The Slocan Ramblers at the Driftwood Concert House

The Slocan Ramblers at The Driftwood Concert House in Kimberley, July 25th, 2013 at 8pm. Also at Lotus Books in Cranbrook July 26th, 2013.The Slocan Ramblers They may be called the Slocan Ramblers but they are from Toronto. Their claim to Slocan fame is through their bass player who is originally  Adrian Grossfrom that area. This band of young musicians, Adrian Gross (mandolin), Frank EvansFrank Evans (banjos), Darryl Poulsen (guitar) and Alistair Whitehead (bass) are making waves in the Bluegrass music community. They have recently come off a tour with Steve Martin, Edie Brickell and the The Steep Canyon Rangers and, that in Bluegrass circles, is big time. A bunch of good looking young lads (Frank bears some resemblance to Allan Hawco of The Republic of Doyle) with bucket loads of technique, good organization (check the hand written set list – no scribbles there) and a substantial repertoire. Mostly they play straight ahead blue grass with occasional original tunes, such as Adrian Gross’ April Waltz. One thing that Bluegrass bands do that is often neglected in other genres (particularly pop music) is play tunes. My favorite of the evening was Blake’s March. There was a cover of Patrick Sky’s Many a Mile. Mind you, they did it bluegrass style to the point that it was almost unrecognisable (not that it was a bad thing). The song Rambo Sailor I suspect was a reworking of the traditional song Rambling Sailor and it gave a hint of what possibilities are out there for the band if they chose to loosen the grip Bluegrass has on their musical imaginations. The arrangements were good with a few unexpected twists that kept the audience on their toes. All band members shared the vocal chores and the harmonies had the usual rich bluegrass sound. The Driftwood House had a pretty full house and I suspect that the concert in the Lotus Bookshop the following night was also well attended.

 Set List 1.  Darryl Poulsen  030   Banjo   Frank Evans  Clawhammer Banjo  Adrian Gross   set list 2  Darryl Poulsen   Frank Evans  Adrian Gross   Darryl Poulsen and Alastair Whitehead

Canada is multicultural and Toronto must be one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Therefore I am constantly puzzled why so many very talented young Canadian musicians chose to play an American music that is so stylistically rigid and is about American tunes, heroes and situations. And, this is not a criticism of the sound at the Driftwood Concert House on Thursday, it is a comment on the Bluegrass fetish for single condenser microphones. I have been to lots and lots of concerts and, occasionally that setup does works. The sound at a recent Chris Coole clawhammer banjo concert in Fernie is a case in point – see my blog entry Chris Coole  . With a single microphone the sound that night was brilliant. But more often than not as a system it fails. It is the tradition that stems from the days when that is all that was available for sound re-enforcement. But technology has moved on and there is no need for performers to dance around a single microphone and still end up with bad sound. Besides the dancing around is distracting. The musician who suffers the most is the guitar player. He has to hold the guitar up to the microphone and play so hard that his tone and musicality becomes distorted. Under those circumstances I have yet to hear a guitar solo that rises above musical mumbling. It would be so much easier, and better, to just “plug in”.

This was the last concert of the summer season at the Driftwood Concert House and putting aside my minor personal quibbles it was another night of great music performed by some players who have, and will continue, make their mark on the Bluegrass scene. Thanks Darrin, Jen and Silas for opening your house to the musicians and guests during this concert season. We are looking forward to September and more of the same.



Little Jazz Orchestra at BJ’s Creekside Pub

LJO (The Little Jazz Orchestra) at BJ’s Creekside Pub, Friday July 19, 2013 7:30 pm,

