Belle Plaine at the Driftwood Concert House

Belle Plaine at the Driftwood Concert House in Kimberley, Thursday March 28th, 2013, 7:30 PM.

 Belle Plaine

I hear tell that the geographical center of Canada is somewhere in Northern Ontario.  I have no reason to doubt that. The Toronto/Montreal axis likes to think of itself as the cultural center of the country and that I very much doubt. Admittedly Gordon Lightfoot was from Ontario but I suggest the cultural center of of the country is somewhat west of the geographical center. After all, Neill Young and Joni Mitchell’s early geographical affiliations, before they made it in the US of A, were with the Canadian west. Over the years  Belle Plainemusicians from the cultural center still keep floating to the surface. Colin James was originally from Saskatchewan as was the monster blues guitarist Jack Semple. This week Kimberley was witness to performances by Alberta native Jake Ian at BJ’s Creekside Pub and Belle Plaine from Regina at the Driftwood Concert House. Once again proving that the center still holds. For this town the “House Concert” at the Driftwood Concert House was step, and a very successful one at that, outside the box. Jen and Darin Welch relocated from Smithers  to Kimberley and as part of their resettlement plans was their desire to initiate a house concert series. The idea, while simple and straightforward, is not that new. House concerts have been a round for a long time and, with the decline in available performing venues, are gaining more widespread popularity. Jen and Darren organized a room in their house that was big enough to  Jeremy Saueraccommodate an audience for visiting musicians. For a percentage of the gate, a place to stay and food there are enough travelling musicians who are willing to perform in a respectful environment for audiences who are there to listen. Jen and Darin have scheduled three spring concerts in their Driftwood Concert House and the first ensemble through the door in the series was Belle Plaine with upright bassist Elizabeth (Beth) Currie and Keyboard / Banjo / Accordion player Jeremy Sauer. First of all their music is basically acoustic with some sound re-enforcement and the first thing that strikes one’s ear is the quality of the sound. The audience can hear (and see) everything. The acoustic environment for this group was perfect. The dynamic range of Belle’s voice was very much in evidence, the great intonation of Beth’s bass was right there underneath the vocals and the guitar and the tasty embellishments and accompaniments Young Audienceof Jeremy’s Keyboards literally sparkled. There was time when their repertoire would have been considered mainstream but in this day and age of “classic rock” the material offered was definitely towards the jazzy side. In addition to an infatuation with the music of Tom Waitts there was the music of Nina Simone, Peggy Lee (You’re So Right), Town Van Zandt (Panch and Lefty), some old Bessie Smith (No Body Knows you When you are Down and Out) and a sprinkling of country, traditional (Wayfaring Stranger) and original material. The music was masterful and well crafted. These musicians obviously spend a lot of time on their arrangements and polishing their performance. The music had lots of space, an element that is missing in a lot of performances these days, and sonic variety. The audience, while mostly young families, was attentive and varied. Who could know that a bunch of very young children, and adults for that matter,  could be so well behaved?

 Conversations with a bass player: Beth Currie plays a Yamaha Silent Bass with a Galleon-Kruger amp. This is an electric stand up bass and apart from the unit built by Kimberley’s Dave Carlson it is a pretty rare beast in this area. Traditional acoustic bass players tend to look down on their electric counterpart. Beth is a player of wide experience, including symphonic work, and owns a symphonic bass that costs a small fortune and  Elizabeth Curryhas consumed most of her disposable cash over the purchase years. As Beth explains it “traditional basses are huge wooden boxes designed to produce and bolster the sound at the bass end of the spectrum. They were never meant of be amplified”. The invention of the bass guitar in the late 50’s killed off the manufacture of reasonably priced acoustic basses. In a few short years the bass guitar became the standard in pop music. “Early attempts to develop an amplified stand up bass were hampered by the overtly bass guitar sound that was the end product. That appears to have been overcome and the newer generation of electric stand-up basses are coming into their own. They have good “acoustic” sound, they are robust and they are easy to transport”. In recent years there has been a notable resurgence in the use of upright bass in all fields of music. The emergence of reasonably priced acoustic-sounding  electric models will, no doubt, accelerate, the  reintegration of stand up bass into the music world.

