SummerSounds: Clayton Parsons

SummerSounds presents Clayton Parsons in Rotary Park, Cranbrook, Saturday August 13, 2016, 5pm. Clayton’s special guest is Joelle Winkel

112. Clayton and Joelle

The value of the average Singer / Song writer is in serious decline. It is not a question of quality, although that is part of the equation, but rather a question of supply. There are just too many singer / song Writers out there looking for gigs. It seems that every high school kid who plays guitar has ambitions to be a singer / song writer. Even if the quality was over the roof the market cannot absorb an unlimited number of such performers. There are some reasonable word smiths out there who, given time and maturity will put out some reasonable material. One of the kickers is that most only  play guitar at a very modest level. Most are just three chord strummers. What we need are superior word smiths with above average guitar skills. I think Clayton Parsons is a performer who fills that bill. Clayton is young man in his early twenties raised here in Cranbrook with an  honest artistic pedigree. His father, Reg,  is the well known for his bronze sculptures, his sister  Jani is a concert pianist and, I believe he has a brother who plays banjo. Clayton is an honest heir to the singer / song Writer tradition that stretches back to the beginning of the last century. He is following in the footsteps  of the likes of Woody Gutherie, Rambling Jack Elliot, Bob Dylan, Ian Tyson and John Prine. He has a strong clear voice, killer acoustic guitar chops, great stage presence and, above all, songs that reek of authenticity. He seems to have the uncanny ability to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. A midnight shift at the Skookumchuck pulp mill during shut down would seem to be a pretty ordinary life experience and yet in his hands it becomes a classic piece of art called September Sunday. He also freely plunders the tradition with such classic re-interpretations of C.C. Rider, Don’t This Road Look Rough and Rocky, and a wonderful reworking of You are My Sunshine that segues back and forth into Gershwin’s Summertime. His partner in crime for this particular performance was Joelle Winkel with some pretty sweet backup harmonies. If I have the story right Clayton and Joelle are just back from a 20 concert tour that stretched from Winnipeg to Victoria. Here are some images from a very pleasant summer evening at Rotary Park.

100. Clayton Parsons118. Joelle and Clayton116. Clayton Parsons  120. Clayton114. Clayton Parsons134. Joelle Winkel   128. Clayton Parsons

An Appreciative Fan

An Appreciative Fan


Summer Sounds: Heather Gemmel and Lindsay Cuff

Summer Sounds: Heather Gemmel and Lindsay Cuff, at Cranbrook Rotary Park, Saturday July 9, 2016

536. Lindsay and Heather

A luthier friend of mine described BlueGrass Music as “Heavy Metal on acoustic instruments”. I think there is some truth in that but it needn’t be so. There are BlueGrass musicians out there that look forward to new musical adventures, Bela Fleck immediately comes to mind, and musicians that look back to the origins of the music. The latter group are digging deep into the mother lode of the early traditions that inspired the original BlueGrass musicians. Lindsay Cuff (Fiddle, Clawhammer Banjo, guitar and vocals) and Heather Gemmel (Guitar, Banjo, Dobro and Vocals) is a new duo on the local scene dipping into the early traditions. Heather has been ever present on the local music scene for years as a blues/rock/BlueGrass advocate. Lindsay is relatively new on the scene. The duo is so new that they have not yet settled on a name. Following some on stage chatter during tunes Lindsay was ruminating on the “the bump in the middle” (her pregnancy) and was wondering how that was going to effect her banjo playing. The duo is looking for a name and my vote is for Bump in the Middle. I doubt that there is another band out there with that name and they have a ready made back story for whenever a question should arise about the band’s name. The duo was the second act in Summer Sounds first concert of the season and they stepped out of the gate with some laid back material that included Lindsay’s original I Hear You Coming  and a sampling of old time tunes like I Wish I was a Mole in the Ground. The mix of the melodic fiddle over the rhythm of the clawhammer banjo allowed for a lot of nice space in the music. We often forget that in music the space between the notes is as important as the notes played. In the pursuit of over the top virtuosity musicians sometimes forget that. So, “as the sun set in the west” the dulcet sounds of this duo added a pleasant ambience to the afternoon / evening concert. I am looking forward to hearing more of this duo in the coming days.

