LJO on the Small Stage at the Key City Theatre

The Little Jazz Orchestra at the Key City Theatre, Saturday June 11, 2016, 7:30 pm

100. On stage

The Little Jazz Orchestra (LJO) with their straight ahead Jazz concept has been a fixture on the local music scene for a number of years. The original membership of the band consisted of Dave Ward (Trumpet and Fluegelhorn), Janice Nicili (Acoustic Bass), Jim Cameron (Guitar) and Graham Knipfell (Drums). From time to time they featured other local guest artists. Dave and Janice remain on board with the latest edition of the band while Jim and Graham have moved onto other endeavors.  Sven Heyde has taken over the drum chair, Graham Barnes is now on guitar and Evan Bueckert has joined the band on Keyboards. The LJO is now a quintet. In keeping with their newer slightly more funky approach Janice Nicili has switched to Electric Bass

Normally they have a regular gig on the first Thursday of every month at the HeidOut Restaurant in Cranbrook. While that venue bristles with ambience it is a fairly noisy environment and to hear the band in this concert setting was a very welcome opportunity to really hear their music. It was an evening for the band to plunder the archives and come up with a solid batch of Dave Wade’s original tunes. The tunes go all the way back to the local band Wham go the Ducks (I never did find out about that name) when Dave was barely out of High School. From that era  of “Heaven and Hell” tunes (Dave’s description)  they extracted  Beelzebub and Heavenly Bodies. As witnessed by his tribute to his mum and dad in the tune Me and My Old Man and My Old Man’s Lady  Dave is never at a lost for whimsical titles. It was also evident in his nod to two long time fans Les and Vera-Lynn in Les is More. The lyrics were hardly ground breaking poetry but the sentiment and the riffs were heart felt . Sean Heyde added some tasty low keyed drum riffs on the tune Where to,  a tune written specifically for one of Janice Nicli’s bass lines. According to Dave, Make it So, was reaching for a Star Trek ambience. As a tribute to Graham Barnes and his occupation as a chef Janice named the whimsical tune It’s Chefie Pants. Sprinkled though out the sets were a couple of ballads that included the tune Nectar . One of the definite pluses of the evening was the opportunity for Evan Bueckert to show case his talents on the Hammond B3 Organ. This magnificent beast doesn’t get to see the light of day very often so it was real treat to hear one of Jazz’s unique sounds. The last time I heard the “B3”  in the Key City Theatre it was when Dr. Lonnie Johnson came to town with Cory Weed and his jazz outfit. That was a night not to be forgotten. This LJO event was also another memorable night with a choice mix of original tunes and tasty solos in a very choice intimate environment. Hope fully there will be more of the same in the future. Here are so images from the evening.

218. Dave Ward300. Sven Heyde and Janice Nicili  400. Janice and Graham  530. Evan Bueckert614. Janice Nicili304. Sven Heyde414. Graham Barnes  412. Graham Barnes416. Graham Barnes012. LJO Header200. Dave Ward512. Evan Bueckert224. Dave Ward206. Dave Ward220c. Dave Ward

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“It’s only an opinion, but……….”

“The War on Drugs” was (is) a stupid approach for handling drug use. Prohibition on alcohol in the 1920s didn’t work and the legal / illegal frameworks of the current era have completely failed. Drug use, particularly cannabis, is endemic. At last the “light bulb” has gone on and the beginning of a legalization process has begun. The concept of a legal, taxable, and controlled distribution has taken root and the government revenue agencies are frothing at the bit to get their hands on an untapped revenue stream. Enforcement agencies have better things to do and are looking forward washing their hands of the petty enforcement rituals they inflict on mostly law abiding citizens. The application of the laws as they now stand is impossible. A law that can’t be enforced is no longer the law. So there is really no choice but to create a legal frame work for drug use.

The following thoughts have come to mind while paying attention to the dialogue surrounding the legalization of Pot. It seems we haven’t learned much from the “Tobacco Debates” of recent years.

