Archive for the ‘Events’ Tag

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!

Rosanne Cash- Edmonton March 23, 2015   Leave a comment

Living a ninety minute drive away from Edmonton’s Winspear Centre, it is rare for my spouse and I to take in a concert in the city, rarer still for us to do so on a Monday night.

Rosanne Cash, a long-time mutual favourite—we’ve been listening for thirty years and first saw her and John Leventhal at the Calgary Folk Music Festival nineteen years ago—held court at Edmonton’s finest music hall, a show rescheduled from some six weeks previous due to Leventhal’s spinal surgery.

Without question, this was an amazing live experience.

Unexpectedly—and more the bad to me for not following things more closely—she and her very fine (if occasionally too loud- personal preference only- others seemed to love; I am more flat top than Strat) five piece band performed The River and The Thread in its entirety. While many artists have taken to this concept, normally it is an archival or anniversary experience (the ‘jump the shark’ moment perhaps being Bryan Adams’ 30th Anniversary Reckless tour!) and I don’t believe I have experienced something similar in-person.

The hour-long first set, featuring the album’s eleven base songs, was impeccable. From the first notes, the band sounded great, were definitely feeling it on this night. The sound was big and bold, but not overpowering (except on the extended guitar pieces which I didn’t appreciate.) Cash herself was in great voice, and engaged the audience from the get-go, binding the songs together with her personal narrative. A very strong album was elevated in this presentation.

Her deep appreciation for the southern United States, the good and the bad, the enlightened and the dark, is apparent throughout the album, but is so vividly tangible within the live setting. The southern soul vibe certainly came through. Her stories provided touchstones that most recognized whether in personal experience or from vicarious observation. That at one point she referenced the richness of the south that universally implied “makes us Americans,” or some such was entirely forgivable.

The second set was even better for entirely different reasons. Playing mostly familiar songs from her vast catalogue (“Seven Year Ache,” “Tennessee Flat Top Box” (one of the noisy songs, going from Elvis to The Beatles) and “Blue Moon With Heartache.” Four songs from The List, my least favourite Cash album, did nothing to diminish my enthusiasm for the concert. Hank Snow’s “I’m Movin’ On” was ballsy and bluesy, and “Long Black Veil” sounded fresh. Perhaps I judged the album too harshly a few years back and need to give it a fresh listen.

After referencing the Tallahatchie Bridge in her introduction to “Money Road” at the close of the first set,  I was intrigued when she prefaced the fourth song of this set with “We’re going to visit that bridge I mentioned earlier.” The band had left the stage at this point, and as Leventhal started some noodling, I was thinking that I must have missed a conversational aside about ‘another’ bridge during the first set, because there was absolutely no chance she would perform ‘that’ song.

But, the longer he played with the notes, I started to get shadows of Bobbie Gentry and Carroll County, and by the time Leventhal hit the initial, immediately recognisable note of “Ode to Billie Joe” it was all I could do to exhale a soft, thrilled, “No!”

It was magic. The entire hall was silent for the entire five minute reading of the classic song, and Cash sang her ass off—as she did the entire show. Had Bobbie Gentry walked on from stage right I couldn’t have been more pleased. I have never heard of Cash performing the song (again, bad on me for not paying attention) but it was the evening’s highlight for this listener. Stunning.

Makes me think a Bobbie Gentry tribute album should be put together by someone.

The second set seemed brief, but wasn’t, coming in at almost an hour. Nothing from Rules of Travel, Interiors, 10 Song Demo, Rhythm and Romance, The Wheel, Somewhere In the Stars, or Right or Wrong, and not all of that is unexpected when devoting such a large portion of the show to the latest album. Not complaining, just noting. A couple more country covers as the encore (a spirited “Heartaches By The Numbers” and beautifully restrained “500 Miles”) and the night came to a close.

An invigorating and dynamic performance from a veteran performer.

Posted 2015 March 23 by Donald Teplyske in Uncategorized

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Kim Beggs- County of Ponoka, February 12, 2015   Leave a comment

kimJust got home from a wonderful evening of music, and since I’m too tired to sleep (I just typed ‘drive’ by mistake…which tells you something) I thought I would scatter out a few thoughts.