500. Lindsay Cuff   502. Heather Gemmel504. Heather Gemmel         506. Lindsay Cuff510. Lindsay Cuff518. Heather Gemmel   520. Heather Gemmel530. Heather Gemmel  514. Lindsay Cuff    512. Lindsay Cuff534. Lindsay Cuff522. Heather Gemmel544. Lindsay and Heather   546. Lindsay and Heather532. Lindsay Cuff552. Dobro538a. Lindsay Cuff


Summer Sounds: Dark Fire Cloud and the Lightning Band

Summer Sounds presents: Dark Fire Cloud and the Lightning Band , Rotary Park in Cranbrook, July 9, 2016

“Weather forecast ………  thunderstorms,  heavy rain, Dark Fire Cloud and the Lightning Band”

100. Dark Fire Cloud

Summer Sounds is back and the first performance out the gate is a favorite band from previous years. Dark Fire Cloud and the Lightning Band with their special brand of Caribbean flavored Zydeko and Roots music. The line up of the band has slightly changed from previous performances in the area. The upright bass player Jay Shuttle has moved onto other endeavors and his replacement is the young Moroccan musician Mehdi Makraz on electric bass. Syama Mama is a welcome addition as a backup vocalist and the two pillars of the band, Dark Fire Cloud (guitar and harmonica) and Shuggy Milligan (drums) continue to provide the bands musical identity. For a short while the weather and Dark Fire Cloud had a running battle. The concert started with a torrential down pour that the band sent scuttling to the nether lands with the sunny sounds of more pleasant climes. Here are images from the afternoon:

126. Dark Fire Cloud128. Dave Prinn  112. Shuggy Milligan122. Mehdi Makraz   154. Syama Mama118. Dark Fire Cloud132. Mehdi Makraz   150. Shuggy Milligan158. Dark Fire Cloud 160. Syama Mama and Mehdi   168. Mehdi Makraz176. Shuggy Milligan  194. Dark Fire Cloud   196. Shuggy Milligan  212a. Shuggy Milligan      222. Mehdi Makraz206. Mehdi Makraz230. Mehdi Makraz   216a. Dark Fire CloudCloud and Gemmel 058-ed3236. Syama Mama   238. Shuggy Milligan256. Shuggy Milligan258a. Syama Mama  278. Mehdi Makraz274. Mehdi Makraz 010. DFC header


Summer Sounds on Canada Day

FISHER PEAK PERFORMING ARTISTS SOCIETY PRESENTS A CANADA DAY CELEBRATION, July 1, 2015: featuring the roots music sounds of Joshua Burning

224. Joshua Burning

The featured band for the day’s festivities was Joshua Burning whose style of music is basically funky country roots music. They also feature  original material and covers of music that may not be usually associated with country music. The name of the band,“Joshua Burning”,  is a nod towards the legendary country singer Gram Parsons who, upon his death, wished to have his ashes spread over the landscape in California’s Joshua Tree National Park. When he died, as we all must do eventually, his body was stolen from L.A.X. international airport by his best buddy, Phil Kaufman and taken to Joshua Tree Park where it was incinerated with a jerry can of high test gasoline. Of course all of this was illegal and against park policy and for his efforts Kaufman was fined $750 for the theft of the coffin. Now that’s something that should be in the movies. The band features the guitars, vocals and song writing skills of both  Garnet Waite and Keith Larsen. Garnet is an especially fine singer, guitar picker and song writer. Keith is a crackerjack acoustic guitarist with some solid rock credentials on electric guitar. He also doubles on mandolin and blues harp. The band is anchored by the electric bass playing of John Gerlitz. John is well known for his classic acoustic interpretations of old time finger picking blues. Together they are an especially fine ensemble who are a step above your average country guitar strummer. These guys are guitar pickers rather than strummers. During the afternoon  they strolled through some of Garnet’s original tunes that included Lucille, Daybreak Number 3, Angelina, and High Water Channel. For variety they thew in Keith Larsen’s Best Laid Plans. They also did a few covers including a Lyall Lovett tune, Lucinda Williams Drunken Angel, Peter Rowan’s Midnight Moonlight, Steve Goodman’s Banana Republics, a Marshall Tucker tune, the Grateful Dead’s Tennessee Jed, and to soothe my Celtic ancestors they covered The Pogues If I Should Fall from Grace. Here are some more images from a fine afternoon in the sun at Rotary Park in Cranbrook.