  • Number one: The inhalation of foreign substances into one’s lungs is probably not a good thing. It took us a couple of hundred years with tobacco smoke to come to that conclusion and yet as an issue there seems to be little thought or discussion of the ill effects of just inhaling noxious substances, psychoactive or otherwise
  • Number 2: The issue of second hand smoke – It is a given that pot is detrimental to brain development in youth and the very young so it would stand to reason that second hand smoke may end up being a far bigger issue in the Pot debates than in the recent Tobacco issue. Should children, or any one else for that matter, be subject to the ill effects of second hand pot smoke or vapour. I am looking forward to that becoming part of the debate. If you are a parent with young children there is a very strong possibility that your drug use will have a significant impact on your child’s mental development.
  • Number 3: Will there be an issue similar to the fetal-alcohol syndrome if pregnant women smoke up? It took us more than a few years to determine the links between alcohol consumption by pregnant women and its detrimental effects.
  • Number 4: The links between Pot use and Mental illness are out there but they don’t seem to be attracting too much interest. After all Cannabis use alters one’s brain chemistry and is that necessarily a good thing?
  • Number 5: In Colorado it has been noted that legalization has created a surge in the use of “edible” cannabis products and that is creating a whole new variety of problems all the way from the control of product strength to how do we keep “doped” candy bars out of the hands of children?
  • Number 6: How is Vancouver going to control or ban the annual “smoke-in” ? Technically the drug is still illegal, as is smoking in a public place, but the authorities have chosen to not enforce the law and the result is the mass misbehavoir of a large crowd who have no truck with societal norms. Will the city have to resort to using riot police?

Pot has to be made legal, controlled and taxed. The world is full of idiots and we can’t prevent people from acting in idiotic ways but at least we can generate tax revenues to do some good and get it out of hands of criminals. I suspect when it is legal Pot smokers are not going to be happy. The end result will not be what they wanted or expected. With the corporate interests of a new huge commercial industry to be protected along with the government protecting its new found revenue stream I suspect “home grown” operations will be strictly controlled if not eliminated. After all, in the world of booze how many individuals have a moonshine operation in their basement?

Pot has the reputation of being “a harmless recreational drug” and I suspect that is largely a myth. Here is a link to some information that may be useful in the ongoing discussions National Institute on Drug Abuse

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While I am at it here are a couple of my more outlandish opinions and rants.

  • Performance enhancing drugs in sport. Why do we bother banning these drugs? If an athlete chooses the drug enhancement route why should we care? The negative effects are self inflicted and as individuals they will bear the final cost. The standard answer is that drug use creates an uneven playing field. But once again why should we care? The list of drugs keeps growing and the testing protocols are always a step behind. The current policy has not eliminated use and  has only succeeded is creating a huge expensive bureaucracy of testing and enforcement. What a waste of time, money and energy. Don’t we have better things to do rather than catering to a bunch of overgrown adolescents indulging in less than meaningful activities? To paraphrase John Lennon “who cares who is the greatest Bass Player / Tennis Play / Weight lifter, etc. in the state of Israel?”
  • Sport and Pop Music both of these activities are meant to be recreational and if we relegate the activities to a cadre of professionals we are defeating the intent of the activities. Couch potatoes may be recreating but not in a meaningful way. Apart from coaches, trainers and educators I suggest that there should be no such thing as a “Professional Sportsman” or a “Professional Musician”. The top echelon in both of those categories reap millions of dollars for what are essentially non-productive activities. There is something basically wrong when we pay these people millions of dollars and yet quibble about the cost of welfare and paying productive workers  meaningful wages.

