Music, Music, Music

Maybe it is the first real sign of spring. Who needs a ground hog looking for his shadow? A jam packed weekend of live music may just be a better indicator. I attended three venues of live music over the weekend and who knows there may have been more spread around town. The Heid Out in Cranbrook (Friday), The Creekside Pub (Saturday) in Kimberley, and The Stemwinder Bar and Grill at the Kimberley Ski Hill (Sunday) were all alive with “live” music.


Dave Prinn, at the Heid Out in Cranbrook, Friday March 21, 2014, 7-10pm

Dave PrinnThe Heidout is a noisy room but one with great ambience, great food, superbly crafted beers and, on this particular night, graced by one of Cranbrook’s finest interpreter of classic rock and folk/rock. Dave ripped through two sets for a very responsive audience  before inviting his partner in Vested Interestscrime from the duo Vested Interests, Bill Renwick, to join him for some bluesy classic tunes and originals. Bill has one of those voices reminiscent of Neil Young but much better. If Neil Young had a good voice he would sound like Bill Renwick. It seems that Heidi’s intends to make live music a staple on the Cranbrook scene and it it most welcome. Let live music rule!!

112. Dave Prinn   Bill Renwick  Dave Prinn  Bill Renwick   Dave Prinn  Bill Renwick Dave Prinn  Dave Prinn  Dave Prinn  Vested Interests  Dave Prinn guitar   Chains


TUCKERS TROUBADOURS, at BJ’s Creekside Pub in Kimberley, March 22, 2014 7-11pm

I’m not a big fan of “star-spangled Nashville” country music but I do like the rolled up sleeves down to earth country music that favor great songs and great tunes delivered with  impeccable musicianship and style. Tuckers Troubadours fills that criteria to the nth degree. The usual line up (Larry Tuck- bass ukelele, Doug Simpson – rhythm guitar, Dave Carlson – mandolin, and Bud Decosse – lead guitar) was on stage at BJs, and a fine group of individuals they are, but for this evening they were outshone by the guest appearance of Bud’s daughter Stacey. She has been kicking around the local music scene for many years, in fact ever since she was a teenager, and it was good to see and hear her in such a pleasant setting. Let’s hope we see and hear more of her at BJ’s Creekside Pub in the future

Stacey  Stacey   Stacey Stacey and Dave CarlsonStacey


APRE SKI JAM SESSION, at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill (Kimberley Ski Hill), Sunday,March 23, 2014, 3-8pm. This was part of the ski resort’s regular apre live music session. There was a great turn out of local musicians in age groups that spanned the spectrum from teenagers to the geriatric. The music was mostly classic rock with some folky stuff and a few Irish tunes on Cittern thrown in for good measure.

Selkirk Students    Selkirk Students  Chris Datson   Keith   Selkirk Student  Shayne Rodrigues   Guest drummer    Meridee Heather and friend    Keith   Nick Rodrigues Sam    In the audience   Heather's friend  Heather Gemmell   George   Nick Rodrigues   Heather's friend                                                HeatherKeith, Shayne and George         Heather and friend


Apre Ski with The Rosie Brown Band

The Rosie Brown Band at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill (Kimberley Ski Hill), Sunday December 22, 2013, 3-6pm

Paige Lennox - banjo & vocals; Cosima Wells - vocals, guitar; Janice Nicli - bass and vocals; Shauna Plant - mandolin & vocals; Heather Gemmell - guitar, dobro & vocals

Paige Lennox – banjo & vocals; Cosima Wells – vocals, guitar; Janice Nicli – bass and vocals; Shauna Plant – mandolin & vocals; Heather Gemmell – guitar, dobro & vocals

The Kimberley Ski Hill and the Stemwinder Bar and Grill are once again back in the Apre Ski business. This time with the bluegrass collective known as  The Rosie Brown Band. These local ladies are the step children of the Sorrento Blue Grass Camp in Salmon Arm. At one time or another they have all attended the camp and workshops to learn, polish their skills, jam and have a good time playing acoustic music. From their experiences they bring to the stage a wealth of traditional and original songs and tunes that they reinvent in a unique vocal style.

Here are some images from Sunday’s performance:

Shauna Plant   Paige Lennox  Shauna Plant Heather Gemmell    Janice Nicli  Heather Gemmell  Paige Lennox   Paige Lennox  Paige Lennox Heather Gemmell   Cosima Wells  Heather Gemmell 344. Paige Lennox  Janice Nicli   Cosima Wells  Dave Prinn       Paige, Cosima and Janice Heather Gemmell

The Rosie Brown Band would like to thank Dave Prinn for coming to their rescue as a sound tech for the Sunday session.