One of the beauties of house concerts is that wonderful music happens in unlikely spots. Such was the case as Kim Beggs, along with accompanist Marcel Desilets, performed in  a home just a bit off Menaik Road near Highway 2. Apparently a small group of friends have been presenting house concerts in the area for a couple years, and tonight was Ken and Leanne’s turn to step up and host their first show. They did a lovely job, and welcomed just over twenty of us into their home.

I’m not sure what it is about Yukon singers, songwriters, and musicians, but for some reason several of them are among my favourites: I think it all started with the Undertaken Daddies, and the list has expanded to folks like Gordie Tentrees, Annie Lou, Brandon Isaak, and a few others I’ve likely forgotten. But leading the way is Kim Beggs who I have written about several times here at Fervor Coulee (and elsewhere) and whose last album Beauty and Breaking headed my Polaris ballot last time out.

Kim and Marcel did nothing to disappoint us this evening. Opening with tunes from Beauty and Breaking, including “Not Only, Only From the Whiskey,” a personal fave, the duo presented a pair of musically clean, personable sets. While weighted toward her fourth album (with five or six songs culled from that most excellent disc including “Oh Boy” and “Not a Mermaid Song”), they also featured several songs from each of the albums including “Summertime Lonesome Blues” and “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” from Blue Bones. They closed the show with the lively “Can’t Drive Slow Yodel” after delivering a fairly devastating reading of “Longest Dream.” Songs from earlier releases included “Streetcar Heart,” Bucko,” “Down to the Station,” and, if I recall correctly, “Gidyup Cowboy.” Kim played guitar while Marcel handled things on the resophonic and 5-string banjo. A couple songs I’ve not previously heard performed by Beggs were the standard “Little Birdie” and the blues song, “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.”

I appreciated so many elements of this little concert. Kim Beggs’ voice is huge; seemingly without effort, her voice goes from soft, playful, or emotive to bluesy and rollicking with the turn of a couple notes. When the music would drop away, and Beggs was left singing a line or four without accompaniment, one was treated to something not soon to be forgotten. Desilets’ provided spot-on-perfect vocal harmony that provided depth to the show, while his instrumental contribution added unembroidered texture to each song.

While many of Beggs’ songs speak directly to her Yukon home (“A.J. Goddard Shipwreck” being just one-and maybe best- example), she makes the emotions behind the songs universally appealing; while I am guessing most of the audience was previously unfamiliar with her music, one could tell that she was making connections with just about everyone. This speaks to the magic that can happen at a house concert- fifteen or twenty folks walk out humming songs and singing the praises of those they may not have previously been familiar.

Wonderful stuff, then. Kim and Marcel next head to Crooked Creek in Northern Alberta before Kim continues on to Rolla and Fort St. John, BC before heading back south to Edmonton for a show at The Artery on February 19. She heads to Banff for a residency where she is planning on writing her next album. The next area Home Routes show is March 13 at the Usona Hall, but the New Mexico performer’s name slips my mind and the Homeroutes site is next to useless.

A great night of music with a personal favourite made the drive through the dark well-worth the effort. Thanks for hosting us, Ken and Leanne and thanks to Kim and Marcel for an enjoyable show.

 

Posted 2015 February 12 by Donald Teplyske in Uncategorized

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Blueberry Bluegrass Music Festival 2014 August 03   Leave a comment

BlueberryposterThe incredibly successful 29th annual Blueberry Bluegrass & Country Music Society Festival concluded with a spectacular day of music on August 3 at Stony Plain, AB. I attended only the final day of the of the three-day set, and found no end to the elements that impressed.

The Society put together a very strong bluegrass lineup comprised of bands that complemented each other, featuring performers who have- for the most part, and certainly within these configurations- not appeared previously at Blueberry. Lacking a ‘massive’ headliner this year- after all, you can only bring in Rhonda, The Spinneys, The Gibsons, DLQ,  and Marty so many times, no matter how popular they are- the list of scheduled performers was, from my perspective, impressive.

The delightful Suzy Bogguss was the biggest name on the bill, with The James King Band, The Rambling Rooks, The Larry Stephenson Band, and Grasstowne providing the greatest name recognition from a bluegrass standpoint.

Having not attended Blueberry for seven (!) years, much has changed since I last found opportunity and inspiration to purchase a ticket to this event. As I’ve previously written, I loyally attended Blueberry from 1996 to 2002, but became unimpressed when the previous leadership left the fest. Still, I attended on an intermittent basis to 2007.