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The Red Cannons – Three Guitars and a Back Beat

The Red Cannons at Studio 64, May 28, 2016, 8pm

090. The Red Cannons

The Essence of Rock and Roll  – “Three Guitars and  Back Beat”. Well, this “band of brothers”,  Evan Boechler (rhythm and lead vocals), Braden Boechler (lead guitar and vocals) Landon Boechler (drums, vocals) and their fetching bass player, Jen Perry had it in spades. A Kimberley resident came across the band in performance near Edmonton and recommended them as Rock and Roll participants in the Studio 64 Spring Concert Series at Centre 64. To get from their home base in Spruce Grove, Alberta (just west of Edmonton) is a big trip and I hope the band enjoyed performing for this very pumped audience. They kicked off the evening with an original tune called One Little Bat an then worked their way through some classic Rock and Roll such as  Credence Clearwater’s Have you Seen the Rain? and Bad Moon Rising, the Beatles Come Together, Shake Rattle and Roll, The Rolling Stones Honky Tonk Woman, Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues, Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Good, The Tragically Hip’s New Orleans and for a “party piece” Evan and Landon got together on the drum kit to do a duet on the classic surf tune Wipe Out. To show their appreciation the audience just got up and danced beside and in front of the stage. Here are images from the night.

100c. Jen Perry102. Jen Perry   108. Jen Perry200. Braden Boechler015. Header302. Evan Boechler136. Jen Perry404. Landon Boechler210. Bradon Boechler   410. The drum solo - duet126. Jen Perry400. Landon Boechler  406. Landon Boechler402. Landon Boechler314, Evan Boechler     322. Evan Boechler212. Bradon Boechler  328. Evan Boechler104. Jen Perry140. Jen Perry

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Ali Sellin

ALI SELLIN with DAVE CARLSON & BUD DECOSSE at BJs Creekside Pub, Saturday May 21, 2016, 8pm

080. Ali, Dave and Bud

One one hand I am not a big fan of Country Music. On the other hand I appreciate spontaneous music that’s professional and well crafted. So once you move away from the Star Spangled Hollywood music of Nashville,  Country Music does have some thing 202. Ali Sellinto offer. Case in point is Ali Sellin on stage at BJs  last Saturday night. The music was country but Hollywood and Nashville were way over the horizon, almost out of sight and far away from ear shot. Ali is from Medicine Hat and on this visit to Kimberley she renewed her acquaintance with mandolinist Dave Carlson and guitarist Bud Decosse. These two 400. Dave Carlsongentlemen (dare one use that word in this day and age of “Bad Dudes”) are probably two of the finest musicians in the area. They are both well known and500. Bud Decosse highly respected in the Kootenays. With their smooth accompaniments and slick lead lines they were a perfect foil for Ali’s voice and her choice of material. All  the more so when you realize that all of the evenings music was largely unrehearsed. Although Ali is a Singer / Song writer  most of her material for this evening were covers of such classics as Red Wing (the Steel Wheels version) Anne Murray’s Snow Bird, Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire, Gershwin’s Summertime, Willie Nelson / Patsy Cline’s Crazy, Take the Ribbon from Your Hair, Green Green Grass of Home, Banks of the Ohio, and Dolly Patton’s Joliene. That is just the tip of the iceberg. There was a sprinkling of her original material plus lesser known songs from the country repertoire. Dave and Bud did their bit with material from their own huge bag of songs and instrumentals. Ali obviously enjoys performing and it was reflected in her happy demeanour and rapport with the audience. It was an especially fine night of music and if, and when, Ali comes back to this area she should not be missed. Here are some images from the evening.

244. Ali Selin408. Dave Carlson222. Ali Sellin   204. Ali Sellin506. Bud Decosse214. Ali Sellin   220. Ali Sellin

A musical Note (pun intended) is Ali’s guitar technique.  She uses a right hand finger style technique with a thumb pick and plastic finger picks. While not that unusual it took a while for me to realize what she was doing. Her patterns and picking where appropriate and crystal clear and the picks were very pretty hard to see. I personally find it hard to use finger picks and the constant risk of getting  tangled up on the back strokes has put to rest any ambitions I may have ever had on using finger picks.  Good job Ali!0052. Ali's Guitar060c. The hand of Ali

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THE ODD COUPLE – CCT Rehearsal

Odd Couple Poster(2)