Apre Ski at the Stemwinder

Heather Gemmell (solo) at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill  (Kimberley Ski Hill), Saturday & Sunday  February 23/24th, 2013, 3-6 pm. Heather Gemmell and the Tapping Tune                      Heather Gemmell  Heather Gemmell       Heather Gemmell       Heather Gemmell

Hether Gemmell is well known on the local music scene for her solo work and  performances with her band The Peaks. As always, it is a pleasure to hear her guitar and vocal explorations of original material and a selection of covers. She has a large set list and on Sunday she was worked through her list of favorites as well a long list of the not so familiar. Included were Heart of Gold, Driven, Angel From Montgomery, Sugar man, a very bluesy You are my Sunshine, Hotel California, Love me Do, and the outstanding one up experimental loop piece called Pawn Shop. She reached deep into the bag to pull  out one of her very first originals called Slowdown. The song had a great bass line that flowed through out the tune. She continues to resist putting words  to that beautiful Tapping Tune where by she explores the percussive potential of the guitar fretboard. As an instrumental it offers an interesting change of pace to her set list. Heather will be back at the Stemwinder later in the month in the continuing Apre Ski musical program at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill.


Scott Pfeifer (solo) at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill  (Kimberley Ski Hill), Saturday & Sunday  February 23/24th, 2013, 3-6 pm.

         Scott Pfeifer               Scott Pfeifer

Bruce Cockburn’s Lovers in a Dangerous Time always brings to my mind the marvelous Mel Gibson / Sigourney Weaver / Linda Hunt collaboration in the film The Year of Living Dangerously. Scott Pfeifer revisited The Bare Naked Ladies interpretation of Cockburn’s classic song and, for whatever reason, Scott’s great voice and interpretation took me straight into 1965 and the hot sweaty tropical world of Indonesia during the tumultuous years of President Sukarno’s repressive regime. With the snow outside on the ski hill and the temperature around freezing point that is quite a stretch of the imagination but never-the-less that’s how it worked for me. Although Scott writes his own material, on Sunday he stuck to covers such as Ahead by a Century, On My Own, Pure Narcotic, Caught by the River, Metal Airplanes, Last Dance and How to Disappear Completely  (available on YouTube). Like most musicians he has “a real job”. He is an IT consultant in Calgary. He has friends here in Kimberly so it almost a sure thing that he will be back here for more performances in the future.


60 Hertz at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill  (Kimberley Ski Hill), Saturday & Sunday  March 9/10th, 2013, 3-6 pm.

“The best band in the land”! There is no such thing of course but why would anybody even think that?. Maybe because 60 Hertz are so dam good. James Neve (guitar & vocals), Rob Young (lead guitar), Marty Musser (drums) and Dave Birch (bass) have played for together for more years than any of them would like to remember.

Some one once asked Vancouver Jazz Pianist Renee Rosnes how come she has done so well on the New York Jazz scene. Her answer was simple and straight forward ” I have the chops, I show up on time and I am a professional”. I guess that could be applied to 60 Hertz. In each of their little instrumental niches each band member has the chops. Added to that the superb writing skills of James Neve, the band’s attention to crafting fine arrangements  plus the untold hours of rehearsals and practice and you have a band that is smooth, tight and professional. They are so good I don’t think the average audience misses the fact that the band only plays original material. In most performance environments ‘originality’ is usually a death sentence but not for this band.

The band played for a packed house on Saturday and for a sparser crowd on Sunday. Those Alberta skiers just have to hit the road early and get ready for the new work week. Those left behind had ample opportunity to kick back and enjoy some of the 60 Hertz repertoire that include Leave a Candle by the Window, Goodbye, I Will Cry for You, Desperate Train, Doors of Hope (with its nice rhythm change in the coda), Virtuality (one of my favorites), Too Old to Die Young, Don’t Get Me Wrong and Living in the Sun with some of Marty’s deft deft percussion work with mallets.

Here are some images from another rotten day in paradise (the East Kootenays).

 James Neve     Rob Young       Marty Musser  Dave Birch      James Neve      Rob Young    Marty Musser                    A young Head Banger in full gear   \\\\\\The Head Banger's cute friend     This old guitar has seen lots of smiles and miles      Rob Young  Dave Birch (slightly over the top)     Doug Martin (manager) and Marty Musser (drummer)      130. James Neve


Apre Ski with Oak Republic

Oak Republic at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill  (Kimberley Ski Hill), Saturday & Sunday  February 16/17th, 2013, 3-6 pm. 