Thanks should go to the performers and Jen and Darin Welch for a very enjoyable and successful beginning to the Driftwood Concert House Spring season.


 The Next house concert at the Driftwood Concert House will on Friday April 19th featuring – David Newberry w/ The Nautical Miles – $12. Contact Darin Welch []. – Newberry Video

Jake Ian – Songs of Great Clarity

Jake Ian and the Haymakers Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 7:30 pm at BJ’s Creekside Pub.  Lonesome Jim – aka James Neve was scheduled to open the act but because of a cold Ferdy Belland stepped in to open the show.

Over 40 years ago Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and their contemporaries completely revolutionized the content of popular songs. The “moon, June, spoon” sentiments of that era were replaced with songs of personal statement, content and meaning and for that we can be thankful. Although, at the same time, songs tended to become more oblique and obscure. Almost to the point  where sometimes, even with some head scratching and research, it has become difficult to figure out the meaning of Jake Ianthe song. Clarity often was sacrificed for the pure poetry of the words. So Jake Ian is a pleasant respite from the “fuzzy” songs of recent years. In his craft he returns to songs of narrative, songs that tell stories, songs that reflect the “rolled up sleeves and callused hands” of rural Alberta. Jake is a guitarist/ singer/ songwriter hailing from Warspite, Alberta, a small hamlet of 48 people located 100 km north east of Edmonton. He grew up on a family farm and his Ukrainian cultural heritage stretches back though several generations.  In listening to his songs I was transported back to the the world of the great short story writer W.P. Kinsella. Not to the scenes of Kinsella’s Hobbema  Ermineskin reserve but to a series of stories that he did about Ukrainian communities north of Edmonton (I have been unable to recover the name of the collection but the stories still rattle around in my brain). What Kinsella managed to put into Ferdy Bellandprint Jake manages to put into song. Although some of the evening’s performance included covers of acoustic material by Neill Young (Long May You Run),  and Town Van Zandt (If I Needed You) the strength of the night was in Jake’s original material about life on the farm, people met, people left behind, old cars, and old experiences. Included in the originals were Bunk House Blues, Hide the Guns, The Hired Hand (based on some late 1800’s poetry by dissident Ukrainian Ivan Franks), Down the Drain, White Wagon Blues, Maria, Public Defenders Blues and Be in Fort  Qu’Appelle by Dusk. Jake played a beautiful small bodied Martin 000-15M guitar in a wonderfully clean complementary style and was supported by the bass player Braden Sustrik.  James Neve was scheduled to open for Jake but due to illness he was forced to relinquish the opening role to Ferdy Belland. Ferdy had orchestrated the evening’s event and the choice of James Neve would have been the perfect bookend to Jake’s material. James’s endless supply of original songs from another area of the troubadour tradition Jake Ianwould have been a nice complement to Jake’s songs. Be that as it may, Ferdy rose to the occasion with a wealth of covers that included The Early Morning Rain (Gordon Lightfoot), The Great Compromise (John Prine), Pancho and Lefty (Towns Van Zandt), He’s and Old Hippie (David Bellamy), Aurora Borealis (Neill Young), Chelsea Hotel (Leonard Cohen), The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (Gordon Lightfoot) and Hello in There (John Prine). Once again the evening was testament to the management of BJ’s Creekside Pub (Shannon and Kurt Schiller) and their commitment to live music. It was also a testament to the cultural strength of the land north of “Edmonchuck” (Edmonton).

