HOME ROUTES HOUSE CONCERT – The Bombadils

HOME ROUTES HOUSE CONCERT – THE BOMBADILS  Wednesday November 23, 2016, 7:30 pm at 8163 Gibbons Road Mayook

In a nutshell this was a concert of brilliant music.

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 Without a doubt one of my favourite recordings is The Lonesome Touch (Green Linnet GLCD 1181) featuring that marvellous Irish fiddle player Martin Hayes and his stellar accompanist Dennis Cahill on guitar. The recording has great sound, great atmosphere, great tunes and as a duo they are absolutely rock solid. Dennis Cahill’s accompaniments are a model of how it should be done. I never thought I would ever have the opportunity to attend a concert and hear music of that caliber. I was wrong. The Home Routes House Concert of the Bombadils was more than a step above that particular recording. As a duo Sarah Frank (5 string fiddle, clawhammer banjo and vocals) and Luke Fraser (guitar, mandolin and vocals) are also absolutely rock solid. Sarah started on violin at age 4 and with Luke graduated from the McGill University Music Program. Sarah majored in classical violin where she shared classes with Cranbrook’s Sarah Aleem.  Luke majored in Classical guitar. The program for the evening was a mixture of  traditional and original Canadian songs and tunes with great vocal harmonies, fiddle, guitar, mandolin and banjo accompaniments. They kicked off the evening with one of Sarah’s original tunes called Hazeldean. This was followed by Luke’s Train in the Night. Other tunes and songs included The Fountain, The Feel Good Times Set, the Newfoundland Sea Shanty Heave Away, Doc Watson’s The Long Journey, and an original song written by Caroline Spence called  Mint Condition. The final tune in the first set was called Squirrels Rule the Day and Racoons Rule the Night and it featured some marvelous instrumental interplay between both musicians that had them slipping in and out of spectacular unison playing. Playing in unison is, in theory, a simple musical exercise but when played up to tempo between some freewheeling solo excursions it is exciting and impressive.

For the second set, in response to some sheet music from the audience, they sight read the Swedish tune  Homage Till En Spelman that they then morphed into one of their regular Norwegian tunes. The performance was flawless. Through out the rest of the evening they played more of the same style of songs and tunes. When they played Black is the Color of My True Loves Hair there was some lively banter in the audience over it’s origins. Was it Scottish or Irish? As it turns out it was neither. It was composed by the American John Jacob Niles in the early days of the twentieth century.

Cranbrook audiences over the last little while have had the opportunity to experience some of the very best musicians that the Celtic world has to offer.  Performances have included the Cape Breton group Coig, Ireland’s Lunasa, both at the Key City Theatre, Blackthorn, Breakwater, Lizzy Hoyt, Jocelyn Pettit Band and now, on this particular evening, in this wonderfully intimate setting Montreal’s The Bombadils. It was a unique opportunity to hear the dynamics and tonal nuances of these two superb musicians. Thanks Glenn and Patricia for hosting this wonderful concert. Here are some more images from the evening.

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A small technical Note: Both musicians play superb instruments. Sarah plays a five string fiddle tuned CGDAE (from the bass to the treble side). Effectively it allows Sarah to cover the full range of the violin and the viola on a single instrument. Luke plays a Collings Dreadought guitar and a Michael Heiden mandolin. Michael, who is one of the world’s great luthiers, has a work shop just down the road from here in Creston. Here is the manuscript for Homage Till En Spelman that was thrown into the arena by a member of the audience:homage-till-en-spelman

Now, as I said it was a brilliant concert and you had to be there but if you couldn’t make it here is a taste of what you missed:

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STUDIO 64 JAZZ AND BLUES SERIES – THE 6L62

STUDIO 64 JAZZ AND BLUES CONCERT SERIES –  THE 6L6S  Saturday November19, 2016, 8pm

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Studio 64 has done it again!. They concluded the fall Jazz and Blues Concert series with a crack-a-jack blues outfit – The 6L6S featuring Mike Watson – guitars and vocals; Tommy Knowles – Bass Guitar; and Kent MacRae Drums). This band came out of Calgary to especially warm up this frosty night in Kimberley. They are a full on LOUD electric band with obvious affection for the roots of the music and featured many songs from deep within the acoustic blues traditions of the 20s, 30s, and 40s. They included their special interpretations of songs by Leadbelly, Blind Blake, Robert Johnson, Elmore James (Dust My Broom) Willie Dixon (Diddy Wha Diddy) Cripple Clarence Lofton  (Strut that Thing), Little Walter / Muddy Waters (My Babe) and a couple of early rock and roll classics including Maybe Baby and a tune by Link Wray. It was a boisterous night with Studio 64 patrons adding an appropriate touch by “dancing in the isles”. It was a fitting conclusion to another very successful concert series. For now we just have to hang tight until spring rolls around with another Studio 64 Concert Series. Here are some images from the night:

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In memory of Leonard Cohen – Paul Zollo

Leonard Cohen-1September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016

Leonard was 82 years old when he died

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was ten and learning how to play guitar. In front of me were the lyrics and chords for his song “Suzanne.” I remember thinking, “How does someone write something this beautiful?” It seemed like a miracle to me.

