Archive for the ‘Events’ Tag

Claire Lynch- Coming close to us in the west   Leave a comment

CLBNorth 3272a2 COLOR.jpgI don’t normally reprint press releases here at Fervor Coulee, but…I don’t mind promoting the (increasingly bleedin’) rare top-flight bluegrass act making their way to Alberta and western Canada. I don’t have time to do a real article, so here are the details:

September 27th through October 10th Western Canada Tour For Bluegrass Grammy Nominee Claire Lynch 
 – With Her Canadian Band!
 
Dolly Parton credits singer-songwriter Claire Lynch as having “one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today.” 
 
From Thursday September 27th through Wednesday October 10th, Nashville (soon to be Toronto-based) Bluegrass Grammy nominee Claire Lynch will be touring Western Canada with her “North” band, comprised of three of Canada’s finest bluegrass musicians! The band areJoe Phillips (upright bass, backing vocals), Shane Cook (fiddle), and, Darrin Schott (mandolin, acoustic guitars, backing vocals)
Tour Dates, Venues & Ticket Ordering Links Below:
 
Long-recognized and praised as a creative force in acoustic music, Claire Lynch is a pioneer who continually pushes the boundaries of the bluegrass genre. Her career has been decorated with many accolades including three GRAMMY nominations, six International Bluegrass Music Association awards and the prestigious United States Artists Walker Fellowship. Her harmonies have graced the recordings of many stellar musicians. Equally gifted as a writer, her songs have been recorded by The Seldom Scene, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, Cherryholmes, The Whites and many more.
 
On her latest CD “North by South” (2016), Lynch has paid homage to her favourite Canadian songwriters on a set of bluegrass and new acoustic tracks. After her recent marriage to a Canadian (she becomes a permant resident here this November), she began to dig into the vast catalog of songs written by Canadian songwriters and found the inspiration for this project. Working with Alison Brown in the producer’s chair, she delivers standout versions of Ron Sexsmith’s “Cold Hearted Wind” with Jerry Douglas on Dobro, the catchy “Kingdom Come” written by Old Man Luedecke featuring Béla Fleck (banjo) and Stuart Duncan (fiddle) and the gorgeous maritime ballad “Molly May” written by Cape Breton’s JP Cormier.  Lynch also offers thoughtful reinterpretations of songs by Lynn Miles (“Black Flowers”), David Francey (“Empty Train”) and Gordon Lightfoot (“Worth Believing”) and contributes the lighthearted, self-penned “Milo” to the project.
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Posted 2018 September 25 by Donald Teplyske in Uncategorized

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Blueberry Bluegrass, 2018- in review   2 comments

The 32nd Blueberry Bluegrass Festival delivered.

While featuring several acts well-familiar in Alberta due to regular appearances over the last several years—Slocan Ramblers, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Jeff Scroggins & Colorado—these groups brought their expected ‘A’ game while other, less-frequently encountered performers including quality area  and regional artists  also quickly enamoured themselves to the healthy-sized bluegrass audience.

In its second year of rejuvenation, the current board of directors, led by Anna Somerville, executed  a flawless festival. Charged with creating an event atmosphere similar perhaps to what Big Valley Jamboree (minus the boisterous silliness) or even Edmonton Folk Music Festival (without the hill) have established, the Blueberry Bluegrass Festival has been reborn: it doesn’t matter so much as to ‘who’ is appearing or what the weather is like, what is important is the fest itself.

Several features have contributed to the festival’s rebirth. New blood on the organization side has brought in new ideas and approaches. The Bluegrass Patio beer tent proved popular as the temperature climbed on Sunday afternoon, the petting zoo and balloon man were hits, as were the nightly country dances and terrific food trucks and vendors who appeared to do steady business. Working to establish relationships with the community has been successful, with the Pioneer Museum proving popular not the least of which because of the indoor stage which offered intimate performances.

Further, the availability of three-stage choices throughout the day is a huge boon to the festival’s patrons, providing considerable choice allowing for weather influenced or music selection and crowd-size preferences. It was also great to have CKUA on-site to broadcast a one-hour Blueberry Opry radio show featuring the Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, Pharis & Jason Romero, and Kayla Hotte and hosted by Darcy Whiteside, and was a welcome addition.

