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L.A. Beat


Excellent music on Outlaw Country Cruise 3

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I have a pretty eclectic taste in music. I listen to bands even hipsters haven’t heard of, I know this for a fact because pretty much nobody recognized any of the bands I was irritating people with by raving about over the past couple months leading up to my voyage on the Norwegian Pearl for the Outlaw Country Cruise 3, Jan. 21-26.

The Bottle Rockets and Jason and the Scorchers’ Warner Hodges play together. Photo by Richard Amery
Some of my favourite bands barely ever play Canada and are never played on modern radio but were playing the Outlaw Country Cruise 3 sponsored by the Outlaw country station on Sirius XM. While the station plays your usual diet of Merle Haggard, David Allan Coe, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash, they also play a lot of up and coming “outlaw country ” musicians, Southern rock, punk rock and cow punk , roots rock , alt country and other music that just doesn’t fit in, so the bands on the bill reflected that diversity.

 Some people recognized Steve Earle and the Cuban influenced country band the Mavericks, who were the “headliners” on this bucket list cruise which was basically a gigantic music festival taking place on six stages on three different levels of a monster cruise ship sailing from New Orleans to Costa Maya, Mexico.
A couple people vaguely remembered the Bottle Rockets, Jason and the Scorchers and Blackberry Smoke because they heard them on my shows on CKXU 88.3 f.m.

Junior Brown playing the Outlaw country Crusie. Photo by Richard Amery But what made me feel pretty old is the younger people I talked to who didn’t recognize Texas born, New York based “hardcore troubadour”  Steve Earle, who played a special 30th anniversary concert of his album “Copperhead Road.”

And even though Steve was the headliner and playing numerous times (and for the most part completely different shows) during the week like most of the artists, I only caught bits and pieces of his shows including the Copperhead Road show, because they were competing with other bands I really want to see who rarely, if ever, tour Canada. And I know Steve would put on a great show because I’ve seen him play here. He was one of many Texas musicians playing on the ship. I got to sit in on a couple of Outlaw country broadcasts including Steve Earle swapping stories about dearly departed Guy Clark and Nashville in the early ’70s.

I also got to see an excellent workshop featuring Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Lucinda Williams swapping songs and telling stories, which was excellent and kept my attention off the floating city being blown back and forth by 50 knot (approximately 100 km/ hour) gale force winds, which while I may be used to them in Lethbridge, is a little disconcerting in the middle of the Caribbean Sea.

 Usually I’m in the front row, right next to the stage for almost every show that comes to Lethbridge, making pictures and taking notes in the endless quest to let people know that there is a whole world of great music just waiting for you discover beyond the Elizabeth Cook on the Outlaw Country Cruise. Photo by Richard Amerybanality of modern Top 40 radio, so it was weird to just be part of the masses just sitting back and watching the show.

Other than the Bottle Rockets, even I stayed at the back of the room, and barely took any pictures, not wanting to pack a telephoto lens (which were “not allowed” though some people brought them).

It was a weird unsettling feeling, but the trip of a lifetime — like I said bucket list.

 Every morning, they crew would deliver a schedule of cheerful welcome brochures and portable schedules of all the fun planned for the day which you could carry around on a lanyard along with your cabin key which you’d have to use to get drinks and of course get into your room,  to choose the shows you wanted to see and the pieces of shows you could catch if they were competing with each other.

Fortunately the stages weren’t that far apart, so it was easy to catch a little bit of everything.


Chris Lane excited about headlining tour and dream collaborations

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South Carolina/ Nashville based pop/ country singer Chris Lane is excited to return to Lethbridge to play the Enmax Centre with Locash, March 1 to open up PBR weekend at the Enmax Centre.
“It has been a couple years since I played Lethbridge. It was with Florida Georgia Line,” drawled Lane, at the gym, getting ready for the upcoming tour.Chris Lane returns to Lethbridge, March 1. Photo Submitted
“Florida Georgia Line really took me under their wing, which I really appreciate, even when I didn’t have any music out. So I’ve toured with them lots of times. I’ve played Canada five or six times, though not Lethbridge. It always exciting,” he said.