Apart from a brief flurry of activity last year  and on into this spring there has not been much Jazz on the local music scene. Prior to that, the Key City Theatre used to import some significance jazz artists but since the “Key’s”  manager’s, Monique, passed from the scene hard core jazz at the Key seems to be a non-starter. Of course that is all understandable because jazz doesn’t figure in too many musical imaginations these days. If you are not an Elvis Presley impersonator, a tribute band or an old worn out rock star there  is very little call for your services. Mind you, some of the scuffling, under the radar, performers still manage to make some semblance of a living Jim Cameronplaying the smaller venues. This spring the Kimberley Arts Council’s  Laurel Ralston did import some jazz artists (stand up Tyler Hornby) to grace the small stages in Kimberley. So perhaps I exaggerate. As a long term jazz aficionado I long for a steady diet of that improvised musical art form called jazz. Although it has been pronounced dead over the years, jazz still surfaces from time to time. And that it did on Friday night at BJ’s Creekside pub. Jim Cameron  Janice Nicli(guitar), Janice Nicli (upright bass), Dave Ward (trumpet Dave Wardand flugelhorn) and Graham Knipfel (drums), collectively known as The Little Jazz Orchestra are well known musicians on the local scene. They all have “real” jobs (teachers, office workers, construction) and have performed in a multitude of genres but they all seem to share a passion for playing and improvising jazz. They were on top of their game on Friday night as they worked their way through such standards as Softly as in a Morning Sunrise, Sunny, Moanin’ , Smile, All Blues, Besame Mucho and Dave Ward’s wonderful original family portrait with the unlikely title Me and My Old Man and My Old Man’s Lady. Jim Cameron, although playing a nylon strung classical guitar, came across with a full throated arch top jazz guitar sound that would not have been out of place in any uptown jazz club. Graham Knipfel showed why more local drummers should lose their sticks and play their kits with brushes. The solid propulsive sound of brushes is one of my favorite rhythmic sounds. Graham gave up his seat on the drum kit to fellow drummer Sven Heyde for a tune. Dave Ward laid down some memorable solos on trumpet and flugelhorn and, although the principal soloist in the band, he graciously gave up time and space for fellow members to shine. Janice Nicli was rock solid on stand up bass and proved she can handle her jazz chores with as much authority she once commanded on funk electric bass in Billy Jive’s funk outfits. Jazz, more than most other musical performances, is about being in the moment, taking risks and laying down the grove. Those attributes were in abundance on this particular night.  BJ’s Creekside Pub is the perfect venue for jazz and I hope we will hear more of the same  in the near future.  This was an  exceptional night of improvised music. 004. HeaderJanice Nicli   Graham Knipfel   Janice Nicli   Graham Knipfel   Dave Ward   Sven Heyde  Dave Ward  Jim Cameron   Janice Nicli  Graham Knipfel Dave Ward    Jim Cameron


Good Ol’ Goats at Summersounds

GOOD OL’ GOATS AT SUMMERSOUNDS in Rotary Park Cranbrook, Saturday July 13, 2013, 1-3 pm

The Good Ol’ Goats are Nolan Akert (guitar and banjo), Julian Bueckert (drums), Angus Leidtke (banjo, guitar, accordion), Theo (bass), Joelle Winkler (percussion and Mandolin) and Angus MacDonald (fiddle and mandolin). All members share the vocal chores.

Here are some images from an afternoon of sun and fun with the Good Ol’ Goats: (Click for a larger view)

 Good Ol' Goats

Angus MacDonald   Julian Bueckert    Angus Leidtke  Nolan Akert    Angus MacDonald   Joelle Winkler Theo and Julian               Angus L., Joelle and Angus Mac   Angus MacDonald   Julian Bueckert  Nolan Akert Joelle Winkler  Theo    Angus MacDonald   Jim Conley  Tree    Evan Bueckert  Audience

The audience would like to thank Jim Conley (MC) and Brian Noer for setting up and organizing the event, Evan Bueckert for the sound and that gnarly old tree for just hanging around.

The organizers of Summersounds would like to thank the sponsors of the event: Columbia Recycling, Kootenay Gradall, South Sierra Developments, Salvador Redi-Mix, Tundra Steel, Freightliner, White Oak Valley Contracting, BCGEU, Rocky Mountain Diesel, AquaPro Drilling, Cranbrook Farmer’s Market, Cranbrook District Arts Council, Cranbrook Rotary, Fiorentino Brothers and HD Kootenays.



Marvelous Musical Moments at the Raven’s Roost

Bill St. Amand’s Open Mic Session at The Raven’s Roost Kimberley Golf Club, July 12, 2013 6-9pm 

Bill St. Amand is an old hand at organizing and hosting Open Mic Sessions and his criteria for a good session is one in which he doesn`t have to perform much. The more  Bill St Amandmusicians that show up the less there is for him to do. On that basis the open mic session on Friday was absolutely stellar. After that, the great variety of performers  and excellent entertainment was a plus and on Friday the pluses were there in abundance. The first performers to be leveraged away from their supper were two musicians  Keith Larsenfrom the country/roots band Joshua Burning. The bass player John Gerlitz couldn’t make the gig but that master of political correctness and guitar picking dexterity Keith Larsen and BC’s most under rated country singer/ song writer Garnet Waites stepped though a selection of their repertoire that included In the Moonlight After Midnight, an original blues for science nerds called Roll Back the Years, the over the top guitar duet on Blue Sky and another Garnet Waite original called Angela. For more information on Joshua Burning check Joshua Burning