OAK REPUBLIC?? Where did that name come from? As it turns out the band’s Bouzouki player Shawn Robertson is a big admirer of the great Canadian guitarist Don Ross. Don is famous for his aggressive finger style playing that has been labelled “Heavy Wood”. Considering the nature of the band’s music “Heavy Wood” would seem an appropriate name for the band but, in deference to Don, the band moved on looking for another name. “What’s a significant heavy wood. Let’s see; say what about Oak? Now that’s a step in the right direction. What’s a name for a collection of citizens? How about a Republic? By George  Jay TonerJay, you’ve got it. The OAK REPUBLIC is what we are.” Under that name Jay Toner (guitar, vocals), Allyson Blake (fiddle and vocals), Shawn Robertson (guitars, mandolin, vocals and Irish Bouzouki), Murph Martin (electric 5-string bass) and Paris Parisean (drums) performed at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill at the Kimberley Ski Hill on Saturday and Sunday. Their music is a mix of the old, new and not so new Irish, country, classic rock, folk and anything in between. They kicked off their Sunday set with Ewan McColl’s classic Dirty Old Town. This is a song that was given a new lease of life when the Irish Punk/Rock band The Pogues recorded it a few years back. Then it was onto some Ben Harper, U2, Johnny Cash, an original Typsy Gypsy (written by Jay and Allyson when Allie first came over from Ireland), Whiskey in the Jar (an Irish traditional song that has been given a new lease of life by a number of Heavy Metal bands in recent years). Also included where the ever popular Wagon Wheels and CCR’s Bad Moon Rising and a song that was new to me, John Lennon’s Working Class Hero.The crowd obviously showed their appreciation by dancing, an activity that was fraught with danger if you were not wearing ski boots.

Allyson Blake       Murph Martin      500a. Jay Toner Shawn Robertson       Allyson Blake      Paris Parisien   Murph Martin       Young Dancer      Shawn Robertson   Jay Toner        The Latest in Dancing Shoes      Murph Martin  Allyson Blake       Paris Parisien      Shawn Robertson  Allyson and a young admirer

Click on the above images for a larger view


Apre Ski with Shane Philip

Shane Philip at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill  (Kimberley Ski Hill), Sunday  February 10th, 2013, 3-6 pm. The opening act Ty West and Jesse Lee

Shane Philip is no stranger to Kimberley audiences. I have lost count of the number of times he has visited the area. Certainly one of his favorite locales is the Kimberley Ski Hill Shane Philipand once again he packed in  a crowd in that was anxious to dance. For the uninitiated Shane is a one man band whose music can only be described as “grove based” . He makes full use of an array of percussion, didgeridoos and guitar to lay down the grove on his original songs and tunes and then add vocals and melody on top with harmonica, ukelele and that peculiar Weissenborn slack-key  guitar. The opening act for Shane was a couple of like minded musicians. This duo of young musicians came over from Nelson to prime the audience for Shane. Ty West  on guitar and vocals with Jesse Lee on upright bass played a set of mostly originals. They would only admit to playing two covers. I did recognize Bob Marley I Shot the Sheriff some where in the mix. Their solid rhythmic take on the simple guitar / bass duo really had the audience ready to dance.  Here are some images from probably one of the liveliest Apre Ski session this winter.

 Jesse Lee and Ty west   Ty West & Jesse Lee   Dancer   Jesse Lee & Ty West      Jesse Lee       Ty West & Jesse Lee  Shane Philip      The KCR Dancers       Ty West    Heidi       Shane Philip       Jesse Lee   Ty West       Making faces       Shane Philip   Life is a chocolate bar       Shane Philip        Let's Boogie   Heidi      Ty West        Jesse Lee  Cailey Chase fresh from a Richard Wagner Opera      Jesse Lee & Ty West       Heidi  Natasja    Ty West    Heidi    Alex and her hat            Dancers

At each session I like to get at least one shot that captures the interplay of light and performer. I call it “The Money Shot”. Here is Sunday’s money shot

Jesse Lee@@@@@@@@@@@


Apre Ski with Blue Crush

Blue Crush at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill  (Kimberley Ski Hill), Saturday and Sunday, 2 & 3 February 2013, 3-6 pm.

It is the Grammy Awards time of year. The time when the lunatic fringe of the entertainment industry masquerades as musicians and old timers lament the good old days of classic rock. Of course we forget that during the classic era there was as much nonsense then as there is now. Tiny Tim, Kiss, Madonna are just few that indulged in the entertainment hoopla of the day. Who can forget the spandex and mountains of hair? Time is a great filter and gives truth to the sentiment “if it is any good it will stick around”.

