LOCALS COFFEE HOUSE – THE FIRST OF THE SEASON, October 12, 2013, 7:30pm at the Studio / Stage Door, Cranbrook

This was a very auspicious start to the season – LOCALS Coffee House played to a sold out house on Saturday night. The local musicians, from novices to the most seasoned veteran of the coffee house circuit, were all set for the night’s activities. Dennis Kerr (vocals and guitar) moved to area recently and he kicked off the night with songs about his new found East Kootenay experiences. Songs such as I Am Getting Sick of it , Bull River Mosquitoes, Fort Steele and Dean Brodie’s Brothers. Shauna Plant is a well known local performer in The Rosie Brown Band who played a little later in the Issac Plant evening. In the meantime her children are seeking to displace her as the premier musician in the family. Her son Isaac was joined by his sister Meaghan and her friend Morgan Bulloch (the back up vocalists who will henceforth be known as the M&M’s) for a set of Josh Ritter songs that included Joy to You Baby, Certain Light and Kathleen. There is a rumour going around that Issac has resorted to sticking screw drivers into power The Rosie Brown Band - Paige, Cosima, Janice and Shaunaoutlets to get his hair into such tip top shape. The Rosie Brown Band was one member short for their performance. Their dobro player and fellow vocalist, Heather Gemmell, was way off in the boonies on a hiking trip. The gorgeous vocal ensemble is the signature ingredient of their sound and that remained intact for Long Gone and Cosima Wells’ showpiece Oh Suzanna. Janice Nickli on upright bass, Paige Lennox on banjo and Shauna Plant on mandolin shared the instrumental solo chores. The band member were obviously enjoying them selves. Steve Lungall, otherwise known as Pot Luck Steve, with the aid of his beautiful assistants, Shelagh Redecopp and Shauna Plant did the little one scene performance Steve Lungalof the Drunken Scotsman and his prized “member”. Also on the racy side was the Grit Laskin song The Photographers. To ensure that we were not all destined for a quick trip to hell Steve finished his set with a Gospel song.  Larry MacKenzie is a long time song writer and guitarist and over the years has been a staple on the local music scene. In his domestic life Larry tends to over build so when he started building a new wood shed he didn’t realize how much he over built until his wife appropriated the building to use as a car port. Never-the-less he took time off from these construction chores and hooked up with bass player Ferdy Belland to stroll though some of his original material. There was some choice slide guitar on one particular tune. The songs included A Day at a Time, Be a Good Little Boy, A Ha Ha Road, and My Shoes. The last act of the evening was Sheva (Van and Shelagh Redecopp) with Steve Jones on upright bass  Shevaand young Drew Lyle on vocals and mandolin. With a whole new batch of songs that included Next Go Round (Old Crow Medicine Show), Flowers in Your Hair, Trials and Troubles, Stubborn Love and and a wonderful fiddle instrumental called Midnight on the Water. The instrumental was in the unusual fiddle tuning of DDAD. The highest compliment I can pay to any performer is one “where the music takes me some where else”. It doesn’t happen often, in fact the last time was at a concert by the clawhammer banjo player Chris Coole, but on Saturday night Sheva  took me way, way out there. Great job guys.  As always the volunteers make LOCALS possible and thanks must go  to all of those behind the scenes for creating a such wonderful evening. Here are some images from the night.

Meghan Plant and Morgan Bulloch   Paige Lennox   Isaac Plant Shauna Plant   Shelagh Redecopp   Cosima Wells  Janice Nicli  Paige Lennox  Van Redecopp  Meghan Plant & Morgan Bulloch  Drew Lyle  Shelagh Redecopp   Shauna Plant  Steve Lungal (Potluck Steve)   Janice Nicli Drew Lyle   Ferdy Belland   Cosima Wells Paige Lennox  Janice Nicli   Van Redecopp Shelagh Redecopp   Steve Jones  Paige Lennox  Shelagh Redecopp


The Last Coffee House of the season

Locals Coffee House May 4, 2013 7:30 pm at the Studio / Stage Door in Cranbrook.

