rays of  light across the ecstatic audience.


 That was just in time for the band to play a crowd favourite and request “Bargain Shop Panties” which she had most of the audience sing along with.The F-Holes Jimmie James McKee. Photo by Richard Amery


 After a quick changeover,  Russian/ Mongolian world jazz act Namgar group took the stage. The skies opened up upon them at their last South Country Fair appearance approximately five years ago, but it was clear sailing  on this clear albeit smoky night. 

Some of the audience members remembered them from that performance.

It was a whole new experience for those of us who  either missed the  performance or didn’t bother sticking it out in the rain last time.
 They were unusual.

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 19 July 2014 14:28 ) Read more...
 

Wild T and the Spirit have got the rhythm and the blues

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It's about time Wild T and the Spirit had a good crowd in Lethbridge.
 While their July 10 show at the Slice wasn’t packed, they had a respectable sized Thursday night crowd of approximately 30 people.
 Jolene Draper, Steve Martin andWild T and the Spirit. Photo by Richard Amery Dano's new folk rock quartet Tangible Radiance opened first with a sweet set powered by Jolene Draper's beautifully unique, reedy voice.


 They sang a variety of  covers from Fleetwood Mac and pop stars like Rihanna and jazzy/ folky originals and ended with a solid cover of Lady Gaga's “Born This Way” and cut loose on Janis Joplin's “Piece of My Heart.”


Wild T and the Spirit took the stage soon after that with a huge, extended set of blues, funk, jokes and jam rock music.
 They played for at least three hours straight without taking a break and barely pausing for a breath.


Wild T aka Toney Springer began a freewheeling night of blues guitar and groovy bass with “Call Me The Boogie Man” and played one of his ’90s hits “I’ve Got the Rhythm, You’ve got the Blues.”
The born entertainer definitely had the best kind of  the blues — the kind that make you smile —  as he beamed and mugged all the way through his set of psychedelic blues guitar. He jumped and thrashed around and played guitar with his teeth before getting funky.


 And you can’t have a Wild T and the Spirit without hearing some Jimi Hendrix, so he launched into an extended jam on “All Along the Watchtower and included a few bars of the Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas” as he quipped “In my life it's Jolene  Draper and her band Tangible Radiance. photo by Richard Ameryalways Christmas.”
Another long jam came on his catchy tune “Life Goes On” on which he riffed and scatted, adding a few lines about the Beatles’ song “Ob la di ob la da.”


 He was just getting started as he told the crowd he was going to take them to Jamaica as he played Bob Marley’s “Everything's Gonna Be All Right,” on which he added a few bars of “Sleigh Bells.”


 He played a brand new blues rocker “Hooked” and followed it up with an extended jam on an older song “Yvonne.”


 It was time to get funky again as he played James Brown’s “ Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” after joking “James is actually Brown, But Barry wasn’t White, though Betty is. And Neil isn’t Young.”


A huge jam on “Bear Cat” not only included a drum solo and a bass solo but segued into a completely different song about Miley Cyrus' twerking, which lead to Wild T twerking with his guitar.


 It was time to look to the past as  he played a song “from the 1800s when gas was cheap” as he tore into another big ’90s hit “Midnight Blues.”
He ended the show around 2 a.m. with another long jam on “Mean Mean Mama,” and called it a night after outlasting most of the audience with Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 July 2014 12:32 )
 

Baby Eagle lets the Constantines Steve Lambke fly solo

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The Constantines' Steve Lambke aka Baby Eagle brought his solo project to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, July 9.

Steve Lambke of Baby Eagle. photo by Richard Amery
 There weren’t very many people there to hear it, but those who were there, listening to him strum jazz tinged country/ folk music on a battered electric guitar, were listening intently to him.


 He told a few stories and played his quirky and poetic songs like “Fishermen are Fish,” and a song about his 1994  Plymouth Acclaim.


 His set was low key, intimate and mellow as he whispered his vocals and played soft guitar. Another highlight was his song about getting thrown out of a Legion in rural Saskatchewan.


“ But that's lies, all lies,” he quipped.

—By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 July 2014 12:10 )
 
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