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L.A. Beat


The L.A. Beat

New West celebrates “Divine” female voices

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When women sing, it is a “divine” experience. So catch New West Theatre’s excellent production of “Divine: The Divine Women Of Song,” which continues at  The Yates Theatre until Saturday, Aug. 24.

Olivia Earl performing in New West’s production of Divine. Photo by Richard Amery
 In my books there is nothing sexier then a woman  who sings. And there is plenty of them in Divine as the talented cast present a crash course in famous women in song, and yet barely touch the surface. But it is a really good overview, going all the way back the ’’40s with  Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

 New West shows tend to follow a well founded formula and it works. There’s plenty of song, dance and comedy.
The cast includes beloved members like Erica Hunt and Scott Carpenter, returning member Jordana Kohn, who performed with New West like 25 years ago, relative newcomers like the multi-talented Rylan Kunkel.

 But the newcomers Katie Fellger and Olivia Earl almost steal the show. Actually drummer Keenan Pezderic really does steal the show in his voice over bits and in a particularly inspired comedy bit in which he voices Scott Carpenter’s innermost thoughts as he makes a fool of himself at a wedding.

 The singing is wonderful as always.
They cover  the highlights, opening with “ You Can’t Hurry Love” and each cast member gets their solo spots. Though it is a female powered show, the guys also get to shine. Rylan Kunkel plays sweet saxophone on Olivia Earl’s version of  Connie Francis’s pop hit “Vacation,” and adds  keyboards in a few other places.

Surprisingly, he also sings a solid version of Adele’s “Rolling In the Deep” and knocks it out of the park.

 Bente Hansen steps out from behind the keyboards  to play bass as  Katie  Fellger unleashes her inner demon rocker on Joan Jett and the Runaways’ “Bad Reputation.”


Corb Lund remembers Whoop Up Days with family

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Whoop Up Days kicks off with a big country night featuring Lethbridge’s own Corb Lund and his band the Hurtin’ Albertans, Aug. 20.Corb Lund making a surprise guest appearance with Geoff Berner  in April 2018. Photo by Richard Amery
 He will be  headlining a night featuring Aaron Goodvin and rising country star Alee.

 Lund is excited to play Whoop up Days for the first time with band mates bassist Kurt Ciesla, drummer Brady Valgardson and lead guitarist Grant Siemens
“ We’ve been trying to play Whoop Up Days for years, but the schedule just hasn’t worked out,” said Lund who still lives in Lethbridge.
“ I live here, but I don’t spend a lot of time here and I don’t  play here very often. I’m from Taber and our family ranch is in Cardston and Kurt and Brady live around here,” said Lund, who has been spending most of his time touring the United States.

 He has a long standing connection to Whoop Up Days.
“My uncle Tom Ivins used to be the president of the Whoop Up Days, Exhibition,” he said.

“My mom won the barrel racing competition there in the ’50s and ’60s. My dad competed in steer wrestling at Lethbridge, and I probably rode steers there when I was a kid,” he said, adding he has a lot of Whoop  Up Days memories.
“I remember one year a bull in the bull riding competition escaped and got onto the midway. That was when they only had page wire fences and the bull got out through a hole in the fence and ran onto the midway. People were running for cover,” Lund recalled, adding that was probably in the late ’70s or early ’80s.

Lund is getting ready to release an EP of popular covers which inspired him to play including Dr. Hook and the Medicine show’s “Cover of the Rolling Stone,” with his long time friend and collaborator Hayes Carll, a cover of AC DC’s “ Ride On,” featuring Ian Tyson.
“It’s a ballad that I always considered to be a country song. Ian sings the chorus,” he said.

“We’re performing with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. (on Sept. 19). And that can be more powerful than playing with a bunch of electric guitars,” he said, adding he and Tyson go back a long way.
“ He sang on a song of mine called the Rodeo’s Over (From his 2005 album “Hair in My Eyes Like A Highland Steer.’”


LEMF and a whole lot more lead up to Whoop Up Days

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You can take a bit of a breather this week in preparation for a wicked musical  line up for Whoop-Up Days. Or not. Because there are still a lot of excellent shows beginning with Keith Catfish Woodrow’s blues jam tonight, Tuesday, Aug. 13 at the Slice.

 Good Times has decided to start featuring music. Tonight, they feature Courteny , B.C. Thrash/death metal band  Liberatia and Maple Ride metal band Truent. Admission is $10 at the door.