Every musician, regardless of genre, needs to get to grips with the music of Bach. On a similar, but not as an intense a note, every tune-smith or purveyor of traditional music should pay some attention to the music of Stephen Foster. His tunes have been around for over 150 years so they must have some merit. In fact his songs and tunes are a goldmine  RedGirlof material for re-interpretation and performance. Case in point. At the LOCALS Coffee House on Saturday night, late in the program, RedGirl (Mike and Anie Hepher with Steve Jones) took to the stage and kicked off their set with Stephen Foster’s Angeline the Baker. From the moment that Mike’s delicate muted mandolin intro sounded they had me. For me this was a complete re-invention of a tune that we have been kicking around for years. But Mike’s vocal and mandolin, Anie’s clawhammer banjo and Steve’s bass playing took the song to a whole new level. As a band RedGirl has been around for a number of years and like all great musicians they continue to evolve. The new format (at least to my ears) of the band is a more stripped down acoustic version of their former self. On this particular night the emphasis on mandolin, clawhammer banjo and ukulele was a pure delight. I hope they are planning a recording session in the near future. But I am getting  Jon Bisset of JR LIVESahead of myself. They were in fact the last act in an evening of incredible music. A couple of new musical duos kicked off the night. First out of the gate was JR LIVES with Jon Bisset on guitar and vocals and Rod Wilson on Irish Bouzouki. Their selections included Carrot Juice is Murder  and Neil Young’s Old Man. A couple of months back Dave Prinn (guitar and vocals) hooked up with Bill Renwick (guitar, harmonica and vocals) at an VESTED INTERESTSopen-mic session at BJ’s Creekside Pub in Kimberley. The musical chemistry was immediate. They have cemented their musical relationship into the duo VESTED INTERESTS and I guess this was their first formal performance. Both musicians are strong guitarists and vocalists and they seem to seamlessly slip into complementary roles. With his strong performances in many sessions over the past few years Dave is the better known musician. Bill may be the lesser known but I suspect that will change. His voice is a wonderfully polished version of Neil Young, that is if Neil could actually sing. (don’t get me wrong, I like Neil Young). They kicked off their set with an Eagles tune (I missed the name), followed by a Dave Prinn  original called Gonna Ride That Big Twin Home (a motor cycle trip from California to Edmonton) and Bill Renwick’s Hold Me in Your Arms Tonight. They rode out on a blaze of glory on James Taylor’s Steam Roller Blues. Tom Bungay is also a  Dave Prinn and Tom Bungayregular on the session scene and for this night’s performance he decided to take it down a notch with a couple of tribute performances dedicated to Rita MacNeil and George Jones. Dave Prinn stepped onVerna stage to sing harmony behind Tom on Rita’s Working Man.  The song He Stopped Loving Her Today was the George Jones tribute. Tom’s wife Verna joined him for their masterpiece monologue / song Wave Over Wave  – a very fitting tribute to the sailors of Newfoundland. Also featured was the song  Jeckyl and Heyde. This is a fine piece of song writing by Tom’s eighteen year old daughter.The Quimby’s (Erin and Ferdy  ErinBelland) with some able help from Mike and Anie Hepher strutted out some covers of Blue Rodeo and the John Prine song called In Spite of Ourselves. This song could be, so they say, the story of their married life. Erin, like Annie (and a whole horde of other musicians) has become a devotee of the Ukulele. It is an instrument that has come out of the shadows and has become an important ingredient in “Jaiwaiin” music (ie. a mixture of island music from Jamaica and Hawaii). I am not sure under what banner James and Tristan Neve, Rob Young and Ferdy Belland are travelling but I guess Lonesome Jim is a good Lonesom Jim: aka - James Neveas any.  As always Jame’s original songs continue to astound and on this night the band included Hold On, Passing Through Your Heart, and Take the Wheel. Also, as always, Rob Young contributed some fine lead guitar work, including some of his rarely heard slide  Beth Crawleyplaying.

This Saturday night was the end of LOCALS  2012/2013 winter season and it was also a special night to pay tribute to Beth Crawley who was stepping down after chairing the LOCALS Committee for 15 years. Thanks Beth for all your hard work over the past years. Beth proved time and time again that by presenting local artists the quality of musicians in the area is second to none and that the Studio / Stage is a venue that captures the real essence of music – music that is unique, personal, and intimate. It is music that is shared among local musicians and their friends and deserves to be shared by the wider community.

Here are some more images from an unforgettable evening of music:

 Anie Hepher        Dave Prinn of VESTED INTERESTS        Jon Bisset of JR LIVES Bill Renwick of VESTED INTERESTS       Tom Bungay        Anie Hepher Dave Prinn of VESTED INTERESTS     Bill Renwick of VESTED INTERESTS    Ferdy Belland James Neve  Erin        Rob Young         Bill Renwick Tom Bungay  Anie Hepher        James Neve        Mike HepherRob YoungDoug Crawley, MC

Home Grown Coffee House May 4, 2013 7:30 pm at Centre 64 in Kimberley.

Unfortunately I haven’t yet found a way to be in two places at the same time so I had to make a choice. Which Coffee House should I attend? LOCALS or HOME GROWN ? LOCALS was closer to home and I was performing there in a duo with Jon Bisset (JR Lives) so that decided the issue. Still it would have been nice to attend both.