Garnet Waite

Rod Wilson (vocals and cittern) and Wally Smith (darbuka and mandolin)  of The Blarney Pilgrims resurrected some of old tunes that included Bonnie Ciara (a plagiarised version of The Bonnie Dundee), The Blarney Pilgrim, Richard Thompson’s Dimming of  Sam Hornbergerthe Day and the classic Canadian Folksong The Prairie Harvester. Sam Hornberger and his wife Marlene are refugees from the lower mainland who moved to this little slice of paradise last year. Sam is a welcome addition to the music scene with his fine interpretations of Gordon Lightfoot, Ian Tyson, Dave Loggins, Kenny Loggins  and Valdy. When a group of musicians get together on a Shayne and Maridee Rodriguesregular basis they need to have a band name. Chris Datsun, Paulette, Shayne Rodrigues and Maridee Rodrigues could be called the Datson / Rodrigues Collective but that is a bit  Chris Datsoncumbersome. Knowing their taste for margaritas I think they should be called The Margarita Mixers. Their selection of tunes include the world’s great song (I forget what it is called), the Rolling Stones Dead Flowers, Flip Flop and Fly and of course Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. Undoubtedly the favorites of the evening were the duo of Connor Foote Connor Foote & Clayton Parsonsand Clayton Parsons both on guitar and vocals. These young Cranberries are putting together some great original material that pays more than a passing homage to the classic performers of Americana that include Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Big Bill Broonzy, John Prine and Bob Dylan. Along with the bass player Stew Driedger they were the band Slack Pines (or was it Pine Slacks?). Connor and Clayton are now back to performing as a duo and are looking for a band name. So I have already named the Margarita Mixers so I am throwing the name Forclosure into the hat for consideration. I think it has a nice ring to it with its overtones of the dirty thirties, dust bowl ballads, Woody Guttherie, Ramblin Jack, Dylan, Prine and the like.  Help me out here guys, let me have at least one claim to fame as you climb the ladder of success. Here are some more images from the afternoon.

  Keith Larsen  Garnet Waite    Sam Hornberger          Sam Hornberger                Shayne Rodrigues             Shayne and Maridee Rodriques   Chris Datson  Connor Foote  Connor Foote   Connor Foote    Clayton Parsons  Clayton Parsons     Clayton Parsons   Clayton Parsons      Connor Foote & Clayton ParsonsClayton Parson & Connor Foote

Despite the cool evening and the overcast sky this was a killer open mic session. There were lots of willing performers, lots of variety and a very appreciative audience. This is probably one of the best open mics in recent times (or at least Connor Foote thought so). The tentative date for the next Raven Roost Session is August 9, 2013, 6-9pm.


Dirty Grace at Centre 64

DIRTY GRACE in the Studio at Centre 64, Kimberley, Saturday July 6, 7:30 pm.

Over recent weeks it appears that audiences in the area have been once cursed and thrice blessed. The Curse?- that would have been the implosion of the NARARETH concert at the Cranbrook Curling Rink. It should not have come as a surprise. A UK rock band that was at least 30 years past its due date playing in a curling rink in a small remote Canadian town should have been a clue. This is a band not likely to be at the top of its game. On the blessed side there was the sweet Bluegrass flavored vocals of the The Rosie Brown Band at BJ’s Creekside Pub a few weeks back. Then there was the rockin’ sounds of that super tight organization 60 Hertz playing at the Summersounds last Saturday. This sparsely attended free concert in Rotary Park raises the question of how come Nazareth can attract an audience to a concert that ended up collapsing while 60 Hertz played to a no-where crowd? Was it because the concert was free or are local  Betty Suppleaudience so celebrity struck that they are incapable of discerning the over-the-top quality of a band like 60 Hertz? One wonders. Last, but not least, was the “birkenstock and granola music” of Dirty Grace. With minimal publicity and  lack of local knowledge this unknown trio of musicians dared to trek across the country to perform in Kimberly. It was geographically new terrain for the group and for local audience it was sonically unfamiliar territory. So in a sense everybody was out there exploring.   Even for the locals the venue was different. It was held downstairs in the Centre 64 Studio that was set up like  a Cafe with tables and chairs. It provided a nice ambient atmosphere for the European sensibilities of the trio. In the band Betty Supple was featured on vocals and mandolin, Marley Daemon on vocals and accordion and Marley DaemonJesse Thom on percussion. All musicians doubled on guitar throughout the evening. It was all original music with nice tight vocal harmonies and an overall sound that had the flavor of Eastern Europe music. Betty`s mandolin was a nice departure from the usual Bluegrass cliches. There was not a 2/4 mandolin chop in sight. Here is a YouTube link for a piece they call The Wrecking Ball.   Dirty Grace and The Wrecking Ball .This should  Jesse Thomgive you some idea of their music. Jesse played a Peruvian beat box called a Cajon . With several local players on the scene this is not an unheard of instrument in this area.  It is basically a small rectangular wooden box with or without internal metal snares. The percussionist sits on the “drum” and beats on the wooden face to produce a remarkable facsimile of a conventional drum kit. Originally it migrated from Peru into Spanish Flamenco music but now is showing up in all sorts of genres. Here are some images from the concert (click on the image for a larger view).