Billing itself as “Canada’s Largest Bluegrass Festival,” Blueberry has consistently booked high calibre line-ups that have balanced the bluegrass and country elements of its name (about 90/10, traditionally) featuring regional acts as well as the up-and-coming groups, veteran bands with drawing power, musician’s musicians, and ‘top tier’ bluegrass acts. Few is the high-profile bluegrass act that hasn’t appeared at Blueberry over the past three decades.

Of the things that have changed since I last attended, the site itself is most notable. Several years ago, the exhibition grounds that house the festival had a complete makeover, and having not seen this improvement prior to this past Sunday I have to say from logistical and amenities perspectives that this is clearly the best site I’ve seen for an outdoor bluegrass festival.

Parking has been improved, and the concert seating area is now graveled. The pavilion was greatly expanded- perhaps even rebuilt- and the surrounding grounds have been completely redeveloped. The stage, which was once little more than a shed, is now a study, freestanding building with ample room for instrument storage and staff movement.

Since I only attended the Sunday, I missed Donna Ulisse & the Poor Mountain Boys completely, as well as some of the regional performers including the Steve Fisher Band. Talking with many people throughout the day, the feedback about this year’s festival and lineup was uniformly positive. The two negative elements repeatedly mentioned was the apparent over-booking of ‘country’ and ‘rock’ acts, and this was apparent on the Sunday schedule, and an annoying, continual hum in the sound mix.

While Blueberry has always included one or two non-bluegrass acts, according to those I spoke with there was a perception this year that some of the acts booked, specifically the retro-country bar band Trick Ryder and classic rock act (a weak description, but best I can come up with) Jimmy Wiffen didn’t fit with the established atmosphere of the festival.

Not being privy to the details, I’m told attendance this year was healthy, but down from last year’s apparent peak when Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder appeared and the site was overflowing with attendees. On the positive side, it didn’t rain this year!

From what I gathered, the weekend belonged to James King. His Friday performance was, by all reports, fantastic, and on Saturday Don Rigsby joined him for a couple songs. James’ recent health challenges have been widely reported, and he had a set back while at Blueberry; James shared that he had to avail himself of our health care system on Saturday, spending several hours at an area hospital.

Noticeably gaunt and obviously not in peak physical condition, Sunday’s set wasn’t as strong as his previous ones were reported to have been. Grasstowne’s Kameron Keller stepped in on banjo, while James’s regular bassist John Marquess and mandolin player- whose name I missed beyond Ron- greatly assisted in helping King get through this final set.

James did quite a bit of talking on stage, emotion entering his voice several times when talking about his band members and his

James King, right with Fervor Coulee; Stony Plain, Aug. 03 2014

James King, right with Fervor Coulee; Stony Plain, Aug. 03 2014

appreciation for the audience. Performing seated, King appeared to gain energy as his set unfolded. Apparently working without a set list, the band members did their best to perform the songs King called out. It didn’t help that I had a hard time hearing King’s guitar in the mix for the first third of the set.

“Iron Curtain” was more ragged than right, and an impromptu “Bill Cheatham” almost didn’t make it onto the rails, let alone fall off of them, but by the time he launched into “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” King’s voice had warmed up, and things just kept getting better. Promising “something old and good,” he launched into “Darling Say Won’t You Be Mine” before slipping into the always impactful “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore.”

By this time, I could hear his guitar. King paid tribute to both James Alan Shelton and George Shuffler by picking out “The Wildwood Flower” (at least, I think that’s what it was! Without words, sometimes I get confused) and “Home Sweet Home.”

More Stanley music followed with “Our Last Goodbye” and his set closing “I Am Weary, Let Me Rest.” “Thirty Years of Farming” was shouted from the audience, and King performed this bluegrass chart-topping Fred Eaglesmith song as his encore.

Few were seated as King left the stage, with the Blueberry audience showing genuine affection for The Bluegrass Storyteller. Having seen six or seven James King sets over the years, this was certainly not the strongest I’ve seen him, but I am sure glad I got to hear him again.

Far from being a country music has-been, Suzy Bogguss continues to produce albums of excellence, and while her evening set was short on ‘show,’ she exhibited talent and taste in abundance. That the mainstream chooses to pass her by is simply to our benefit.