404a. Garnet Waite  502. John Gerlitz  300. Keith Larsen314. Keith Larsen415. Garnet Waite  306. Keith Larsen  425. Garnet Waite 014. I'm so sad  013. who am I440a. Garnet Waite 010. Keith's guitar  324. Keith Larsen 052.  012. Louie Cupello302. Keith Larsen   070. The three no evil monkeys 016. I'm so sad   318. Keith Larsen232. Joshua Burning

So, thanks Louie, James, “BBQ Bob”, Janice and all the volunteers and sponsors of the Fisher Peak Performing Artists Society that made it possible for the rest of us to kick back, enjoy the sunshine, burgers and the fine music of Joshua Burning. Thanks and more thanks.



MIRAGE at Summer Sounds

MIRAGE (Jim Mashall) at Summer Sounds, July 26, 2014, 11 am – 12 noon, Rotary Park Cranbrook

For those who don’t know Jim Marshall is a musician, guitarist and vocalist with several CDs under his belt. He has been active on the local music scene for many years. His strength is his finger picking guitar work that often features strong bass lines running though the performance. He recently switched to a cutaway Larivee Nylon Strung guitar thereby adding a more mellow dimension to his playing. For this particular performance he invited me (Rod Wilson) to join him on stage with a percussion set that featured three congas, Djemebe, Darbuka, Bodhran, Tambourine, Shakers,Cajon etc.). Never one to refuse an invite to bash away on anything within an arms reach I was pleased to participate in a collection of original songs and cover tunes that included Blues Jam, Dancing in the Dark, Don’t be Cruel, Crazy (Willie Nelson’s classic tune made famous by Patsy Cline), Black Cat Jack, Five Foot Two, Arabia (an original), King of the Road, I’m On Fire, Hard Times  and the Louis Armstrong hit Hello Dolly. During the hour long set there were many more tunes to enjoy before Jim concluded with La Bamba. Jim’s partner in crime (Lorraine) captured some images and video that I have included below.

Jim and Rod at Summer Sounds  Rod Wilson at Summer Sounds

and here’s the link to the video  MIRAGE at Summer Sounds


Dark Fire Cloud, Lightning and Sunny Day at Summer Sounds

No this is not a weather forecast. It is the entertainment line up for Saturday’s Summer Sounds in Rotary Park.

Dark Fire Cloud and the Lightning Band Saturday July 12, 2014 11-12 noon. check their website  Dark Fre Cloud and the Lightning Band-ed

