Apre Ski with (a) the Broken Down Suit Case

Broken Down Suit Case at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill  (Kimberley Ski Hill), Saturday and Sunday, 26 &27 January 2013, 3-6 pm.

 Benjamin Caldwell of Broken Down Suit CaseNow there is a band name with a difference – Broken Down Suit Case. Very apt in a way because that was what these two “Golden Boys” had in their suit case, so to speak, a whole parcel of roots and like minded music from off the road, off the radio, from out of the  Broken Down Suitcase - Benjamin Caldwell & Eric Larocquepast and into the future. Both musicians, Eric Larocque (guitar, banjo and harmonica) and his kiwi band mate Benjamin Caldwell (guitar, mandolin and stomp box) are currently domiciled in Golden. Although they tour extensively in the summer months, winter is a time for more modest excursions.  Hazardous roads and weather conditions restrict their touring to gigs in nearby ski hills and resorts where they get a chance to plough a little powder and perform in friendly environments. In keeping with their rootsy persona their choice of instruments have the well worn look of old instruments that verge 162. Eric Larocqueon being vintage. Not that these guys could afford vintage instruments. Eric play an old (circa mid fifties) Kay Arch top that he says is absolute fun to play. He picked it up on ebay and has spent a small fortune bringing it back to life. His clawhammer banjo started out as a traditional bluegrass banjo that he ended up removing the resonator and back to create his version of an old style / old timey instrument. He has had this banjo for many years. Eric also plays harmonica as both a solo instrument and also in the familiar dental rack that came to favor during  the Bob Dylan / Neil Young years.  Benjamin’s guitar, I believe, is an instrument that he borrowed for the gig. Benjamin Caldwell and his Hathway mandolinThis instrument is so new that it is out of character with their rootsy persona. Check the grain in the guitar top. However, Benajamin redeemed his image with an old English Hathway mandolin that he also picked up on ebay. This round-holed mandolin is a rare beast in this neck of  Stomp Boxthe woods. Most local players prefer the florid f-style mandolin with its characteristic bark and chop. These are do-it yourself guys. A handy coffee cup or beer bottle does service as a slide when required. The banjo has a glued in guitar pickup, the mandolin has an appropriate microphone  duck-tapped to the top and for  Broken Down Suitcase - Benjamin Caldwell & Eric Larocquepercussion a pair of cowboy boots and a miced home made stomp box does the trick. Their repertoire tends towards the folksy end of the spectrum with the likes of Woody Guthrie’s Union Maid (when was the last time you heard that, if ever, in live performance). A few modern covers such as Orphan Girl,  and Neil Young’s Helpless and a sprinkling of originals were thrown in for good measure. As usual the mood of the room was laid back and the scene sparkled with the odd, the cute, the interesting and the down right good looking. He are some images from the Sunday afternoon session.

Broken  Down Suitcase - Benjamin Caldwell and Eric Larocque     The dancing Girl       Eric Larocque  Eric Larocque snd his old time banjo       A cool, cool shirt       Benjamin Caldwell  Benjamin Caldwell      Soraya Pillay - my all time favorite bartender     Eric Larocque   Eric Larocque - a very old fashioned tattoo            An old friend - Orest Federko     Benjamin Caldwell                                      Heather Gemmell and fan




The Merchant of Venice

 Shylock - Dean Nicholson


a play written by

William Shakespeare

directed by Dean Nicholson

sets by Paul Kershaw

cast of over 20 actors, high drama, high comedy, gorgeous costumes

 The Key City Theatre

January 24, 25, 26, 31, February 1, 2, 2013, 7:30 pm

Tickets – $20

The Merchant of Venice is William Shakespeare’s play that could have been more aptly titled Shylock – The Defamation of a Jew. It is a play that could not be written under present day circumstances. Political correctness wouldn’t allow it, the Jewish community would not accept it and audiences would find it offensive. But, it was written hundreds of years ago in a different place and in a different time and, time as they say moves on, to the point where audiences can distance themselves from some of the racial overtones of the play. Besides, there is more to the play than the racism. As usual with Shakespeare’s plays nothing is that straightforward. There are the interactions and convolutions of  plot and characters. The thrust and parry of lovers trust and betrayal, rebellious children, honor in the mercantile world and then there is the knotty problem of the law versus  justice. In and around the major themes there is the spaghetti tangle of a myriad little dramatic and comedic motifs that make Shakespeare just that, Shakespeare. As usual, this local production is great fun with a big cast, a great set and gorgeous costumes. What makes it stand out as a production is the comedic value of the modern electronic devices and  stereotypes  that, while seemingly out of context, actually appear to be exactly in context. This was a stroke of comedic brilliance. All in all, this is a fun production that is well worth seeing. By all means go and enjoy a wonderful night of Shakespeare. Here are some images from the full dress rehearsal:

Shylock - Dean Nicholson     Antonio (Dave Prinn)    Shylock - Dean Nicholson       Portia - Kimberley Davidson      Salarino - Mark Casey    Page - Will Nicholson   Shylock - Dean Nicholson       Bossanio and Antonio - Jerrod Bondy and David Prinn     Portia - Kimberley Davidson   Morocco / Arragon - Josh Klassen       Portia and Nerissa      Shylock and Tubal (Alan McBean)  Lorenzo (Graham McBean) and Jessica (Danielle Nicholson)      Morocco / Arragon - Josh Klassen      Portia - Kimberley Davidson  Shylock - Dean Nicholson      Morocco / Arragon - Josh Klassen     Gratiano (Drew McGowan) and Nerissa (Michelle Heinz)    Bossanio - Jerrod Bondy       Page - Will Nicholson      Old Gobbo - Barry Coulter     Jessica - Danielle Nicholson       Shylock - Dean Nicholson     Portia - Kimberley Davidson  Lancelot (Jeff Cooper) and Old Gobbo (Barry Coulter)      Nerissa (Michielle Heinz) in disguise      Portia (Kimberley Davidson) in disguise   Shylock - Dean Nicholson      Bossanio - Jerrod Bondy     Shylock and Bassanio   Antonio, Gratiano, and Bassanio      Salarino - Mark Casey      Portia and Nerissa                Shylock, Bossanio and Antonio    Lorenzo (Graham McBean) and Jessica (Danielle Nicholson)               Portia (Kimberley Davidson) and Nerissa (Michelle Heinz)    Curtain call



Apre Ski with Heather Gemmell

The Stemwinder Bar and Grill at the Kimberley Ski hill  is well into their after ski music program. 60 Hertz and The Pursuits have already performed there and numerous local performers are scheduled over the coming months. This past weekend it was Heather Gemmel’s turn.

Apre ski with Heather Gemmell, The Stemwinder Bar and Grill, Kimberley Ski Hill, Saturday and Sunday, January 19th & 20th, 2013, 3-6pm.

Originally Heather was scheduled to perform with the second edition of her band THE PEAKS but due to unforeseen circumstances it tuned into a solo gig. Despite the need to fight off a cold, Heather was in fine form with a number of covers that included Heart of Gold  (Neil Young), Learning to Fly (Tom Petty), Angel from Montgomery ( John Prine), Can’t Find my way Home, some blues, some BlueGrass (from her collaborations with THE MESSY WILLOWS) and a selection of her original material from her CD THE ROAD. Her finger picking guitar work on The Road was especially fine. Heather also shared her recent explorations into the fret board tapping styles with a tune she simply calls The Tapping Song. This is the only instrumental I can recall Heather playing and I hope it is the beginning of a trend. Very few, if any, singers will risk the challenges of performing instrumentals. That is a shame because a few instrumentals thrown into the mix adds variety and pacing to any musical set.  As usual the vibe in the room was relaxed and laid back; a mood well in keeping with the afterglow of a day on the ski hill. Here are some images from Sunday’s performance:

 Heather Gemmell     Heather Gemmell    Heather Gemmell   Heather Gemmell    Heather's "bestest" jeans and prayer rug     Heather Gemmell    The Tapping Song            The Tapping Song      The Tapping Song            The Tapping Song         The Tapping Song  The young dancer


Apre Ski with The Pursuits

Apre ski with The Pursuits at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill, Kimberley Ski Hill, Saturday / Sunday, January 13th and 13th January 2013, 3-6pm.

The Pursuits - Julika Urlich (guest), Marlo (15), Connor, Fraser, Declan (9) and PattiFraser Armstrong is older than dirt, or so he says. That may or not be true but one thing for sure he has been on the music scene since prehistoric times (that is any time prior to the closing of the Sullivan Mine). He is a good buddy of Tim Ross and along with Ferdy Belland has played in a number of Tim’s musical organizations over the years. His latest musical adventure is a family band that includes sons Connor on keys, Declan on drums & percussion, daughter Marlo on bass and wife Patti on alto sax.  The family was joined by  special guest cellist Julika Ulrich. Julika is an exchange student all the way from Germany.  Fraser takes the lead with his instantly recognizable voice, lead guitar and percussion.The band has played a number of gigs but this is their first step into the professional league. Their repertoire is a mixture of classic rock, pop and jazz and during the afternoon the ski crowd was treated to Autumn Leaves, Glory Days (Bruce Spingsteen) Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding), Georgia on my Mind, Born to be Wild, Take Five (the classic Paul Desmond Jazz tune in 5/4), Kung Fu Fighting, Learning to Fly (Tom Petty), Super Something Blues (young Declan’s ode to a super hero), I’m a Blue Bird (Cold Play), I Want to be Sedated (The Ramones), I’m a Believer (The Monkees) and in among a whole stack of tunes there was a Neil Diamond tune done in a punk rock style. Not to be forgotten were a number of Fraser’s original tunes.