Opening with “I Still Miss Someone,” Bogguss held onto the crowd for the full fifty-minute set. With Charlie Chadwick on upright bass and Craig Smith on guitar, she delivered several familiar songs from the Americana songbook including an exquisite rendition of “The Wildwood Flower”- man, she sings that one well- and “Careless Love.” She went back twenty-five years for her first Top 20 hit “Cross My Broken Heart,” and reminded some of us of her participation on the Remembering Buddy Holly project by ripping through “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.”

Lucky was represented by “Silver Wings” and my favourite Hag song, “Let’s Chase Each Other Around the Room.” Finishing with John Hiatt’s “Drive South” and “The Red River Valley,” Bogguss’s set was ample demonstration of the breadth of the footprint she has placed on country and roots music since 1989.

Unlike some of the other ‘country’ music on the bill, Bogguss’s unvarnished but up-tempo approach to roots music went well  with the largely acoustic proceedings of the day. When looking to expand the festival’s appeal to non-bluegrass devotees (as almost every bluegrass-based fest must, and seems to struggle with) the Blueberry booker would be wise to follow his instincts in this direction.

Until the Earls of Leiscester were announced, it looked like The Rambling Rooks were the latest bluegrass supergroup. Comprised of three stalwarts of the bluegrass wars, The Rambling Rooks made plenty of fans this weekend.

Kenny Smith, Ronnie Bowman, and Don Rigsby joined by Justin Moses on banjo successfully bridged the gap that exits when a band a) doesn’t have an album that listeners are familiar with and b) is bringing together under a single new umbrella three distinct performers with independent careers and repertoires.

Another Stanley tune was performed- this time “Heart to Heart (Think Of What You’ve Done)”- and I finally got to hear a fiddle as Moses picked it up on “The Kentucky Waltz.”

An aside- has anyone else noticed that fewer bluegrass bands are traveling with a fiddler? Of the six bluegrass bands I heard Sunday, Moses was the only fiddler I heard and that was only on one song. As most if not all bluegrass albums feature fiddling, I don’t think we’re seeing an adjustment to the music. Is this simple bluegrass economics? Is it too expensive to carry a fiddler far from home? With the bands I saw at Blueberry carrying only four musicians, I recall that five was once the norm. When did this change? I know I feel a little ripped off when I see only four on the stage.

Back to The Rambling Rooks. Rigsby and Bowman split the songs fairly evening- I’m guessing Don got one or two more leads, but

Local Heroes- Down to the Wood (Curt, Mark, and Glen) visiting at Blueberry, August 3 2014

Local Heroes- Down to the Wood (Curt, Mark, and Glen) visiting at Blueberry, August 3 2014

Ronnie’s rendition of his “Three Rusty Nails” was pretty powerful. With three-part harmony on the chorus over tasteful picking from Smith, this performance was a highlight of the day. Familiar songs performed included “I’m Ain’t Broke, But I’m Badly Bent,” an energetic “Nine Pound Hammer, ” and “Bootleg John.”

Look for an album from The Rambling Rooks early in the new year.

Nu-Blu, with ten years as an entity, represented the ‘up and coming’ element of bluegrass. Having built a positive relationship with the audience the first two days, their set on Sunday afternoon was very well received. Performing songs from all of their recordings, the four-piece outfit impressed with a good blend of male and female lead vocals from Daniel and Carolyn Routh, and strong instrumentation.

The gospel side was represented by “Little Mountain Church” and Carolyn Routh’s “Hammer,” a great song. They mixed things up a little, going for different sounds including a bass, guitar, and mandolin arrangement for several songs.

The treat of their set was the stage debut of Nu-Blu’s strong new single, “Jesus and Jones;” this song went over especially well with the audience. Nu-Blu was a good band to kick-off the day’s bluegrass offerings.

Without offense to anyone, it is always wonderful to hear Steve Gulley. Last through Alberta with Dale Ann Bradley this past autumn, Gulley was filling in with his former-Grasstowne mates this weekend. Alan Bibey’s band is always top drawer, and being the true pro that he is Bibey ensured his band of Gulley (guitar), Justin Jenkins (banjo) and Kameron Keller (bass) was ready for their final set for the weekend.

