Guy Davis – Blues Maestro at Centre 64

The Second Concert in the Centre 64 Spring Series – Guy Davis – Blues Maestro: Tuesday April 11, 2015, 8pm.

 Guy Davis

Guy Davis is a musician, composer, actor, director, writer and more importantly a blues man. And as such he is a bit of an anachronism, a man outside his time. The classic blues era was in the the 1920s, 30s and 40s. By the late forties black Americans were abandoning their rural roots and moving to the cities for better jobs and better lives and the blues was slowly transitioning to rhythm and blues and eventually rock and roll. At about that same time the classic blues was discovered an appropriated by “rich” white kids (working class and / or college students). The classic example of the cultural take over by white youth is the classic blues performed by the likes of John Hammond and the transformation of the music by the Rolling Stones and The Beatles  generation. The Blues were no longer the  cultural lifeblood of the black community. Black musicians were switching their allegiance to the urban sounds of Soul Music, Hip-Hop and Rap. There is an interesting little interlude in the documentary about the Alabama recording studio Muscle Shoals where the soul singer Wilson Picket was looking out the window of the studio between sessions when he asked “Is that what I think it is?” He was looking at a cotton field and as a young urban black he had never seen a cotton field. That was a far cry from his ancestors experiences.  I think that says it all. There was no longer a direct connection with the rural experiences of the classic blues. Guy Davis should have been part of that disconnect but that is not how it turned out.

Guy Davis is an urban black raised in a middle-class New York suburb and is one of the few blacks of his generation to make a connection with the rural blues tradition. The only other black musicians of his generation that I know of to have the connection is Taj Mahal, Keb Mo’, Eric Bib and more recently the Negro String Band The Carolina Chocolate Drops. In his performances Guy constantly revisits the rural traditions of previous generations. In doing so what he delivers is not a pale imitation of what it might have been but rather a re-interpretation and re-invention of the magnificent strengths of this past tradition. To do this he has an authentic voice and the instrumental chops on guitars and harmonica to make everybody sit up and listen. His strong finger picking with metal picks and slide on the vintage Gibson 12-string guitar and the old Silvertone Arch-top are rock solid. The tuning he uses on the 12-string is an open C (C G C E G C) and it brings to mind the classic 12-string sounds that you are unlikely to hear in this day and age. Most modern players stick to the standard guitar tuning of E A D G B E that sounds, at best, an anemic shadow of the classic sound. So once again Centre 64 has come up with another winner for their spring concert series. There was lots of classic blues, instrumentals, original songs, audience participation and humor. My pick of the night was Guy’s re-interpretation of  Blind Willie McTell’s classic Statesboro Blues. It a song that has seen the light of day many, many times but Guy’s version had a freshness that lifted it to a new level. Here are some images from the evening:

 Guy Davis  Guy Davis  Guy Davis Guy Davis  Guy Davis   Guy Davis12 - string guitar Guy Davis  Guy Davis  Guy DavisGuy Davis  Fake Rose The organizing committee would like to thank the following sponsors and volunteers: The Burrito Grill, Mountain Spirit Resort, “The Bulletin”, Christine, Irma, Ray (for sound and lights) and Rod Wilson (photography). The MC was Keith Nicholas.


Guitarist John Renbourn dies at age 70

JJohn Renbourn in the 1960's

– John Renbourn in the 1960s.

In the UK and Ireland, the 1960’s were a hot bed of musical innovation. Particularly so for acoustic guitar players. The “folk music revival” of that time fostered interest in the American acoustic finger picking styles of the Rev. Gary Davis, Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt, Elizabeth Cotten, Dave Van Ronk, Joseph Spence, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Merle Travis and many more “roots” musician. Guitarists of today probably do not realize the extent of the volatility of the acoustic guitar scene of that era. Memories of that scene have been somewhat over shadowed by the explosive growth of the “British Rock and Roll” phenomenon and electric guitar scene that followed shortly after. At that time acoustic guitarists were very fortunate to be exposed to the increased availability of recorded material, a huge number of touring folk musician legends, and a steady improvement in the quality of acoustic instruments. The acceptance of the guitar into the traditional folk scene was not immediate. The guitar was then considered foreign to the unaccompanied vocal traditions that were prevalent in the folk clubs. However, a number of acoustic guitarists adapted the imported styles and created blends of techniques and musical styles to create new, unique ways of playing “folk music”. Innovators of the day included Davey Graham (the inventor of DADGAD tuning), Nic Jones, Martin Carthy, Bert Jansch and of course John Renbourn. Most of the innovators have gone and the only one still playing at the peak of his powers is probably Martin Carthy. Nic Jones is till alive but still suffering the effects of a catastrophic car accident. On March 26, 2015 at the age of 70 years John Renbourn passed away. Here is a reprint of his obituary in THE GUARDIAN…..