Braden Sistrik         Jake Ian       Braden Sustrik Jake Ian                       Jake Ian Braden and Jake                       Jake IanJake Ian



Tyler Hornby Trio at Centre 64

The Tyler Hornby Trio  at Centre 64, March 21, 2013, 7:30 pm

In the recording industry the big name Jazz labels are BlueNote (of course), Verve, Columbia , Impulse and others. Nominally these are North American labels and as such tend to  Soprano Saxreflect the jazz of North America. Outside the country and outside the box is ECM, a German label founded by producer Manfred Eicher in 1969.  ECM, with a well defined musical and marketing philosophy, has to date issued more than 1200 albums spanning many idioms. The unifying “thing”, despite the multitude of projects, personalities and styles of music, for ECM is “the sound”. I can’t define it but each ECM recording has the “ECM sound”. On hearing the Tyler Hornby Trio (Tyler Hornby- drums, Piotr Lemanczyk – bass and Maciek Sikala – tenor and soprano saxes) the “ECM Sound” immediately came to mind. Described as a stripped down  spacey sound with lots of room in The  Tyler Hornby Triothe music for inventive improvisation. Almost by definition ECM is a European sound and it is fitting that with two polish musicians on board (Piotr and Maciek) the end product of Tyler Hornby’s  collaboration is decidedly European in tone. Tyler may be from Calgary but the overall timbre of the band is from Europe. It is a step away from the usual standard jazz ensemble of bass, drums, piano and solo instruments. With only a bass to  Tyler Hornbyanchor the band (no chordal instruments), drums for rhythm and a solo instrument (either tenor sax or soprano sax) there is lots of room in the music and, while busy, it is not cluttered. The focus of their repertoire is mostly original material (Home Pictures, Hip Triplet, Able to Fly, Fast Fill-In Tyler, Big Mountain Bounce) a couple of standards and classic tunes, (Dave Brubeck’s In your Own Sweet Way,  Piotr Lemanczyk & Maciek Sikala You Don’t Know what Love Is  and John Coltrane’s classic harmonic tour de force Giant Steps) were included.  You Don’t Know What love is had an interesting twist  – they played it in “7’s”- I guess that means 7/8 (count 1,2 -1,2 – 1,2,3 or some variant there of). Jazz, and for that matter most music, does not belong on a concert stage. It belongs in  a small intimate setting such as a club or a civilized bar. Failing that then Centre 64 is the next best thing. The sound was good, the lighting great, the setting perfect and the music superb. This was the first concert in a three concert series sponsored by the Kimberley Arts Council. Over the next couple of weeks there will be two more concerts in the series. The next one will feature  Andrea Superstein  and it will be at the Kimberley United Church on Tuesday March 26th, 2013 at 7pm. Oh, by the way, thanks should go to Laurel Ralston and the Kimberley Arts Council for also stepping outside the box and presenting such interesting music. Here are some more images from the evening – for a larger view click on the image.

Tyler Hornby        Piotr Lemanczyk        Piotr Lemanczyk & Maciek Sikala  Piotr Lemanczyk       Tyler Hornby        Piotr Lemanczyk   Piotr Lemanczyk & Maciek Sikala        Bass on Deck        Tyler HornbyTyler Hornby        Maciek Sikala        Piotr Lemanczyk   Maciek Sikala       Tyler Hornby       Piotr Lemanczyk & Maciek Sikala  Tyler Hornby       Tenor Sax       Piotr Lemanczyk Maciek Sikala       Piotr Lemanczyk       Maciek Sikala  Tyler Hornby       A very happy Laurel Ralston            Soprano SaxPiotr Lemanczyk               Piotr Lemanczyk



Live music at BJ’s Creekside Pub

Jon Bisset hosting an Open Mic Session , Saturday March 2, 2013,7:30 pm at BJ’s Creekside Pub, Kimberley.

Dave Prinn and Friends , Saturday February 16, 2013, 7:30 pm at BJ’s Creekside Pub, Kimberley.

