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L.A. Beat

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Downtown Farmers’ markets begin July 3

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Get your fix of farm to table food at the Downtown Farmers’ Market, which returns to Festival Square (between third  avenue and Sixth avenue South) every Wednesday, July 3-Sept. 4 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

“ We have a lot of returning vendors, but we have room for more,” said Exhibition Park Chief Operating Officer, Mike Warkentin, adding they have room for a total of 36 vendors. There will be  everything from baked goods to vegetables, fresh produce  and commercial goods.

Mike Warkentin announces the downtown Farmers market beginning July 3. Photo by Richard Amery
Downtown  Lethbridge Executive Director Ted Stilson noted there is room to expand the downtown farmer’s Market, but is pleased to  be a partner with Exhibition park to bring the event downtown every week.

“ We’d need to have 20 to 30 new vendors to expand the market,” he said.

“ There are 3,000 employees of local businesses who can come down and spend their lunch hours down here,” he continued.

 The market averages 700 people every week.

 In addition to vendors offering  baked goods, fresh vegetables and other unique  products which foster community wellness and health, there is also a community table every week available to local organizations who want to spread the word. Farmers markets take place in Exhibition Park every Saturday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Exhibitor applications are available at

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Great tunes on Outlaw Country Cruise 4

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 I joined the cruise ship Norwegian Pearl for the Outlaw Country Cruise 4 last week as an excuse to escape the cold (yeah right) for a few days and in the process catch a whole lot  of really good bands who seWebb Wilder playing the Outlaw Country Cruise 4. Photo by Richard Ameryldom, if ever, get up to our neck of the woods.

 I usually listen to bands even hipsters have never heard of, so it was really cool to commune with people from the U.S. and Canada and as far away as Ireland even, who not only have heard of bands like Govt. Mule and the Bottle Rockets, but who are really into them. Unfortunately there were no Bottle Rockets this year, who were on last year’s cruise, and no Govt. Mule. But there was a lot of really amazing music and of course pleasant surprises as always.
  This yearMargo Price playing the Outlaw Country Cruise 4. Photo by Richard Amery, I finally caught a couple of Steve Earle shows, who I missed last year because his band was competing against bands I really wanted to see like Blackberry Smoke, but this time I caught the set of hits, which was supposed to open the cruise but had to be rescheduled like several shows due to a downpour in Tampa.

 The Outlaw Country Cruise is put on by  Sirius XM’s Outlaw Country Station every year, so they feature plenty of bands ranging from outlaw country, alt country, punk and traditional country playing on five stages all over a boat which is basically as big as a small town. It really is all about the music, and communing with people who love the same type of music as you do. A few people noticed my CKXU sweatshirt and immediately asked if  I knew Corb Lund, when I told them I was from Lethbridge, which was pretty cool.

 So I spent a solid five days running around a boat and around a couple stops in the Bahamas trying to catch as much as I could, the only difference being I wasn’t taking pictures or writing a review of them, which was a weird feeling on it’s own as I feel horribly out of place at a live show without a camera and a purpose. It was a challenge as a lot of bands and artist were competing with others I really wanted to see like country legend Bobby Bare, who I only caught during a workshop/ mutual admiration session with Steve Earle, pianist Terry Allen and Lucinda Williams, who was in awe to be on the same stage with legends. Earle noted he doesn’t usually play requests but was happy to play a couple obscurities for Bare and Allen.

Steve Earle playing to most of the Outlaw Country Cruise. photo by Richard Amery
 There were a lot of highlights. Willie Nelson’s presence was felt on the first night in his daughter Paula Nelson’s band. She did an admirable job of both crooning out jazz and singing twangy old school country. Another Nelson daughter, Amy Nelson was brilliant in twisted folk duo Folk Uke along with Woody Guthrie’s granddaughter Cathy.

 The main draw for me this time was the fantastic Texas alt country/rock band The Old ’97s who played all kinds of catchy songs that should be hits, but I only caught them once, though I caught  their frontman Rhett Miller, who was also playing a few guitar pulls and solos slots.