“John Renbourn, who has died aged 70, was one half of the powerful guitar duo of Pentangle, the innovative jazz-folk band of the 1960s and 70s. While his fellow guitarist, Bert Jansch brought great emotion and inventiveness to his playing, it was Renbourn who provided a high level of technical accomplishment. They reveled in one another’s virtuosity.

The two men first met when Renbourn went to a Jansch gig at Bunjies coffee bar, London, in 1964. At the time Renbourn was performing informally at clubs in London, and as an accompanist for the African-American blues and gospel singer Doris Henderson from Los Angeles, with whom he recorded two albums, There You Go (1965) and Watch the Stars (1967). By early 1965, Renbourn and Jansch were flat-sharing, playing guitar together by day and performing in the evenings, developing a style that became known as “folk baroque”.

Jansch played on a couple of tracks on Renbourn’s eponymous first solo album for Transatlantic Records in 1965, and Renbourn repaid the compliment on Jansch’s Jack Orion (1966). Both were influenced by the guitarist Davey Graham, and their joint, largely instrumental album, Bert and John (1966), set the scene for their Pentangle collaboration with its modern jazz influences.

By the time of Renbourn’s second solo album, Another Monday (1967), he was collaborating with the folk singer Jacqui McShee, whose renditions of traditional songs inspired him to make jazz-blues rhythmic accompaniments similar in style to those in Graham’s 1964 Folk Roots, New Routes album with Shirley Collins.

Renbourn was the catalyst who brought together his two performing partners – Jansch and McShee – plus the jazz musicians Terry Cox, a percussionist, and the upright bass player Danny Thompson to form Pentangle. After a residency at the Horseshoe pub in central London, which McShee later described as public rehearsals, they made their concert debut at the Royal Festival Hall in May 1967. Their performances brought together all their wide and varied influences – jazz, blues, traditional folk, original songs, medieval themes – in a fluid, improvisatory style. Often described misleadingly as a folk-rock band – Renbourn’s rhythmic accompaniment and Cox’s percussion matched the patterns of the songs without imposing a rock beat –  Pentangle paved the way for further innovations in folk music.

Their first album, The Pentangle (1968), was released to critical acclaim, and by 1969 they were touring the US, appearing at Carnegie Hall, the Newport folk festival and Fillmore West in San Francisco with the Grateful Dead, as well as the Isle of Wight festival in the UK. Their third album, Basket of Light (1969), took them into the charts when the opening track, Light Flight, was chosen as the theme tune for the television series. Take Three Girls. During this time there was little space in the schedules for Renbourn’s solo concerts, although he recorded solo albums, The Lady and the Unicorn (1970), with an emphasis on medieval music, and Faro Annie (1971), which revisited his folk and blues repertoire. The relentless touring with Pentangle took its toll and they disbanded in early 1973.

Renbourn returned to solo concerts and occasional duo performances with Jansch, then embarked on a new band collaboration with McShee – the John Renbourn Group – plus Tony Roberts, Keshav Sathe and Sue Draheim. Two albums, A Maid in Bedlam (1977) and Enchanted Garden (1980), were followed by Live in America (1981), which received a Grammy nomination. Solo albums such as The Hermit (1976) and The Black Balloon (1979) emphasized his continuing interest in early music.

Renbourn was born John McCombe in Marylebone, London: his father, Robert, was killed in the second world war, and his mother, Dorothy (nee Jopling), married Edward Renbourn, a physician, in 1952, when John’s surname was changed by adoption. The family moved to Surrey, where John had piano lessons and was introduced to early music. He took grade examinations in classical guitar, which influenced his later folk and blues guitar arrangements.

