Beannick Subscription Concert Series #5

Gord Johnston & Terry Miller have just released the line up for the next Beannick Subscription Concert Series (#5) – here are the performers and dates-

Saturday, January 12, 2013: Cahalen Morrison & Eli West, old-time duo from Seattle.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013: The Carlos del Junco Trio, A Maple Blues Award Winner and Juno nominee.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013: Stephen Fearing – Solo

All shows are at the Studio / Stage Door starting at 8pm. This is a subscription series and for more information contact Terry Miller at


Tuckers Troubadours

Tuckers Troubadours, at BJ’s Creekside Pub, Saturday December 15, 7:30 pm.

 Tuckers Troubadours: Larry Tucker, Doug Simpson, Dave Carlson & Bud DecoseThey (Larry Tucker – bass ukelele; Doug Simpson – rhythm guitar; Dave Carlson – mandolin & Bud Decose – lead guitar) probably just think of themselves as a bunch of guys playing country music. I suggest they are a little more than that. Certainly they are a long step away from the tinsel sounds of Nashville and much closer to that sub-genre known as Western Swing. It is a style of music that came out of the American South West in the 1930s and went onto to influence Rockabilly  and early Rock and Roll. As a style it  still flourishes in the nooks and crannies of real country music. The music was the hall mark of such luminaries as Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Asleep at the Wheel and Canada’s own Prairie Oyster. Although there is no fiddle in the band  the feel of the music is true to the old Western Swing style. Larry Tucker’s  Larry Tucker & Doug Simpsonbass ukelele and Doug Simpson’s ever so light swinging rhythm guitar is a rock solid foundation for Dave Carlson’s additional rhythmic thrusts and mandolin leads and Bud Decose’s forays on a beautiful Eastman Arch-top guitar. Now about that bass ukelele. There is a rumor that Larry is getting so old that he can no longer heft the 35lb solid body bass guitar for a full evening. There is another rumor that Doug Simpson has survived some near death experiences when Larry has inadvertently wacked him in the head with the long neck of the bass guitar. Enough was enough and it was time for a change. And, despite first impressions, it is possible to get the sounds of an upright bass from a ukelele equipped with thick polyurethane strings. So there you have it; a bass instrument that only weighs a few pounds and is way smaller than bass instruments the size of a small person.

The band has played at BJ’s before and they are a perfect fit for the venue and the usual cadre of respectful patrons that frequents the pub. This is a venue for musicians who don’t Dave Carlson and Budy Decosselike playing bars. For patrons it is an opportunity to hear a bunch of like minded musicians who have played together for many years, have fun, and explore a repertoire that includes The Rose of San Antone (Bob Wills), Foolin’ Around (Buck Owens), Did You Fall in Love With Me? (Prairie Oyster), Lonesome Fugitive (Merle Haggard), Last Kiss (a little early Rock and Roll from Ricky Nelson), Sea of Heartbreak (Don Gibson), Don’t Get Around Much Any More (Bud Decose’s exploration of the Duke Ellington Jazz Classic) and Dave Carlson’s favorite, Kate Wolfe’s The Great Divide.The band even throws in a Carribean / Brazilian flavored piece with an impossible name that I chose to abbreviate to Aqua Velva. There you have it.  A cozy venue, good food, appropriate refreshment and some laid back Western Swing. What more could one want on a snowy December night?



