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Lots of talent at South Country Fair Songwriting competition finals

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As usual, the Slice was packed for the South Country Fair Songwriting contest finals, Sunday, June 2.Joshua Beebe placed first in this Year]s SOuth Cojntry Fair Songwriting competition. Photo by Richard Amery
 They had a talented slate of nine finalists, though Chis Gheran also made the top 10 finals but wasn’t at the show, so the judges Brenna Lowery, Mike Malloy and  John Wort Hannam had their work cut out for them doing the Devil’s work of trying to choose the winner.

 But they were unanimous in choosing Joshua Beebe’s song “Clayton Stanley,” which he played solo on the ukulele. He had the tough job of starting the competition off.

He won passes to the fair, some cash and the chance to play his song on the South stage wither Friday or Saturday of the fair.Ali Stuart placed second in the South Country Fair songwriting competition. Photo By Richard Amery
 Ali Stuart , who also played in the first set took second place with her powerful song “Like It That Way” about being a woman in today’s world. Tyler Bird added extra lead guitar to her song.

 James Swinney aka Corduroy Brown, finished off the first set and placed third with an heartfelt song “Hummingbird,” featuring some pretty fingerpicking and  some pretty fiddle  played by Megan Brown.

Megan Brown, who finished the second set, got an honourable mention for her song about having a choice of working in forest reclamation or working  for “the most evil corporation in the world,” called “Do I Work For the Devil or Live in Hell.” George Fowler added pretty leads on acoustic guitar while Steve Martin held down the bottom end on upright bass.James Phinney placed third in the South Country Fair songwriting competition. Photo By Richard Amery
Jon Martin added three backup singers and bassist Paul Holden for his third place winning song “ When Colours Fade,” which he noted he wrote during the last election.

 Chris Drew played a more rock and roll number “Only Human.”’ And George Arsene opened  the second set with a heartfelt country folk number “She Sings To Her Horses.”
 Tyson Ray Borsboom played another more countryish number “Tell Me” in the first set. And Taylor Lang sang the heartfelt indie pop “Over Many Horizons,” which he noted was inspired by Dan Mangan.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 June 2019 08:34 )

Peter and the Wolves return with backup singers

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It is always a kick to see Peter and the Wolves back in town.

Peter and the Wolves rocked Casino Lethbridge, June 1 and 2. Photo by Richard Amery
They played several times at Casino Lethbridge, including the Bent 8 Shine and show on Saturday afternoon, June 1. But I only caught the last set of their evening show.
 The trio added a pair of back-up singers, dressed in red and black while Peter Cormier dressed in red and white. That allowed  the Calgary rockabilly band to expand their horizons even more, but still held true to their rockabilly and ’50s rock and roll roots.

They played a lot of songs which had the audience on their feet dancing, with Cormier playing keyboards for the first part of the set on “Red Hot Woman,” and “Like the Devil Do.”

 He included rock and roll classics like “Bye, Bye Love,” and  originals, including one of my favourites “Jailbird Josephine.”

The backup singers sang lead on Brenda Lee’s “Sweet Nothings.” And really helped  sell Wanda Jackson’s “Whirlpool.”

 Cormier switched to guitar, playing both piano and guitar on a hot cover of Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Whole Lott as Shaking Going on.“

They wound down the set and the  show with “Move Little Judy,” which featured Cormier doing a tried and true old rockabilly trick by standing on Jason “Pedro” Lowe’s upright  bass and playing a guitar solo behind his head.

 That got them a rousing ovation by the enthusiastic audience who called them back for an encore of a medley including Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven.”.