I hope it isn’t a well kept secret for it shouldn’t be. Since moving to the area about two years ago Shannon and Kirt Schiller have made a determine effort to provide a  venue for the musicians of the area. So, for the winter months live music is on the agenda for most Jon BissetSaturday nights. Open Mic sessions are held on the first Saturday of each month and often on the remaining Saturdays any number of local musicians or bands can be heard doing their thing. The food is great, the venue is cosy, the atmosphere friendly and on any given performance night there can be some surprising performances. Both of the above evenings pretty well drew on the same core cadres of local musicians in what were both essentially nights of acoustic music. Jon Bisset is a well know local musician and he hosted an evening that included performances by Rod Wilson (cittern, 12 string guitar and mandolin), Beth Crawley (vocals and guitar), Dave Prinn (vocals and Dave Prinn at BJ's Creekside Pubguitar )and Bill Renwick (blues harp, vocals and guitar). On the second Saturday evening Dave Prinn  returned with some additional invited musicians that included, Paige Lennox (banjo and vocals), Heather Gemmell (vocals, guitar and dobro), Janice Nicli, (bass), Cosima Wells (vocals and guitar). Although classic folk/rock was the staple for the evening there was some fine blue grass from the ladies. The name of the all girl bluegrass band is still in flux – some suggestions included THE CONTRACTIONS or  BOB (The Bells of Bluegrass) plus a few others that were bandied about throughout the evening. The venue proved to be a wonderful sonic environment for the ladies. Amplification was minimal the instruments and and the vocal harmonies came across pure and unsullied by extraneous noise.  The band was solid with Heather Gemmell sounding wonderful on a borrowed vintage Regal Resophonic guitar. Heather GemmellDave Prinn was on top of his game with a selection of classic rock tunes that included    No Souvenirs, Let it Rain, Broadway, Vincent Black Lightning, Wake Up Little Suzie, James Kellaghan’s classic Cold Missouri Waters, the folk song Springhill Mining Disaster and what must be the definitive version of Neil Young’s Old Man. When I got home I went back to the original Neil Young recording and to these ears Dave’s version is way better. Dave also threw his share of original songs into the evening’s performance  with Circles and You Better Think Twice.  He must have forgot his City in the Grass, another one of his fine originals. Heather Gemmell on vocals and Dobro joined Dave for Angels From Montgomery, Can’t Find My Way Home, Whiskey Lullabye, The Weight and a number of other songs.  Bill Renwick (guitar, vocals and blues harp) stepped up to stage for some duets with Dave that included James Taylor’s SteamRoller Blues, Me  Bill Renwickand Bobbie McGee, On the Road Again, Ahead by a Century , Hollywood Nights and the ultimate rocking hot car song 455 Rocket. Bill stayed on stage to do some sol pieces that included Danny Boy (after all it was Saint Patrick`s Day). Now, I must say Danny Boy is one of my least favorite songs but Bill had the right vocal intonation and phrasing to breath new life into what can be an over sentimental over done song. All was forgiven when Bill breathed new life into that old war horse. The night was not only rock roll. The `BlueGrass Ladies` (Heather, Paige, Janice and Cosima) breathed some especially fine acoustic vibes into the evening with a selection that included I Have Endured, You are my Sunshine and an original tune from Cosima called Trying to get Blood from a Stone.  Here are some images from both Saturday night`s of very special music.

Dave Prinn        Heather Gemmell & Janice Nicli        Dave Prinn   Cosima Wells         Heather Gemmell       Janice Nicli     Heather Gemmell     Janice Nicli       Bill Renwick  Heather Gemmell & Dave Prinn                       Heather Gemmell                      @@@@@@@@@@@@@@

MISS QUINCY at the Byng

MISS QUINCY at the Byng Roadhouse, Wednesday March 6, 2013, 8pm. Heather Gemmell and the Peaks opened for Miss Quincy.

"Miss Quincy"      drummer     Shari I have an aversion to loud drummers and, for me, the drummer for Miss Quincy was too loud. As a result any review by me of Miss Quincy will lack objectivity. On the other hand Brian Noer of the The Peaks is into really, really loud music so he is right at home in reviewing Miss Quicy. To use his words – “I love hearing music that wouldn’t be out of place in a Tarantino or David Lynch film set in some sleazy, smoky bar in a small town in Mexico, with slow droning, reverb drenched guitars, a walking bass, sultry vocals and plenty of tequila shots. I thought Miss Quincy pulled off the vibe they were going for, and I bought one of their CDs. My barometer for what kind of music captures the attention of “normal” people (as opposed to opinionated musicians like me) is women and children. Once in a while, I’ll put on a CD and someone in my family will ask me who that is (it doesn’t happen too often given the heavier music that I prefer). I was playing the Miss Quincy CD in my studio the other day and my wife poked her head in and said, “Wow, I like that; who is it?” Maybe she was just happy I wasn’t playing Slayer. Never-the-less as a barometer I think it works”.

