Oak Republic at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill (Kimberley Ski Hill), Saturday & Sunday February 16/17th, 2013, 3-6 pm.
OAK REPUBLIC?? Where did that name come from? As it turns out the band’s Bouzouki player Shawn Robertson is a big admirer of the great Canadian guitarist Don Ross. Don is famous for his aggressive finger style playing that has been labelled “Heavy Wood”. Considering the nature of the band’s music “Heavy Wood” would seem an appropriate name for the band but, in deference to Don, the band moved on looking for another name. “What’s a significant heavy wood. Let’s see; say what about Oak? Now that’s a step in the right direction. What’s a name for a collection of citizens? How about a Republic? By George Jay, you’ve got it. The OAK REPUBLIC is what we are.” Under that name Jay Toner (guitar, vocals), Allyson Blake (fiddle and vocals), Shawn Robertson (guitars, mandolin, vocals and Irish Bouzouki), Murph Martin (electric 5-string bass) and Paris Parisean (drums) performed at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill at the Kimberley Ski Hill on Saturday and Sunday. Their music is a mix of the old, new and not so new Irish, country, classic rock, folk and anything in between. They kicked off their Sunday set with Ewan McColl’s classic Dirty Old Town. This is a song that was given a new lease of life when the Irish Punk/Rock band The Pogues recorded it a few years back. Then it was onto some Ben Harper, U2, Johnny Cash, an original Typsy Gypsy (written by Jay and Allyson when Allie first came over from Ireland), Whiskey in the Jar (an Irish traditional song that has been given a new lease of life by a number of Heavy Metal bands in recent years). Also included where the ever popular Wagon Wheels and CCR’s Bad Moon Rising and a song that was new to me, John Lennon’s Working Class Hero.The crowd obviously showed their appreciation by dancing, an activity that was fraught with danger if you were not wearing ski boots.
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