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Black Thunder ready to rumble through Lethbridge again

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Regina based progressive rock trio Black Thunder return to Lethbridge to rock the Slice again with the Supervoid, Feb. 18.Black Thunder guitarist Tony Frank. Photo by Richard Amery

 They released their most recent CD “III” last July and are already working on new music.
“We’re just starting a new album. We’ve been playing these songs for a while now so I need to play something new,” said guitarist Tony Frank, who has been playing with drummer Neil Lutz since 2009. bassist  Dustin Wiebe joined a few years later.
“We toured on it and sold a few copies, so I’m happy with it. People seem to like it, so I think it’s doing  okay,” said Frank, taking a quick break from his day job building commercial doors and windows.

“ Our drummer just got a job a a brewery, so we get discounts on booze and our bass player works  in scaffolding,” Frank said, adding they need to work around touring schedules, recording, rehearsing and songwriting around day jobs.

“We practice in the basement where there are a lot of folk and acoustic shows, so often security form the show upstairs will come down and tell us to turn down, which is disappointing when you get into the zone. But you can’t get mad about these things,” he said.
“We loving doing this and making music, so we always make time for it. So we make it work,” he continued.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 14 February 2017 10:16 ) Read more...

Kayla Luky and Rotary Park play plenty of country for a Monday night

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Monday night shows can be challenging, but the Owl Acoustic Lounge pepped up their usual open mic with  a couple of excellent acts, Jan 30 — the Kayla Luky Band and Rotary Park, who will be back at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Feb. 10.Kayla Luky playing the Owl Acoustic Lounge. Photo by Richard Amery

I hadn’t seen Grand View, Manitoba country musician Kayla Luky for a while , so I was pleased to arrive in the middle of  a hot set of country music from Luky and her talented band including bassist Sean Burns, drummer Daniel John David, guitarist Tony Dylan, who kept making Luky giggle on stage and pedal steel player Matthew Filopoulos.

 They played several heartfelt Luky penned, twangy originals which sounded like a mix of Margo Price and Kasey Chambers.

 Their covers  for the most part, focused on drinking songs including “Something About a Beer” by Dale Watson and George Jones/ Willie Nelson’s “ Gotta Get Drunk.” and Merle Haggard’s “ Mixed Up Mess of a Heart.”
Her cover of Tammy Wynette’s “Your Girl’s Gonna Go Bad,” was one of several Margo Price sounding songs.

Rotary Park are always a pleasure to see and always prove they are more than just a bluegrass band Alex Ginella (vocals/guitar/fiddle/harmonica); Nicki McRae - (mandolin/vocals); Liam Testa - (vocals/guitar); Matt Coldwell (vocals/double bass) and vocalist/ banjo player Tanner Day switched instruments through the set as often as they switched into  a cornucopia of different genres.

They played traditional bluegrass then segued into ’50s doo wop which showed off their soulful vocal harmonies. They even turned Pink Floyd’s “Time” into a spooky bluegrass song, adding layers of multi-instrumental sound. “Time” segued into a peppy Celtic, fiddle powered jig. Throughout they sang gorgeous vocal harmonies gathered around one microphone set centre stage.

Rotary Park playing the Owl Acoustic Lounge. Photo by Richard Amery
Everybody got to solo, showing off their musical chops on pretty much every song.

A Django Reinhardt cover gave Alex Ginella to show off his exceptional jazz chops.

— By Richard Amery, L.A Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 08 February 2017 11:32 )

Derina Harvey Band rock Celtic music for full house

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Celtic bands always equal a good and often drunken time. So transplanted Newfoundlanders, Edmonton based the Derina Harvey Band did not disappoint as they brought a maritime Celtic kitchen party to the Slice, Saturday, Jan. 28.

Derina Harvey and Matt O’Connor playing the Slice, Jan. 28. Photo by Richard Amery
 The place was almost full with an enthusiastic crowd of dancers and high pitched whistlers who couldn’t get enough of the affable Derina Harvey, who punctuated a set full of energetic Celtic Rock and traditional co Celtic tunes with calls of “Sociable.”

 They played beloved classics like  Whiskey in the Jar,” and put their own stamp on the Pogues’ “Dirty Ol Town” and “The Night Pat Murphy Died,” plus the more traditional tracks of their new CD “Rove and Go,” and the more rock tinged debut CD.
 All of the songs featured a lot of impressively fine fiddling from Matt O’Connor and absolutely perfect guitar solos for Scott Greene.

She got the crowd to shout along with her on “You’re Always Welcome At Our House,” which was a highlight of the first set as was “Right Up Your Kilt,” one of several songs that had the s audience shouting along.
They played much of the new CD including the title track “ Rove and Go,” a hot version of “Sarah,” and a fun version of my favourite, the Arrogant Worms’ “Last Saskatchewan Pirate,” which was one of several songs which had the crowd singing along.