“The Odd Couple is a play by Neil Simon. Following its premiere on Broadway in 1965, the characters were revived in a successful 1968 film and 1970s TV series, as well as other derivative works and spin-offs. The plot concerns two mismatched roommates: the neat, uptight Felix Ungar and the slovenly, easygoing Oscar Madison. Simon adapted the play in 1985 to feature a pair of female roommates (Florence Ungar and Olive Madison) in The Female Odd Couple. An updated version of the 1965 show appeared in 2002 with the title Oscar and Felix: A New Look at the Odd Couple.” – Wikipedia

As the saying goes “what goes around comes around” and with this play that seems to happen on a frequent basis. The most notable performance would have to be the 1968 film starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau. They followed that with their reprised roles in The Odd Couple II, directed by Neil Simon. Now, here we are in 2016 and the show is once again the inspiration for another TV series, oddly enough called The Odd Couple. Not to be outdone by Broadway or Hollywood the Cranbrook Community Theatre, under the direction of Bob McCue brings the iconic characters to life for local audiences.

Cast:

  • Bob Wakulich                           –  Oscar Madison
  • Peter Schalk                             – Felix Unger
  • Alexander Gilmour                    – Vinnie
  • Barry Coulter                             – Murray
  • Barry Borgstrom                        – Speed
  • Randy Tapp                               – Roy
  • Michelle McCue                         – Gwendolyn Pigeon
  • Andrea Grossman                     – Cecily Pigeon

Directed by Bob McCue and produced by Kristy Quinn

The Setting : Four acts in Oscar Madison’s apartment in New York City.

 Act One: Poker night and where’s Felix?
114. The Card Game
100. The opening card game   108. VINNIE, OSCAR MADISON & MURRAY.102. VINNIE - Alexander Gilmour  104. ROY - Randy Tapp   126a. MURRAY - Barry Coulter110. MURRAY - Barry Coulter
 118. OSCAR MADISON - Bob Wakulich   124. ROY - Randy Tapp104. ROY - Randy Tapp132. OSCAR & MURRAY   136. MURRAY - Barry Coulter138. FELIX UNGER - Peter Schalk        154. FELIX UNGER
Act Two: Two weeks later Felix has moved in
200a. FELIX UNGER - Peter Schalk206. SPEED - Barry Borgstrom208. MURRAY - Barry Coulter     212. MURRAY - Barry Coulter214. OSCAR & FELIX   202. The New Card Game216. FELIX UNGER - Peter Schalk
Act Three: The next evening about 7:30 pm
306. OSCAR MADISON - Bob Wakulich304. FELIX UNGER - Peter Schalk   310. CECILY & GWENDOLYN PIGEON - Andrea Grossman & Michelle McCue  318. Guys and Dolls   325. GWENDOLYN, FELIX & CECILY333. OSCAR MADISON
Fade to ACT 4.
400. OSCAR MADISON - Bob WAKULICH404. OSCAR AND FELIX   414.416.
AND CURTAIN CALL
 512. THE FULL CAST
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The “Banshee Wail” of LUNASA

LUNASA at the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook, April, 16, 2016

104. Lunasa

As a descriptor for the music of LUNASA “Banshee Wail” it is not strictly accurate. Wailing it definitely is but Banshee, well maybe not. A BANSHEE is a female spirit in Gaelic Folklore whose mournful wailing is supposed to warn of an approaching death in a household. Lunasa’s music is much more joyous than that. In discussions of art, and in particular music, there are two terms generally applied; Apollonian – characterized by clarity, harmony and restraint; Dionysian –  sensual, spontaneous and emotional. Forget death and destruction. The wailing aspects of the flutes, whistles, fiddle and Uilleann pipes can only be described as Dionysian. After all it is joyous enough music to blister paint, get the feet stomping and generally bring down the roof.