I am a sucker for the unique and Dark Fire Cloud and The Lightning Band certainly filled that bill. Led by Dark Fire Cloud (Thadeus Prejean) on vocals, guitar and “echo” harmonica, with Jay Buttle on upright bass and Shuggy Mulligan on drums / vocals this band looks unique and sounds unique. There aren’t too many Zydeco / Reggae bands in this neck of the woods. Appearances alone would make them stand out in a crowd. Thadeus is a tall black “drink of water” with a frightfully manic hairstyle; Shuggy Mulligan with his mammoth set of dreadlocks must be an extremely rich man with all the money he has saved on haircuts; Jay Buttle looks so “straight” that he is a startling contrast to the two other musicians. All musicians bring their own little kink to the music. Thadeus with his guitar and Echo Harmonica – I think it is a double reed Instrument that sounds remarkably like a Cajun button accordion – provided a creole sound that would probably be at home in Lafayette, Louisiana. Shuggy Mulligan’s drumming is something else. As most people know I am not overfond of drummers (they are usually just too loud and clutter up the sonic envelope) but every now and then there is an exception. Shuggy is an exception. Yes he is loud and he does from time to time play with the thick end of the sticks but I forgive him for that. The time he spent in the West Indies has left a rhythmic mark on his drumming that took me back to a 60’s recording of the Dizzy Gillespie band in Barbados. That recording stamped in my mind  a hi-hat beat with the snappy snare accents that just gets the hands and feet twitching in joyous sympathy. Shuggy had that West Indian rhythmic punch that I just love to hear. Jay Buttle is another example of why the upright bass has come back into favor. He has that big round sound that blended so well with Shuggy Mulligan’s drumming. With the exception of the old Creole standard Jumbalya the music was mostly original material. That didn’t seem to be a challenge for patrons at the Byng Roadhouse on Friday night. They kept the band on stage until 2 o’clock in the morning. Unfortunately I missed the show but if they come back I will be there in spades. Here are some images from a day in the sun at Rotary Park on Saturday.

Dark Storm Cloud   Shuggy Mulligan   Jay Buttle Jay Buttle   Dark Storm Cloud   Shuggy Mulligan  High Hat Shuggy Mulligan    Dark Fire Cloud   Jay Buttle

 Dark Fire Cloud Dark Fire Cloud    Shuggy Mulligan    Jay ButtleDark Fire Cloud Cymbal

Sunny Day Saturday July 12, 2014 12 noon to 2pm (Brian Noer, Dave Prinn and Bill Renwick). Sunny Day

Right off the cuff Dave Prinn admitted that this was a made up band name for this spectacular day in Rotary Park. Considering the great weather and the sunny disposition of the performers the name is more than appropriate. It is also a nice counterpoint to the name of the opening act, Dark Fire Cloud and the Lightning Band. Dave Prinn (vocals and Guitars) is a troubadour who is always in top form. Bill Renwick (guitar and vocals), his compadre from the duo Vested Interests has a voice that if Neil Young could really  sing he would sound like Bill. Brian Noer (bass, lead guitar and back up vocals) from the Heather Gemmell band is a consummate musician who manages to control his thrasher guitar instincts to provide some really tasty lead guitar and bass. As a group the vocal harmonies were superb. Dave kicked off the afternoon with Kansas City and from there on out it was a steady diet of classic rock with songs such as Southern Cross, Steam Roller Blues, I’m Already Standing, Heart of Gold (Bill outdoing Neil Young), I Saw Her Face (The Monkees), Wanted Dead or Alive (Bon Jovi), Still Haven’t Found What I am Looking For (U2), Angel from Montgomery (John Prine), City in the Grass (a Dave Prinn original), Wake Up Little Suzy (The Everly Brothers), etc. Two hours later the sun was still shining and the audience was smiling from ear to ear. Another great afternoon in Rotary Park with Summer Sounds.

 Dave Prinn    Brian Noer   Bill Renwick Dave PrinnBill Renwick    Brian Noer Dave Prinn   Brian Noer  Bill Renwick Double Trouble


Dave Prinn and company at Summersounds

VESTED INTERESTS (Dave Prinn & Bill Renwick) and D SQUARED (Dave Prinn and David Phillipe) at Summersounds, at Cranbrook Rotary Park, Saturday August 17, 2013, 12 noon.