By the 1980s, Renbourn was taking a more analytical approach to his music, wanting to build upon his earlier formal music studies. From 1972 he had been producing books of compositions and guitar tablature, and in 1982 he enrolled on a degree course in composition and orchestration at Dartington college in Devon. He described this as “an awesome experience”, covering much music of which he had been completely unaware. On one occasion he had to request special permission to re-sit an examination as it clashed with an appearance at Carnegie Hall with the legendary American musician Doc Watson.

His new musical awareness led to invitations in guitar teaching, and he produced further publications. In 1988 he joined the staff at Dartington to head up the first degree course in steel-string guitar. But concert performances and collaborations continued. He formed a duo and recorded several albums with the American guitarist Stefan Grossman, and worked with Robin Williamson of the Incredible String Band. He formed Ship of Fools, initially for a concert in New York, with   Maggie Boyle, Steve Tilston and Tony Roberts, and his solo concerts took him to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan and Alaska.

Renbourn was only briefly a member of the re-formed Pentangle in the 1980s, but in 2007 he joined the other original members to receive a lifetime achievement award from Sir David Attenborough at the BBC Radio 2 Folk awards, at which Pentangle performed. The band formally came together the following year with concerts, including Glastonbury festival, and television appearances. For the last couple of years Renbourn had been touring with one of his early 1960s colleagues, the folk and blues guitarist  Wiz Jones. They were coming towards the end of their tour when Renbourn died.

He is survived by three of his four children: Joel and Jessie from his first marriage, to Judy Hills; and Ben from his second marriage, to Jo Watson – their other child, Jake, died in 2014.


I was very fortunate to be in Banff on Thursday, September 26, 2001. I was coming off a back packing trip to Mount Assiniboine when I spotted a poster for a concert by John Renbourn at the Banff Centre. I was fortunate enough to land a seat no more than six feet away from John. I had smuggled in my camera and I managed to snap some illegal photos right at the end of the show. That was just before I was nailed by the usher. It was a small price to pay for the opportunity. Apart from the music the thing that struck me most about the master musician was how old looked. He must have been only in his late 50’s but he looked more like eighty. He did have a reputation for living hard and it showed when he shuffled on stage, sat down and had to physically hoist his one leg across his knee to support his guitar. That didn’t seem to impair his technical ability or his musicianship. Here are two illegal images from the concert….
 John Renbourn Sept 26, 2001 ed John Renbourn-ed
and, as a bonus,a  clip from YouTube


Classic Greatness – SOTK Rehearsal

6874133 Symphony of the Kootenays Susan Gould TB 03.26


  • Barber of Seville – Giaochino Rossini (1792-1868)
  • Piano Concerto in A min (Op.54) – Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
  • Symphony No.7 – Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Here are some images from the rehearsal:

Jeff Faragher   Robin Clegg  432a.  Susan Gould    Susan Gould Jared Zimmer    Jeremy Van Dieman    Bassoons Jeff Faragher  Ben Smith   Robin Clegg and Eve Sperling   430. Bottom Dwellers       Arne SatanoveSusan Gould Shirley Wright    Matt Weber    Robin Clegg             Susan Gould    Susan Gould   Susan Gould 436    Mat Weber Jeff Faragher  550.   Matt Weber Brass   Catherine MacKinnon Nicola Everton                   Ruth SawatskyBack Curtain



YouTube Pick (#4) – Is it Fair?

If you are a mere mortal, male and, despite the fact that you are a virtuoso, I am sorry to tell you that you don’t stand a chance. It seems like the Classical Music stage belongs to the fairer sex. Over recent years there have been a number of stunningly good looking EvelynGlennie1and talented classical musicians that are impossible to ignore. First on the list is the  deaf (yes, I said deaf) percussionist Evelyn Glennie who has virtually invented the possibility of a career as a classical solo percussionist. This lady often performs barefoot on stage so that she can “hear” the orchestra. How is that possible? Then there is the brilliant Brazilian Guitarist Badi Assad - Brazilian GuitaristBadi Assad who has successfully overshadowed her famous classical guitar duo  brothers. The classical guitarist Sharon Isbin, who despite her good looks Sharon Isbin, Guitaristis probably the premier classical guitarist of her generation. Her unbelievable technical command of the instrument and her brilliant interpretations of the repertoire (new and old) sets her apart from her contemporary colleagues. New on the list of stunning performers is the trumpet player Alison Balsom. When I first stumbled on a review of the CD SOUND THE TRUMPET  (Warner Classics #40329) featuring this lady with Trevor Pinnock  it prompted me to do a search on You Tube for a performance of the music. On viewing the video I got a serious case of goosebumps and, of course, I have since ordered the CD. So here is the latest classical star and a YouTube video of the music.