Still does.

So when I got the supreme privilege of sitting down with him myself to talk about songwriting, I told him exactly that. That since I was just a kid, I have been pondering the mystery of “Suzanne” and other miracle songs he wrote. He smiled that warm, gentle Leonard smile when I said this, and did not demur.

“It is a miracle,” he answered. “If I knew where the good songs came from, I would go there more often.”

And in that one answer is the crystallization of this man’s greatness. With just a few words, he gives us humility, humor, reverence, mystery and dedication. Dedication to the mystery itself, to the realm into which all songwriters reach to find their songs.

He spoke in parables. Unlike most humans who rarely finish entire sentences, he spoke in perfect paragraphs, with language at once beat and biblical, ancient and modern. Never was this more evident than when I asked him what he thought about the current quality of popular song, and the widespread conviction of many from previous generations that meaningful songs are no longer written.

“There are always meaningful songs for somebody,” he said. “People are doing their courting, people are finding their wives, people are making babies, people are washing their dishes, people are getting through the day, with songs that we may find insignificant. But their significance is affirmed by others. There’s always someone affirming the significance of a song by taking a woman into his arms or by getting through the night. That’s what dignifies the song. Songs don’t dignify human activity. Human activity dignifies the song.”

One time I interviewed Anjali, the singer-musician who loved and lived with him for years, and did a whole album of his words with her music. We met at a café in mid-L.A. and the great man himself, Leonard, accompanied her. Of course, being him he knew right away I would be unable to conduct a meaningful interview with him sitting there. So he immediately assured us that he would sit elsewhere while we spoke.

We did the interview, and afterwards I made an admission to Anjali. Which was that it was hard to fathom actually living a regular life with Leonard. I did know he was a man, after all, as I told her. But to songwriters, I said, he is a God.

She laughed heartily when I said that, and answered, “Oh trust me, he’s a man! He is definitely a man.”

Now with his mortal life complete, it seems she must have been right. But there are very few men I have ever known who did what he did. Even when the industry as he knew it essentially collapsed, never did he waver from the thing that mattered most: the work. If it took him seven years to perfect a song, even to the extent of writing forty or more verse, he would take seven years. There was no rush. Nothing mattered more. When he would be up at Mt. Baldy, serving time as a Buddhist monk, he would be working on songs in his head. During his last year, when he was in severe pain and immobilized, he worked on songs. The work never stopped. Songwriting was for him, as miracle songs like “Hallelujah” made so clear, more than a job. It was a calling. His highest calling. And he built a beautiful and indestructible tower of song, brick by brick, day by day, year by year. Like all of his songs, it has been built to last.

“It begins with an appetite,” he said, describing the way he started a song, “to discover my self-respect. To redeem the day. So the day does not go down in debt.“

Songwriting, he explained, did not come easy. It was work, and he felt artists were wrong to ever consider otherwise. “But why shouldn’t my work be hard?” he asked. “One is distracted by this notion that there is such a thing as inspiration, that it comes fast and easy. Some people are graced by that style. I’m not. So I have to work hard as any stiff, to come up with the payload.”

Asked to explain just what this work entails, he basically answered anything. Whatever is required. “Anything that I can bring to it, he said. “Thought, meditation, drinking, disillusion, insomnia, vacations. Because once the song enters the mill, it’s worked on by everything that I can summon. And I need everything. I try everything. I try to ignore it, try to repress it, try to get high, try to get intoxicated, try to get sober, all the versions of myself that I can summon are summoned to participate in this project, this work force. I try everything. I’ll do anything. By any means possible.”

So, I asked, do any of these things work better than others?

“No,” he said with a smile. “Nothing works. Nothing works.”

Nothing but pure dedication to this art and craft so impacted by his own work. “Dylan blew everyone’s mind when he started,” said the poet Allen Ginsberg. “Everyone except Leonard Cohen.” It’s true. Leonard was on his own path from the start. Never did he sway from the conviction that the only true mission was finding a way to get there, to reach that realm from which the great songs come. It’s where he is now.