Leader of the pack - Fraser Armstrong     Connor Armstrong    Marlo Armstrong Patti Armstrong    Julika Ulrich     Fraser Armstrong    Declan Armstrong     Connor Armstrong    Patti  jiving  Marlo Armstrong    Fraser Armstrong    Julika Ulrich

Fraser ArmstrongFraser may be the patriarch and the ladies are especially fine but the cuteness award has to go to that master of rhythm and sartorial elegance young Declan Armstrong.

 Declan Armstrong


Local Live Music X3

So ends a crack-a-jack weekend (Friday / Saturday/ Sunday Jan 4-6, 2013) of live music.

Heather G’s Jam at Ric’s Grill (Prestige Inn, Cranbrook) Friday January 4, 2013 from 7:30pm to midnight.  featuring local performers. As usual there was a great turn out of performers and patrons and a significant amount of audience participation on percussion. Performers included a shakedown performance by Heather Gemmell, Brian Noer and their new drummer Podier Atto (“P.J.”), DAZE OF GRACE, Jon Bisset, EAST MEETS WEST (Tom Bungay and Gene), Dave Prinn, Mark Casey, Steve Lungal, Rod Wilson, James Neve, Connor Foote, Clayton Parsons  and those fine ladies of BlueGrass fame (Cosima Wells, Shauna Plant and Heather Gemmell). Their performance of Stephen Foster’s You are My Sunshine in a minor key was absolutely stellar. Here are some images from the night.

Heather Gemmell    "P.J." THE PEAKS new drummer     Brian Noer   Mark Casey (Folk Singer with Attitude)    Sharon Routley of DAZE OF GRACE     Jubal Routley of DAZE OF GRACE    Rod Wilson on percussion James Neve    Jon Bisset    James Neve  Clayton Parsons     Connor Foote    Clayton Parsons   Cosima Wells    Shauna Plant    Rod Wilson on Penny Whistle (photo: Katie Green)     Cosima, Heather and Shauna           "You play the down beat ..."        Lorraine Casey and Shauna Plant           Ric's Drum Choir (Katie Green & Sharon Routley)

Tim Ross hosting the Open Mic at BJ’s Creekside Pub in Kimberley,
Saturday, January 5, 7:30 pm.

On the local music scene BJ’s is a shining light of live music for local musicians and patrons. During the winter months there is live music nearly every Saturday evening. That includes an “open Mic” session on the first Saturday of the Month.  Tim Ross, ably  Tim, Colin and Furdy - The Bison Brothersassisted by Colin Righton and Ferdy Belland (The Bison Brothers) managed attract a plethora of local talent. Musicians included two of the area’s premier singer / songwriters Garnet Waite and James Neve,  fellow musicians Connor Foote, Brent Ross,  Rod Wilson, DAZE OF GRACE,  Bill St. Armand, Brian Morris and the absolutely stunning back up vocalist “Irene”. Kimberley residents are noted for a crash and burn approach to a night out and are usually home in bed ten o’clock. Not this night. This session, like Heather’s Jam at Ric’s the previous night, rolled right on past midnight.

Brent Ross   Brian Morris    Garnet Waite  Irene Laurendeau   Connor Foote    Irene Laurendeau

Apre Ski with 60 Hertz at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill (Kimberley Ski Hill), Saturday and Sunday, January 5 & 6th, 2013, 3-6pm. This is one of an ongoing series of regular musical events held at the Stemwinder though out the ski season.

It has been said many times before that this is “The Band” of note in the East Kootenays.  60 Hertz is a well oiled musical machine that is way more than just four older guys try to relive their youth. A bygone era may have been their initial inspiration to play rock music but from there on in they are their own musical muses. 60 Hertz with Rob Young on lead guitar, Dave Birch on bass, Marty Musser on drums give substance, voice and  Rob, James and Dave of 60 Hertzpunch to the original songs and tunes penned by James Neve. This is an innovative intelligent rock band with great songs, great arrangements that they play so incredibly tightly. So, after a day on the slopes it is a real treat to be able to kick back, enjoy some food and refreshment and hear the music of this fine band. And, as an added bonus, kids can mill around enjoy live music up front and personal in a family environment. How ofter do kids get to sit down with their parents, friends and others and listen to live music in a civilized setting? I suggest almost never.  As usual the band delivered their repertoire of, by now well known, original songs such as Desperate Train, Don’t Get me Wrong and Time Stands Still , and also a healthy serving of new material. These guys continue to write and rehearse on an almost continuous basis and as an audience we gain the benefit.