— By Richard Amery, L.A.Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 June 2019 08:21 )

A plethora of festivals this week include jazz, pride and classical music

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The Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival and Pridefest are the source of most of entertainment this week.Breanne Urban and Southern Flyer Retuirn to Casino Lethbridge this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery
But first, kick things off on Wednesday June 12 with this month’s Windy City Opry with Edmonton roots rock and country band “the Give ’em Hell Boys. As usual the show begins at 8 p.m. sharp and admission is $10.
Windy City Opry host Shaela Miller is also playing her own show at the Slice, on Friday, June 14 with Red Deer roots rock musician Ryan Langelois
The Lethbridge Jazz and Blues festival suppertime series features  the Sheldon Arvay Duo at Streatside Eatery from 6-8 p.m.. Anna McBryan is  at the Telegraph Taphouse, June 11. And Dale Ketcheson is at the Mocha Cabana, June 12.
For bigger shows, Dawn Pemberton conducts the Sweet Inspiration Gospel Choir, at Southminster United Church, Wednesday, June 12 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10
Saxophonist Jim Brenan performs at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre at 7:30 p.m., June 13. Tickets are $20.
 Drummer extraordinaire Larnell Lewis  plays a showcase at  the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, June 14 at 7:30 p.m. Calgary based pianist Tricia Edwards is at the Owl for a jazz lunch at 3 p.m. and  The Shuffle Demons close off the festival at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, June 15 at 7:30 p.m.
For pridefest, Theatre Outre and Pridefest present a production of Marshall Vielle’s play “ Where the Two Spirit Lives at 8 p.m. June 14-18.. It is  described as  “a whimsical and moving  exploration of what it means to be two spirited in southern Alberta in the new millennium through drag and storytelling.
 The Slice hosts a Slice of Everyone variety show, June 15 featuring a slate of performers to be announced. Admission is $10.
Applefest has a fundraiser June 13 at the Slice with a variety of roots and rock acts including  On the DL, In Cahoots and Jolene Draper and the Inquisitive Few, the Junkman’s Quire and Global Acid Reset.
When one music festival ends, another begins.
 If you like classical music,  the Centric  Music Festival returns  this week for several shows, mostly happening at St. Augustine’s Church.
The first concert is  at 7:30 p.m. featuring pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin. He will be performing  works from Chopin, Debbussy, Enescu and Mendelssohn.
 The next night, June 2o,  Trio de Moda, featuring musicians from the Edmonton symphony Orchestra will be performing works of Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann with Canadian pianist  Alison Kilgonnan. The music begins at 7:30 p.m..

Concert 3, Dance of the Drums,  features Lethbridge’s own jamani duo ( Matt and Ana Goenheide) performing a variety of percussive styles from all over the world. It takes place in the Casa community room at 7:30 p.m.
 The fourth concert also features Lethbridge talent as soprano Madison Craig and pianist Zain Solinski perform works by Purcell, Massiaen, Strauss, Szymanowski and Previn at St. Augustine  Church at 7:30 p.m..

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 June 2019 08:32 ) Read more...

The Shuffle Demons shuffling to Lethbridge to close Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival

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Toronto’s Shuffle Demons  just say “yes” to everything, be it jamming with Dr. John, busking for university tuition or just for kicks in Paris and getting crazy outfits from a passing fan on the street.
 The Toronto band including Richard Underhill - alto sax/vocals; Perry White - tenor sax/bari sax; Kelly Jefferson - tenor sax; George Koller - bass/vocals and drummer Stich Wynston wind up this year’s Lethbridge Jazz and blues  festival, June 15 at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre. The core of the band met while students at York University. I started busking on the streets to make some extra money and my roommate noticed I was making money and decided to busk too,” said alto saxophonist Richard Underhill, who considers himself lucky to be bale to make a living making music with the Shuffle Demons or other musicians like Galen Weston, with whom he just finished a long European tour.

The Shuffle Demons play the Sterndale Bennett Theatre to close off the Lethbridge Blues and Jazz Festival, June 15. Photo submitted
“I just finished a 20 date in 24 day tour of Europe. I’ve got a couple days off and I’m getting ready to shuffle with the Shuffle Demons again. But right now, I’m just reminiscing with (guitarist) Paul James about playing with Dr. John four times in Toronto,” related alto saxophonist/vocalist Richard Underhill.
 The Shuffle Demons formed in 1984 while they were at York university, Underhill discovered there was money to be made busking on the bustling streets of Toronto and thought it would be a way to help pay for tuition.