 By the time they played Last Saskatchewan Pirate, much of the audience was whirling around in front of the stage and dancing in between the tables, mostly to the more upbeat numbers from their debut CD like “ Wild Rover, “ Excursion Around the Bay” and Mull River Shuffle.”
 Though they also slowed down for a handful of slow dancing ballads including a new song “Fisherman’s Daughter.”

They went country for a moment by covering “Folsom Prison Blues,” which featured a lot of fine fiddle playing and Greene digging in for his guitar solo.

 They ended that set with O’Connor showing his chops on a hot version of fiddle opus “Orange Blossom Special.”
The second set featured more uptempo tracks, opening with “Shipping Up to Boston,” and included the Night Pat Murphy Died and “Rove and Go” as well as put their own twist on Ron Hynes’ “ Sonny’s Dream.”
The picked up the tempo with more hot fiddle playing on “ The Devil Went Down To Georgia.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 08 February 2017 10:54 )

Lots of country and big fundraisers this week

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After a busy week of pop music with USS, Repartee and Sonreal, it is back to the country this week.

The Groove Apostles play CKXU Loves you this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery
 Red Deer’s Boots and the Hoots return to Lethbridge to play the Windy City Opry at the Slice, Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. sharp.
 They play the lighter, more funny side of country music. The Danny Dyck trio open the show. Admission is $10.
 There is a lot of country music on the weekend. If you missed Alyssa McQuaid and Coyote Junction at Coyote Joes two weeks ago, they play Casino Lethbridge on Friday night, Feb. 10.

 Vancouver “saloon folk” collective Jack Mercer and the Whiskey Bandits will light up the Slice, Feb 10 with upright bass and plenty of fiddle powered roots music. Admission is seven dollars.
If you missed bluegrass band Rotary Park at the Owl Acoustic Lounge last week, they return to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Feb. 10 to rock your world with bluegrass music, a touch of soul and maybe even some revamped Pink Floyd. The show begins at 9 p.m. There is no cover charge.

 Down the road at the Empress Theatre, Feb. 11, John Wort Hannam hosts Songs For Ken, his third annual fundraiser for ALS. Performers include the Polyjesters, Brooke Wylie, Tanner James, Maureen Chambers, the Sadlier Brown Band and artist Randall Wiebe. Tickets are $25. The show begins at 7:30 p.m.

If you are not a country music fan, there is plenty more to do.

The Lethbridge Public Library has a great evening planned for Leonard Cohen fans, Feb. 10. James Oldenburg will be playing Cohen songs followed by a screening of  the movie “Ladies and Gentlemen… Leonard Cohen” and an open mic for Leonard Cohen poetry. The evening begins at 7 p.m. There is no cover charge.

Local classic rock band the Chevelles return to Coyote Joes, Feb. 10 to play a fundraiser for the Lethbridge Thrashers Atom hockey team. The show begins at 9:30 p.m. There is a cover of $10.
 The Lethbridge Symphony presents their fourth annual Love Notes fundraiser, Feb. 11 at Casa. The theme is “With Love, From Broadway.”
An evening full of dinner, dancing and champagne, silent and live auctions and live music begins at 5 p.m. Tickets are $150.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 07 February 2017 10:39 ) Read more...

Jack Mercer and the Whiskey Bandits make up for quiet year

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Vancouver based saloon roots band Jack Mercer and the Whiskey Bandits are excited to get back on the road and “get in your ears” during a quick western Canadian tour which begins in Lethbridge at the Slice, Friday, Feb. 10.

Jack Mercer and the Whiskey Bandits make their first Lethbridge visit this week. Photo submitted
 This year they are going to make up for a quiet year last year which was mostly spent in the studio working on new projects including a new EP, a new live album and a new single they are going to record with renown producer Garth Richardson and release under Universal — to top prize for winning the Roxy Launch Project.

“We haven’t decided what song it will be. We’re doing the pre-production for it. We’ll go through our catalogue and let the producer pick the song,” said Mercer, who is happy to take some time to work on music in between shifts as a tug boat captain.
“It is a cool top prize through his studio Nimbus Recording because it also gives students a chance to learn,” he said.

 Mercer was forced to take some away from touring after blowing out his voice after their last cross-Canada tour.“ I blew out my vocal cords. I had a problem with the nodes shutting down my vocal cords. I couldn’t sing for eight months. It was really difficult because singing is my release and having that taken away was tough. I can’t say it was for the better, but it was a real learning experience. I know to take myself better,” he said, adding his voice is completely healthy now.
“Last year was more of a step back. We only play three shows in Vancouver a year, but we felt we were starting to get a really good buzz going for us,” he said, adding that he was pleased to be able to spend time in the studio with the new projects.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 07 February 2017 10:24 ) Read more...
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