 Heather Gemmell        Brian Noer       Heather Gemmell

The opening act of the evening was Heather Gemmell and The Peaks (Heather – guitars and vocals , Podier Atto – drums and Brian Noer – bass) and they were at the top of their game on Wednesday night. So much so I think they upstaged the headliners (Miss Quincy). Heather’s choice of solid body guitars sounded great and the little bit of slide guitar towards the end of their set was the icing on the cake. Podier Atto abandoned his “rubber” electronic drum kit  (Ferdy’s words) and made use of Miss Quincy’s acoustic set. He had the right amount of volume, sizzle and sparkle on the acoustic set and there is no doubt metal cymbals have a bit more “zing” than their electronic cousins.  Brian Noer did not look as cute as the “dreaded” girl on the upright bass in Miss Quincy’s band  but then again we were not there for his looks. Brian, in his own defence said “we have yet to see him in his little black dress” . Now that would be worth the price of admission.

– Rod Wilson and Brian Noer.

More images from the evening (click on the images for a larger view):

"Miss Quincy"         Heather Gemmell        Heather Gemmell Shari    Miss Quincy      Heather Gemmell   Miss Quincy         Brian Noer      Shari   Heather Gemmell        Inked      Heather Gemmell    "Miss Quincy"         Brian Noer      Drummer    Heather Gemmell        Shari     Heather Gemmell


Bela Fleck’s “Throw Down Your Heart”

Throw Down Your Heart, a DVD Documentary by Bela Fleck

An African / American Instrument  - the 5 String Banjo

We live in an American-centric world. By that I mean we view the world through the lens of what has, what might or what will impact on our North American world. Take the historical view of the slave trade. The common view is that the black populations of West Africa were scooped up and deposited on the plantations of the Caribbean, United States, Central and South America. That is by and large true but, at around the same time, black populations of East Africa were also being scooped up for the slave trade in the Middle East. Both of these commercial endeavours were more or less condoned by the religious institutions of the day. For long periods of time both  Christian and Moslem sensibilities seem to have been immune to the evils of the slave trade. Although it wasn’t the point of Bela Fleck’s odyssey and his documentary Throw Down Your Heart, the East Africa Slave trade is a sombre fact that emerges in what is otherwise a joyous journey through the music of Africa. In the past the slaves, on viewing the ocean for the first time realized, that  there would be no going home again and they had no alternative but to “throw down their heart” and become resigned to their fate.

The object of Bela’s trip through Uganda, Tanzania, Gambia and Mali was an exploration of African music to try and discover the origins of that most African of American instruments, the five string Banjo. This is an instrument that is synonymous with the music of the White Southern states of the USA. He did discover possible precursors of the modern banjo but what was more important was his discovery of a musical world that it vastly different from the Music Industrial complex that is prevalent in the west. In Africa, music is embedded in the social and cultural fabric of everyday life. It seems that everybody is musical and, outside of Afro/pop music, instruments are mostly homemade. The thumb piano, marimba, drums and various African Harps seem to exist in plethora of sizes shapes and styles. And, what is also important, the music and musical styles of these instruments has strongly influenced all African music. The double guitar leads in the Afro/pop of the Congo, Senegal and other African states are a translation of the ethnic styles of the indigenous thumb piano, Kora  and Balafon (Marimba).