Canadian Country Christmas

 With the compliments of Mr Sean Hogan, Buck Zroback of  Cranbrook Dodge and Margie Coleman of the Byng Roadhouse Bar it was indeed a great Christmas for  Country Music fans.The familiar opening lines, “it was a dark and stormy night” were almost true. There was no storm of course but it was a dark, dark, very dark night. An electrical breaker had kicked out at Fort Steele and left most of the area in darkness. It was incredibly hard to spot the turn off into Fort Steele. So much so that several performers were reduced to using their GPS devices to find the entrance road. The parking lot was equally as dark and it was only the lights of strategically  parked cars that  enable patrons to find their way to the Wild Horse Theatre. As the poster said this was the 9th annual Country Christmas show at the Fort Steele Wild Horse Theatre. Sean Hogan, recently recovered from Oral Pharyngeal cancer, invited some of Alberta’s, and Canada’s, finest singer / song writers to join him on stage for the show. Performers included Duane Steele, Bobby Wills (the only cowboy hat on stage), Jake Mathews and Samantha King. In the back ground doing an absolutely monumental job as the back up band was Denis Dufresne (Du-nee Doo-frain) on fiddle and mandolin and Karac Hendricks (Care-ac Hen-dricks) on electric and acoustic guitars. The format of the show was pretty straight forward with each performer taking to the stage for the first half of the show to reprise some of their well known and not so well known songs. After brief a introduction Jake Mathews kicked off the show with “I’m Gone”, “Red Tail Lights andIf I had it My Way“. Red Lights was featured in a video originally recorded near Kimberley and it included that fine piece of country poetry ” nothing says goodbye like red tail lights”. Bobby Wills, complete with black cowboy hat and his favorite Gibson guitar kicked off his selection with the song, “Show Some Respect”, that climbed to #8 on the charts.  Bobby got his start in country music at an open mic session in, of all places, Byron Bay, Australia. Samantha King has been on previous Country Christmas shows and she performed her “Not Enough to Get Me”, “The Black Bear” and a possibly slanderous piece of poetry in song, “The All Overs”, dedicated to her ex-husband. Duane Steele is a long time co-writer with Sean Hogan and his stand out song was “Brave” . It featured some of his beautiful finger picking and the superb mandolin back up from Denis Dufresne. It was a real treat to hear some classy mandolin playing that did not rely on over worked Blue Grass “chops” and runs. Duane’s “Bottle It” was about saving the good times for when you can “pop the cork and drink it on down”. That’s a nice line. As was the poetry in  “A Waste of Good Whiskey” . This  is a song he co-wrote and performed with Sean Hogan. Sean Hogan rounded off the first half of the show with a set that included “Not Just Any Bull”. Only in Alberta could somebody have a pet bison ride around in vehicle and have it end up in a song. After a brief intermission every body was back on stage to do a selection of Christmas songs that included “It Came on a Midnight Clear”, “Have Your Self a Merry Christmas”, “Rock Around the Christmas Tree”, “Is That You Santa Claus?” (an old Louis Armstrong song) “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “Look What Love Did”, and “O Holy Night”. That last mentioned song garnered huge applause for Samantha King. In the Christmas mix was some Garth Brooks and George Straight flavored songs and a Happy Birthday greeting for 84 year old “Gracie” in the audience. This was a night of, dare I say it?, of real country music. No “Star Spangled Nashville Sounds” or country music dressed up in rock and roll clothes here. It was a night of blue jeans, rolled up sleeves and  calloused hands – the way country music should be. Here are a few more images from the show


The benefits from the show went to the  Kootenay Child Development Centre (250-426-2542).


Sean HoganTHE BYNG IS BACK: SEAN HOGAN AND DUANE STEELE , Friday night, December 7, 2012, no earlier than 9pm. Over the years music has come and gone at the Byng Hotel but it appears that new management has initiated a new “live” music policy. Now, under the banner of The Byng Roadhouse Bar, things are back on track with bands performing on Friday and Saturday evenings and regular jam sessions every Saturday afternoon. Margie Coleman took over the lease of the bar in October and has been busy rehabilitating the room. The bandstand and dance floor have been restored to the bottom section of  room and suitable booths and furnishing have been added to the main social area. To date there are no kitchen services but that could change as circumstances permit. The country singer/song writers Sean Hogan and Duane Steele managed to hang around for a few days after their Christmas Concert at Fort Steele to perform at the Byng. It was an excellent opportunity to hear these two performers in an up close and personal environment. Here are some images from an evening of great “real” country music:

Duane Steele       Duane Steele      Duane Steele  Sean Hogan      Sean Hogan      Sean Hogan                                    Great hands - Duane Steele     Sean Hogan      Duane Steele     Sean Hogan     Sean Hogan      Duane Steele      Sean Hogan                                 Duane Steele




It’s a Wonderful Life – The Live Radio Show

CRANBROOK COMMUNITY THEATRE PRESENTS: It’s a Wonderful Life – The Live Radio Show, at the Studio/Stage Door in Cranbrook. Performances December 7,8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 2012.