Dave Prinn and companyDave Prinn   Bill Renwick  Dave Phillipe   Bill Renwick Dave Phillipe   Benji Noer   Bill Renwick  Dave Prinn    Brian Noer and family  Dave Phillipe

The organizers of Summersounds would like to thank the sponsors of the event: Columbia Recycling, Kootenay Gradall, South Sierra Developments, Salvador Redi-Mix, Tundra Steel, Freightliner, White Oak Valley Contracting, BCGEU, Rocky Mountain Diesel, AquaPro Drilling, Cranbrook Farmer’s Market, Cranbrook District Arts Council, Cranbrook Rotary, Fiorentino Brothers and HD Kootenays.

This was the last official Summersounds concert in the park and mountains of thanks need to be sent to Jim Conley and Brian Noer for organizing the events and taking care of the sound. Many, Many thanks guys.

Bill Renwick


Heather Gemmell Band at Summersounds

SATURDAY JULY 27, 2013, 12pm  at Rotary Park (Cranbrook) SummerSounds featured THE HEATHER GEMMELL BAND.

Heather Gemmell – guitar and Vocals; Podier Atto – Drums; Brian Noer – Bass

Heather Gemmell Band What can one say? Every time this young lady steps on the stage she just gets better and better. Currently Heather and her band mates have begun the recording of a new CD and, I am sure the final product is something to look forward to. For this afternoon in the sun the band stepped through some of her originals (such as Bluesville, Lowball, Ready for Love, Change Me and The Heat) as well as some new tunes and also some covers such as the Beatles epic Come Together with its magnificent bass line. Here are some images from the afternoon (click for a larger view). Heather GemmellPodier Atto    Brian Noer    Heather GemmellPoverty striken Musician    Podier Atto   Brian NoerBrian Noer Heather Gemmell                  Podier Atto   Brian Noer   Heather Gemmell   Heather Gemmell  Heather Gemmell                 Podier Atto  Heather and Brian

The organizers of Summersounds would like to thank the sponsors of the event: Columbia Recycling, Kootenay Gradall, South Sierra Developments, Salvador Redi-Mix, Tundra Steel, Freightliner, White Oak Valley Contracting, BCGEU, Rocky Mountain Diesel, AquaPro Drilling, Cranbrook Farmer’s Market, Cranbrook District Arts Council, Cranbrook Rotary, Fiorentino Brothers and HD Kootenays.


60 Hertz at Summersounds

60 Hertz at Summersounds, Rotary Park in Cranbrook, July 6, 2013 1pm to 4 pm.

60 Hertz

60 Hertz – Rob Young, James Neve, Marty Musser and Dave Birch

The second free summer outdoor concert at Rotary Park in Cranbrook featuring “the best band in the land” – 60 Hertz  – What more can I say? As always the band was super tight with great well thought out instrumental and vocal arrangements, imaginative lyrics by James Neve, Rob Young’s almost mellow lead guitar, Dave Birch’s spot on bass playing and the tasty drumming by Marty Musser. The band was fresh from their big day at Fernie’s Canada Day engagement that sported a crowd of over 1,500 and yet in Cranbrook there was only a very small audience on this beautiful sunny day of free music. One wonders why? That didn’t deter 60 Hertz from delivering a great afternoon of great rockin’ music. As well as their wonderful originals such as You May Be Right, Don’t Get me Wrong, More Than I can Give, These Shoes are Made for Walking, Rainland, Mean Streets, Deep Water and Virtuality the band trotted out a marvelous new song called Long Gone Down. I am looking forward to the day when some big time performer will cover some of these great songs and James can look forward to a wealthy retirement.

James Neve212. Rob Young Dave Birch Marty MusserRob Young James Neve Dave Birch"boy, this is great music" James Neve Marty Musser   Rob YoungRob Young      James and Rob        Rob and James  Tree    Tree    Tree

The organizers of Summersounds would like to thank the sponsors of the event: Columbia Recycling, Kootenay Gradall, South Sierra Developments, Salvador Redi-Mix, Tundra Steel, Freightliner, White Oak Valley Contracting, BCGEU, Rocky Mountain Diesel, AquaPro Drilling, Cranbrook Farmer’s Market, Cranbrook District Arts Council, Cranbrook Rotary, Fiorentino Brothers and HD Kootenays.



