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Shaela Miller showcasing roots musicians with Windy City Opry

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If you love roots and folk music, mark  every second Wednesday on you calendar and  make a point of being at the Slice for the Windy City Opry.Shaela Miller will host  the Windy City Opry. Photo by Richard Amery

 Local musician Shaela Miller is organizing this special showcase of touring roots/ folk/ country musicians.

 The first Windy City Opry, Dec. 14 at the Slice, features Calgary musician Amy Nelson plus Saskatoon’s Rugged Little Thing and new tour mate Eliza Mary Doyle , who was just in Lethbridge with the Dead South.

“This one is a banjo showcase and it’s all female artists,” said Miller, who was inspired to start the Windy City Opry by Boots and The Hoots who host a regular Pinecone Opry in Red Deer.
“It will mostly feature out of town bands. It will be a showcase of roots music including roots and folk music,” Miller said.

“Boots and the Hoots do the Pinecone Opry in Red Deer, which is where I got the idea from.  My band has played it a couple of times.

They play at every one of their Oprys. I may play one or two songs, but this is all about the touring artists and giving them a good night here, it’s not about me,” she continued, adding she chose to hold  the Windy City Opry on a weekday to catch touring acts on the way to play bigger centres like Calgary on weekends.
“I love booking bands and bands contact me anyway  about booking a gig,” Miller said.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 08 December 2016 15:06 ) Read more...

Charlie Major plays all his major hits

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A lot of people figured  listening to laid back country music from one of Canada’s best, was the best way to spend a Sunday night.Charlie Major entertaining a Sunday night crowd with his hits. Photo by Richard Amery
 So a good sized, mostly listening audience gathered at Average Joes, Nov. 20 to hear Ottawa based country star Charlie Major who charted a number of hits in the mid-’90s. He played pretty much all of them.
Major, dressed simply in  a red plaid shirt and jeans, started strong with “(I Do It) For the Money” and “Some Days are Better.”
 The show was just  Major and his voice and guitar, who showed a great song shines through acoustically.

 He told a story about touring Alberta in 1980 and 81 and played a wistful version of “ Someday I’m Gonna Ride In a Cadillac” from his “Lucky Man” album. He added a harmonica solo to it, which drew applause from the crowd.
 He played several cuts from that album including “Solid as a Rock,” “Life’s Too Short,” and “ I’m Somebody.”

While the show focused on earlier material, there was also some newer songs like “Side By Side” and “ One of the Lost and Lonely.”
 He admonished the audience for talking during his set before playing another wistful number “My Brother and Me.”

He wound down the show with  “Edge of the World” and sent everyone home happy with his first big hit “ It Can’t Happen To Me.”
Up and comer Mark Maxwell opened a pleasant night of picking and grinning with  a solid acoustic set of mostly covers including Jamey Johnson’s “ In Colour” and Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings’ Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys,” as well as some Garth Brooks.

—By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 November 2016 13:30 )

No Devil Lived On show love for stoner rock

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It is always great to see a new local rock band playing , so I was happy to catch No Devil Lived On at the Slice, Nov. 19.

I arrived near the end their set in time to hear  massive, low, heavy stoner rock riffs, reminiscent of Black mastiff, Mastodon and other Black Sabbath, ’70s inspired bands.

No Devil Lived on show love for 1970s riff rock. Photo by Richard Amery
 Vocally, they sounded more like Volbeat with a touch of Tool. They played a Tool cover, which drew a lot of applause from the intently watching audience.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 November 2016 13:02 )

Valdy shares songs and plenty of stories with Lethbridge Folk Club

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Lately Lethbridge Folk Club Shows  at the Lethbridge College Cave have become real events.

Valdy gets wrapped up in a story he is delivering to a sold out  Lethbridge Folk Club Show, Nov. 19 at the Lethbridge College Cave. Photo by Richard Amery
 I caught the end of an intimate, sold out show from Canadian folk icon Valdy, Nov. 19. I missed all of his more popular songs as well as the opening set from Jolene Draper and the Inquisitive Few, but  that was all right.

I arrived in the middle of a  speech about the American election and the need for more empathy, which lead to an explanation of a song “Save the Rookery” about saving herons living on a golf course in Port Roberts. He played the song, which was excellent.

 Valdy told plenty of jokes and stories  and played lots of pretty guitar picking, which the captivated crowd listened intently to.

 He asked the audience to make a toast to all of the musicians who have passed on this year and  talked about Leonard Cohen passing on and played “ Cohen’s song “ Bernadette” after that. Staying in that somewhat morbid vein, he gave a shout out to Leon Russell, who also passed away this year, and played a song from Doug Edwards, one of his friends who also passed away.


He regained his vis comica with the next song, the whimsical “Misery of Rosie.”
He followed that up by writing a song  as part of a contest to win tickets to a Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison concert, and not winning it but buying a ticket from a scalper for the show anyway, which he followed up by playing  his song “Kathryn.”

And you can’t have a Valdy concert without having a singalong, so he lead the crowd through a singalong of Ian Tyson’s “ Four Strong Winds,” saying “ this is your song.”
he called it a night on an upbeat, optimistic note by playing the Youngbloods’ 1967 classic “Get Together and “As Time Goes By.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 November 2016 10:53 )

Trews truly awesome as usual

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 I hate to miss a Trews show, but Saturday nights are tough with my radio show and a heap of other great shows to get to.

 But I arrived in time to catch the tail end of their Nov. 19 show at Average Joes and just in time to hear my absolute favourite Trews tune “ Misery Loves Company.”The Trews returned to Lethbridge, Novv. 19. Photo by Richard Amery

As expected, the Trews supplied plenty  of big guitar riffs from brothers John-Angus and Colin macDonald and catchy vocal harmonies , plus lots of frenetic keyboard playing, not that I could see much of it because of  flashing Terminator strobe lights blinding the audience and leaving the band pretty much in darkness on stage.

 But it’s still the Trews , who rocked as always, which is the truth.

 They followed up “ Misery Loves Company,” with a long jam on “Poor Ol’ Broken Hearted Me” and slowed things down after that for the mournful “ Hope and Ruin.”
 They officially ended their show with a punkish rocker I didn’t recognize, but were called back for an encore of  the apt “ Not Ready Go.”
They weren’t ready to go as they played one more before bringing  the show to a close at 11:45 p.m.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 November 2016 10:44 )
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