Elizabeth Cook hands out Squidbiillys swag. pHoto by Richard Amery
It was the same case for another big draw the Drive By Truckers, who used to include Jason Isbell. The two main frontmen, Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley also played heartfelt solo sets on other stages on other days. I caught bits and pieces of their shows, got to hear “Hell No I Ain’t Happy,” which finished a set on the main, pool deck stage.


Lots of good times to remember in 2018

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It seems like Lethbridge spent a lot of the year covered in either snow, which didn’t leave until April or smoke, which doCorb Lund stopped by to sing with Geoff Berner at one of his shows this year. Photo by Richard Ameryminated the summer, or surrounded by howling wind, but it was still an exceptional year for live music in the city. On a sad note, CKXU’s Love and Records festival took a break from Galt Gardens this year due to volunteer burnout and the staff being focused on getting the new 2,900 watt transmitter operational, which happened at the beginning of December.
University of Lethbridge based radio station CKXU 88.3 f.m.’s new transmitter was a major highlight for those people looking for music you can’t hear anywhere else.

This year, lots of excellent live music came to the Slice, Owl Acoustic Lounge and Average Joes and the Smokehouse, to name a few. There were lots of afternoon shows this year including the LGRC family jam at the Owl  who also hosted The Folk Road show for a matinee during the summer and other assorted afternoon shows.  The Smokehouse also started a matinee series featuring folk and roots music.

Blueprint Records also closed after 12 years supporting the local scene. Before handing the torch over to new owners Street Legal Records, they held a big farewell bash at the Slice, June 1 featuring lots of local acts Biloxi Parish, Sparkle Blood, Open Channels and Mombod. The next night Street Legal held a grand opening bash featuring rap and hip hop.
The Geomatic Attic had an excellent season full of blues with shows from Steve Dawson, Dawson playing with Kat Danser as well as Birds of Chicago and Joey Landreth, Nov. 25 who was also a hit opening for the Sheepdogs at Whoop Up Days. MonkeyJunk returned to the Geomatic Attic to slay on May 24. They had an excellent run of shows in May,  featuring a beautiful show of folk with Fionn and Royal Wood, May. 22. Earlier in the year, they had the White Buffalo, March 6. He is best known for writing several songs for the TV Show Sons of Anarchy, and Tri-Continental brought their cross-cultural music right before that.
Honker’s Pub celebrated 21 years with a lot of live music on March 17.

 The Enmax Centre had a lot of big shows  this year including Shinedown, Johnny Reid and a lot more but I only made it to George Thorogood and the Destroyers, who rocked the joint,  May 5.
 There were also several alternative rock shows this year downstairs in the old Firehall hosted by the Terrific Kids Collective, who held shows for Halloween and other shows throughout the year.
As always there are new bands forming and playing, it seems every day. Some of the highlights this year were up and comers Hoverkraft, Gabe Thaine in his many incarnations like the Crooked Creek Warblers or solo, Silkstones and Biloxi Parish.

New albums came from a variety of local bands and musicians including J Blissette, Body Lens, Gabe Thaine’s “Alone in This World.” In Cahoots, Cope, MTBC,Shaela Miller who had a great year participating in the project Wild. She released her new CD “Bad Ideas.”, Paul Kype also released a new CD with Chilliwack drummer Jerry Adolphe called “Blues For Rosie.” Other new local Cds included The Utilities, Mind Merge with Craig Baceda and Chris Snelgrove and John Wort Hannam’s “Acres of “Elbow Room.” Jesse and the Dandelions, who is based out of Edmonton, but spent his formative playing years here also released a new CD “Give Up the Gold.”


Excellent music on Outlaw Country Cruise 3

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I have a pretty eclectic taste in music. I listen to bands even hipsters haven’t heard of, I know this for a fact because pretty much nobody recognized any of the bands I was irritating people with by raving about over the past couple months leading up to my voyage on the Norwegian Pearl for the Outlaw Country Cruise 3, Jan. 21-26.