LUNASA is probably the most significant band to come out of Ireland since the The Bothy Band roared onto the scene in the early 1970’s. They share the same sonic spectrum with  the emphasis on flutes, whistles and fiddle. The Bothy Band used guitar, harpsichord and bouzouki to anchor the rhythm. Lunasa has gone in  a slightly different direction by using the ultimate “bottom-end dweller”, the upright double bass, and along with guitar it  anchors the band and creates a unique sound.The band has been around for nigh on twenty years and, if one is to believe the flute player Kevin Crawford, they continue to stick around with the hope of another Hawaiian tour at some time in the near future. Over the years the band has had a number of very prominent top flight musicians taking their turn in the line up. They include:

  •  Tim Edey – guitar
  •  Donogh Hennessy – guitar
  • Michael McGoldrick – Uilleann pipes, flute, whistle
  • John McSherry – Uilleann pipes
  • Paul Meehan – Guitar, Bouzouki, Mandolin

For the concert at the Key City Concert Kevin Crawford played Flute and Irish Whistles as well as doing double duty as the MC. Kevin plays custom handmade instruments by  the Australian builder Michael Grinter . Cillian Vallely performed on that mystery of Irish plumbing, the Uilleann Pipes, and the Low D Irish Whistle. Belonging to the esteemed Vallely Family Cillian has a very honorable pedigree in the Irish music scene. His cousin Fintan Vallely edited The Companion to Irish Traditional Music and co-authored Blooming Meadows – The World of Irish Traditional Music. Both of these have a prominent place on my book shelf.112. Kevin and Cillian

Collin Farrell, not the real Colin Farrell of Hollywood fame , that would have cost the Key City a bundle, but rather an imposter who was actually born in Manchester, England. As an imposter, according to Kevin, he has scored numerous awards as performer of the year, month, week, day and on this tour and on this particular night performer of the minute on a set of tunes that included The Raven’s Rock / Ruby / The Beehive. Colin brings to the stage the fire and precision of the Irish fiddle tradition that is a big part of Lunasa’s music. He also plays Low Whistle and in combination with Kevin and Cillian creates a unique trio unison sound on a number of tunes.321. Collin Farrell

Although there are many guitarists out there playing solo finger style Celtic music the strength of the instrument in the Celtic context is in it’s supporting role as a rhythm instrument. It adds punch and drive to a band. Apart from that through out the evening Patrick Doocey did get opportunities to explore some of the delicate nuances of the guitar. Most notably in a set of Breton tunes and particularly in the wonderful Galician tune Aire de Pontdevedra. In combination with the upright bass player Trevor Hutchinson the guitar and bass combination provided the front line of Lunasa with a rock solid foundation to support their melodic explorations.  Trevor’s upright bass is almost unique in Irish Celtic music. To my knowledge the upright bass, unlike in Bluegrass music, is not a common instrument in Irish Celtic music. Having said that Trevor’s contribution adds an unmistakable signature sound to the ensemble. Over the years he has graced a number of bands, including those of the Irish button accordionist Sharon Shannon. Moving around the world poses some unique challenges for a bass player . Trevor is a tall man and he requires a big instrument . The shear size of the bass is a major financial and logistical hurdle in transporting the instrument from place to place. Trevor has overcome some of those difficulties by using an instrument that literally comes apart and folds down into a more manageable package. There are a number of these instruments on the market and to get some idea of the just how that is done check the link below.

Here are some images from a memorable night of music.

214. Kevin Crawford300. Cillian Vallely  308. Cillian Vallely404. Trevor Hutchinson     406. Trevor Hutchinson326. Cillian Vallely227. Kevin Crawford  216. Kevin Crawford262. Kevin Crawford  116. Patrick and Trevor   616. Patrick Doocey318. Cillian Vallely328. Cillian Vallely352. Cillian Vallely

530. Colin Farrell

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“It’s all in the mix”………… BREAKWATER

Breakwater March 2016 Cranbrook Poster

Saturday March 12, 2016, 7:30 pm at the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook performing on the small stage in the foyer.