Alison Balsom   Alison Balsom

I thought it would be illegal to look that good and sound so great.


Crossing the Rainbow Bridge

600. Clancy 2005 ed

Clancy became part of the family one Christmas fourteen years ago. He is a Labrador cross who was found, along with his siblings, those many years ago, abandoned at a dump site. The SPCA took him into care until he was placed with us. Since that time he has been Mae’s best fiend and my constant walking companion. He loved to walk. He has been a very healthy dog up until very  recently. Of course he has aged and in the past 12 months he started slowing down. In the past three months he become afflicted with a respiratory problem that started to make walking slow and difficult. Yesterday (March 17, 2015) while walking on the crown land he had an almost catastrophic collapse and it was only with difficulty Mae managed to get him home. We decided that his days of  long walks were over. This morning we only walked him around the yard and once again he collapsed. He recover enough to start searching around in the bushes for a place to die. We had been warned that his respiratory condition would lead to this final outcome. It was with great sadness that we had to make the final decision to have him euthanized. So, at 4pm today, Wednesday March 18, 2015, the staff of the Tanglefoot Veterinary Clinic assisted Clancy on his final journey over “the Rainbow Bridge” to the place where all pets must eventually go. He started on this final journey from one of his favorite sunny spots at the front of the house. It was a very sad but peaceful farewell.

R.I.P CLANCY – MARCH 18, 2015


Here is something Mae has had stuck on the refrigerator door for many years…


  • My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.
  • Give me time to understand what you want of me.
  • Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well being.
  • Don’t be angry with me for long and don’t lock me up as punishment.
  • You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.
  • Talk to me. Even if I don’t understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.
  • Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.
  • Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I chose not to bite you.
  • Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I am not getting the right food, I’ve been in the sun too long or my heart might be getting old or weak.
  • Please take care of me when I grow old. You too will grow old.
  • On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please…. Never say you can’t bear to watch. Don’t make face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.

Take a moment today to thank God for our pets. Enjoy and take good care of them. Life would be a much duller, less joyful experience without God’s critters.

Please pass this onto other pet owners. We do not have to wait for heaven, to be surrounded by hope, love and joyfulness. It is here on earth and has four legs.


Fisher Peak Performing Artists Society (FPPAS)

Fisher Peak Log

A Brief History

Fisher Peak Performing Artists Society (FPPAS) sprang from Summer Sounds 2013 and 2014 volunteer programs that produced more than 15 free shows in Rotary Park in Cranbrook. This newly formed, registered not for profit organization, has already undertaken successful galas in Cranbrook in late 2014 and into 2015.

Our Mission

To provide support for the Performing Arts in the Kootenays. We do this by raising funds to help musicians and performers of all types and genres. We will co-sponsor events that support local performing arts activities related to live entertainment.

We will create programs that include knowledge and skills development that will assist in the development of talent be it singing, instruments, dancing, recording, and sound and lighting equipment.

 About Us

  • We are an inclusive, non-partisan organization that encourages development in all genres and performance traditions.
  • We are culturally sensitive and gender neutral.
  • We are community minded and seek to benefit our communities in the Kootenays.
  • We form productive and meaningful relationships for the betterment of our performing community.

 Fisher Peak Performing Artists – Programs

  1. Summer Sounds 2015
  2. Dancing in the Park
  3. Fisher Peak Vendors Market
  4. Technical Development
  5. Youth Employment
  6. Fund Raising Performances

Summer Sounds: Free Concert Series in Cranbrook’s Rotary Park, every Saturday throughout the summer with few exceptions.

Dancing In The Park: Free dancing in Rotary Park to live local music with professional dance instructors on hand to mentor and coach. Saturday Nights.

Fisher Peak Vendors Market:   Artisans Market Place in Rotary Park on Wednesday evenings throughout summer 2015. Get a Permit from Fisher Peak Performing Artists and sell, buy and trade local goods. Free live local acoustic performances provide.

Technical Development:  Fisher Peak will produce or co-produce with local professionals and service providers and offer technical support training for performers.

Youth Employment: As opportunities arise Fisher Peak will employ young persons, not only as performers but also to develop knowledge and skills related to sound and lighting production and stage management.