Terry Alton of BLUE CRUSHWhen I heard that BLUE CRUSH was to play at the Stemwinder I was expecting a “surfer chick” band (remember the movie Blue Crush?) so it was a pleasant surprise to be treated Terry Altonto an afternoon of classic rock and country by this power house trio from Trail. And, although time is a filter, good musicians like BLUE CRUSH enhance the process by stripping away the garbage and getting to the meat of the meal. This trio with Terry Alton (‘Stash) on guitar, Jason Thomas (“The Country Junkie) on bass and Jim Fike on drums do exactly that and then some. The classic stuff was all there. Dance, Dance, Dance,  Listen to the Music, David Wilcox’s Riverboat Fantasy, Mark Knopfler’s Sultans of Swing, Mama Don’t Dance,  Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman (oh Julia Roberts I wish you were here), Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing and Voodoo Child, Stuck in the Middle With You, and my favorite the old jazzy Mel Torme tune Coming Home Babe (Terry prefers the David Sanborn version). There is nothing new about a cover band. With every over-40 musician trying to re-live their youth they are a dime a dozen. However this trio takes it a notch above the average and most of this is due to Terry Alton’s guitar playing. This guy, who looks like a mild mannered school teacher or bank teller, literally blazes away on guitar. He has the ability, in common with of all great players, to make it look sooooo  easy. All the guitar gymnastics, slide  and pedal power are there in spades but he never breaks a sweat. He is one of the cleanest players I have seen in a long time. My only regret is that I would have liked to hear him explore more jazz based material. It is also unfortunate that he takes the focus away from his very capable band mates. They well deserve more than a mention. But what can I say? I’m a guitar player and that is my automatic focus. Sorry guys.

Terry Alton    Jason Thomas     Jim Fike    Head Banger Gear     Terry Alton    Jason Thomas   Jim Fike                Head Banger Gear                                                              Terry Alton

The Band will be back in the Stemwinder for the last weekend in March


Apre Ski with (a) the Broken Down Suit Case

Broken Down Suit Case at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill  (Kimberley Ski Hill), Saturday and Sunday, 26 &27 January 2013, 3-6 pm.

 Benjamin Caldwell of Broken Down Suit CaseNow there is a band name with a difference – Broken Down Suit Case. Very apt in a way because that was what these two “Golden Boys” had in their suit case, so to speak, a whole parcel of roots and like minded music from off the road, off the radio, from out of the  Broken Down Suitcase - Benjamin Caldwell & Eric Larocquepast and into the future. Both musicians, Eric Larocque (guitar, banjo and harmonica) and his kiwi band mate Benjamin Caldwell (guitar, mandolin and stomp box) are currently domiciled in Golden. Although they tour extensively in the summer months, winter is a time for more modest excursions.  Hazardous roads and weather conditions restrict their touring to gigs in nearby ski hills and resorts where they get a chance to plough a little powder and perform in friendly environments. In keeping with their rootsy persona their choice of instruments have the well worn look of old instruments that verge 162. Eric Larocqueon being vintage. Not that these guys could afford vintage instruments. Eric play an old (circa mid fifties) Kay Arch top that he says is absolute fun to play. He picked it up on ebay and has spent a small fortune bringing it back to life. His clawhammer banjo started out as a traditional bluegrass banjo that he ended up removing the resonator and back to create his version of an old style / old timey instrument. He has had this banjo for many years. Eric also plays harmonica as both a solo instrument and also in the familiar dental rack that came to favor during  the Bob Dylan / Neil Young years.  Benjamin’s guitar, I believe, is an instrument that he borrowed for the gig. Benjamin Caldwell and his Hathway mandolinThis instrument is so new that it is out of character with their rootsy persona. Check the grain in the guitar top. However, Benajamin redeemed his image with an old English Hathway mandolin that he also picked up on ebay. This round-holed mandolin is a rare beast in this neck of  Stomp Boxthe woods. Most local players prefer the florid f-style mandolin with its characteristic bark and chop. These are do-it yourself guys. A handy coffee cup or beer bottle does service as a slide when required. The banjo has a glued in guitar pickup, the mandolin has an appropriate microphone  duck-tapped to the top and for  Broken Down Suitcase - Benjamin Caldwell & Eric Larocquepercussion a pair of cowboy boots and a miced home made stomp box does the trick. Their repertoire tends towards the folksy end of the spectrum with the likes of Woody Guthrie’s Union Maid (when was the last time you heard that, if ever, in live performance). A few modern covers such as Orphan Girl,  and Neil Young’s Helpless and a sprinkling of originals were thrown in for good measure. As usual the mood of the room was laid back and the scene sparkled with the odd, the cute, the interesting and the down right good looking. He are some images from the Sunday afternoon session.