 Blue Mandolin         Marley Daemon      Jesse Thom  Marley Daemon     Betty Supple      Jess Thom   Betty Supple   Betty Supple  Marley Daemon    Betty Supple   Jesse Thom   Betty Supple    Stacked Chairs                 Betty Supple  Betty Supple

Dirty Grace, Laurel Ralston and the Kimberley Arts Council would like to thanks the sponsors of the event: The Pedal and Tap Restaurant & Mountain Spirit Accommodation.


60 Hertz at Summersounds

60 Hertz at Summersounds, Rotary Park in Cranbrook, July 6, 2013 1pm to 4 pm.

60 Hertz

60 Hertz – Rob Young, James Neve, Marty Musser and Dave Birch

The second free summer outdoor concert at Rotary Park in Cranbrook featuring “the best band in the land” – 60 Hertz  – What more can I say? As always the band was super tight with great well thought out instrumental and vocal arrangements, imaginative lyrics by James Neve, Rob Young’s almost mellow lead guitar, Dave Birch’s spot on bass playing and the tasty drumming by Marty Musser. The band was fresh from their big day at Fernie’s Canada Day engagement that sported a crowd of over 1,500 and yet in Cranbrook there was only a very small audience on this beautiful sunny day of free music. One wonders why? That didn’t deter 60 Hertz from delivering a great afternoon of great rockin’ music. As well as their wonderful originals such as You May Be Right, Don’t Get me Wrong, More Than I can Give, These Shoes are Made for Walking, Rainland, Mean Streets, Deep Water and Virtuality the band trotted out a marvelous new song called Long Gone Down. I am looking forward to the day when some big time performer will cover some of these great songs and James can look forward to a wealthy retirement.

James Neve212. Rob Young Dave Birch Marty MusserRob Young James Neve Dave Birch"boy, this is great music" James Neve Marty Musser   Rob YoungRob Young      James and Rob        Rob and James  Tree    Tree    Tree

The organizers of Summersounds would like to thank the sponsors of the event: Columbia Recycling, Kootenay Gradall, South Sierra Developments, Salvador Redi-Mix, Tundra Steel, Freightliner, White Oak Valley Contracting, BCGEU, Rocky Mountain Diesel, AquaPro Drilling, Cranbrook Farmer’s Market, Cranbrook District Arts Council, Cranbrook Rotary, Fiorentino Brothers and HD Kootenays.



SUMMERSOUNDS, Rotary Park Cranbrook, June 29, 2013

A series of at least 10 concerts have been scheduled for the summer in Cranbrook’s Rotary Park. The idea is to co-ordinate the musical events with the adjacent Farmers Market. On the first scheduled Saturday, June 22, 2013, the weather king had other ideas and the “Rocky Mountain Monsoon” forced a cancellation. We didn’t get to hear The Rosie Brown Band and The Little Jazz Orchestra. Not to worry they will get their chance to shine. Well, that’s all history for the moment and the first event  Benjain Franklin Noerwas postponed until Saturday June 19, 2013. The rain was gone but the skies were overcast and the weather muggy.  The vendors were active in the Farmers Market and the buskers were out there busking. Young  Benjamin Franklin Noer was playing his fiddle for the SPCA, the sound crew was busy setting up the gear. sound crewSummersounds was on track for a full afternoon of music. First on the schedule was  Daze of Grace (Sharon Routley, Jubal Routley and Rod Wilson) with their unique covers (All Along the Watch Tower) and a number of Sharon’s originals. Their appearance was somewhat momentous. This will be their last performance for awhile. With various sidemen rounding out their sound Sharon and Jubal have been a staple on the local music scene for many years. As a band they have decided to take a rest from performing. There is nothing dramatic about the decision. It is just an opportunity to refresh and re-invent themselves.