As a Christmas story “A Wonderful Life” ranks right up there with Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” and it is obvious that the director Terry Miller really, really likes this script. He directed the show two year ago and he is back with a new production for this year’s Christmas season. Some actors have returned for this production (Peter Schalk, Sioban Staplin, Jennifer Inglis) and are joined by David Popoff (fresh from the radio flavoured Babe Ruth Comes to Pickle River), Sean Swinwood and a cameo appearance by Bud Abbott. Based somewhat on the old black and white film “Miracle on 34th Street” (or at least I remember it as black and white, maybe they have colored it up by now) that is screened on network TV every Christmas. It is the story of an adventurous youth trapped by circumstances that in turn leads to despair and finally redemption. That’s all very well of course but I don’t think that the actual story line is the reason that this play works so well. For me it’s more about the power of imagination. Before TV there were ‘Motion Pictures’ and Radio and of the two, radio was the one that really fired the imagination. I remember radio and the serialised adventure shows (Superman, The Phantom, Biggles, and the like) with larger than life voices, dialogue and sound effects that enthralled the mind with endless possibilities. Those possibilities have been captured on this stage in a marvelous period piece of a time before our time. A time when people dressed up, men wore double breasted suits and women pulled compacts out of their purses instead of cell phones. And when was the last time you saw a young man stand with his hand in his pocket just so? For most people the play will invoke images from the film and that is fine. However, may I suggest that the play and the production share a sensibility that was displayed in Woody Allen’s 1985 film The Purple Rose of Cairo. Maybe I am stretching it, but David Popoff could have stepped down off the screen in that Woody Allen film. Once again the Cranbrook Community Theatre actors  and director have managed to master a multitude of roles, voices and a mountain of dialogue to add substance to our imagination in this well known entertaining story.



Dave Brubeck dies at 91

Reported in the most recent electronic version of Down Beat

“Dave Brubeck, pianist, composer and bandleader, died Wednesday morning, Dec. 5, at Norwalk Hospital, in Norwalk, Conn., one day before his 92nd birthday. Brubeck died on his way to “a regular treatment with his cardiologist,” said long time manager-producer-conductor Russell Gloyd.

Brubeck’s career spanned more than 60 years, comprising nearly the entire existence of American jazz since World War II. He was revered for recordings with his legendary Dave Brubeck Quartet, including “Take Five” and “Blue Rondo à la Turk.” The album on which they appeared, Time Out, became one of the best-selling jazz recordings of all time. He was revered for his daring use of rhythm and unusual time signatures, both of which transcended previous conceptions of swing rhythm.

Brubeck was born on Dec. 6, 1920, in Concord, Calif. His mother was a classically trained pianist who introduced him to the instrument at a young age, and he was performing professionally by the age of 13. Brubeck enrolled as a zoology major at the College of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., but became highly involved in the school’s music department. From 1942–1943, he led the school’s 12-piece big band.

Around the same time, Brubeck began to study classical composition at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., under French composer Darius Milhaud. Brubeck’s studies under Milhaud subsided during World War II, when in 1944 he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He led a service band in Europe, was discharged in 1946 and then resumed his musical training. Brubeck’s studies with Milhaud influenced his experimentation with odd time signatures and classically inspired counterpoint.

A pioneer who did not accept the idea of “pigeonholing,” Brubeck was an integral force in venturing outside of the accepted boundaries of jazz. He was a lifelong advocate of the genre’s racial integration, performing in African American clubs throughout the South in the 1950s.

He was also an important figure who brought jazz to the forefront of academia, and his groups became wildly popular at colleges throughout the 1950s and ’60s. In 1949, Brubeck and a group of fellow students at Mills College formed the Jazz Workshop Ensemble, which would later record as The Dave Brubeck Octet. Brubeck’s octet often performed standards by other composers, but this was the pianist’s segue as a leader into 5/4, 9/8 and 11/4 time signatures, as opposed to traditional two and four counts. That same year, Brubeck formed his namesake trio alongside percussionist Cal Tjader and bassist Norman Bates. He was joined by alto saxophonist Paul Desmond in 1951, resulting in the creation of the legendary Dave Brubeck Quartet. With the newly formed quartet, Brubeck continued his advocacy of jazz on college campuses by recording Jazz At Oberlin in 1953. He also solidified his position as a public figure when he became the first modern jazz musician to appear on the cover of Time magazine on Nov. 8, 1954.

The “classic” Dave Brubeck Quartet would not form until the late 1950s, with the additions of drummer Joe Morello in 1956 and bassist Gene Wright in 1958 alongside Brubeck and Desmond. The quartet’s 1959 album Time Out was the first jazz LP in history to sell a million copies, and many of the tunes on the album have become standards. The album opens with the Mozart-inspired “Blue Rondo à la Turk,” which Brubeck composed in 9/8 time. The album also features “Take Five,” a tune composed in 5/4 time, which made the Billboard singles chart in 1961 and remains one of the most recognizable jazz recordings of all time. The quartet performed together until 1967, when Brubeck, a self-proclaimed “composer who plays the piano,” left to focus more on composition and arrangement. Brubeck, Morello and Wright would later reunite in 1976 to perform and record in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the classic quartet’s initial formation.

