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Eamon McGrath expands sound and band for next Lethbridge show

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Toronto musician Eamon McGrath returns with a new album “Tantramar,” a whole new new sound and a brand new band when he returns to The Owl Acoustic Lounge, Nov. 9.Eamon McGrath returns to Lethbridge, Nov. 9. Photo by Danny Miles
“It’s a totally different band from the last time I was in Lethbridge. I’ve got Tom Murray on bass from  Old Reliable and Pal Joey, and  Derick Anderson on steel guitar and drummer Connor Ellinger from Jesse and the Dandelions,” McGrath noted.

“It’s reflective of the new album,” he said adding the goal on this tour is to be able to replicate the album as closely as possible on stage.
“For people who have been listening to me for a while it makes sense, because this sound has always been there. There are more layers and it’s more atmospheric. It’s more interesting and it‘s different,” he described.

“So this record just goes further in that direction which was already there,” he said.
“So I wanted to bring a band who can play a lot of different styles of music. There’s more emphasis on steel guitar on this album,” he continued.
“I come from the DIY punk scene. Before, I’d write an album, and live I’d turn the songs into loud punk rock songs. So there would be two different experiences- live and the recording.  So that came naturally. On this album I’ve taken a less punk rock approach to things,” he said.


Murray McLauchlan plays intimate show at Yates

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It isn’t often you get to see a Canadian folk icon perform in the flesh, so I was pleased to make it Murray McLauchlan’s intimate show at the Yates Theatre, Thursday, Oct. 2. The show was like he invited you  into his living room for a night.

Murray McLauchlan played Lethbridge last week. Photo by Kevin Kelly True North
 Dressed casually in jeans, cowboy boots and vest, he sat perched on a stool and plucked his guitar next to a table loaded with various types of harmonicas and sang  mellow melodies. Upright bassist Victor Bateman joined him added a sustained bottom end and bowed his bass for a couple of the spookier numbers. He told stories about growing up  outside of Toronto, going to art school against the wishes of his stoic Scottish father and embracing hippie counter-culture, making his own clothes and learning to guitar in vain to impress a woman and his father, who he said didn’t come to see him play  until he invited him to his first sold out show at Toronto’s Massey Hall.

He played an early hit “Child’s Song,” which he noted he wrote  for his father and noted a cover of hit was part of the hit TV show “ This is Us.”
“ So I said thank you Jesus and cashed the cheque,” he chuckled.

 While in his interview, he promised the show would focus on his last two albums, the first set was all about his early hits, most of are on his 2007 Best of compilation. He opened strong with probably his best known song “Down by The Henry Moore.”

When the moment stuck him, he switched to grand piano, describing his show aptly a a mix of concert and music business tutorial, as he talked about co-writing some of his biggest hits and even getting the Jordanaires who sang on a lot of great classic rock and roll records including many from Elvis Presley, to sing on one of his classic songs “Whispering Rain.”

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 31 October 2018 13:14 ) Read more...

Big Little Lions bring big pop and beautiful melodies

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Cross border folk duo Big Little Lions returned to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Oct. 24.

The duo of  Salt Spring Island based vocalist/ guitarist Helen Austin and Cincinnati based drummer/keyboardist/vocalist  Paul Otten, sang delightful harBig Little Lions returned to the Owl Acoustic Lounge last week. Photo by Richard Amerymonies and told stories.
 They had a good sized crowd for a Wednesday night.

 Otten multi-tasked on drums, keyboard and vocals, harmonizing beautifully with Helen Austin.

 They even had a request for their single from a few years ago “Unicorn,” which they relearned on the spot to play for their fans.
“Make it up As You Go Along” was one of several high spirited highlights as was  a slower, stalker song “I’ll Find You.”

 Though they sang up beat pop folk tinged melodies , their songs a had a serious side to them especially on a new song about gun control called “Going to Make it Out Alive.”

 They ended their set with another older song and a request “Find Your Tribe.”

— by Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 31 October 2018 12:51 )

Charlie Jacobson plays the blues for Tuesday night crowd

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Hey, hey the blues is all right , even when played solo.

Charlie Jacobson playing the blues at the Slice. photo  by Richard Amery
 Red Deer’s Charlie Jacobson had a surprisingly good turnout on Tuesday, Oct. 23, for a solo set of electric blues music at the Slice.
 I arrived in the middle of a couple subdued Stevie Ray Vaughan covers including “Cold Shot.”

 he put on quite a show on his own, playing and writing and accompanying himself by pounding our the rhythm on a couple of old suitcases. He sat on the biggest one for a solid version of John lee Hooker‘s “Boom, Boom, Boom.”

He played some originals and a couple other blues classics like “Stepping Stone,” played a couple more rockabilly flavoured numbers, then added a touch of funk and even some jazz music.
 One of many highlights was a cover of Albert King’s “The Hunter.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 31 October 2018 12:40 )

Jesse and the Dandelions “Give up the Gold” for a packed house

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As expected, the Owl acoustic lounge was packed on Oct. 20 for the CD release party for Jesse and the Dandelions’s “Give Up the Gold.” Unfortunately I missed an opening set from Amy van Keeken, but I caught the end of another solid set of upbeat indie rock from the Utilities first.

Jesse and the Dandelions returned to the Owl Acoustic Lounge last week. Photo by Richard Amery
Jesse and the Dandelions played their usual super chill set of laid back indie rock. They focused on the new CD, plying the title track and several others, but also dug deep into their back catalogue. They looked and sounded like they stepped right out of the early ’70s  easy listening AM soft rock.

Frontman Jesse Northey mostly played guitar, but sat down to play the keyboards for a couple of songs including a cover of Crosby Stills and Nash’s,‘“Our House,” which he played on his own.

 The band returned to end their set with “Brother,“ with Northey back on guitar.”

— by Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 31 October 2018 12:27 )
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