Have you ever noticed the relationship that bass players have with their instruments? Take for instance Dave Birch of the band 60 Hertz. He has a 30 year partnership with his bass that probably predates his marriage. It is evident that when they perform, there is this little two step dance thing going on that is like an old married couple. Each partner knowns exactly where the other is in the dance. Then there is The Peaks Ray Gareau and his bass. Their dance is more like an exotic Tango with all the dips and swoops of a very experienced Argentinian couple. Now Steve Jones (“Don’t hug me, I’m British”) and that huge madam of an upright bass he plays. Now she isn’t agile enough to dance but she is very susceptible to some very suggestive strokes and caresses. Of course that’s not the whole story of the evenings performances. Rather, they are just some of the little tableaux played in the background of an especially fine concert.
Over this past winter three local bands went to ground and recorded the CDs that were celebrated at the Key City concert on Saturday, June 18th, 2011. The bands include 60 Hertz (James Neve – guitar and vocals, Dave Birch – bass, Rob Young – lead guitar and Marty Musser – drums); RedGirl (Anie and Michael Hepher – guitars and vocals, Steve Jones – upright bass and Sven Heyde – drums) and Heather Gemmel and the Peaks (Paul Bouchard – drums and Ray Gareau – bass).
The musicians in 60 Hertz are old friends and veterans of the music scene. Musically they all date back to the days of afros, red satin jump suits and the British Band Invasion of the late 60’s. At one time or another they have played and toured together in a number of bands. This winter they booted the sheep out of James’s barn, built a recording studio and laid down some tracks. They opened the show with a fine selection of James Neve‘s original songs that included “Time Stands Still”, “Rainland“, “Diamond Heart”, and “Candle by the Window”.
Down Easteners would tag Anie and Mike Helpher as CFAs (Come From Away). Never-the-less they have been resident in the area for so long they have become completely embedded in the local cultural scene. They originally made their mark as part of the band As the Crow Flies. After several CDs, air time on the CBC and many local shows the band faded off into history and members moved onto other projects. Anie and Mike recruited fellow “Crow” Steve Jones and enlisted the drummer Sven Heyde into the new outfit – RedGirl. For the concert the new band “double dipped into organic folk with milky-mild rock rhythms” and over two sets featured selections from their CD “One Match Fire”. Songs included Anie‘s “Laundry Line” and “Ponies”, Lyle Lovett’s “If I had a Boat”, Josh Ritter’s “Good Man”, and Gillian Welch’s “Miss Ohio”.
Heather Gemmell is the new kid on the block. Raised in Kimberley and despite her tender years she has been a staple on the local music scene for over five years. The financial and emotional support of the Columbia Basin Trust, The Kootenay Cultural Alliance and the Cranbrook and District Arts Council has made possible the recording of the CD “The Road” and in the process doors are opening and many things are possible in the future. With her Sheryl Crow looks, great voice, stage persona and rock solid gutsy guitar playing she outshines any number of big name performers on the larger music scene. The music is `blues based rock` and, in Heather`s words, “is getting heavier by the minute” .
60 Hertz closed out the evening in the last set with their Greyhound bus epic “Virtuality“. This featured marvelous bass and guitar unison lines over Marty Musser‘s snappy snare drum rhythms. It was a great finale to what will be long remembered as a fine showcase of local musical talent.
– Rod Wilson
Published in The Townsman, Tuesday, June 14th, 2011, pages 1 &7