To the purists this may not really be “Celtic” music but to the rest of us it turned out to be a really interesting “mash up” (Jeff Faragher’s words) of what is a really fascinating 502. Jeff Faraghermix of musicians, tunes and styles. Breakwater is a quartet of musicians from the West Kootenays that includes Jeff Faragher on Cello, guitar and vocals, 706. Aurora SmithAurora Smith on vocals and Fiddle, Rob Fahie on Double Bass and Ben Johnson on Drums and Percussion. These musicians come from 902. Rob Fahievaried backgrounds with impeccable credentials. Jeff is an outstanding classical celloist who has played in a number of local solo and chamber group situations as well being the conductor and soloist with the Symphony of the Kootenays; Rob is originally from the Montreal jazz scene and is also one of the principal bass players in the Symphony of the Kootenays; Aurora is a 210. Ben Johnsonfiddle player who teaches in Nelson and also performs as a classical violinist in a number of orchestras, including the Symphony of the Kootenays. Ben Johnson is a drummer and percussionist whose primary interest is in Balkan, Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern music. Apart from percussion he plays a number of instruments from that part of the world including Greek Bouzouki, Oud, Saz and many other instruments with unpronounceable names. With that as the kick off point it is hard to imagine the music being anything other than interesting. The central core of the repertoire is Celtic, specifically, fiddle music, to which the group adds music from the classical masters (J.S. Bach, Dvorak), film music (Game of Thrones, Pirates of the Caribbean), pop music(Coldplay), Canadian (Song of the Mira, Log Drivers Waltz), folk music (Bob Dylan’s Blowing in the Wind), Bluegrass and just about anything else that tickles their imagination. The front line of fiddle, cello and double bass is a combination that fits well with the repertoire. To prove the point they kicked off the evening with a J.S. Bach minuet that morphed into the fiddle tune The Ash Plant. This they followed up with a rousing set of Aurora’s fiddle tunes (The Roaring Barmaid / The New Reel / The Tamlin Reel). After that whirlwind performance  Aurora knocked it back a notch by singing The Banks of Loch Lomond followed by the band’s exploration of Jay Ungar’s classic tune  The Ashokan Farewell (from Ken Burns PBS Documentary on the American Civil War). For the rest of the evening it was more of the same. Lots of fiddle tunes, including two that I noted for later research when I got home. They were The Pelican Reel (by Gordon Stobbe) and Catharsis (by Amy Cann). There were lots of songs including Jeff Faragher’s outstanding version of Song of the Mira with the tag fiddle tune Stolen Apples (another tune I will have to research). All in all it was an evening of fine music in a performance space, the foyer of the Key City, that has lots of promise. It is a more intimate arena than the performance area in the main theatre. It had good sight lines and sound. However, the lighting was really poor, and I do mean poor. It was dim and marred by undesirable tints from the overhead LEDs. They will have to work on that. A black backdrop curtain would also improve the visuals.

506. Jeff Faragher720. Aurora Smith916. Rob Fahie248. Ben Johnson712. Aurora Smith  714. Aurora Smith  724. Aurora Smith919. Rob Fahie514. Jeff Faragher   208. Ben Johnson   516. Jeff Faragher  728. Aurora Smith726. Aurora Smith

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Sunday March 13, 2016, 7:30 pm at the Studio 64 (Centre 64) in Kimberley.

242. Breakwater

The concept of the “Small Stage” at the Key City and Studio 64 in Centre 64 is much the same. The idea is to create a small performance area with a cabaret like atmosphere with available refreshments and snacks. By and large they have both succeeded, albeit with 5 year head start Studio 64 is closer to finalization.  Within the past few years Studio 64 has manged to improve the performance area with a large black back drop curtain and a sophisticated lighting system. The lighting and sound are managed by Ray’s music and the results are first class. All that remains to be improved are the sight lines by the installation of a slightly raised stage for the performers. That is in the works. On the other hand the Key City “Small Stage” is only in the first year of development. On the positive side, with the raised stage the sight lines are good but there is real need for a black backdrop curtain and an improved or better managed lighting system. The sound is good but the lighting is very, very poor.

Breakwater performed the same program at both venues and with the better lighting the Studio 64 performance had more appeal. Below are images from the latter concert. You be the judge of the visuals.