“It’s much like the life of a Catholic nun,” he said. “You’re married to a mystery.”

In Memory of Leonard Cohen – Written By   Paul Zollo –  November 11, 2016

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PAUL ZOLLO is the author of eight books, including several on the craft of   song writing. His book Songwriters On Songwriting has been expanded three times and features in-depth interviews with many of the world’s greatest songwriters, including Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Randy Newman, Laura Nyro, Pete Seeger, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young and Frank Zappa. It has been called “the ultimate book about songwriting” and “the songwriter’s bible,” and is used as a textbook in songwriting courses in many universities.

On October 18, 2016, the sequel to Songwriters On Songwriting was published, More Songwriters On Songwriting featuring all new interviews with a vast range of legendary songwriters, including Leiber & Stoller, James Taylor, Loretta Lynn, Elvis Costello, Paul Simon, Randy Newman, Brian Wilson, Matisyahu, Patti Smith, Chrissie Hynde, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine and many more.

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Special thanks to Doug Mitchell for sending this to me.

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Read any good books lately? (#6) – Aroatoare

Aroatoare – “The Land of the Long White Cloud”, this is the name the early Polynesian seafarers gave New Zealand when they first colonised the two islands around  800 AD.  In the popular imagination of North Americans,  New Zealanders and Australians are grouped together. Although their accents are similar they are different people with different histories. Modern Australia came about as a collection of penal settlements. Habituated by convicts, felons, political prisoners  and their jailers who the British government dumped in a harsh forbidding land that became Australia. They were surrounded by almost inconceivable expanses of bush and lived cheek by jowl with an aboriginal population that was beyond a white man’s comprehension. The life was hard, harsh and that shaped a rather flinty race of inhabitants. New Zealand, on the other hand was never host to penal settlements of any kind. The Polynesians were there long before the white man and were basically a free people with a highly developed culture. They literally owned the land and did not take kindly to attempts to being  dispossessed and to prove a point they went to war with the whites to assert their rights. The early white settlers were free people untainted by any convict blood. Modern day New Zealanders do not hesitate to point that out. The Maori can often trace his ancestry back to the immigrants of the canoe that brought them across the sea from “Hawaii”.  The historical literature of Australia is about convicts, jailers and bush rangers and the struggle to survive. New Zealand’s stories are about fairly peaceful settlement, and apart from the Maori wars at one stage,  and peaceful interactions between whites and Maoris. I think I can safely say the New Zealand must be one of the few places colonized by white  men where the indigenous population has actually changed the white man.

The German author Sarah Lark explores the early New Zealand experiences  in a series of  “landscape novels” that have made her a best selling author in her native Germany. Fortunately the novels have been translated into English and are available from Amazon.ca on Kindle. The concept of New Zealand historical novels written by a German author would seem unlikely and yet, in execution, the three novels in the trilogy work well. They are historical romance novels that could be disparagingly described as “chicklit” but that would be too unkind. They have a lot more strength and depth than a typical “harlequin” paperback. Having traveled and lived in New Zealand, the novels have a geographical and cultural authenticity that takes me back to the time I spent there  many years ago. For an excellent read I recommend all three novels. Below is the synopsis of the three novels available from Amazon.ca.

In the Land of the Long White Cloud (In the Land of the Long White Cloud saga Book 1)

Helen Davenport, governess for a wealthy London household, longs for a family of her own—but nearing her late twenties, she knows her prospects are dim. Then she spots an advertisement seeking young women to marry New Zealand’s honorable bachelors and begins an affectionate correspondence with a gentleman farmer. When her church offers to pay her travels under an unusual arrangement, she jumps at the opportunity.

Meanwhile, not far away in Wales, beautiful and daring Gwyneira Silkham, daughter of a wealthy sheep breeder, is bored with high society. But when a mysterious New Zealand baron deals her father an unlucky blackjack hand, Gwyn’s hand in marriage is suddenly on the table. Her family is outraged, but Gwyn is thrilled to escape the life laid out for her.

The two women meet on the ship to Christchurch—Helen traveling in steerage, Gwyn first class—and become unlikely friends. When their new husbands turn out to be very different than expected, the women must help one another find the life—and love—they’d hoped for.

Set against the backdrop of colonial nineteenth-century New Zealand, In the Land of the Long White Cloud is a soaring saga of friendship, romance, and unforgettable adventure.