One would have to have been searching with a mighty cynical eye to identify shortcomings with the 2018 edition of Blueberry. Some highlights:

The Travelin’ McCourys, making their Alberta debut, closed the festival in a manner that would be impressive absolutely anywhere. Energetic and at the absolute peak of their creative and musical capabilities, the quintet delivered a set including most of their recently released album, standards, and songs from solo projects. Some in the audience may have expected more of a ‘Del’ show, but the greatest majority were held enthralled by this modern, forward-looking interpretation of bluegrass.

The appreciation shown to singer-songwriter Braden Gates (and hisGates banjo-wielding accompanist Elliot Thomas) who, while having nothing to do with bluegrass, held discriminating listeners rapt with his personable manner and strong songs. Ditto the reception offered old-timey duo Pharis and Jason Romero (a personal favourite) whose music bridged the sometimes sizeable gap between folk and bluegrass listeners. Pharis Jason CKYAThere was a time at Blueberry when such would not have been encouraged, and I am certainly glad entertainment director Carolyn Hotte, Somerville, and their board possess the wisdom to envision the positive possibilities of broadening the festival’s palate.  

The Kody Norris Show, while deliberately gimmicky, won me over with their entertaining and high-quality presentation of old-time, country and western influenced ‘grass; like slippin’ through the folds of time, this outfit is. NortonTheir humour, banter, and hijinx certainly proved popular on their first trip into Canada. A great find for the festival, their sets were highlighted by several quality Norris originals, four gifted vocalists, an enduring rendition of “Tennessee Flattop Box,” and lively dancing. A caution is offered: shtick where the front man ‘picks’ on his sidekicks, mocking them, gets old…fast.

The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, recently signed to Rounder Records and nominated as IBMA Emerging Artists of the Year, demonstrated in their multiple performances the growth that occurs when a band is fully committed to their craft. PRB CKUAWhen we saw them two years ago, they were good; now they are world-class, ready to meet the challenges top-tier professional bands encounter with stronger songs and more intricate arrangements and harmonies.

Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, buoyed by Ellie Hakanson who can sing a Hazel Dickens song and is a heck of a fiddler, Greg Blake who can sing anything, and the nimble-fingered Tristan Scroggins, showed why they are currently the most frequently booked US-based bluegrass band in Alberta. It was also great to see Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder again; while not as lively or engaging as some of the other groups—Skaggs tends to talk a touch too much, in my opinion— the music presented was enjoyable.

Musically, no act sent me running from my chair! The most overwhelming sensation felt at Blueberry Bluegrass was the tangible sense of community that is developing. While the festival has always provided welcome opportunity to reconnect with acquaintances and friends, the positive vibes emanating from every aspect of the festival—leadership, volunteers, performers, and patrons—were most obvious.

With leadership focused on the patron experience, top-flight bluegrass entertainment, and facilities that would be the envy of any acoustic, folk, or country music festival, Blueberry Bluegrass has turned the corner toward a dynamic future of their own determination. I’ve attended a baker’s dozen Blueberrys over the last 21 years, a mere newcomer compared to many: despite the lack of attention delivered to the festival by the greater Edmonton print and broadcast media, Blueberry has never been a better choice for bluegrass entertainment.

 

Blueberry Bluegrass, 2018: Day 1   Leave a comment

The first day of the 32nd Blueberry Bluegrass Festival in Stony Plain, Alberta was as successful as anticipated.

All acts were well-received, but it wasn’t acutely apparent which of two acts was the fan favourite.

Site

The Blueberry main stage site

With an emphasis on show,The Kody Norris Show, a four-piece making their Canadian debut, performed a Jimmy Martin-inspired set of good ‘n’ country bluegrass that brought their considerable indoor audience onside immediately. Norris got big, deep notes from his flattop box, much to the delight of the crowd, winning them over while shamelessly mugging with exaggerated facial expressions and repartee.  His bandmates were up to the task with both Mary Rachel Nailey (fiddle, and a single song on mandolin) and Josiah Tyree (banjo) more than holding their own as foils. Their set tomorrow evening is highly anticipated.

Norris

The Kody Norris Show

With grey skies opportunely clearing for the start of the mainstage sets, the ever-growing audience moved outside for Rounder recording artists The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys. Even stronger, more energetic and personable than when we last saw them two years ago, this East Tennessee outfit set the bar high for all combos to follow. Nominated last month as IBMA Emerging Artists of the Year, the quartet slew an appreciative audience with songs from their various albums, including their brand new song, “Next Train South.” A tight, modulated, and professional set was offered.

