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USS put on their “work shoes ” to succeed

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Things are starting to pop for Toronto based duo USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker) who just released their fourth CD “New World Alphabet ”on Jan. 13.

USS returning to headline Lethbridge show. Photo submitted
 They return to Lethbridge to play Pulse with Repartee, Feb. 6.
The duo including vocalist/ guitarist/ erhu player Ash Boo-Schultz and turntableist/ hype man Jay Parsons aka the Human Kebab, have high hopes for the CD. The first single “ Work Shoes” is getting constant airplay on radio across Canada including the Bridge in Lethbridge, and they have high hopes for the other three singles “Who’s With Me,” “Domino” and “California Medication.”


“It’s just amazing. We‘ve been spending the week doing press for the album and we did a crowd funding campaign for this album, so we’ve hand delivered 11 copies of the album to people in the Greater Toronto Area. And we’ve been doing bowling parties,” said Jay, adding it has been fun delivering crowd funding rewards, especially the personal delivery of the albums.
“Unless you’re invited, how often to you get to see how people live? And Ash and I know the Greater Toronto Area very well and with GPS, it’s really easy to get around,” he said adding the hand delivery is one of many ways USS connect with their fans.


“We were pretty strict about where we delivered, so people invited their friends from out of town to come and meet us when we delivered the albums,” he said, from Andrews Hall in Detroit, one of a pair of American dates the duo are playing in support of the new album.


“It‘s funny, the last time we played a bar in the basement of this building, which is where Eminem got his start and we told the promoter how much Eminem meant to us, and he said next time we’ll be playing the big room and here we are,” he said, adding they enjoy playing American dates, but have no plans for an American tour — yet. They did an American tour last December over Christmas.


“We’re waiting for the right opportunity,” he said adding they already get positive response in the U.S.


“In the border cities like Detroit and Niagara Falls, New York, the fans are overzealous. They want to be part of your lives for everything, the meet and greets, the show and the after shows. You come into town and you’re the cool kid in town for the next 24 hours,” he enthused.
“And all of the people we talk to tell us they like Canadian music better than American music, which is strange because the American Top 40 charts are the charts of the world,” he said.

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Metal, Malanka and much more this week

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Things are quickly picking up for live music in Lethbridge this week.

It all begins with the regular open mic at Club Didi tonight at 8:30 p.m. A  keyboard and guitar will be available to borrow, though other instruments are also welcome. There is a five dollar cover to cover the room rental.

Tyrants of Chaos play the metal Meltdown at the Slice this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery
There will be an excellentt Southern Alberta indie rock show at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Wednesday, Jan. 18, featuring Winnipeg rockers Living Hour, local band Wint and Medicine Hat multi-instrumentalist Curtis Windover. Admission to the show is by donation.


It will be a great night for roots and country music all over the city, Jan. 20. Local country band Alyssa McQuaid and Coyote Junction play Coyote Joes, Jan. 20 for a free show. And Fort Macleod’s Ryland Moranz returns to the  Owl Acoustic Lounge to play earnest roots and bluegrass music, Jan. 20 as well.


The other big country show, Jan 20 is at the Slice where Calgary country and roots musician Tom Phillips and Buck’s Row, his Blues Can band, will be holding court with Medicine Hat country singer Derek Hintz.
There is a $15 cover at the door or get tickets in advance for $10.


For something a little different, Club Didi is hosting a drunk improv night, Dec. 20. Impromptou will be performing hilarious shenanigans beginning at 9 p.m. There is a five dollar cover for the show.

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Kimberley MacGregor inspired by working with Harry Manx at Banff Arts Centre

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Musically the past year has been a “dream come true,” for Edmonton based singer/ songwriter Kimberley MacGregor, who returns to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Jan. 21.

Kimberley MacGregor returns to Lethbridge this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery
 She played a wicked show at the Owl in September, but returns on her own for a more intimate, acoustic evening.


 Since September, she has been writing a lot. She completed a five week residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts where she was mentored by renown Canadian blues/folk/east Indian musician Harry Manx, which lead to an opportunity to perform on stage with him.


“I felt so stupidly lucky to play with him. I got to play ‘Sometimes’ from his In Good We trust Cd which he recorded with Kevin Breit,” MacGregor enthused.


 I got a great recording of us together, though  I don’t think I can release it because it’s his song,” she said, adding it was a highlight just to meet him.
“We had an hour long practice session together.  I had a whole list of things I wanted to do and at the top of the list was get a selfie with him,” she gushed.
“I learned a lot  from him about working with an audience and performing,” she said.
She had high praise for the Banff Centre artist residence program, where artists get their own personal cabin to focus on creating , free of distractions as well as  the added benefit of mentorship from well known artists.
“It was a huge, life changing experience,” she enthused.

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Tom Phillips bringing Buck's Row to Lethbridge

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Calgary songwriter Tom Phillips makes a long awaited return to Lethbridge, Jan. 20 to play the Slice with Derek Hintz.


It has been about three yearTom Phillips returns to Lethbridge this week. Photo by Richard Amerys since he last played Lethbridge, but Phillips has been keeping busy with his own brand of honky tonk and country music.


“I’ve been doing  a lot of writing. And I played 207 gigs last year,” Phillips said, who has three regular weekly residencies in Calgary as well as several regular monthly shows as well.


His last CD, “ Mr. Super Love,” was a departure for him as it was a CD of indie rock covers which was produced by Lorrie Matheson, a well known figure on Calgary’s indie-rock scene.
“He’s very well known in the indie rock scene, so I let him pick the songs. And I hadn’t even heard of some of the bands until he brought the songs to me,” Phillips said, adding the songs included  familiar names like New Order and George Harrison as well as more obscure songs.


 He is excited to release the new CD, which will be all Phillips penned originals, which is also produced by Lorrie Matheson.


“I was hoping to have it out in time for the Lethbridge show, but it will be out next month,” Phillips said.
He usually plays with his band the men of constant sorrow, but will b playing Lethbridge with his other band  Buck’s Row, who accompany him at his regular gig at the Blues Can.
“It’s a mixture of everything I do,” he said, adding his first love is honky tonk and country music.

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About L.A. Beat


L.A. Beat is Lethbridge, Alberta's only online arts and entertainment magazine.

It is designed to support music, art, drama and other cultural endeavours in and around the city.

It will start out as an online presence and then evolve into a print edition which will be distributed at numerous locations in the city.

If you have an event you want L.A. Beat to promote, contact us by e-mail.editor@labeat.ca

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