Song of the Spirits (In the Land of the Long White Cloud saga Book 2)

This is volume 2 in the internationally bestselling In the Land of the Long White Cloud saga.  Song of the Spirits continues the soaring saga begun with In the Land of the Long White Cloud, as the founding families of colonial New Zealand experience trials and triumphs of friendship, romance, and unforgettable adventure.

Elaine O’Keefe is the radiant grand-daughter of Gwyneira McKenzie, who made her way to New Zealand to take a wealthy sheep baron’s hand in marriage in In the Land of the Long White Cloud. Elaine inherited not only her grandmother’s red hair but also her feisty spirit, big heart, and love of the land. When William Martyn, a handsome young Irishman of questionable integrity, walks into her life, she succumbs rapidly to his charms. Only to have her heart broken when her sensual half-Maori cousin Kura Warden arrives for a visit and draws William away.

Though both young women must endure hardships and disappointments as they learn to live with the choices they make, each of them also discovers an inner resilience—and eventually finds love and happiness in new, unexpected places. Tested by the harsh realities of colonial life, both girls mature into spirited young women with a greater understanding of the challenges—and joys—of love, friendship, and family.

Call of the Kiwi (In the Land of the Long White Cloud saga Book 3)

In the exhilarating conclusion to the internationally bestselling In the Land of the Long White Cloud trilogy, the spirited Warden and McKenzie clan continues its trials—and triumphs—in New Zealand and beyond.

The great-granddaughter of Gwyneira McKenzie—who arrived in New Zealand as a naïve young bride in In the Land of the Long White Cloud—Gloria Martyn has enjoyed an idyllic childhood at Kiward Station, her family’s sprawling sheep farm in the Canterbury Plains. When her parents send word from Europe that it’s time for Gloria to become a proper “lady” by attending boarding school half a world away in England, Gloria must leave everything and everyone she loves most in the world, including her steadfast protector Jack McKenzie. Wrenched from her beloved homeland and struggling to fit in with the stifling strictures of British boarding-school life, Gloria has never felt more alone. Upon discovering that her parents have no intention of ever sending her home, Gloria takes matters into her own hands and sets off on an adventure that will change her forever.

A stirring coming-of-age tale of love, loss, endurance, shame, and redemption that takes readers from the lush plains of New Zealand’s South Island to the bloody shores of Gallipoli, across Australia’s Northern Territory and beyond, Call of the Kiwi is a profoundly satisfying conclusion to the saga that has captured readers’ hearts across the globe.

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Sarah Lark has written many novels and now currently lives with four dogs and a cat on her farm in Almería, Spain, where she cares for retired horses, plays guitar, and sings in her spare time.

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HOME ROUTES HOUSE CONCERT – Blue Moon Marquee

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BLUE MOON MARQUEE: HOUSE CONCERT AT 8163 GIBBONS ROAD, WARDNER (MAYOOK), Tuesday October 25, 2016, 7:30 pm

From their website: “Blue Moon Marquee is a Gypsy Blues band that stem from the wild rose foothills of Alberta. A.W. Cardinal (vocals/guitar) and Jasmine Colette a.k.a. Bandlands Jass (vocals, bass, drums)  write and perform original compositions influenced by anything that swings, jumps or grooves. Artists such as Lonnie Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Blind Willie Jonson, Charley Patton, Howlin’ Wolf, Bill Jennings, Big Bill Broonzy, Tom Waits, Memphis Minnie, & Django Riendhart to name a few.” Although they originally hail from Rocky Mountain House in Alberta they have recently relocated to the blues drenched valleys of Vancouver Island. Who would have thunk it. Never-the-less they are back near their old stomping grounds to perform a series of House Concerts under the umbrella of Home Routes / Chemin Chez Nous (a non-profit organization spreading live music throughout Western Canada). This particular concert was held in a large, spacious room of a private home out near Wardner. It was not the first time the duo has performed in the area. They were part of Studio 64 Jazz and Blues Concert Series  held in Kimberley March last year (check my review below)