One of the most astounding instruments encountered was a large Marimba  in a village in Uganda. On arrival the camera panned across a collection of rough carved, numbered and decorated planks leaning against the wall of a village hut. These were the component parts of a marimba that was assembled on large logs over a resonator pit dug in the ground. The planks were separated by vertical sticks to allow the planks to jump and reverberate when struck with pretty hefty lumps of wood. When played Bela described the music as louder than an amplified rock band. The marimba was played by a team of men who, along with other village drummers and singers created, what can only be described as very sophisticated melodic and rhythmic music.  It is a music that, probably by a round about route,  has influenced the music of the modern minimalist classical composer Steve Reich. Even a very cursory listen to his piece  Six Marimbas , written between 1973 and 1986, sounds like it came straight out of this village in Uganda.

In East Africa the other predominant instrument is the Thumb Piano . Some times they are hardly bigger than the palm of a hand but this is an instrument  capable of playing incredibly intricate melodies and rhythms. On hearing the music of East and West Africa it is easy to hear overtones of Cuban, Jamaican, Brazilian, Mexican and the whole cadre of music that can be described as reggae, samba, Latin or Afro/Cuban. It is joyous and infectious and a far cry from the blues based “downer” music of modern rock. However, apart from being a plucked instrument, the thumb piano is far away from being a precursor to the modern banjo. The ancestor of the modern banjo probably came to the New World with the slaves from West Africa. Senegal, Gambia and Mali were more likely to yield positive results in Bela’s search. The search that turned up the Akonting (Akonting)  in Gambia. Although only equipped with three strings it was played in a style reminiscent of traditional clawhammer banjo. The other contender, the Ngoni, had more than a passing resemblance in appearance and sound to the banjo.

So Bela found what he was looking for and probably much more. He found music and a musical way of life far different from what he left behind in North America. Why was it so different? Apart from the African sense of community that has music entrenched in every aspect of village life there is the over riding sense of rhythm. African music, and most world music for that matter, seems to be based on eighth rhythms (6/8, 9/8, 11/8 etc and any number of multiples of 8).   Most western popular music has a stronger reliance on rhythms in 4. It would make an interesting research project for some aspiring musicologist to unravel the reasons why 8th rhythms became largely lost in North America. Did the human heart beat rhythms of 8’s become overwhelmed by the mechanical 4’s of the industrial west? Did the over riding popularity of the nineteenth century marches of John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) have anything to do with it? Remnants’ of Africa still survives in the 12/8 beat of a typical shuffle blues and in the subtle swing of the dotted eighth notes in Jazz. But the rhythmic joy of typical African music only survives in those parts of the New World that are largely outside the influence of the white race. That is the Afro/Cuban, Caribbean  and Brazilian musical worlds.

Just as an aside, some time back Bonnie Raitt did a performance  on the TV show Austin City Limits. I like Bonnie and I have been a big fan for many, many years. However, half way though her set she introduced a musician from Zimbabwe to do a number and from the first chord of his music there was a monumental change. The tone lifted, the bass guitar started playing long sinuous lines and the music started to grove in a way that just compelled people to want to dance. When he had completed his performance and stepped off the stage, Bonnie and her band slipped back into the blues in what can be only described as a deflation of the joyous mood of the music from Zimbabwe. Still, for just a little while Africa did rule.

Bela Fleck’s DVD music documentary Throw Down Your Heart is definitely the most interesting and enjoyable night of viewing since I accidently came across Fatah Akin`s Crossing the Bridge –  The Sound of Istanbul. I would like to thank Rob Forbes for bringing Throw Down Your Heart to my attention.


Here is a far better and more complete version of Steve Reich’s Six Marimbas – the sound and the dynamics are way better on this YouTube. 6 Marimbas – better version . 

