Music in the Great Outdoors

Ravens Roost Open Mic Session, hosted by Bill St Amand on the deck of the Kimberley Golf Club. Friday June 19, 6-9 pm.
This year’s RAVENS ROOST session got off to a great start with flawless weather, responsive patrons, friendly staff and some fine music. As usual Bill St. Amand was on deck, setting up the sound system, organizing the musicians, performing and acting as MC for the evening. Naturally he was first on stage with his signature small body Martin guitar and his unique interpretations of some fine old tunes. Rod Wilson joined him with some back up percussion on a Peruvian Cajon (box drum). Alphonese (Fonzy) Joseph ran though his blues tinged repertoire before the Blarney Pilgrims (Rod Wilson Wilson on Cittern and vocals with Wally Smith on Accordion, Irish Whistle and Darbuka) did their little Celtic trip. The Blarney Pilgrims have not performed often over the last little while and this was an opportunity to trot out some old favorites such as Ben’s Lament, Dimming of the Day, The Black Velvet Band, The Boys of Blue Hill / Harvest Home, etc. It was also their first opportunity to try out their latest venturing into the uncharted waters of Bulgarian / Macedonian music with the Sarajevo Set that included a Balkan Tune, Richard Thompson’s Will I ever Be Simple Again and The Belgarth Waltz. From where I was sitting Wally Smith’s Middle Eastern rhythms on the Darbuka (Turkish drum) sounded outstanding. One of the great things about these events is when a new, unknown musician steps onto the stage and surprise fellow musicians. Maigan Jayde did just that. Maigan is new to the area and it was real treat to hear her magnificent strong voice run though a few songs including the classic blues In the Pine, in the Pines. Here are some images from the evening:

102. Bill St Amand   100. Bill St Amand and Rod Wilson 404. Alphonse Joseph 500. The Blarney Pilgrims110. Bill St Amand  400. Alphonse Joseph  604. Maigan Jayde514a. Wally Smith516. The Blarney Pilgrims  520. Rod Wilson602. Maigan Jayde 510. Wally Smith  410. Alphonse Joseph608. Maigan Joseph

(Another great session – thanks Alphonse for the grabbing up the camera and taking the extra shots).


Wednesday June 24, 2015, 6-8 pm: Fisher Peak Performing Artists Music and Vendors Market, Open Mic Session hosted by Ferdy Belland and Jamie Neve – Performances and vendors in the Rotary Park in Cranbrook.
James Neve (guitar, vocals), Ferdy Belland (guitar, vocals) and Colin Righton (hand percussion) were well into a set of tunes when I walked into Rotary Park on Wednesday evening. So is this the next local “super group”? I suspect this was just a pickup group and we may never hear them again in this configuration. That would be a shame because as a trio they offered up something that was new and different and I liked it. The weather held and the evening was pretty low keyed with only a few performers and a small crowd in the park. Here are some images from the evening:
100. Colin, James and Ferdy     310. James Neve 412. Ferdy Belland214. Colin Righton  318. James Neve  400. Ferdy Belland210. Colin Righton322. James Neve  402. Ferdy Belland708  004. The Dog gallery604. Bill Renwick010a. In the Dog Gallery
That’s the beginning of the SummerSounds Program in Cranbrook’s Rotary Park. Check the poster below for more coming events

They are back at the Ravens Roost

Bill St. Amand’s Open Mic Session at The Ravens Roost Kimberley Golf Club, August 30, 2013 6-9pm.