Fund Raising Performances:  FPPAS provides unique artistic performances throughout the year to fund raise for the society. To plan an event – call Fisher Peak and we can work with you to find the right artist for your event.



  • James Neve – President
  • Louie Cupello – Treasurer
  • Randy Tapp – Secretary
  • Ferdy Belland – Vice President
  • Janice Sommerfeldt – Director (Marketing)


Spring into BlueGrass – a Fisher Peak Performing Artists Presentation


This is the third event that the Fisher Peak Performing Artists (FPPA) have presented at The Royal Alexandra Hall. The kick off concert late last year featured the Little Jazz Orchestra and the roots group Joshua Burning. The second event was a St. Valentine’s Day Dance with the rock band The Testers. For this third event the focus was on the BlueGrass and Old Timey music of RedGirl and The Rosie Brown Band.

 Red Girl

As described by FPPF’s President James Neve:   “RedGirl is a lighter shade of bluegrass with some visible folk roots showing. Bringing original and traditional tunes to a canvas colored with clawhammer banjo & mandolin, liberal strokes of guitar, and framed in a rich tapestry of harmony. RedGirl is one of several great local groups to grow from the ashes of the much-loved Kootenay band As The Crow Flies. Fronted by the clear and fearless vocals of Anie Hepher, RedGirl’s music is built around her  pure and unfettered voice, rhythmic banjo, and occasionally, a sassy ukulele. Michael Hepher (married to the girl) chimes in on mandolin and backing vocals, bringing a balance in harmony, humor and musical creativity to the songs and stories of the band. Rounding out the sound is Cranbrook’s very own Keith Larsen on guitar and dobro; a gravelly edge with magical licks, dancing around the edges of the songs, playing counterpoint to Michael’s moody mandolin. Swooping in from Creston, Karl Sommerfeldt’s fiddle is the glue that binds it all together, wraps it up for you and sends you home with a shiny new smile on your face.”. Also Steve Jones is back in town to give the band’s bottom that solid foundation that everybody appreciates. “More than just the music, RedGirl brings decades of experience to their stage-craft with a lively, off-the-cuff banter that tells the stories of small town living and heartfelt true-life joys and sorrows. Their sound is more than just the sound of tunes from your grandpa’s kitchen, it’s the sound of the Kootenay hills and rivers and hearts all beating in one harmonious song.”    Here are some images from RedGirl’s performance:

466. Red Girl    Keith Larsen   Steve Jones    Mike Hepher Karl Sommerfeldt   Karl and KeithAnie HepherKeith Larsen    Karl Sommerfeldt   Keith Larsen  Steve Jones Anie Hepher     Anie Hepher    Anie Hepher   Keith LarsenKarl, Keith and AnieguitarsAlso described by FPPF’ President James Neve: “The Rosie Brown Band is a unique, fun and rewarding listen This is a five piece Bluegrass/Folk ensemble featuring Paige Lennox, (Banjo, Vocals, occasional Bass)  Cosima Wells, (Guitar, Vocals ) Janice Nicoli,(Upright Bass, Vocals) Shawna Plant  (Mandolin, Vocals) and Heather Gemmell (Dobro, Guitar, Vocals), with a wonderful blend of five charming voices featuring classic old timey music, BlueGrass and original tunes. Recently they were showcased at the Calgary Stampede and this performance at the Royal Alexandra Hall will see the official release of their first album.” Here are some images from the show:

 Rosie Brown Band Paige Lennox     Janice Nicoli   Cosima WellsShauna Plant     Heather Gemmell    Janice NicoliPaige Lennox Cosima Wells  Paige Lennox   Shauna Plant Heather GemmellJanice Nicoli  Cosima Wells  Paige Lennox Cosima WellsShauna Plant     Janice Nicoli     Paige LennoxHeather GemmellCosima Wells    Heather Gemmell   Shauna PlantShauna Plant

This was a great concert and we should all thank the FPPA society Board of Directors  – Jamie Neve, Ferdy Belland, Louie Cupello, Randy Tapp, Janice Sommerfeld; and all the volunteers including: Allan and Jackie Kimmel, Bill and Lori Renwick, Dave and Trudy Prinn, Murray and May Andrich (“The M&Ms”), Hellen Boon, Jean Neve, Beverlee Bullough, Tom Bungay and Rod Wilson (photography).