They had a minor hit from their first album in 1986, with “Spadina Bus,” and found an audience with their quirky brand of New Orleans style jazz, a little rap and songs about  cockroaches, cheese on bread and the Spadina Bus.
“Which is now a street car,” Underhill observed.
“We took a break in 1997 and got back together for our twentieth anniversary and have been playing ever since,” he said.

 Among other things, it meant getting to play with the inimitable New Orleans piano god Dr. John, who passed away, June 6 of a heart attack.
“That all goes back to the Shuffle Demons. I knew a concert promoter Elliot Lefko, and he was looking for saxophone players. Maybe he heard of the Shuffle Demons, maybe he didn’t but he knew me. Maybe I was the only one he knew,” he said adding that lead to playing with Dr. John.

“So I got to play with the great Dr. John. And it was great. Sometimes we’d play with him and other times he’d play by himself and we’d stand there with our jaws dropped,” he recalled.
“ I remember we were all trying to learn his song on the way over to the concert in the cab.  Though I can’t remember which one. He had such a great feel on the piano. He makes it look so effortless. After he came up and mumbled at me. I think that meant he liked us,” Underhill chuckled.
 He just completed a tour with Toronto jazz musician  Galen Weston and is getting ready for a busy festival season.
“ We’re playing every jazz festival in Canada this year and a few folk festivals as well,” he said.
He isn’t surprised  the band has been playing together for so long.
“ Not really. We‘re coming up on 35 years. I noticed  things were clicking when we started and I put everything I had behind it. ,” he said noting their African outfits came courtesy of a fan they met  the first time they were busking in Paris.

“ We were busking and we kind of looked like the blues brothers with trench-coats and hats and sunglasses. An African guy from Ghana  Africa met us and said, you guys need  outfits, come with me, I have a tailor. So we went with him and his tailor made us these outfits and they were really inexpensive,” he said.
“We’ve always had the attitude of say yes to everything, it’s great to be in a band of friends where everybody has your back. It’s kind of like being in a gang. If you get into a situation, it’s easy to get out of when there‘s so many of you,” he said.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 June 2019 08:01 ) Read more...

Patrick Alexandre plays blues and introduces concept music about Red River Rebellion

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Winnipeg musician Patrick Alexandre LeClerc brought the blues and a touch of Metis history to the Slice, Thursday, May 30 for approximately 20 people.
 Unfortunately I missed bluesman Vince Andrushko’s opening set, but  they combined the two bands for a third set or more blues and a touch of country.
 LeClerc and his band the Nor’ Westers, guitarist Dwayne Dueck and drummer Jeff Laird played a solid set of gritty, ’50’s sounding blues featuring LeClerc thumping his upright bass. They went old school with a solid version of “ My Babe.”

Patrick Alexandre LeClerc  playing the blues at the Slice, May 30. Photo by Richard Amery
Dueck tore into many a tasteful guitar solo throughout, and sneaked behind LeClerc to add extra background vocals.
 “Killing the Blues,” as a highlight that came near the middle of set, which included some ’50s style rock and roll.

LeClerc switched to acoustic guitar to give a preview of his new concept album inspired by the Red River Rebellion.

He noted his great great grandfather was part of the Rebellion and sang a song he wrote from his perspective, then switched back to bass  for another song called “Red Coats” about warning that the British troops advancing.

He added a couple of covers of a John Prine song and Bill Kirchen’s Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen song “Seeds and Stems,” showing of his more soulful side.

They wound down their set with an old F Holes favourite.
After a break the fun began, but it was going to leave, but didn’t want to miss the “Winnipeg mash up” featuring both Vince Andrushko’s band including bassist T.E. Fodey from the D Rangers, and Leclerc’s band jamming together.
 With Fodey taking over on bass, that allowed LeClerc to bust out his harp for a whole lot more blues., most of it sung by Andrushko, who played some excellent guitar. And sang  a couple classics like “ St. James Infirmary” and Hank Williams’ “Mind Your Own Business” to wind the show well past 1 a.m.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Thursday, 06 June 2019 09:32 )
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