Bluegrass & Katy Moffatt in Red Deer this weekend


I’m quite excited about the live music opportunities I’m going to have this coming weekend.

As some of you may know, I am involved with Central Alberta’s Waskasoo Bluegrass Music Society. For many of the past eleven years, I’ve been charged with booking the acts that are to perform for us, and we’ve had some big names in- James King, Lynn Morris, Continental Divide, John Reischman & the Jaybirds, Laurie Lewis, Dale Ann Bradley, David Davis- and some lesser lights- The Earl Brothers, Four Chords of Wood, David Peterson- and almost all performed wonderfully for us at our 49 concerts.

But I am almost as excited about this weekend’s mini-fest at the Westerner Grounds as part of the Canadian Supreme Horse Show as I was for any of the big-named acts we have had come through. This is something we’ve wanted to do for some time- a day of Alberta bluegrass- and we’re glad that it came together this year at the behest of the CSHS. That it falls on the weekend set aside in Alberta as “Arts Days” was a beautiful coincidence.

The Tragically Hick has played for us before and they always perform a high-calibre set of music that blends bluegrass with country touches. I’ve seen Wild Rose Xpress on a couple occasions, but we never had the opportunity before to bring them to Red Deer. Performing as a quartet this coming weekend, I am looking forward to being impressed.

Local band Coal Trail features local players and Waskasoo Bluegrass members who have played together previously and have been woodshedding this past month to ensure a tight, enjoyable set.

Admittance to the horse show is only $12 and we’re hoping that we’ll attract a couple hundred people to the Parkland Pavilion at Red Deer’s Westerner Grounds. It is hard to promote bluegrass- real hard, just ask us- but we’re hopeful that many of our members and friends will come out for something a little different- an early fall mini-fest featuring regional bands of a high calibre.

Visit www.waskasoobluegrass.com for additional information.

That’s Saturday afternoon, which will certainly be a wonderful way to start the day before settling into a house concert performance featuring the near-legendary Katy Moffatt and Andrew Hardin. I previously posted about this show at https://fervorcoulee.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/katy-moffat-andrew-hardin-live-in-red-deer/

This past week I’ve been listening to all my Katy Moffatt CDs and I’ve been in heaven. What a voice, what style. I started last week listening to Walkin’ on the Moon, the 1989 Philo album co-produced by Moffatt and Hardin. Featuring just the pair playing songs, I’m hoping the magic they captured more than twenty years ago holds this weekend; I trust it will.

Moffatt’s albums have a great range of sounds and features. 1990’s Child Bride is more elaborate and certainly more rockin’ but very similar in mood to Walkin’ on the Moon. 1994’s Hearts Gone Wild and 1996’s Midnight Radio are gobsmackingly brilliant examples of mature, occasionally lusty and dark, and entirely soulful country-hybrid music with razor-sharp slices of life, real and imagined. Midnight Radio would most likely be on any list of Top 100 Americana/Roots albums I ever assembled. As would be The Greatest Show on Earth, an album I didn’t listen to this week as my only copy is a cassette that I can’t locate in the many boxes competing for space in my garage and closets.

An album I’ve owned for a few years but can’t recall previously listening to is Angel Town. Again, masterful stuff with a killer rendition of “Miss Otis Regrets.” I’ve saved 2005’s Up Close & Personal until this week and look forward to again hearing these minimally adorned takes recorded in 2002 as I drive to and from work tomorrow. Later this week I’ll get to the duets albums with brother Hugh and Kate Brislin.

She has a list of brilliant songs that could fill a three-hour show with ease, not that I’m expecting that on Saturday night. “Walkin’ on the Moon,” “This Heart Stops for Railway Crossings,” “Sojourner Truth (Ain’t I A Woman)”, “Child Bride,” “Midnight Radio,” “Hank and Audrey,”…realizing that she didn’t write all of them, it is still an impressive folio on which to draw.

As I’ve reflected on my listening relationship with Katy Moffatt over the past couple weeks, I’ve come to the conclusion that alongside Steve Earle and Joe Ely, Moffat was among the first ‘Texas’ singer-songwriters I heard and admired. Years before I knew who Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt were, long before I discovered Nanci Griffith on a second-generation, dubbed cassette in La Loche, Saskatchewan, and almost a decade before I knew that I had already been introduced to Tom Russell through her albums, I was listening to Katy Moffatt. Before Guy Clark, darn it. Imagine.

Her beautiful blending of sounds and influences- her obvious love of expansive sounds, pop music, and country traditions- won me over early and hard.

To have the opportunity to again hear her music live, and in the intimate setting of a house concert, is going to be incredible. Yes, I’ve got a bit of a red-headed gal crush goin’ on; it will take all I’ve got to maintain a bit of professional distance. To have Andrew Hardin accompanying her- and I’m sure performing his own music- is just a bonus that is almost too much to expect.

In the province to play a www.calgaryfolkclub.com show, I’m not sure how Laura and Andy met up with Katy to arrange the house concert, but I’m giddy just thinking about it. I can’t wait.

As mentioned last week, invites and tickets are available through Andy and Laura at rajco[at]telusplanet.net. If roots is your thing and you’re in the Red Deer region, you are bound to enjoy the show.

That’s what I’ll be doing on Saturday!

As always, thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald

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