Great songs abounded. The “In the Blue Room” instrumental flowed into “Blue Rocking Chair,” and then Gulley just killed it. His a capella rendition of “Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord)?” was maybe the best vocal performance I have ever heard him give in concert…and I’ve heard some pretty amazing stuff from him. Gulley also performed “The Door,” a song he usually sneaks into his sets, while he did his best Del to accompany Bibey on the closing “The County Fool.”

My favourite bluegrass set of the day came from The Larry Stephenson Band.

Celebrating his 25th year as band leader, Stephenson’s high tenor should be welcome on any bluegrass stage, and his afternoon set appeared to be appreciated by most in attendance.

Utilizing a single vocal mic, the band worked it with meticulousness. Standing back two feet and more on the choruses, Stephenson’s voice pierced the afternoon heat. It was an amazing thing to hear!

When I think about bluegrass, this is the kind of music I want to hear- drivin’, subtle only in its vocal and instrumental precision, straight-ahead, no nonsensical humour or lame banter: The Larry Stephenson Band was exceptional.

The spirit of the Osborne Brothers’ music was certainly palatable throughout the set. The forlorn “Give This Message To Your Heart” obviously brought this to the fore, as did ” Washed in the Blood of the Lamb.”

Stephenson’s mando breaks were a wonder to hear in such an intimate setting, while Kenny Ingram remains as powerful as ever. His signature “Pike County Breakdown” was mighty crisp. Guitarist Colby Laney took the lead on “Lover’s Lane,” while the bass was handled by Matt Wright.

“Poor Old Cora,” “The Many Hills of Time,” “The Pretty Blue Dress” kept things moving, and by the time Stephenson was holding that note in the show-stopping “How High Is That Mountain?” he was just showing off. The spirit of the Osborne’s returned as the set closed with “The Sound That Set My Soul of Fire” and “Me and My Old Banjo.”

Vocally, instrumentally, song selection and balance- not that it is a competition, but The Larry Stephenson Band performed the strongest set of bluegrass I heard all day. Amazing stuff.

By the time The John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band hit the stage, it was dark and I was ready to hit the road for home. I did stay to listen to about half of their scheduled allocation, and while it was obvious the group- including Herb Pederson, Brad Davis and a bass player- advertised as Mark Fain, but I know better to believe bluegrass festival programs; Jon Randall was advertised as part of the band, but obviously didn’t make the trip)- favoured extended jams on tunes including “It Doesn’t Matter,” “Lady’s Love,” and even Rodney Crowell’s “Wandering Boy,” they didn’t do so much noodling to cause me to drift away.

The crowd had considerably thinned by this time, and whether it was the time of evening or that the group was a bit too progressive, I thought these impressive players meshed and presented good music. I guess you either ‘get it’ or you don’t, and that’s okay.

Congratulations to the entire Blueberry board and volunteers, especially first time talent booker Kenny Mak, on a very successful bluegrass fest. It was great to catch up with so many folks, and Elsa even brought over a piece of saskatoon pie. Trust me, it doesn’t get better than that!

I’m already looking forward to the 30th Blueberry Bluegrass & Country Music Fest next August long weekend. Maybe I’ll even get there!

Dale Ann Bradley- Edmonton, Oct. 17, 2013   Leave a comment

Bad iPhone picture of the night

Bad iPhone picture of the night

Dale Ann Bradley returned to Alberta this week, her third journey to our northern bluegrass community since first coming our way about a decade ago. On this occasion, as each time previous, she brought a different band line-up with her, and while the others were stellar, her current group is arguably the strongest. [I will, however, never forget my first Alberta Coon Creek line-up with Michael Cleveland, Jesse Brock, Richard Bailey, and Vicki Simmons- still my personal choice.]

Without a doubt, Dale Ann Bradley is my favourite bluegrass vocalist, male or female, traditional or contemporary- whatever those final descriptors mean. Having previously been in the ‘presenters’ chair when Dale Ann came to the province, it was nice to drive up to the city last night and not worry about anything other than suicidal secondary highway deer.

