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L.A. Beat


Eamon McGrath excited to tour with new music

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Toronto musician Eamon McGrath returns to Lethbridge in the dead of winter, Jan. 31 when he plays the Owl Acoustic Lounge with local band Starpainter, aka a rebranded Utilities.Eamon McGrath returns to Lethbridge, Jan. 31. Photo submitted
“Winter is a good time to tour because people really appreciate live music,” said McGrath, who had a busy year last year, releasing a book and two albums including his most recent CD “Guts,” which came out in September.

 “I thought the last album cycle would be two and a half years, but grant money came in so I recorded another album,” said the Edmonton born musician, taking a brief break at home in Toronto, where he has been living for the past 10 years.

 He released “Tantramar” in June 2018 and less than a year later, released “Guts” in May, which continues to explore alt country music.
He is touring with his long time band pedal steel guitarist Darrek Sanderson, drummer Connor Ellinger and bassist Tavo de Bonilla. Half of the band live in Edmonton, which he noted isn’t a problem as they spend most of the year touring.

“Tavo also plays with Jenn Grant,” he observed.
“We play a lot on the road and that is how we grow to make it better,” he continued.

“We’ve probably played 600 shows since Tantramar was released. It’s really been non-stop. It’s been relentless,” he continued, adding musicians have to tour a lot if they want to make a living making music.


New West Theatre embraces the life and music of Buddy Holly in Buddy

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New West Theatre explores the life of rock and roll icon Buddy Holly in their new musical “Buddy; the Buddy Holly story, running at 7:30 p.m. each night Sept. 4-21.
The 12 member cast of the Alan Jones penned rock and roll musical all multi-task, playing different instruments as well as characters.

Fraser Elsdon plays Buddy Holly in New West Theatre’s production ofBuddy: The Buddy Holly Story. Photo by Richard Amery
“ It’s great I get to work with a really big band,” enthused musical director Kathy Zaborsky, who also plays  Vi Petty.
“ This show is pure joy. It’s a celebration of rock and roll,” she enthused.
“It’s a biography of Buddy Holly. It’s a musical that tells the story of his life from his hits to the his last show before the plane crash,” Zaborsky continued.

“ We have 12 cast members which is large for a rock and roll musical,” she said.

 There are several familiar faces on the cast including Garrett Mallory Scott, who was in Shakespeare in the Park this year, New West Theatre veteran Rylan Kunkel, Jocelyn Brayne who returns to New West after a few years hiatus and Lethbridge singer Mwansa Mwansa who returns home from Toronto for this show. The cast also includes  Tony Zappone, Daniel Sequeira, Joel Gray, Zach  Peterson and Theo Lysyk.

“We’ll see Buddy Holly and the Crickets being forced to play country music against their will when they record at the Decca Studios. Then they go to New Mexico to record Nor-Va-Jak studio and play rock and roll. And they end up in New York where Buddy meets and falls in love with Maria and I won’t reveal any more than that,” Zaborsky said.
 The productions also includes several  people who have performed in the  show before including Fraser Elsdon, who plays Buddy Holly and Nayeli Abrego, who plays his love interest  Maria Elena and Marlena Walker. Elsdon, not only looks like Buddy Holy, but does a great job of performing his songs and showing his stubbornness  in terms of his music.
“ You’re the nicest guy in the world, unless it’s about your music, then you’re stubborn,” quips Hipockets Duncan, his first manager and the first DJ to give Holly a break.

 The first half of the show shows Buddy Holly and his band the Crickets as young, hungry, up and coming musicians determined to play their music their way. It explores a hectic 18 months in 1957 leading up to their final concert , Feb. 3, 1959.

They work on their version of  rock and roll in studios in Lubbock, has run ins with DJ/ manager  Hipockets Duncan, gets sent to New Mexico to record with Norman Petty and writes a string of popular hits, changes the name of Cindy Lou to Peggy Sue to appease his bassist, who’s girlfriend is named Peggy Sue. Garrett Mallory Scott adds a lot of comic relief to an already hilarious show first as Norman Petty and later as the Big Bopper. Holly’s hits are well represented in the show including “Peggy Sue”, “That’ll Be The Day”, “Oh Boy”, “Not Fade Away”, “Everyday”, “Rave On”, “Heartbeat”, and “Raining in My Heart,” to name a few. That eventually leads them to New York, where they bravely play the Apollo Theatre, because music has no colour. There, a sassy Mwansa Mwansa sings a beautiful soulful version of “You Make me Want to Shout,” and warns the Crickets that they’d better be good or else they’ll be dead. I wanted to hear more of her, so her version of “Shout” and her sassy humour is much welcomed.


Lots of live music and food for New Year’s Eve

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Christmas is over, so let‘s get ready for New Year’s. As expected, there are plenty of things happening this week, particularly for New Year’s Eve, which falls on a Monday night this year.

 But there are plenty of pre New Year’s Eve parties happening on the weekend.Scott Mezei is doing double duty on New Year’s Eve with New West Theatre and Adequate. Photo by Richard Amery
 But first, laugh along with the last comedy open mic of the year at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Dec. 26. Michael Moses is the host this week. There is more comedy at Club Didi on Friday, Dec. 28 with Drunk Improv happening at Club Didi beginning at 9 p.m. There is a $10 cover.

The Owl Acoustic Lounge hosts a New Year’s Eve Eve Eve party, Dec, 29 with local alternative rock bands Mombod and the Supervoid plus Calgary queer and feminist band Harsh. As usual, admission is by donation.

 The Decadent Phase and Chris Drew play the Owl Acoustic lounge, Dec. 28.  Honker’s Pub also has a New Year’s Eve Eve party and jam hosted by Frankie G, beginning at 6 p.m.
 The Watertower has live music as well.

 Local folk/country singer Karen Romanchuk performs at the Watertower Grill beginning at 8 p.m., Dec. 29.
 Just down the road, Jenn and Paul Kype will be performing and McLennan’s pub in Coaldale for the Kinsmen Club of Coaldale’s 28th annual Harley raffle.


Paul Kype and Jerry Adolphe explore their influences on new Texas Flood CD

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Local bluesman Paul Kype looks back on his influences for his new CD  “Blues For Rosie,” but it was more an excuse for him to record with his good friend Jerry Adolphe, who is best known as the drummer for Canadian classic rock icons Chilliwack.Paul Kype playing with Zojo Black at the Kerala flood fundraiser, Nov. 23 at the Slice. Photo by Richard Amery

“Rosie is my old guitar’s name which hasn’t left the house for 15 years, which I bought in 1992,” Kype said.

“So I just wanted to write some songs with it. But it really was an excuse to  work with Jerry Adolphe. He plays in my band in Vancouver. He’s been a really good friend for a long time. So we started thinking about the music that influenced us like blues music but also classic rock music like Lynyrd Skynyrd,” he said, adding he got Rosie, his beloved Stratocaster in 1992.

“It’s one of the first Stevie Ray Vaughan signature model, number 1002. And I formed Texas Flood in 1993 soon after that,” he said, adding he met Adolphe around the same time through the Yale Hotel jam in Vancouver.
“I introduced myself to him and he said to contact him if I had a project in mind to work with him on so we started a Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute band, (Texas Flood). Though we stopped doing that in 1998,” he said.

“Whenever I go to the coast, I play with him.”
 They recorded the CD over the winters of 2017 and 2018.

 Kype played bass and guitar on the CD while Adolphe added drums. It also features overdubbed keyboards from TJ Waltho and Michael Ayotte.

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