James Swinney aka folk/country musician Corduruoy Brown plays  Good Times on Friday night.  at 8 p.m.  and local comedian Ainsley McPhail performs two shows, on Saturday, Aug.17 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

But things really begin Wednesday, Aug. 14 with a solo show at the Owl with Miss Quincy’s Jody Peck, playing a set of new songs inspired by working in northern B.C. as a bush cook. She will be joined by Sarah Burton, who has been living in Austin, Texas for the past severaDJ Slynk at LEMF last year. LEMF is on Saturday. Photo by Richard Ameryl years.
Admission is by donation.

 That is competing with the August edition of the Windy City Opry at the Slice, featuring Montana stomp-grass band Dodgy Mountain men who add some blues, soul and rock and roll into the mix plus Southern Manitoba country and western songwriter and Joe Wilson and host Shaela Miller, opening  the show at 8 Admission is $10.

Instead of The Slice’s weekly Thursday open mic, the night will rock  with a superjam featuring  King Bull and  the Dizzy Mystics and local psychedelic rock band the Decadent Phase. Admission is $10.

 The rock continues at the Slice with Red Deer’s Dusty Tucker, Calgary Thrash metal band lacuna,, Edmonton thrash metal band Rising Sun and local metal band Divide and Conquer.
 The Slice has an eclectic show on Saturday, Aug. 17 with local rapper Bomb Hugg, Acronym, and local alternative rock duo Cope and trio the Mormon Girls. Things are considerably mellower at the Owl Acoustic lounge with local folk/ roots musician George Arsene, alt country band Smokes, Let Go and  Edmonton’s Swear by The Moon performing beginning at 9 p.m.

 Local indie folk musician Tyson Ray Borsboom is holding an album fundraiser  at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Saturday, Aug. 17 with special guest Kevin Giron. Admission is by donation.

Elsewhere, local ’90s cover band Uncovered say farewell to their lead singer Alison Hawkins at Mojo’s Pub, Aug. 16.
 The Bamboo Guppies will be rocking Casino Lethbridge, Friday And Saturday, Aug. 16 and 17.
Local roots trio the Karen Romanchuk 3 help the Lethbridge Library celebrate 100 years of service with two shows, Saturday, Aug. 17.


Walk off The Earth embrace opportunities and innovation

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It has been a tough but exciting year for Walk of the Earth who had to handle losing beloved band member Mike “Beard Guy” Taylor while touring around the world and working on a new album.
 They play Whoop Up Days in the EX Stage, Wednesday, Aug. 21 with Scenic Route to Alaska and The Julian Taylor band.Walk Off The Earth play Whoop Up Days next week. Photo by Andrea Hunter
Walk Off The Earth took off in 2012 in the nascent days of Youtube, when they released a viral video of the five band members playing a cover of Gotye’s song “Somebody I Used To know,” on one guitar. Many other eye-catching  videos and covers followed including collaborations  with everybody from Snoop Dogg to comedian Sarah Silverman.

 They won Juno awards for Breakthrough Group of the year and video of the year for Little Boxes in 2013, and won three more Junos in 2014 for group of the year, pop album of the year for  R.E.V.O and Fan Choice, and another three Junos in 2016 for Fan Choice, pop album  of the year for Sing it Away and Group of the year. They have toured the world, released  a lot of original music, which has also been a hit with fans and recently took advantage of an opportunity  from  Blackberry Guitars to build them a new instrument.

“ They asked us if they could build us any instrument we wanted, so we sent them the schematics and the next thing we know they sent us this  GuitHarpUlele,” said drummer Joel Cassady, who is pleased with where the band has ended up since “Somebody That I Used to Know ” took off.

“Youtube was just starting and we got 13,000 views on  the Gotye cover and it was really exciting. It just took off,” Cassady said.
“We‘ve been really fortunate to work with so many talented people. Snoop Dogg was  probably my favourite. He seems like such a larger than life character. But he’s so laid back and so articulate. He’s in his own class,“ Cassady said, adding they will try to make any collaboration work.

“We work with a lot of local musicians. Coldplay  wanted to collaborate with us a few years ago, but we couldn’t make our schedules work
He said they choose  songs to cover  for two reasons — whether it is already popular and whether they can make it their own with unusual arrangements and instrumentation.

“The song has to already be resonating with people. So it has to be a banger already and we have to be able to WOTEify it,” he summarized, adding collaboration with other musicians and actors come naturally.
“ A lot of them reach out to us and we reach out  to others, when we have millions of views on Youtube it makes it easier,” he said, noting  they are able to fly home in between gigs.
“It’s the best feeling to be able to do that. We love that we can come back home after a show especially when we’re working on a new album,” Cassady continued, adding they are able to limit the number of their annual live dates.
“We have lots of friends who are always touring,” he said.



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

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