The Bottle Rockets and Jason and the Scorchers’ Warner Hodges play together. Photo by Richard Amery
Some of my favourite bands barely ever play Canada and are never played on modern radio but were playing the Outlaw Country Cruise 3 sponsored by the Outlaw country station on Sirius XM. While the station plays your usual diet of Merle Haggard, David Allan Coe, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash, they also play a lot of up and coming “outlaw country ” musicians, Southern rock, punk rock and cow punk , roots rock , alt country and other music that just doesn’t fit in, so the bands on the bill reflected that diversity.

 Some people recognized Steve Earle and the Cuban influenced country band the Mavericks, who were the “headliners” on this bucket list cruise which was basically a gigantic music festival taking place on six stages on three different levels of a monster cruise ship sailing from New Orleans to Costa Maya, Mexico.
A couple people vaguely remembered the Bottle Rockets, Jason and the Scorchers and Blackberry Smoke because they heard them on my shows on CKXU 88.3 f.m.

Junior Brown playing the Outlaw country Crusie. Photo by Richard Amery But what made me feel pretty old is the younger people I talked to who didn’t recognize Texas born, New York based “hardcore troubadour”  Steve Earle, who played a special 30th anniversary concert of his album “Copperhead Road.”

And even though Steve was the headliner and playing numerous times (and for the most part completely different shows) during the week like most of the artists, I only caught bits and pieces of his shows including the Copperhead Road show, because they were competing with other bands I really want to see who rarely, if ever, tour Canada. And I know Steve would put on a great show because I’ve seen him play here. He was one of many Texas musicians playing on the ship. I got to sit in on a couple of Outlaw country broadcasts including Steve Earle swapping stories about dearly departed Guy Clark and Nashville in the early ’70s.

I also got to see an excellent workshop featuring Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Lucinda Williams swapping songs and telling stories, which was excellent and kept my attention off the floating city being blown back and forth by 50 knot (approximately 100 km/ hour) gale force winds, which while I may be used to them in Lethbridge, is a little disconcerting in the middle of the Caribbean Sea.

 Usually I’m in the front row, right next to the stage for almost every show that comes to Lethbridge, making pictures and taking notes in the endless quest to let people know that there is a whole world of great music just waiting for you discover beyond the Elizabeth Cook on the Outlaw Country Cruise. Photo by Richard Amerybanality of modern Top 40 radio, so it was weird to just be part of the masses just sitting back and watching the show.

Other than the Bottle Rockets, even I stayed at the back of the room, and barely took any pictures, not wanting to pack a telephoto lens (which were “not allowed” though some people brought them).

It was a weird unsettling feeling, but the trip of a lifetime — like I said bucket list.

 Every morning, they crew would deliver a schedule of cheerful welcome brochures and portable schedules of all the fun planned for the day which you could carry around on a lanyard along with your cabin key which you’d have to use to get drinks and of course get into your room,  to choose the shows you wanted to see and the pieces of shows you could catch if they were competing with each other.

Fortunately the stages weren’t that far apart, so it was easy to catch a little bit of everything.