As she has for a couple years, Dale Ann is sharing the stage with long-time friend Steve Gulley. Almost exactly a year ago, Uncle Phil joined up, and both were present last night. Gulley, for the most part, concentrated on bass duties while also serving as Bradley’s vocal foil. He pulled out his guitar for a few songs. Phil Leadbetter, master of the reso he is, handled the hub-capped guitar as only he can, and also contributed additional vocal harmony- unfortunately, I could not discern his voice within the mix.

Jamie Dean from Cumberland River Band handled the 5; I am only familiar with that group’s work from the Justified soundtrack, and based on his playing I’ll need to delve deeper. I missed the mandolin player’s name, but he had several things going for him- wonderful tone, seamless presence within the band’s sound, and he’s from Knoxville, always a positive.

The concert was held at the Capitol Theatre in Fort Edmonton Park. A great venue with terrific seating and sight lines. The sound was superior as well- minus the lack of Phil vox (but that could just have been my ears.) As always, the second best part of any area bluegrass show is reconnecting with friends and acquaintances. This being my first bluegrass show in two years- outside the bluster fleck that was the pseudo-grass I heard in Kansas City- it was wonderful to speak with several Alberta bluegrass pals, if only for a few minutes: folks like Marc, Anna, Curtis, and Ruth are always great to see. We have some good people in this bluegrass community, no doubt.

The first set was, for me, superior to the second. I thought the second was a bit staid, a bit by-the-numbers, with much of the band off-stage for several songs. Over the course of the evening, Dale Ann performed at least seven songs from Somewhere South of Crazy, including the Bill Monroe song “In Despair”- a show stopper- and I Pressed Through the Crowd,” an old favourite. A handful of songs from the other Compass albums were performed, including “He’s The Last Thing on My Mind” and “Run Rufus Run.” I listened to Catch Tomorrow on the way in, and was once again won over by the strength of the album.

“The Piney Rose” proved to be as popular as ever, as did the show openers “Somewhere South of Crazy” and “Fifty Miles of Elbow Room.” Gulley took the lead several times, including on “Livin’ It Down,” (on which the instrumental presentation was especially powerful) “That’s Not What Ships Are For,” and likely the only George Jones song I don’t really care for, “The Window Up Above.” He also sang “California Cotton Fields,” taking Marty Raybon’s place on the Leadbetter feature; no “Moonracer” from Phil tho’, darn it.

Finally, Dale Ann again demonstrated that she is one heck of a guitar player, carrying the band’s sound firmly in hand. I could listen to her playing all night long. She was in terrific voice; then again, I’ve never heard Dale Ann at less than her best.

Given that I could put together a personal set-list that would not have duplicated a single song performed last night- so deep is Dale Ann’s catalogue- I more than enjoyed this concert. My mind didn’t wander, and I was only disappointed when they left the stage without performing “Me and Bobby McGee.”

Super musicianship. True people. Wonderful voices. Timeless songs. I couldn’t ask for more from a bluegrass show.

Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. I appreciate you dropping in.

Donald

on Twitter @FervorCoulee

 

Dale Ann Bradley- coming to Edmonton October 17, 2013   Leave a comment

daleannquarterpageI’ve lamented the lack of quality bluegrass in the area over the past few winters, mostly to myself but I’ve groused aloud here a few times. Fact is, I haven’t been too motivated to get off the chesterfield to go to the city for bluegrass. That will change later this autumn as the Northern Circle Bluegrass Music Society of Edmonton has booked in Dale Ann Bradley for the evening of October 17, a Thursday night- which is three kinds of inconvenient- but necessary as she is booked for their Fall Workshop the following weekend.

Information about the concert is here.

Information about the fall workshop is here. A great roster of instructors, including the bulk of Dale Ann’s band, other prominent bluegrassers, and local masters.

By announcing this show on their website- I heard about it a bit more than a month ago- this week, Northern gives me an excuse to feature Dale Ann’s interpretation of “Summer Breeze” as my Roots Song of the Week. Catch her performance with bandmate Steve Gulley at Bean Blossom earlier this year. (Not sure on the banjo picker’s name- looks like Stuart Wyrick, but…)

It is the last week of August, and fall is already in the air if the yellowed leaves on the trees along Highway 13 are any indication- they actually look sickly, not simply turning. Anyhow, Dale’s version of “Summer Breeze” makes me think summer may last just a little longer.

As always, thank you for dropping around Fervor Coulee. Donald

On the Twitternet @FervorCoulee