SummerSounds: Red Girl

SummerSounds presents Red Girl, at Rotary Park in Cranbrook, 5pm, Saturday 2016/07/30

314. Red Girl

The band Red Girl comes in a number of configurations. On this beautiful summer evening the core duo of Annie Hepher (vocals, claw hammer banjo and guitar) and Mike Hepher (mandolin and vocals) were joined by the multi-talented guitarist Keith Larsen. Although Keith also plays mandolin and dobro he managed to keep him self in check during the afternoon by only playing flat pick guitar. He left his rock and roll and country personae at home in his basement. Both Annie and Mike are very well known in this area. They originally came to local fame in the pop/rock/folk band As the Crow Flies. Since that time Annie has mostly switched to claw hammer banjo as her instrument of choice. As anybody in the area can testify Mike is an extraordinary mandolin player. But that is only the surface of Mike’s talents. If you ever have the opportunity to come across Mike in a late night session then stick around until the wee hours of the morning and you will be more than amply rewarded as he explores his huge repertoire of tunes and styles.

Red Girl cruises on the stylistic edge of BlueGrass with more than a significant amount of “old timey” songs and tunes. It is basically a  style of music they have appropriated from the USA but without becoming too overtly American. The emphasis is on crystal clear vocals and top flight musicianship. Without a doubt there is not another band in this area that performs with such flair and vigor while steering clear of the machine gun approach of most blue grass bands. During the evening there were lots of good tunes and songs with great vocals, claw hammer banjo, brilliant mandolin solos and the very clean flat picking of Keith Larsen. The evening kicked off with the well known Bluegrass tune Lazy John then worked their way down the set list pictured below. My favorite of the evening was the extended medley of Stephen Foster’s Angeline the Baker and the Irish tune/song Whiskey Before Breakfast. Annie dusted off one of her original songs, Our Town, from her period of intense song writing days while performing as a member of As the Crow Flies . Our Town is a tribute to small town life. Below are some images from just another a great way to spend a pleasant summer’s evening in Our Town.

400. Set List206. Anie Hepher  212a. Anie Hepher210. The sound guys218. Keith Larsen  220. Clawhammer240. Annie and Mike012. Red Girl Header230. Annie Hepher  232. Mike Hepher

"Behind these shades and pearly whites is a man having fun"

“Behind these shades and pearly whites is a man having fun”

Just a couple of good ole' boys

Just a couple of good ole’ boys

228. Annie Hepher242. Annie Hepher240. Annie and Mike   244. Mike Hepher300 Keith Larsen276. Annie and Mike   278. Annie and Mike290a. Annie and Mike002. Redgirl Header

312. Red Girl


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).


Elena Yeung and the Kootenay Express

Elena Yeung and the Kootenay Express with special guests Michael and Anie Hepher at the Marysville Pub, Sunday May 27, 2014 3pm.

Mike and AnieFor some of us it was a little slice of Bluegrass heaven. Elena Yeung (banjo and vocals), her great original songs supported by Steve Jones solid bass playing;  some choice counter melodies from Karl Sommerfeldt; Keith Larsen’s  classy rhythm and flat picking guitar, plus the added bonus of the old-timey sounds of Mike and Anie Hepher on mandolin and clawhammer banjo. Yeah, for the aficionados a little slice of heaven is an apt description. For anybody else maybe it was just a relaxing Sunday afternoon of good music  – either way “just another rotten day in paradise”. Although the usual fetish of a single condenser microphone was center stage the musicians broke with tradition and “plugged in” the fiddle, bass and guitar. That suited me – I always find the dancing around a single microphone distracting and, beside you never really hear the guitar and the guitar of Keith Larsen is always worth hearing. Although Lena has recorded a lot of her material it was good to hear live versions of Dandelion, Wake Wake up Little Sparrow, Fire on the Mountain and the wonderfully dreary The Grave Diggers Daughter. One of the joys of traditional music is the sound of great melodies. Karl and Lena did not disappoint with their great banjo and fiddle duets on Dance Around Molly, and Cindy,Cindy. Mike and Anie stepped up to the plate with Steve and Keith on Lazy John. Most people don’t realize that the late rock guitarist Gerry Garcia had some pretty solid Bluegrass credentials and, to prove the point, Keith Larsen played a version of the Grateful Dead’s Friend of the Devil. He also dipped his hat to Mike Jagger and Keith Richards with his rendition of their hit song Wild Horses. There are some songs and tunes that should no longer be performed. For instance, Scottish Bagpipers should refuse to play Scotland the Brave and Amazing Grace. They have been done to death. And, normally, I would put Dueling Banjos and the Orange Blossom Special in the same category. However, this fine group of musicians breathed new life and humor into these old war horses and I have to retract my condemnation – Well done guys!!