Take a walk down memory lane with fun shows throughout 2018

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As always, I went to a lot of  shows this year, yet not as many as I would have liked due to other commitments like family and theatre. Here are some of my favourites by the month.
 Jan. 6 —One of last shows at all ages venue Attainable Records  and the last show for local punk / alternative rock trio Advertisement raising money for Lethbridge Shelter.
 Jan. 14— The Lethbridge Folk Club always brings in some excellent acts. It is always great to see Canadiana troubadour Tim Hus as we did when he played the Lethbridge College Cave for the Lethbridge Folk ClubJohn Wort Hannam plays a founder’s Day celebration show at the U of L in January. Photo by Richard Amery
 Jan 20— Calgary country singer Tom Phillips played a sold out show at the Slice  country music at a sold out Slice
Jan 21— One of my new favourites, Edmonton musician Kimberley MacGregor played several shows this year including one of several songwriters in the round. She played the Owl Acoustic Lounge with the Silkstones, Elliott Thomas and Burning Bridge.
 Jan. 21—Local metal band Tyrants of Chaos, who would sell out the Slice in December, almost sold out the Slice along with  Outrun the Arrow and Extrados
Jan. 26— Michael Bernard Fitzgerald played sold out solo show at Geomatic Attic. he’d return later in the year for a sold out show at the Slice with a full band.
Jan. 28— Edmonton based, Newfoundland born celtic rock band the Derina Harvey band rocked the Slice Celtic style with upbeat  Celtic rock music. They return to the Slice this January.

FebruaryHoneymoon Suite’s Derry Grehan playing Lethbridge in February. Photo by Richard Amery
 Feb. 4— Scott Cook played one of many excellent Lethbridge Folk Club shows in support of his new CD
 Feb. 8— Boots and the Hoots playing one of many excellent Windy City Opry shows at the Slice.
Feb. 10— The Owl Acoustic lounge started adding spice to their Monday open mics with touring hosts,   this time with Kayla Luky and Rotary Park hosting.
Feb. 11— Local rock band Outrun the Arrow’ took over the Slice for a video shoot for their song “the Middle.”  
Feb. 18—There were lots of laughs with comedian Tom Green at  Studio 54.
Feb. 19 — As usual, this year featured lots of classic rock.  Loverboy was to play the Enmax later in the year, but Honeymoon Suite rocked Average Joes on a Sunday night.
 Feb. 20— Elkford blues rock band The Burn Ins  rocked the Owl Acoustic lounge in support of their new CD
Feb. 21— Moose Jaw singer songwriter Megan Nash made the first of several visits to Lethbridge at the Owl Acoustic Lounge
Feb. 25— Folk punk band Audio/Rocketry returned to the Slice. Joe Vickers from the band would later play a solo show at the Slice later in the year.
Feb. 26— Austin via Halifax and Austin blues band The 24th Street Wailers made their Lethbridge debut at the Geomatic Attic, playing one of three great Southern Alberta shows.

March 7— There was a great rock show with Montreal’s Dany Laj and the Looks with the Dirti Speshuls at the Slice.
 March 8— Old Man Luedecke ,brandishing his banjo , gave Lethbridge another chance  as he returned to the Slice to play for an attentive audience.
March 16—The Andrea Superstein Trio played beautiful jazz at Geomatic Attic
March 16  — The annual pre-St. Patrick’s Day party with the Real McKenzies is always  a highlight of the year and definitely March. This year they brought baseball punk band the Isotopes to Average Joes.
March 21— Multi-instrumentalist Ben Caplan visited the Geomatic Attic for sold out show.
March 23— Central B.C blues rock trio Devon Coyote made a long awaited return to the Owl with a new CD.
March 30— Winnipeg grunge/metal band Solhouds featuring Elise Roller of Go For the Eyes rocked The Owl Acoustic lounge.The Real mcKenzies returning to play Lethbridge in march. Photo by Richard Amery


April 6— Vancouver based indie rock band  Yukon Blonde played a sold out show at Average Joes
 April 13 — Calgary rock band Cowpuncher played one of their last shows at the Slice
 April 18—  Hamilton funnyman BA Johnston played one of three great shows at the Owl Acoustic lounge in support of his new CD Gremlins 3
 April 21 — Locomotive Ghost played one of several excellent modern indies rock shows at the Slice.
 April 25 — A great candidate for best pop show nobody saw Matinee and Fast Romantics at the Slice
April 25  — Juno award winning bluesman and harp master Paul Redidck finally got a sold out crowd in Lethbridge with a show at the Geomatic Attic, April 25 with MonkeyJunk’s Steve Marriner
April 28 — The Best roots/ folk show of the year in a year full of them was the long awaited return / reunion of Winnipeg Bluegrass/ punk band the D-Rangers who I’ve been following since they formed in Winnipeg/ Kenora back in the day and who took a seven year break. They tore up the Slice with uptempo punk tinged bluegrass music.The D-Rangers returned to the Slice in April. Photo by Richard Amery
April 29 — Petunia played one of many great shows in Lethbridge including New Year’s Eve at the Slice and again on April 29 this time as a duo with Nathan Godfrey