If you still have your sanity check this other Steve Rich composition Nagoya Marimbas


Apre Ski at the Stemwinder

Heather Gemmell (solo) at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill  (Kimberley Ski Hill), Saturday & Sunday  February 23/24th, 2013, 3-6 pm. Heather Gemmell and the Tapping Tune                      Heather Gemmell  Heather Gemmell       Heather Gemmell       Heather Gemmell

Hether Gemmell is well known on the local music scene for her solo work and  performances with her band The Peaks. As always, it is a pleasure to hear her guitar and vocal explorations of original material and a selection of covers. She has a large set list and on Sunday she was worked through her list of favorites as well a long list of the not so familiar. Included were Heart of Gold, Driven, Angel From Montgomery, Sugar man, a very bluesy You are my Sunshine, Hotel California, Love me Do, and the outstanding one up experimental loop piece called Pawn Shop. She reached deep into the bag to pull  out one of her very first originals called Slowdown. The song had a great bass line that flowed through out the tune. She continues to resist putting words  to that beautiful Tapping Tune where by she explores the percussive potential of the guitar fretboard. As an instrumental it offers an interesting change of pace to her set list. Heather will be back at the Stemwinder later in the month in the continuing Apre Ski musical program at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill.


Scott Pfeifer (solo) at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill  (Kimberley Ski Hill), Saturday & Sunday  February 23/24th, 2013, 3-6 pm.

         Scott Pfeifer               Scott Pfeifer

Bruce Cockburn’s Lovers in a Dangerous Time always brings to my mind the marvelous Mel Gibson / Sigourney Weaver / Linda Hunt collaboration in the film The Year of Living Dangerously. Scott Pfeifer revisited The Bare Naked Ladies interpretation of Cockburn’s classic song and, for whatever reason, Scott’s great voice and interpretation took me straight into 1965 and the hot sweaty tropical world of Indonesia during the tumultuous years of President Sukarno’s repressive regime. With the snow outside on the ski hill and the temperature around freezing point that is quite a stretch of the imagination but never-the-less that’s how it worked for me. Although Scott writes his own material, on Sunday he stuck to covers such as Ahead by a Century, On My Own, Pure Narcotic, Caught by the River, Metal Airplanes, Last Dance and How to Disappear Completely  (available on YouTube). Like most musicians he has “a real job”. He is an IT consultant in Calgary. He has friends here in Kimberly so it almost a sure thing that he will be back here for more performances in the future.


60 Hertz at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill  (Kimberley Ski Hill), Saturday & Sunday  March 9/10th, 2013, 3-6 pm.

“The best band in the land”! There is no such thing of course but why would anybody even think that?. Maybe because 60 Hertz are so dam good. James Neve (guitar & vocals), Rob Young (lead guitar), Marty Musser (drums) and Dave Birch (bass) have played for together for more years than any of them would like to remember.

Some one once asked Vancouver Jazz Pianist Renee Rosnes how come she has done so well on the New York Jazz scene. Her answer was simple and straight forward ” I have the chops, I show up on time and I am a professional”. I guess that could be applied to 60 Hertz. In each of their little instrumental niches each band member has the chops. Added to that the superb writing skills of James Neve, the band’s attention to crafting fine arrangements  plus the untold hours of rehearsals and practice and you have a band that is smooth, tight and professional. They are so good I don’t think the average audience misses the fact that the band only plays original material. In most performance environments ‘originality’ is usually a death sentence but not for this band.

The band played for a packed house on Saturday and for a sparser crowd on Sunday. Those Alberta skiers just have to hit the road early and get ready for the new work week. Those left behind had ample opportunity to kick back and enjoy some of the 60 Hertz repertoire that include Leave a Candle by the Window, Goodbye, I Will Cry for You, Desperate Train, Doors of Hope (with its nice rhythm change in the coda), Virtuality (one of my favorites), Too Old to Die Young, Don’t Get Me Wrong and Living in the Sun with some of Marty’s deft deft percussion work with mallets.

Here are some images from another rotten day in paradise (the East Kootenays).

 James Neve     Rob Young       Marty Musser  Dave Birch      James Neve      Rob Young    Marty Musser                    A young Head Banger in full gear   \\\\\\The Head Banger's cute friend     This old guitar has seen lots of smiles and miles      Rob Young  Dave Birch (slightly over the top)     Doug Martin (manager) and Marty Musser (drummer)      130. James Neve