Broken  Down Suitcase - Benjamin Caldwell and Eric Larocque     The dancing Girl       Eric Larocque  Eric Larocque snd his old time banjo       A cool, cool shirt       Benjamin Caldwell  Benjamin Caldwell      Soraya Pillay - my all time favorite bartender     Eric Larocque   Eric Larocque - a very old fashioned tattoo            An old friend - Orest Federko     Benjamin Caldwell                                      Heather Gemmell and fan




Apre Ski with Heather Gemmell

The Stemwinder Bar and Grill at the Kimberley Ski hill  is well into their after ski music program. 60 Hertz and The Pursuits have already performed there and numerous local performers are scheduled over the coming months. This past weekend it was Heather Gemmel’s turn.

Apre ski with Heather Gemmell, The Stemwinder Bar and Grill, Kimberley Ski Hill, Saturday and Sunday, January 19th & 20th, 2013, 3-6pm.

Originally Heather was scheduled to perform with the second edition of her band THE PEAKS but due to unforeseen circumstances it tuned into a solo gig. Despite the need to fight off a cold, Heather was in fine form with a number of covers that included Heart of Gold  (Neil Young), Learning to Fly (Tom Petty), Angel from Montgomery ( John Prine), Can’t Find my way Home, some blues, some BlueGrass (from her collaborations with THE MESSY WILLOWS) and a selection of her original material from her CD THE ROAD. Her finger picking guitar work on The Road was especially fine. Heather also shared her recent explorations into the fret board tapping styles with a tune she simply calls The Tapping Song. This is the only instrumental I can recall Heather playing and I hope it is the beginning of a trend. Very few, if any, singers will risk the challenges of performing instrumentals. That is a shame because a few instrumentals thrown into the mix adds variety and pacing to any musical set.  As usual the vibe in the room was relaxed and laid back; a mood well in keeping with the afterglow of a day on the ski hill. Here are some images from Sunday’s performance:

 Heather Gemmell     Heather Gemmell    Heather Gemmell   Heather Gemmell    Heather's "bestest" jeans and prayer rug     Heather Gemmell    The Tapping Song            The Tapping Song      The Tapping Song            The Tapping Song         The Tapping Song  The young dancer


Apre Ski with The Pursuits

Apre ski with The Pursuits at the Stemwinder Bar and Grill, Kimberley Ski Hill, Saturday / Sunday, January 13th and 13th January 2013, 3-6pm.

The Pursuits - Julika Urlich (guest), Marlo (15), Connor, Fraser, Declan (9) and PattiFraser Armstrong is older than dirt, or so he says. That may or not be true but one thing for sure he has been on the music scene since prehistoric times (that is any time prior to the closing of the Sullivan Mine). He is a good buddy of Tim Ross and along with Ferdy Belland has played in a number of Tim’s musical organizations over the years. His latest musical adventure is a family band that includes sons Connor on keys, Declan on drums & percussion, daughter Marlo on bass and wife Patti on alto sax.  The family was joined by  special guest cellist Julika Ulrich. Julika is an exchange student all the way from Germany.  Fraser takes the lead with his instantly recognizable voice, lead guitar and percussion.The band has played a number of gigs but this is their first step into the professional league. Their repertoire is a mixture of classic rock, pop and jazz and during the afternoon the ski crowd was treated to Autumn Leaves, Glory Days (Bruce Spingsteen) Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding), Georgia on my Mind, Born to be Wild, Take Five (the classic Paul Desmond Jazz tune in 5/4), Kung Fu Fighting, Learning to Fly (Tom Petty), Super Something Blues (young Declan’s ode to a super hero), I’m a Blue Bird (Cold Play), I Want to be Sedated (The Ramones), I’m a Believer (The Monkees) and in among a whole stack of tunes there was a Neil Diamond tune done in a punk rock style. Not to be forgotten were a number of Fraser’s original tunes.

Leader of the pack - Fraser Armstrong     Connor Armstrong    Marlo Armstrong Patti Armstrong    Julika Ulrich     Fraser Armstrong    Declan Armstrong     Connor Armstrong    Patti  jiving  Marlo Armstrong    Fraser Armstrong    Julika Ulrich

Fraser ArmstrongFraser may be the patriarch and the ladies are especially fine but the cuteness award has to go to that master of rhythm and sartorial elegance young Declan Armstrong.

 Declan Armstrong