SUMMERSOUNDS, Rotary Park Cranbrook, June 29, 2013

A series of at least 10 concerts have been scheduled for the summer in Cranbrook’s Rotary Park. The idea is to co-ordinate the musical events with the adjacent Farmers Market. On the first scheduled Saturday, June 22, 2013, the weather king had other ideas and the “Rocky Mountain Monsoon” forced a cancellation. We didn’t get to hear The Rosie Brown Band and The Little Jazz Orchestra. Not to worry they will get their chance to shine. Well, that’s all history for the moment and the first event  Benjain Franklin Noerwas postponed until Saturday June 19, 2013. The rain was gone but the skies were overcast and the weather muggy.  The vendors were active in the Farmers Market and the buskers were out there busking. Young  Benjamin Franklin Noer was playing his fiddle for the SPCA, the sound crew was busy setting up the gear. sound crewSummersounds was on track for a full afternoon of music. First on the schedule was  Daze of Grace (Sharon Routley, Jubal Routley and Rod Wilson) with their unique covers (All Along the Watch Tower) and a number of Sharon’s originals. Their appearance was somewhat momentous. This will be their last performance for awhile. With various sidemen rounding out their sound Sharon and Jubal have been a staple on the local music scene for many years. As a band they have decided to take a rest from performing. There is nothing dramatic about the decision. It is just an opportunity to refresh and re-invent themselves.

         Sharon Routley            Jubal Routley

Jim Conley (guitar and vocals) and Brian Noer (also guitar and vocals) are both seasoned performers and organizers.  This summer music series is largely their  baby and musicians are very appreciative of the tremendous amount of effort these gentlemen have put into Summersounds. For the afternoon’s performance Jim took the lead on vocals with Brian providing back up and lead guitar. Rod Wilson sat in on percussion. Jim’s strength is his ability to re-interpret songs in such a way that they come across in a completely fresh way. On his list of fresh interpretations was The Midnight Special,  Bruce Cockburn’s Lovers in a Dangerous Time, the Beatles A Little Help From My Friends,  and Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side. The standout performance was Talkin’ Heads Psycho Killer with some great guitar effects from Brian Noer.

 Brian Noer    Jim Conley   Brian Noer

In addition to the local performers the audience were given a special treat by visitors Brad Smith & Orion Marcano of Coastal Giant. They were up here from Saltspring Island to visit family in Kimberley. Being Island folk they had to feature that classic island instrument, the Ukulele, along with vocals, guitar, banjo and a little harmonica. Both musicians were strong singers and instrumentalists who played original material. These are are couple of musicians worth watching (and hearing) and I suspect we will hear more of them in the future.  Brad and Orion of COASTAL GIANT

As well as the live music there was the Limbo Contest and in the late afternoon the DJ Music of DJ ALEX. Here are some more images from a great afternoon of music – may there be many more over the summer.

 Brian Noer                    Brad Smith             Brad Smith             Brad Smith  Orion Marcano        Brad Smith      Orion Marcano  Limbo               The DJOrion Marcano                     Orion Marcano Brad Smith

Brad Smith & Orion Marcano of Coastal Giant

Brad Smith & Orion Marcano of Coastal Giant

The organizers of Summersounds would like to thank the sponsors of the event: Columbia Recycling, Kootenay Gradall, South Sierra Developments, Salvador Redi-Mix, Tundra Steel, Freightliner, White Oak Valley Contracting, BCGEU, Rocky Mountain Diesel, AquaPro Drilling, Cranbrook Farmer’s Market, Cranbrook District Arts Council, Cranbrook Rotary, Fiorentino Brothers and HD Kootenays.

Thanks to Peter Warland for this rare image of me (RodWilson) playing percussion for Daze of Grace.

Rod Wilson at Summersounds June 2013