120. Aurora and Jeff    124. Jeff and Rob200. Aurora and Jeff444. Ben Johnson612. Jeff Faragher  614. Jeff Faragher  616. Jeff Faragher628a. Jeff Faragher802. Aurora Smith  819. Aurora Smith   835. Aurora Smith811. Aurora Smith950. Rob Fahie   952. Rob Fahie   969. Rob Fahie980d. Rob Fahie980b. Rob Fahie404. Ben Johnson   400. Ben Johnson406. Ben Johnson829. Aurora Smith813. Aurora Smith962. Rob Fahie

Breakwater – two fabulous concerts with great visuals and great music. I’m looking forward to their return to this area. When they do make sure to mark it on it is on your calendar.

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“It’s the oatmeal that holds it together” – Blackthorn Band

THE BLACKTHORN BAND IN CONCERT, at Studio 64 in Kimberley, March 5, 2016 at 8pm. This is the first concert of the Spring season at Studio 64.

I admit it. Celtic music in its many forms and disguises pulls at my cultural and emotional heart strings. And so it should. My ancestors immigrated from Dublin in the mid-1870s to settle in New South Wales, Australia. After I arrived in Canada in the 1970s I married a Scottish lass from Glasgow; My son was born in Australia and has since married into an Irish American family. He carries Irish, Australian and Canadian passports. So, as you can see, there is a lot of cultural baggage there. Celtic music in Australia tends to be predominantly Irish, although in the early days “German Bands” made their mark on traditional music. Waltzes, Varsoviennas, and Schottisches are sprinkled throughout the traditional repertoire. In Canada, Celtic music is different. There is no doubt the principle bonding agent is as Scottish as oatmeal and as a result other musical bits and pieces just seem to stick to an underlying “Scottishness”. The other influences are in there; the Irish, Quebecois, Arcadian, English, Metis, American, and just about everything else that makes up the Canadian cultural mosaic. That mix pretty well describes the repertoire of the Vancouver based band Blackthorn. The band, Michael Viens (vocals, 6 and 12 string guitars, bodhran, percussion and harmonicas) Michelle Carlisle (vocals, flute, piccolo, whistle, fife and alto flute), Tim Renaud (vocals, bass, octave mandolin, 12 string guitar and bodhran) Rosie Carver (vocals and fiddles) provided an exceptionally strong evening of instrumental and vocal music.610. The Blackthorn Band

They kicked off the evening with a set of tunes from their latest recorded CD Open Skies that included the English Victorian music hall tune Country Life, Robbie Burn’s Rattlin’ Roaring Wilie, and from Cape Breton’s legendary fiddle master Dan R. MacDonald’s repertoire The River Bend. That pretty well set the tone for the evening – marvelous four-part harmony singing, interspersed with with strong instrumental tunes featuring fiddle and flutes. Each performer got an opportunity to shine on their own little 111. Michelle Carlisleparty pieces; Michelle Carlisle on her original song Open Skies, Rosie Carver on the French Canadian Mouth of the Tobique (one of my favorite French Canadian tunes), Nathaniel Gow’s (Scottish) Petronella and a four section traditional French reel Le violon accorde comme une viole; 315. Rosie CarverTim Renaud shone on the Andy M. Stewart’s mighty ode to the girl of his dreams The Queen of Argyll – it gave Tim a chance to step up to the plate with his octave mandolin, a instrument that always causes some confusion – is it an octave mandolin, a 410. Tim Renaudmandola, or a short scale Irish Bouzouki? – most of it depends on how it is tuned. Attached to the song The Queen of Argyll was Rosie Carver’s little dash of Hungarian spice in the tune Paprika, a very interesting tune in an unusual 10/8 time signature. Michael Viens party pieces included Las Vegas in the hills of Donegal and a selection of French Canadian tunes from his 216. Michael Vienschildhood in Maillardvile, the French Canadian quarter of Port Coquitlam. It was an outstanding night of music that came to an emotional close with full on audience participation in the grand finale of Loch Lomond and The Dark Island. I don’t know why the lines “you take the high road and I’ll take the low road and I’ll be in Scotland before ye” exerts such strong emotional pull on a bunch of foreigners who have never been to Scotland. Never-the-less that strong pull was there and the audience was singing it’s heart out at the close of the Saturday night concert at Stage 64 in Kimberley. Here are some more images:

247. Michael Viens  107. Michelle Carlisle  270. Michael Viens  300. Rosie Carver  205a. Michael Viens117. Michelle Carlisle602. Michelle and Michael  119. Michelle Carlisle204. Michael Viens  311. Rosie Carver  400. Tim Renaud137. Michelle Carlisle330. Rosie Carver070. Rosie's dress  020. 12 string  080. Michelle's shoes133. Michelle Carlisle   143. Michelle Carlisle   131. Michelle Carlisle325. Rosie Carver  706. Micheal, Rosie and Patron

Thanks to the organizing committee, the many volunteers, the sponsors at The Burrito Grill and A B&B at 228 (Lorne and Gail Knutson) this was another successful sold out concert.

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Once more with feeling ….. and a new chapeau

LONESOME JIM (aka James Neve) AT BJs CREEKSIDE PUB, Saturday February 20, 2016, 8pm

As usual James (vocals, Cojon, guitars and pedals) was in top form for this marathon solo engagement that ran through to midnight. The crowd did thin out mid-stream but swelled again when the patrons from the Home Grown Music Society decided to make a night of it by moving over to BJs. Dave Prinn and Jon Bisset stepped in with some backup vocals; Bill Renwick (guitar, vocals and harmonica) performed a short intermission set and Rod Wilson, with his percussion compadres “Stella” and “Bud”, joined forces with James for his driving masterpiece Rainland.

100. Lonesome Jim128. Lonesome jim and Bill Renwick   020.

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“Canadian Folk Sketches” – World Premier Rehearsals

SOTK Lizzy Hoyt 2016_02_13

In the past there has been a well recognized tradition where classical composers have dipped into folkloric waters to refurbish and re-invigorate their music. In fact there are  whole national music traditions that have come into being as a result of that process. Every now and then folk musicians, rock musicians and jazz musicians have turned that process on its ear by enlisting classical musicians, most notably, symphony orchestras in support of music that is outside the normal symphony repertoire. Over the years The Symphony of the Kootenays has been involved in a number of those type of projects. Lizzy Hoyt’s Canadian Folk Sketches World Premier is the latest in that ilk. Lizzy Hoyt (vocals, guitar, fiddle, and harp) and her trio, Keith Rempel (upright bass and back-up vocals) and Chis Tabbert (guitar and Russian Soviet era mandolin) joined the Symphony and shared the solo spotlights with a number of the Symphony’s outstanding musicians. The rehearsals were on Saturday afternoon, February 13, 2016 in preparation for the premier concert later that evening. Here are some images from that rehearsal.

505. Trio plus Orchestra 100. Lizzy Hoyt    200. Keith Rempell    300. Chris Tabbert  132. Lizzy Hoyt   312. Chris Tabbert    212. Keith Rempel  310. Lizzy and Chris050. Harp  320. Chris Tabbert   408. Wendy  422. Jeff Faragher 144. Lizzy Hoyt  118. Lizzy Hoyt  316. Chris Tabbert 532. Nicola   140. Lizzy Hoyt   146. Lizzy's feet

I know the instrument doesn’t make the music. It is the musician who makes the music. However, having said that, I think it is worth focusing some attention on Lizzy’s magnificent Collings small bodied guitar (probably a Collings OM1). This a truly beautiful example of modern luthiery and it further demonstrates that we are living in a golden era of hand made instruments.050a. The Collins Guitar 126a. Lizzy and the Collings guitar

As for the repertoire it always gives me great pleasure when a Canadian musician stops looking south for musical inspiration and decides to explore the rich, varied, and largely unexplored traditions of Canada.

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