 May 3— Calgary Celtic punk band the  River Jacks played one of several excellent punk shows at the Moose hall
 May 4 — Elliott Brood returned for a packed show at Average Joes.
 May 5 — Another great show nobody saw was Vancouver rock/ folk musician with Rodney DeCroo and his band at the Slice.
May 6— The best blues show everyone missed was Danny Brooks at Slice.
May 7 — South Country Fair songwriting competition was back this year and proved to be a touch decision for the judges who decided on winner Carter Felker who played a number of excellent local shows
 May 11— Another great show from Edmonton’s Kimberley MacGregor and Elliott Thomas at the owl Acoustic lounge.
May 11 — New Jersey punk rock veterans Hudson Falcons played an excellent show at the Moose hall with Streetlight Saints
May 12— Edmonton blues rock band  the Boogie Patrol always entertain as they did at the Slice in support of CD Man on Fire.
May 13— Eamon McGrath and his band played an intense show of folk punk at Owl Acoustic lounge
May 14  — Average Joes continued a successful run of Sunday night shows with country star George Canyon Average Joes.
May 17 Canadian Celtic punk veterans Mahones made long awaited return to the Slice in support of their anniversary CDs “The Hunger and the Fight part One and Two).


June 3 — Lethbridge said farewell to talented local singer Mwansa Mwansa who left for Toronto.
June 3 — Megan Nash returned to the Owl Acoustic lounge with Bears in Hazenmore. It was great to hear her backed by a band.Megan Nash performing with Bears in hazenmore at the Owl in June. Photo by Richard Amery
June 3— Calgary pop punk veterans Downway returned to Lethbridge to play the Moose Hall.
 June 8 — Calgary surf rock band the 427s played a trippy show at the Slice backed by a multi-media show as the background to their addictive surf rock
 June 9 —Lethbridge Girls Rock Camp band swap is always a fun event as local musicians mirror Lethbridge the Girls Rock Camp milieu by forming a band, writing a song and playing their first gig in a week.
June 14 — Northern Ontario, ukulele powered duo Twin Peaks returned to Owl for another excellent show.
 June 16— Kimberley MacGregor played another outstanding shows  at the Owl, June 16 with John Guliak, Levi Cuss and Curtis Phagoo
June 16 — It was great to hear Manotick based rock band Hollerado play a smaller venue again as they played a close to sold out show at the Slice.
 The rooster Davis Group played Jazzfest in June. Photo by Richard Amery June 17 — Jazzfest is always a highlight of June. While I missed Colin James at the Enmax Centre, I caught Rooster Davis  and Ann Vriend at the Owl, June 17.
June 21— The Owl Acoustic Lounge hosted several Pride week events including  an excellent show with pop punk band Jock Tears and Supermoon
 June 24—Prism play the hits at Average Joes in another excellent regular classic rock show.
 June 23-25 —Rotary Dragon Boat Races featured plenty of local  musicians playing in sweltering heat.
 June 28 — The always fun Matadors played their usual entertaining psychobilly show at the Moose Hall. To add to their devil rock mystique, they added a red clad devil figure overseeing the show in the background.
June 28  —the Way Down Wanderers an amazing young bluegrass band from Chicago tore up the Slice in one of several fantastic roots shows at the Slice this year.
Twinning celebrations Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens but I unfortunately missed it and the Amanda Marshall concert at the Enmax which they sponsored.
 June 30 —Taylor Ackerman returned for a visit with new music with Global Acid Reset, June. 30 at the Slice

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