“ I love Canadian audiences. They are always so excited to be there” he said.

“ This is my first headlining tour, which I’m really excited about, I get to stretch out a little. Though I don’t I think I’ll be headlining with Locash. I’m only doing the one show with them. But I’ve known them for years. It will be a really high energy night from the both of us,” he continued.


Folk, roots and country music and International Peace Powwow and poetry this week

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February winds down with excellent live roots, Celtic and and country music beginning Tuesday, Feb. 20 with Fernie based Stoke folk band Shred Kelly, who release their new CD “Archipelago”  at a special ticketed event at the Owl Acoustic Lounge.Con O’Brien and the Irish Descendants return to Lethbridge this week. Photo by Richard Amery

 After that, get jazzed with a jazz jam at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Wednesday, Feb. 21 with hosts HBO3 and Josh Davies.
 Get an early start on St Patrick‘s Day celebrations with the annual visit by Newfoundland Celtic band the Irish Descendants who return to Average Joes on a busy Thursday night. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 on the day of the show.

 But that’s not all, get ready to laugh as Jokers Gone Wild returns to Casino Lethbridge with Comedians Ken Hicks, Chris Gordon and Elisia Snyder. Tickets are $10.
 On the other hand, the Owl Acoustic Lounge features whole lot of pop punk with Calgary’s Pizza Bath, which is one of Sean Hamilton’s many bands which include Miesha and the Spanks and Julius Sumner Miller. They will be joined by the Abductees as well as local alternative rock duo Cope.
alternative rock Pizza Bath, Abductees, Cope, Owl Feb. 22.

 There is a variety of music on Friday, Feb. 23 beginning with the U of L Wind Orchestra performing at University Theatre at 7:30 p.m.
 Later on, local Celtic/jazz/ folk band The Junkman’s Quire return to the Slice with Calgary based , Celtic tinged alt rock band Craic the Lens. Admission is $10.
Country fans won’t want to miss a long awaited visit from Gord Bamford who stops by the Rocky Mountain Turf Club, Feb. 23 with Aaron Goodvin in support of his eighth album “Neon Smoke.” Tickets are $48. The show begins at 7 p.m.


Gord Bamford records new album with dream guests

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Canadian country star Gord Bamford is excited to be back living in Alberta and on the road in support of his eighth album “ Neon Smoke.”Gord Bamford returns to Lethbridge this week. photo by Richard McLaren
“ I was living in Nashville for the past couple of years. Now I’m moving back. I thought it would be a neat experience for my family to live in Nashville, now we’re building a house by White Buffalo. We’ve been living in an RV,” Bamford said from the middle of a very successful tour which stops by Bully’s Entertainment Centre at the Rocky Mountain Turf Club, Feb. 23 with Aaron Goodvin.

“I’ve been going back and forth from Alberta and Nashville for my whole career, but I missed living in Canada. It”s the best place to raise my family for the next phase of my life,” he said.
 In between mo

ving, he has been chipping away at his long awaited eighth album “Neon Smoke.”
I think it’s my best work. I recorded most of it in Calgary rather than Nashville,” he said.
 He recorded most of it at MCC Studios in Calgary with engineer John Gasparic and Dave Temple.

“Johnny Gasparic is a really talented engineer. He worked with Mutt Lang,” he said.
“What I liked the most about it was I could take my time and tweak things until I was happy. I’ve recorded in Nashville and they do things really fast. So I’ve worked both ways,” he said.
 “I’ve been working hard on this album. I had a hand in all aspects of it from writing, recording and mixing,” he said, adding the songs aren’t necessarily about his personal life, though “That’s What Grandpas Do,” sounds like it is about his grandpa.

“I had a song a couple years ago called ‘Stubborn Blood,” which is about my grandpa. He was stubborn, hard working, tough farmer, who farmed, rode bulls and bucking horses. So ‘What Grandpas Do,’ reminded me of it,” he said.


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.

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