Blue Moon Marquee at Studio 64

These folk are hard working touring musicians who have crossed Canada back and forth at least four times this past summer. They performed at a number of well known festivals, including the Montreal Jazz Festival. European performers do not know how easy they have it. The distances covered between gigs in Europe are minuscule compared to those in Canada – “In Britain 100 years is a short time and 100k is a big distance. In Canada 100 years is a long time and 100k is just a drive to the local pub”.  Then, of course in Canada, the climate almost forbids extensive touring in the winter. So it is is with great appreciation audiences welcome Canadian performers who spend some much time and effort on the road to provide live music in our communities. This particular venue was perfect for the duo. Apart from some mild amplification of the electric guitar it was basically an acoustic performance. The sound was well balanced with their acoustic vocals soaring over the top of the accompanying instruments. The lighting was great and the seating very comfortable. As with their last performance in Kimberley the majority of their original material was heavily flavored with blues and gypsy jazz. Every now and then a little fragment of  “DjangoReinhardt’s  Minor Swing would sneak in and liven up the “hot jazz” atmosphere.Their original material included Dancing with the Wrong Man’s Wife, Gypsy Blues, Hoodoo Lady, Sugar Dime, Troubles Calling, In the Hen House, Runaway Lane, Saddle Sore, Black Rat Swing  (?), Shading Tree and others. They did perform a couple of  “covers”, well not exactly “covers”, their re-interpretation of  a Memphis Minnie classic and one of Lead Belly’s songs  put those songs back out there in a whole new way. As promised, A.W. Cardinal’s guitar swung unrelentingly throughout the evening and Jasmine Colette’s acoustic upright bass and her innovative percussion added to the swing and punch of the music. I had a hard time trying to figure out how she managed to play  the  “hi-hat” and the snare drum at the same time she was playing bass and singing. Here are some images from the evening:

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Thanks Patricia and Glenn for hosting this great concert in this great series. Patrons, don’t forget the next concert THE BOMBADILS, a Celtic based group performing at this same venue on Wednesday November 23, 2016, 7:30pm.

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TWO MORE JAZZ LEGENDS PASS AWAY

VIBRAPHONE  PLAYER BOBBY HUTCHINSON AND CHROMATIC HARMONICA PLAYER “TOOTS” THIELMANS

 In jazz, history counts for a lot. Every current performer of note stands on the shoulders of all those who came before. In the case of vibraphone players the early jazz giant on the instrument was Lionel Hampton. Lionel first popularized the instrument while playing with Benny Goodman during the swing era. He was a two mallet player (one in each hand) with a rapid aggressive splashy style suited to the music of the day. He never really modernized his style when the likes of Charlie Parker invented Be-bop. That was left to the next generation of performers who immersed themselves in the new style. Milt Jackson, while still a two mallet player, had a style strongly influenced by the blues and Be-bop. He was not a show man in the Hampton tradition but rather made his name as a band member of the Modern Jazz Quartet. The MJQ had a career that spanned over forty years and Jackson was an integral component in their reflective style of jazz.  bobby-hutcherson-image-2Bobby Hutchinson and Gary Burton careers’ both somewhat overlapped Jackson’s and they both rose to fame in the 60’s and 70’s. They were the new generation who favored the use of four mallets (two in each hand) that allowed for a more complex pianistic style of performance. Although somewhat now retired Gary Burton is still around and is probably still performing in a semi-professional capacity. Bobby Hutchinson passed away on August 15, 2016 surrounded by his family in the living room of his long time home in Montara, California. He was 75 years old.

Jean-Baptiste Frederic Isidore Thielemans was born in Belgium and began studying the harmonica at age 3, and by age 17 he was also proficient on guitar. He became Jean 'Toots' Thielemansknown as “Toots”. The Chromatic Harmonica does not have the same historical traditions of other jazz instruments so he is literally the first of his kind. Although he has played with all the great jazz soloists, including Charlie Parker, he is best known for his composition Bluesette. He died in Brussels on August 22, 2016. He was 94 years old.

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STUDIO 64 JAZZ AND BLUES SERIES – LAURA LANDSBERG

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Saturday, October 15, 2016 – Laura Landsberg with her Trio at Studio 64, Kimberley

What can I say? Once again the Kimberley Arts Council has hit the jackpot. And once again I am astounded at the technical proficiency and musicality of the musicians coming out of the West Kootenays. Laura Landsberg (Vocals) and her Trio, Paul Landsberg (Guitar), Tony Ferraro (Drums) and Doug Stephenson (Acoustic Bass) all hail from the Nelson area.

Although Laura is currently from Nelson she does “come from away” . She has an honest musical pedigree. She is the daughter of world-renowned trombonist and composer Ian McDougall. She  was born in London and grew up listening to her father’s jazz trombone. Her father played in Johnny Dankworth’s top British Jazz Orchestra. Undoubtedly at some time in her youth she was exposed to the jazz sounds of that orchestra plus the incredible British Jazz vocalist Cleo Laine who performed from time to time with the Dankworth organisation.  Laura was raised in Vancouver, BC,  received her formal education at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. In numerous vocal workshops she went onto to develop her skills as a performer and teacher. She has studied with Bobby McFerrin, Rhiannon, David Worm, Axel Thiemer (Voice Care Network), Dee Daniels, Kiran Ahluwalia, Joey Blake and many other inspiring teachers. She has been teaching music since 1985 and joined the Selkirk  College Music faculty in the fall of 2004. Laura is a certified voice care teacher and a member of the “Voice Care Network”. There you have it, a pretty impressive  resume.