The festival kicked-off earlier with an entirely appropriate, old-timey set from Pharis and Jason Romero, a well-regarded duo from Horsefly, British Columbia. Their haunting tones and home-hewn harmonies was a terrific appetizer for a festival that has broadened and elevated its artistic palate the last two years.

Romaro

Pharis & Jason Romero

Also appearing on the mainstage was the western Canadian band Nomad Jones who performed a selection of standards and band-written songs. Bill Humby displayed a fine voice on songs like “Gentle On My Mind” and “Down On The Dixie Line. Blueberry legends Byron Myhre and Craig Korth are always welcome on these ears, especially on contemplative instrumentals such as Korth’s “Steele Heights” which featured Korth on mandolin and Miles Zurawell on guitar.

Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, also nominated as IBMA Emerging Artists of the Year, closed out the evening with a set of bluegrass rooted in the tradition, from “Roanoke” and “Matterhorn” to “Shenandoah Valley Breakdown” and “Hey, Porter”—Johnny Cash tunes are always popular. A band without artistic weakness , one was considerably impressed with the singing and guitar playing of Greg Blake. With no little bit of country in his voice, Blake demonstrated that his live efforts match his recorded ones, previously admired. Fiddler Ellie Hakanson drew applause with her interpretation of Hazel Dickens’ “Just A Few Memories,” a performance I hope she revisits in a subsequent set. Guest bassist Nico Humby, of Nomad Jones, took part in a crystal-clear trio of “Pathway of Teardrops” with Hakanson and Blake.  As noted previously elsewhere and to their detriment, the group does distract itself with an overabundance of between song banter. But the music? Spot on!

New to Blueberry this year is a patio with good sightlines offering fortified beverages, sure to be popular as the forecast is positive Sunday, with a good chance of sunshine Saturday (fingers crossed.) Regardless of weather, the musical talent on display is going to be incredible, with all of Friday’s artists appearing throughout the weekend. Bolstering Blueberry will be new Bluegrass Hall of Fame member Ricky Skaggs and his band Kentucky Thunder (Saturday evening) and—making their Blueberry debut—The Travelin’ McCourys (Sunday night, closing the fest) along with the Slocan Ramblers, Calvin Vollrath, Kayla Hotte & Her Rodeo Pals (Saturday night dance), and Edmonton acts The Bix Mix Boys, Braden Gates, and Jim and Penny Malmberg, along with jam ambassadors Prairie’s Edge and Backroad Stringband.

Look to Blueberry Bluegrass for ticket details, load up the vehicle, and come spend a day or two in Stony Plain: I don’t know how you could be disappointed!

Blueberry Bluegrass 2018 is coming!   Leave a comment

Blueberry+Bluegrass+Festival+-+Blueberry+Map

I love Blueberry Bluegrass! Last year Blueberry rose from the ashes to present a revitalized festival featuring world-class talent, late-evening dances, and a positive atmosphere supporting area talent. That continues this coming August 3-5 with additional new features including…wait for it…a licensed patio! (Hopefully, the weather cooperates and we feel like a beer while listening to the bands.) The Blueberry Schedule has been released, and my thoughts are over at Fervor Coulee Bluegrass. My preview of the festival is also there, at this link. I’ll see you there on August 5…

Rodney Crowell Trio, Red Deer August 16, 2017   Leave a comment

rodney

Made the drive south to see Rodney Crowell Trio in Red Deer last night; a most unusual experience. I’ve written a review for CST, and you can get to it by clicking on this link. Good show, no doubt: very good. And as someone who has repeatedly criticized the sound quality at The Hideout, things were of a high quality last night, much better than last time five years back when our table walked out on Hayes Carll. So, kudos.