Throughout the 1970s, Brubeck assembled a number of other quartets that included one or more of his sons: keyboardist Darius Brubeck, trombonist and bassist Chris Brubeck, and drummer and percussionist Daniel Brubeck. He also composed numerous large-scale works throughout the 1960s and ’70s, including two ballets, a musical, an oratorio, four cantatas, a mass and solo piano works. Brubeck’s music was also used on one episode of the eight-part TV series This Is America, Charlie Brown.

Brubeck performed at the White House in 1964 and 1981, and at a dinner for Mikhail Gorbachev hosted in Moscow by then-President Ronald Reagan.

Brubeck was a frequent winner of DownBeat polls throughout his entire career. In 1994, he was inducted into the DownBeat Hall of Fame, and he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy in 1996. He was named a Kennedy Center honoree in 2009.

Brubeck was named a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Master in 1999. On Wednesday, NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman issued a statement, saying, in part, “On behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts, it is with great sadness that I acknowledge the passing of National Medal of Arts recipient and NEA Jazz Master Dave Brubeck. One of our nation’s greatest and most popular jazz pianists, Brubeck’s experiment with odd time signatures, improvised counterpoint, and a distinctive harmonic approach resulted in a unique style of music. Brubeck became a leader in cultural diplomacy, taking part in the first Jazz Ambassadors program during the Cold War. In a 2006 interview with Dana Gioia about his cultural diplomacy efforts, Brubeck said, ‘One of the reasons I believe in jazz is that the oneness of man can come through the rhythm of your heart. It’s the same anyplace in the world, that heartbeat. It’s the first thing you hear when you’re born—or before you’re born—and it’s the last thing you hear.’”

In 2008 Brubeck was among the inaugural recipients of the Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy from the U.S. State Department.

Brubeck is survived by his wife, Iola; four sons and a daughter; grandsons and a great granddaughter. His son, Michael, died in 2009.”       DB

Classic DownBeat Dave Brubeck Interviews:
“Dave Brubeck: They Said I Was Too Far Out”
(Aug. 8, 1957)

“Brubeck Charms at Litchfield”
(Sept. 1, 2010)

For those of us who predate the 1960’s world of Rock and Roll Dave Brubeck was a towering musical figure. As a testament to to his musical stature, his land mark recordings are still selling consistently well in a world dominated by less substantial music. Dave Brubeck did not live in the past . He was still actively composing and performing right up to his death.

How about that American election eh?

Once again the circus they call the American Presidential Election is over, and as Canadians we can poke fun at the stupendous cost, the endless hoop-la that, in the end arrived at ….. you got it, the status quo. Obama is back in the White House, the Democrats control the Senate and the Republicans control the Congress. Nothing has changed. Yet, it fact everything has changed. The demographic mathematics have kicked in and it may be the beginning of paradigm change in American politics.

In previous presidential elections the party who garnered 60% of white male vote usually took the election. Once again, in this election, the Republicans took 60% of the white male vote BUT THEY LOST. It is just simple mathematics. There are less white male voters and there are many, many more Black, Hispanic, Female and younger voters. These are voters  who  do not share political sympathies with white males or the Republican party. And why should they? Republican hopeful Mitt Romney sloughed off the 47% of  voters who he considered were so unimportant that there was no point trying to win their vote. The Republican anti-immigrant stance and their position on women’ issues certainly didn’t encourage support for the party. His position wasn’t helped by the incredible number of right-wing nuts (Donald Trump please stand up)  in his party that had surfaced in the years running up to the election. The election results cemented the notion that the party is out of touch and living in a fantasy land that no longer existed (if it ever did exist). The right wing seems to have a strangle hold on Republican thinking and the  situation isn’t likely to change. The number of minorities will continue to increase as a percentage of the population and this will continue to favor  the Democrats.

Here is a little interesting blow back from the election. Within days of the Obama win 30 US states launched citizen petitions to secede from the union. It’s not going to happen of course, but the possibility does raise some interesting scenarios. What if the USA union did disintegrate? Would that necessarily be a bad thing? Hmmm, one wonders, doesn’t one?