612-laura-landsberg Her musical co-conspirators are no less impressive. As any good vocalist will tell you a good 239-paul-landsbergaccompanist  is hard to find so when you find one you hang onto him and there is no better way than to marry him. Paul Landsberg is that accompanist. The two other members of the trio should be named “The Dynamic Duo”. The drummer Tony Ferraro is a full spectrum performer who can drive a big band into the stratosphere (The Chicago Tribute Band), or dig into funky Latin Grooves with the Gabriel Palatchi Trio or, as in this performance, play whisper soft brushes behind a vocalist. Tony has performed many time in this area. Doug Stephenson is adept on funky electric bass in the context of the Gabriel Palatchi Trio or adding his beautiful bass lines to any acoustic performance.

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Laura and her trio kicked off the evening with Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Dindi. Although described as a Bossa Nova classic it is entirely new to me so it was a welcome introduction. They followed that up with two jazz standards All or Nothing at All, How Deep is the Ocean and a bluesy Please Send Me Some One to Love. Other songs in the set included more jazz standards and the Elton John hit Your Song. Tony Ferraro’s brushes were the sweet support for Laura’s vocals. Paul Landsberg’s Wes Montgomery inspired guitar playing on Exactly Like Your was also perfect. The song Time After Time  had a nice little rhythmic twist. I am seldom right on these things but was that tune in 5/4? It was just one of the many musical twists and nuances in the evenings performance. These little things make a difference.

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All in all it was another nice evening of top flight Jazz and one I hope will repeated with a return concert at some future date. As always the evening was made possible by the efforts of the many volunteers and community support of the sponsors.

(PS. Paul Landsberg plays a 1961 Gibson ES335)

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HOME ROUTES HOUSE CONCERT – New Customs

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NEW CUSTOMS: HOUSE CONCERT AT 5768 HAHA CREEK ROAD, WARDNER (MAYOOK), Sunday September 25, 2016, 7:30 pm

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Not all live music shows and venues are equal. Some people prefer the big stage. The bigger the better. An arena with 20,000 fans, over the top volume, fireworks and a big production is the ideal for a lot of fans. Not me. I prefer music on a small scale, low volume, homespun production values and an intimate venue. The Studio / Stage Door (Cranbrook), Studio 64 (Kimberley), Knox Presbyterian Church and the Small Stage at The Key City are all admirable small venues, each with it’s particular advantages and foibles. Often these venues are not available, or the additional cost of the rental space eats into the venue available for travelling musicians who are on a very tight budget.  The House Concert concept is an alternative venue for travelling musicians.  House concerts are just what they sound like, a complete concert performance with professional musicians located directly in the biggest room of a house. Most house concerts operate without a sound system. The shows are presented as solo, duo or trio performances. Occasionally an artist will bring a small amp for their keyboard or as voice reinforcement, but for the most part, these are entirely acoustic shows. House Concerts have been around for many years and there has always been a few here and there in this area. Some have been successful, some not so much. What is required is a venue with a comfortable room with comfortable seating and space for at least 30 patrons. An essential ingredient is a host willing to go above and beyond by providing over night accommodation and the PR needed to bring in an audience. Support from local audiences is also an essential.  Home Routes / Chemin Chez Nous is a not-for profit organization that has a mission to bring excellent Folk-Roots-Blues music to new audiences who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience these musical genres live, in their own area, and by professional performers. It  has been around for over 10 years and it basically serves as an umbrella organization for touring musicians and house concert hosts. It should be understood that while the touring musicians may not be household names they are part of a huge body of exceptionally talented performers out there who take the notion of  “professional musician” to a whole new level of excellence.