Elena Yeung                           Karl Sommerfeldt    Karl and ElenaElena Yeung        Karl Sommerfeldt  Karl and Elena       Steve Jones                        Anie Hepher Keith Larsen                        Karl Sommerfeldt

Check the review of her last show at the Marysville Pub  Elena Yeung doing the Clinch Mountain Back Step . Elena Yeung and the Kootenay Express (Steve, Karl and Keith) will be touring around over the summer. Catch them if you can because we are going to lose Elena to Ottawa. She is relocating in the fall. Sigh!!!!! Elena Yeung @@@@@@@@@@@@


The Rosie Brown Band at BJ’s Creekside Pub

New Menu + New Band = Packed House, The Rosie Brown Band at BJ’s Creekside Pub, Saturday June 22, 2013, 7:30pm.

The Rosie Brown BandThis was a much anticipated event. Of course it was much anticipated – the band had wetted audience appetites with a couple of preview performances at local coffee houses. This lovely group of ladies are well known musicians on the local scene and their coming together in this unique configuration  was just so, so,  right. The banjo player Paige Lennox had moved to the area a few years back with the burning Paige Lennoxambition to play in a Bluegrass band. That did happen for a while but the whole band thing kind of fell apart. Paige faded from the scene slightly for a while until the flame was re-ignited with the purchase of a new banjo and a trip to the Bluegrass camps at Sorrento (BlueGrass Camp). In fact the Sorrento workshops can be held responsible for moving other Shauna Plantmembers of  the Rosie Brown Band in the same direction. Singer and mandolin player Shauna Plant was a founding member of the well known East Kootenay Band As the Crow Flies. She also has spent time at Sorrento. On the other hand and in another band, Heather Gemmell is best known for her for blues inflected guitar playing as a Heather Gemmellsoloist and with the blues/rock outfit Heather Gemmell and the Peaks. She has recently acquired a dobro and has also spent time in Sorrento honing her bluegrass chops. Cosima Wells is best known for her vocal work with any number of vocal groups around the area.Cosima Wells She also plays guitar and has also spent time at Sorrento. Last, but not least is the anchor of the group, Janice Nicli. Janice plays upright bass in this band but Janice Niclihas been known to play electric funk bass with Billy Jive’s bands. She is also the Jazz bass player in The Little Jazz Orchestra. There you have it. Five fine ladies with a great stack of songs, great vocal harmonies, stage presence and obviously having the time of their lives on stage. So what more could anybody ask?  The pub was packed way before the music started. In fact some patrons showed up at 5:30 to ensure that they could get a table. By 7:30 people were being turned away at the door. From then on, as Cosima would say, the band and the audience were “pumped”. This was not the usual Bluegrass band. The emphasis was on the vocals with some tasty banjo, dobro and mandolin solos sprinkled though out the performance. Manic, testosterone driven instrumental breaks were absent and that was a good thing. The repertoire was also a slight step away from the usual with Michel Shocked Blackberry Blossom, Cosima’s original tune Blood From a Stone, the Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt’s ballad Rough and Rocky, Heather Gemmell’s reworking of An Angel from Montgomery, an acapella version of Coal Warthe Carter Family song Bury me under the Weeping Willow Tree, some Stephen Foster tunes, and Janice Nicli’s  standout rendition of the John Prine comedic masterpiece Let’s Talk Dirty in Hawaiian.The audience refused to let the band go and they were forced to recap their first set. It was an absolutely outstanding night of music and bodes well for the band’s future. If Calgary can weather the current flood situation and get things back on track The Rosie Brown Band  will be performing at this year’s Calgary Stampede Showcase – good luck ladies.  Here are some more images from the evening (click on the images for a larger view).

Janice, Shauna and Heather       Cosima and Janice      Shauna and Heather Downstairs for Dancing       Dobro   Janice Nicli             Shauna and Heather Paige, Cosima and Janice                  Heather Gemmell  Janice Nicli   Dobro Jewelery   Shauna Plant  Rosie Brown Header Janice, Shauna and Heather              Janice Nicli  Heather Gemmell             Shauna and Heather  Shauna and Hather     Cosima WellsPaige Lennox       Heather Gemmell on Dobro      Heather Gemmell



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                      @@@@@@@@@@@@@@