Set List:

Glasgow Girl
Earthbound
Stuff That Works
Come Back Baby
Frankie Please
Fever On The Bayou
It’s Hard to Kiss At Night…
That’s Alright, Mama (forty years since Elvis’ death)
‘Til I Gain Control Again
East Houston Blues
Reckless
It Ain’t Over
She’s Crazy For Leaving
After All This Time
Dancin’ Circles Around The Sun
Leaving Louisiana In The Broad Daylight
The Flyboy & The Kid

All of which got me to thinking of the songs I wish he had done—not that I didn’t enjoy that which was performed: maybe like no one outside of Springsteen, I have so many favourite Crowell songs that I could think of an entire separate set list that I would have been just as pleased to hear…so, that’s what I’ve created. Not better, just different: what could the set list have looked like and I would have been just as happy? Kept it to seventeen songs, no duplicates, had to get a Guy Clark co-write (or more) in, find a way to tie-in Elvis, consider pacing, and do all that with songs Crowell has recorded (with the exception of “Eamon” a Clark co-write that appeared on Someday The Song Writes You) and which would be (almost) of as much interest to the audience as me.)

I Ain’t Living Long Like This
When The Blue Hour Comes
Eamon
Fate’s Right Hand
Voila, An American Dream
Shame On The Moon
Tell Me The Truth
I Don’t Care Anymore
Tobacco Road
Stay (Don’t Be Cruel)
Many A Long And Lonesome Highway
The Rock of My Soul
Say You Love Me
Lovin’ All Night
I Couldn’t Leave You If I Tried
Heartbroke
Nashville 1972

How would that sound? And I have another 17 songs that would make a fine second alternate set…and I didn’t even get to “She Loves The Jerk” and “Jewel of the South,” another two favourites.

I amuse myself.

Mike Plume- Edmonton, March 24 2016   Leave a comment

 

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This past week, Edmonton folks have been reflecting on a memorable show that occurred 20 years or so back featuring a band that is big now- Radiohead, Coldplay…someone like that. Doesn’t matter. Last night at The Almanac 150 or thereabouts were fortunate to capture something equally memorable, the return of Mike Plume to the burgh formerly known as the city of champions.

I’ve followed Plume mostly from a distance these last 20+ years: I caught he and the band opening for Fred Eaglesmith once a lifetime ago in Red Deer. Despite having heard Plume live fewer times than many others in attendance on this evening, my appreciation for Plume is well-developed. His albums are of a consistently high caliber, and he has dropped a series of live recordings that reveal his sharp wit and timing, not to mention keen songwriting and performance chops.

All were on display as Plume returned to the city where he started to make his name before relocating to Toronto and Nashville. Now on his way back, this one-off gig was a show I couldn’t miss. Well worth the hour drive home through the dark.

The two-hour long set leaned heavily on his most recent recordings Red and White Blues and 8:30 Newfoundland. I was (pleasantly) surprised how familiar the audience was with this material; for some reason, I believed these recordings had flown under the radar. Wrong there. Over the course of the evening, tunes including “Stay Where Yer At,” “Like A Bullet From a Gun,” Half Full is the Cup,” and “If Fins Were Wings” were greeted with enthusiasm and no little bit of sing-a-long. The hockey anthem “More Than a Game” and “So Long, Stompin’ Tom” proved popular, while “Coming Home Again” almost brought the roof down. Plume certainly captures the Canadian experience in his music.

Older songs were also performed, although I don’t recall anything that predated “Alcohol” and “Silver Lining.” One after another the hits kept coming with only “Steel Belted Radio” and “Rattle the Cage” notably absent, although folks shouting out requests for “Eldorado and the 12:15” and “Rust” were also disappointed: a pair of duets with Jenny O made up for such. “DiMaggio” remains one of the finest songs I can recall; “Free” isn’t far behind. A personal highlight was “Best Job I Ever Had,” the song Plume co-wrote with Guy Clark.

A tiny room soon to be renovated, The Almanac featured good sound throughout the evening. While the show was advertised by wait staff starting ‘a little after’ doors opened at 7, the music didn’t start until 8:40. The extended wait was quickly forgiven.

 

 

Posted 2016 March 25 by Donald Teplyske in Uncategorized

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Blueberry Bluegrass Music Festival July 31-August 2, 2015   Leave a comment

untitledWestern Canada’s and most likely Canada’s largest bluegrass festival celebrates its 30th edition later this month with a roster that includes Hot Rize, the Seldom Scene, the Del McCoury Band, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, and several Alberta acts. Over at Fervor Coulee Bluegrass, I advance the show and speak with one of the festival’s organizers, my bluegrass pal Sheila Hallett. If all works out, I’ll see you there…but, don’t let that stop ya!