         Sharon Routley            Jubal Routley

Jim Conley (guitar and vocals) and Brian Noer (also guitar and vocals) are both seasoned performers and organizers.  This summer music series is largely their  baby and musicians are very appreciative of the tremendous amount of effort these gentlemen have put into Summersounds. For the afternoon’s performance Jim took the lead on vocals with Brian providing back up and lead guitar. Rod Wilson sat in on percussion. Jim’s strength is his ability to re-interpret songs in such a way that they come across in a completely fresh way. On his list of fresh interpretations was The Midnight Special,  Bruce Cockburn’s Lovers in a Dangerous Time, the Beatles A Little Help From My Friends,  and Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side. The standout performance was Talkin’ Heads Psycho Killer with some great guitar effects from Brian Noer.

 Brian Noer    Jim Conley   Brian Noer

In addition to the local performers the audience were given a special treat by visitors Brad Smith & Orion Marcano of Coastal Giant. They were up here from Saltspring Island to visit family in Kimberley. Being Island folk they had to feature that classic island instrument, the Ukulele, along with vocals, guitar, banjo and a little harmonica. Both musicians were strong singers and instrumentalists who played original material. These are are couple of musicians worth watching (and hearing) and I suspect we will hear more of them in the future.  Brad and Orion of COASTAL GIANT

As well as the live music there was the Limbo Contest and in the late afternoon the DJ Music of DJ ALEX. Here are some more images from a great afternoon of music – may there be many more over the summer.

 Brian Noer                    Brad Smith             Brad Smith             Brad Smith  Orion Marcano        Brad Smith      Orion Marcano  Limbo               The DJOrion Marcano                     Orion Marcano Brad Smith

Brad Smith & Orion Marcano of Coastal Giant

Brad Smith & Orion Marcano of Coastal Giant

The organizers of Summersounds would like to thank the sponsors of the event: Columbia Recycling, Kootenay Gradall, South Sierra Developments, Salvador Redi-Mix, Tundra Steel, Freightliner, White Oak Valley Contracting, BCGEU, Rocky Mountain Diesel, AquaPro Drilling, Cranbrook Farmer’s Market, Cranbrook District Arts Council, Cranbrook Rotary, Fiorentino Brothers and HD Kootenays.

Thanks to Peter Warland for this rare image of me (RodWilson) playing percussion for Daze of Grace.

Rod Wilson at Summersounds June 2013


Music at the Raven’s Roost

Open Mic Session at the Kimberley Golf Course (The Raven’s Roost), Hosted by Bill St. Amand, Friday June 28th, 2013, 5:50 pm – 8pm

Well, the monsoon was over and the big guy in sky threw the big switch, the sun came out and paradise was restored. Or at least our local version of paradise – the outside deck at the Kimberley Golf Course. This was the first of what we hope to be a number of musical events in this perfect setting. The crowd was small to start with but in very short order golfers were abandoning their compulsion to beat up on little white balls and roar around the course in their electric vehicles just to sit on the deck , refresh, eat and soak up the music. Bill St. Amand kick off the non-blood sport event of the evening (those little white balls do actually scream and bleed) with his unique take on the jazzy chord melody approach to songs like Big Bad Bill, Norwegian Wood, Stone Me, and my favorite, I Like Trains. Yours truly, Rod Wilson,  contributes some songs and tunes on the Irish Cittern, followed by Jon Bisset with some classic Folk Rock. A real bonus for me was Karly Ross doing some of her original material and also joining me on Irish Whisle for some more traditional Celtic tunes. As the sun sunk slowly in the west other performers stepped up to the microphone and entertained  the almost capacity crowd.  The response to the event was very positive so stay tuned for word on the next Raven’s Roost event. Sorry there are no photos of the event. It must be the first time me that I actually forgot my camera.

And as an aside note that only the Scots could invent a game where the lower the score you achieve the more likely you are to win the game. For comedic relief check Robin Williams little expose of the game ( with a note of caution about the language) Golf as seen by Robin Williams