The days are starting to shorten already and this session wailed on into the shadows of the evening. It was another memorable session of music on the deck of the Kimberley golf club. The usual performers turned up (Bill St. Armand, Rod Wilson, Shayne and Geordie BlakeMaridee Rodrigues, Jon Bisset and Gary Jaclin). They were joined by Gordie Blake serving up his well seasoned interpretations of Gordon Lightfoot classics. The most anticipated returning performers were Connor Foote and Clayton Parsons. Since their last visit to the Ravens Roost Bill St. Amand has been under a constant barrage of requests to have them back on the deck. The duo has undergone a slight re-branding and are now  The Steamboat Hollersperforming under the name of THE STEAMBOAT HOLLERS. These  two young performers are the latest link in a roots musical legacy that goes way back past the beginning of the twentieth century. Over the past 100 years there have been a number of illustrious performers who have left their mark on a musical genre that includes folk, blues, bluegrass classic jazz, western swing and country. The legendary performers that come to mind are Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Big Bill Broozy, Doc Watson, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot and in more recent times, Bob Dylan and John Prine. In the never ending quest for fame, fortune and popularity most the younger performers of today have strayed from the true path of music rooted in earthy values. Not so The Steamboat Hollers. Their music reeks of an authenticity based on their personal experiences and honed by the musical craft handed down from their families. Connor’s grandfather is Ed King, a Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame  inductee. It is hard to believe that such young performers have so seamlessly assimilated the craft and the essence of such a fine musical tradition. Along with well crafted songs – Connor’s Family Re-union, and the recently written Glory Bound  (it commemorates a trip to Vancouver and Seattle in search of the holy grail of a John Prine concert in, of all places a zoo). Besides Connor’s Table For One there is Clayton’s Sun Shines Down on Me.Through out the performance there was a sprinkling of covers tunes of John Prine (of course). In response to Connor’s claim to be looking for “the ultimate romantic John Prine song” a member of the audience responded with “that’s an oxymoron” and as quick as a whip Connor rose to the occasion with “what did you just call me?”. The duo is quick on their verbal feet, fleet of fingers on their instruments, have a wonderful relaxed stage presence and are thoroughly entertaining.  Clayton Parsons deserve special mention for he seems to have nailed a very personal interpretation of the Big Bill Broonzy style of finger picking. His playing is clear, strong and very rhythmic. Connor is no slouch either and together they demonstrate that they are not just another couple of strummers capable of singing and writing interesting songs. This a duo destined to go onto bigger things.

Here are some more images from the evening.Connor Foote  Bill St. Amand  Jon Bisset  Geordie Blake  Steamboat Hollers             Connor Foote  The Steamboat Hollers  Jon Bisset and Bill St. AmandClayton + guitar


Ravens Roost – a slice of paradise

 Bill St. Amand’s Open Mic Session at The Raven’s Roost Kimberley Golf Club, July 26, 2013 6-9pm

I don’t play golf. If the truth be known it was the reason I had to leave Australia. I neither played golf or drank enough beer. Both considered crimes against humanity or at least a distinct show of poor taste and bad manners. I chose Canada. After all it was the land of ice and snow and a non-golfer only had to fake it for half of the year. The rest of the time could be spent skiing. It is not that I dislike golf, after all I am married to a Scot,  it is just that I have an addictive personality and I have seen what it has done to some of my friends; despondency when the game is not going well; unhappy wives coping with absent husbands, children left fatherless for inordinate lengths of time – but, perhaps, I exaggerate. By choosing not to play I have avoided the undesirable side effects of the game. Bill St. Amand  on the other hand is an avid golfer and has managed to live a well adjusted life. He is what I call, “a high functioning golfer” that is he can play the game and live a normal life. To prove the point he has organized a series of open mic sessions at the Ravens Roost at the Kimberley Golf course. Bill assured me that golfers were not monsters and, by inviting me along it was at least, for me an opportunity to indulge my addiction to music in very pleasant surroundings. And that is has proven to be. This was the third of a very successful series of musical evenings. Some musicians who were there to dispense music to soothe the savage Bill St. Amandbeasts included Bill St. Amand (of course), myself (Rod Wilson), Sam Hornberger and new faces Garry Jacklin and Jim Marshall. Bill’s chord melody approach to a number of well Garry Jacklin known melodies and songs is enjoyably familiar. I, myself, Rod Wilson introduced some original 12-string guitar music on an unsuspecting audience and later in the evening some Celtic songs and tunes on the Irish Cittern. Garry did the karoake thing as well as a solo set that had a couple of dancers up doing their thing. Jim Marshall is a master guitar player who has been wintering in Kamloops for the last few years and he is now back in Kimberley on a more permanent basis. I have played percussion with Jim on rare occasions in the past and his guitar playing and my percussion just seem to mesh when we get together. It was a real pleasure to once again play with Jim. So there we were on the deck of the Kimberly Golf course, kicking back, enjoying the food, refreshments, sunshine, shade, music and the great scenery. Yes, it is our little slice of paradise. Life on the deck

 Bill St. Amand   Sam Hornberger Garry Jacklin   122.Bill St. Amand   Garry Jacklin Bill St. Amand   The Ravens Roost

Every thing is getting a little fuzzy; either I have had to much sun, too much beer or to much golf………. or maybe Bill lied and this is what happens in paradise.

One beer to many@@@@@@@@@@@