 James Neve     Dave Birch     Rob Young     Marty Musser

Viva the Kimberley Ski Hill and the Stemwinder Bar and Grill.


Sitar Virtuoso Ravi Shankar dies at 92

From the latest digital version of DownBeat

Sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar died on Dec. 11 at San Diego’s Scripps Hospital. The preceding week, he had undergone heart-valve replacement surgery, and although the procedure had been successful, recovery proved too difficult. He was 92. Shankar helped popularize Indian classical music, and the sitar itself, around the world through his concerts, albums and film soundtracks. Shankar won a Grammy in the category Best Chamber Music Performance for West Meets East (1967), a collaboration with violinist Yehundi Menuhin. Shankar also won a Grammy in the Best World Music Album category for Full Circle: Carnegie Hall, recorded during his 2000 world tour.

Released in April, Shankar’s The Living Room Sessions Part 1 is nominated for Best World Music Album for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards. Shankar posthumously will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy in February. Shankar and George Fenton won an Academy Award for their original score to the 1982 film Gandhi. Shankar also composed the music for director Satyajit Ray’s classic trilogy of “Apu” films made in the late 1950s.

The cover story for the March 7, 1968, issue of DownBeat, titled “The Impact of Ravi Shankar,” was accompanied by this description: “India’s Master Musician has become America’s idol-in-vogue.” Shankar told DownBeat Assistant Editor Bill Quinn that he had studied “all the famous names in jazz,” including the music of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane and Miles Davis.

Shankar said, “In Indian music, one does not have to follow prescribed rules of harmony; the music is based entirely on melodic form—it is free to invent its own course.”

Shankar’s collaborations with jazz artists included Improvisations with saxophonist Bud Shank and Portrait Of A Genius with flutist Paul Horn. Among Shankar’s other famous collaborators were classical composer Philip Glass and Beatles guitarist George Harrison. Shankar and Harrison organized one of the first large-scale benefit concert events, the Concert for Bangladesh. The benefit consisted of two concerts held on the afternoon and evening of Aug. 1, 1971, at New York’s Madison Square Garden, and featured performances by Shankar, Harrison, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Billy Preston. The resulting album won the Grammy for album of the year in 1972.

Shankar was largely responsible for introducing Indian music to massive rock festivals through his participation in the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969.

Titles in his extensive discography include Sound Of The Sitar, Inside The Kremlin and Concert For Peace: Royal Albert Hall. Shankar composed concertos for sitar and orchestra, and he also wrote music for ballets. He founded the Ravi Shankar Foundation in 1997 for students of music, dance and art.

He was born Robindro Shankar on April 7, 1920, in Varanasi, India. His last public performance was on Nov. 4 with his daughter, sitarist Anoushka Shankar. In the 1970s, Shankar taught music at City College of New York, UCLA and California Institute of the Arts. He received 14 honorary doctorates, including one from Harvard University. In 1985, when Shankar received his doctorate from Cal Arts, the citation praised him as an artist “whose rare genius has opened the ears and minds of millions to the wondrous aesthetic of India’s ancient musical tradition.”

Saxophonist John Coltrane (who took lessons from Shankar) named his son, Blue Note recording artist Ravi Coltrane, after the sitarist.

Shankar’s books included My Music, My Life (1968), Learning Indian Music: A Systematic Approach (1979) and Raga Mala: The Autobiography of Ravi Shankar (1997).

Shankar is survived by his second wife, Sukanya Rajan, and their daughter, Anoushka Shankar. He also had a relationship with New York concert producer Sue Jones, with whom he fathered singer Norah Jones. His son, the musician Shubhendra “Shubho” Shankar, died in 1992.

For more information, visit the Ravi Shankar website.

Bobby Reed

Ravi Shankar’s association with George Harrison and the Beetles is the singular event that would stand out in most peoples mind. However Ravi was a major musical personality long before the famous rock festival encounters of the 1960’s. He was a musical prodigy long before his sitar music became well known. His initial claim to fame was as a dancer of Indian Classical music.

PS: If you visit the Ravi Shankar website take the time to view the videos of his less famous daughter Anoushka Shankar.