A case in point is the duo New Customs who performed recently at the home of Shelagh and Van Redecopp out on Haha Creek Road in Wardner (Mayook). For a House Concert the venue was perfect for the duo The New Customs. They are new in 200-emma-cloneyname, but not in experience.  They are a recently minted folk duo, but individually they are Emma Cloney (Guitars and Vocals) and Dale Brown (Fiddle, Mandolin, Octave Mandolin and Vocals) with over 20 years of professional musical experience between them. “Hailing from the prolifically musical city of Winnipeg Manitoba Canada (12% of all professional Canadian musicians live in Winnipeg), the duo is being 204-dale-brownnoticed for its solid songwriting, heart-stirring harmonies and outstanding instrumentation.  The combination of guitarist Emma Cloney’s powerful haunting voice with the award-winning, sought-after multi-instrumentalist Dale Brown’s (mandolin, fiddle) – his deep voice evokes the sound of James Keelaghan or Stan Rogers – make up the heart of their sound.  According to their bio, they’re not confined by the conventional and are unrestricted in their thinking:  they‘re intent on creating the new customs, blending not only their music styles but also their careers. In writing together, the pair crafts tunes that range in flavour from Folk to Celtic to Blues, with a sound uniquely their own.  With solid reputations and an obvious musical chemistry, they’ve already played at three high profile folk festivals in Manitoba and Ontario this summer, and released a debut EP”.  In their own words:  “Our shows are a mix of upbeat and contemplative, fiddle tunes and sing-a-longs, friendly for all ages, and full of original songs (mixed with some classics and traditionals you may recognize).  We are 2 voices, 4 hands, 33 strings (though not all at once!), and an electrified cutting board all packed into a Kia hatchback and looking forward to playing for you.”

The concert was a mix of original songs – Sons of Saint Marie, Deep River, Austin of the North;  traditional songs – Stephen Foster’s Hard, Hard Times; a few covers – Stan Rogers’ 45 Years; lots of fiddle music including an outstanding tune, A Song For All Seasons  from the pen of traditional fiddler Oliver Schroer.

This is a very self aware duo who knows who they are, where they come from and where they are going. These are very rare qualities in most Canadian performers. It gives their music a strength and vibrancy that is some what unique. Emma’s voice and the duo’s vocal harmonies are outstanding  On top of that, their instrumental strengths are exceptional. Emma uses two guitars in  unusual open tunings that are altered and expanded with her novel simultaneous use of two capos. With the two guitar set up she wastes little or no time in switching between her various tunings. Her accompaniments are more forceful than delicate but are a perfect blend with her voice and Dale’s mandolins and fiddle. Dale also uses the unusual tuning AEAE for the mandolins. The larger instrument is that hybrid instrument that is sometimes labelled as a  bouzouki but given the shorter neck and the tuning he uses I suspect it is actually an Octave Mandolin. His musical breaks on songs and tunes are outstanding.

Here a some images from the evening:

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All and all, this was a very successful first House Concert in this new series. It was a great venue, with charming hosts and wonderful music. The wine and snacks were much appreciated.

I am looking forward to the next concert in series to be held also in Mayook at 8163 Gibbons Road, on Tuesday October 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm.  It will feature the Duo Blue Moon Marquee who performed at Studio 64 (Centre 64) in Kimberley March 2015. I remember it well, it was an outstanding concert.  Check this link to my review

Blue Moon Marquee at Studio 64

Don’t forget to be there. Remember all of the revenues generated at these concerts goes to the musicians.

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Here is special treat for you. A YouTube clip of New Customs performing Deep River

Why do I like this particular song –  well first of all I like the lyrics

DEEP RIVER

SHE’S GOT ONE FOOT IN THE WATER,

& THE OTHER FOOT ON THE SHORE

WHEN THE TETHER LET GO BEHIND HER,

SHE COULD RESIST THE WATER NO MORE

 CHORUS:

OH IT’S A DEEP RIVER THAT YOU’RE WADING IN ….   OH MOMMA NO!

OH IT’S A DEEP RIVER THAT YOU’RE WADING IN …. OH MOMMA DON’T,  MOMMA DON’T GO.

NOW HEARTACHE IS A POISON

AND POISON TENDS TO DRINK

AND WHEN SHE STEPPED INTO THAT WATER,

THE MUDDY BANK STARTS TO SINK

 CHORUS:

OH IT’S A DEEP RIVER THAT YOU’RE WADING IN ….   OH MOMMA NO!

OH IT’S A DEEP RIVER THAT YOU’RE WADING IN …. OH MOMMA DON’T,  MOMMA DON’T GO.

 NOW MOMMA’S IN UP TO HER NECK,

AND THE WATER IS STARTING TO RISE

BECAUSE MOMMA USED THE BOTTLE TO DRY

THE TEARS FROM HER PRETTY BLUE EYES

 CHORUS:

OH IT’S A DEEP RIVER THAT YOU’RE WADING IN ….   OH MOMMA NO!

OH IT’S A DEEP RIVER THAT YOU’RE WADING IN …. OH MOMMA DON’T,  MOMMA DON’T GO.

