Roots music column, August 5: Romi Mayes review   Leave a comment

In my Red Deer Advocate Roots Music column today, I advance the local shows and review Romi Mayes’ recent album; Mayes appears in Red Deer next weekend. The column is posted below. Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald


The finest touring roots artists continue to make their way to The Hideout.

Appearing this month at the Gasoline Alley tavern and eatery are several Albertan and Canadian roots performers. Tomorrow night, Calgary’s electric rockabilly outfit Eve Hell & the Razors fire up the joint. Manitoba’s Romi Mayes slides into town next Saturday for a performance with Australia’s very excellent The Re-Mains sharing the bill.

August 19, Edmonton’s Owls by Nature appear.

This weekend’s offerings includes the little-festival-that-could, the Mountain View Music Fest in Carstairs. Beginning this evening, a wide-ranging slate of performers take to the stage. Lunch with Allen (Murray McLauchlan, Cindy Church, Ian Thomas, and Marc Jordan), Lynn Miles, Ben Sures, Charlie Major, Cam Penner, T. Buckley, Cara Luft, and other Canadian performers are sure to keep things lively at the ‘by donation’ event beginning tonight at 6:00.

Next weekend, Red Deer’s Central Music Festival features blues, roots, and rock from many popular performers: Odds, David Essig, Souljah Fyah, David Vest, the Jack Semple Trio, and Jonas and the Massive Attraction alongside local performers take over a wonderful rural site north of Red Deer. Ticket information is available at

Country music legends the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band return to Red Deer’s Capri Centre August 19. The same evening, Andy and Laura are hosting a house concert featuring two songwriters from Ottawa, Amanda Rheaume and Marc Charron; for detailed information, call the Jeans Joint at 403-357-4728.

Blues-rock legend Johnny Winter is slated for Red Deer’s Memorial Centre October 13.

This week’s disc review:

Romi Mayes Lucky Tonight

Recorded live at a Winnipeg hall this past winter, Lucky Tonight features ten new Romi Mayes songs. An impressive, ambitious endeavor, the set borders on blues-rock with harmonica and percussion adding textures to the core of Mayes and collaborator Jay Nowicki.

With most tunes featuring a full-frontal, two-guitar assault, listeners may be forgiven for mistaking the latest from western Canadian roots goddess Mayes as demos for a Sheryl Crow ‘back-to-the-roots’ project.

There is nothing hesitant about Mayes’ performances. Strongly voiced, her meditations on relationships are multi-dimensional portraits of experiences and recrimination sharpened by reflection.

Don’t Mess With Me and the title track are lively, aggressive stabs of self-affirmation while other songs- Heavy Heart, Make You Love Me, and I Will– reveal more vulnerable aspects of Mayes’ psyche. The tense Not My Baby percolates with wisdom, Can’t Get You Off (My Mind) with lust.

The applause that follows each selection is the only indication that Lucky Tonight is a live recording- any warm or spontaneous between song exchanges with the audience has been edited. The resulting recording is therefore somewhat distant, feeling more like a well-managed rehearsal than a concert performance.

Less elaborate than her excellent Achin’ in Yer Bones of a couple years past, Lucky Tonight is perhaps a more accurate representation of Romi Mayes’ talents and comes recommended.

Donald Teplyske is a local freelance writer who contributes a twice-monthly column on roots music; visit for additional reviews. If you know a roots music event of which he should be aware, contact him at






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