Then there is the soulful Cape Breton flavored  fiddle intro, Emma’s soulful voice with driving reel like rhythm guitar, Dale’s fiddle fills, their vocal harmony around minute 1:25′: the slight of hand slip into a 6/8 jig rhythm and around 1:50′  Dale seems to re-invent the tune with some melodic variations. Emma ups the ante around 3:20′ with those driving descending chords before they take the tune out with a recap of the soulful intro.

Yes, you could say I really like the song.

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STUDIO 64 JAZZ AND BLUES SERIES – THE ANDREA PETRITY TRIO

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JAZZ BLUES & STUDIO 64: THE ANDREA PETRITY TRIO, September 24, 2016, 8pm at Studio 64 (Centre 64) Kimberley BC 292-andrea-petrity

Some musicians have an epiphany. They may be wandering along in a sonic fog and out of the blue they hear a performer or a recording that becomes an “aha” moment. It becomes lodged in their brain and the thought train becomes  – “So that is what it is all about. I want to do that”. What follows is a commitment to a musical performance philosophy that may take them in a completely different direction, one that they may have never considered prior to the “aha moment”. That didn’t happen for the Calgary jazz pianist Andrea Petrity. The metamorphosis was much more gradual than that. Like so many other youth she took piano lessons and worked her way though the standard classical piano curriculum and repertoire. After leaving school and wondering what to do with her life she came to a conclusion that she already had a possibly useful skill set and perhaps, if she applied herself, it may lead some where.  That is what she started doing and, eventually, she applied for admission to a Jazz Performance Program at Mount Royal University in Calgary. Now, years later she is a fully fledged Jazz Pianist with a great love for the music of Bill Evans, Brad Mehldau, Thelonious Monk and that whole other world of Jazz Piano. Her favourite is the long deceased musical genius Bill Evans but she freely admits that there are so many talented musicians out there it is impossible to know them all, hear them all, or give credit where credit is due.

When asked the crass question “And what is your real day job?” the unequivocal response from Andrea, her bass player Stefano Valdo and drummer Robin Tufts is that they are full time professional musicians. That they possess a degree of professionalism is more than self evident in their on stage demeanour and commitment to technical and musical excellence.

On Saturday night at Studio 64 in Kimberley the Andrea Petrity Trio gave the admittedly small audience (very unusual for this extremely popular annual series) a substantial serving of straight ahead, no holds barred piano trio jazz. They kicked off the evening with their interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s Bird on the Wire. I normally approach listening to drummers with a certain amount of scepticism. Kit drummers tend 216-robin-tuftsto play too loud and dare I say it, often sound unmusical. Andrea promised a tasty treat with Robin Tufts accompaniments and we were not disappointed in his adroit handling of brushes and his simpatico accents. The bassist Stefano Valdo is no stranger to Studio 64 audiences. The last time he was here he played a huge electric bass guitar but this time around he had switched to upright bass. One of his musical heroes is the late great Scott LaFaro of Bill Evans Trio fame. The influences, at least to my ears, were very evident 238-stefano-valdoin his free wheeling accompanying and solo style. One of the sonic pleasures of recent years is the return of the upright acoustic bass. Nothing quiet matches the big fat bottom depths  of the acoustic upright bass. The first “standard” tune of the evening done in a very original style was Harlem Nocturne. The rest of the program was filled with a number of Andrea’s originals that included You Took Love With You, a nod to Thelonious Monk in Monkey Around  (I am sure Thelonious was smiling), and a cute interpretation  of a Hungarian Folk tune with some nice hand percussion from Robin. The name of the tune was loosely translated as an ode to a Brown eyed or gypsy girl. It was a neat 4/4 tune with a triplet feel, kind of 6/8, but not really. After the intermission they kicked off with a Latin feel in Andrea’s original Marianna, followed by an achingly slow (Andrea’s direction to the trio) version of the standard The Very Thought of You. This was followed by I Found a New Baby. Then more original tunes  including a new untitled work simply called Untitled and the final piece of the evening PMS. A title that doesn’t mean what you think. It is a nod to three modern Jazz master musicians, the bassist John Patitucci the guitarists Pat Metheny and John Scofield – PMS.

Here are more images from the evening.

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As always in the Studio 64 Jazz and Blues Concert series the music in this concert was a joy to experience. There is something about the interplay and shifting textures of live jazz that cannot be beaten.

The musicians in the trio would like to thank the Studio 64 Organizing Committee, Volunteers, the audience and A B&B AT 228 for their hospitality. They would also like to thank Elaine Rudser fo her astonishing art work on the walls of the performance space.

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