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Plenty of great music at Rotary Dragon Boat Festival

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The Rotary Dragon Boat festival is the  unofficial kick off  to summer in Lethbridge, being the first big festival of the season.

This year, the dragon boat festival  had 84 teams competing —   a record number of teams in the popular three day festival  held every June in Henderson Lake Park.

Luke James Bruce playing the Rotary Dragon Boat Festival, June 22. Photo by Richard Amery

A lot of the fun in addition to the races themselves is the live music. I always discover someone new or just someone I  heard of  but who I actually haven’t heard.


I missed Friday, June 21   due to   other commitments and inclement weather, so I didn't catch Dusty Dee Litchfield, Jamie Medicine Crane, the Lethbridge  Taiko  Association or Uncovered, whose set got hailed on.


 But I arrived early n Saturday, mostly to catch emcee Dory Rossiter and her band Horizon, got there in time  to be pleasantly surprised by  country musician Winnie Brave and her  husband Brad playing baritone guitar doubling on playing a snare drum with his feet. 

 They were in the middle of tried. and true cover “Wagon Wheel,” but rolled away from that to play a solid set of heartfelt originals and classic  Texas style country music including plenty of Waylon Jennings.


The Chevelles Joe Brewster and Tim Carter playing the Rotary Dragon Boat Festival, June 23. Photo by Richard Amery

 An original highlight was a song  inspired Winnie’s grandfather who played steel guitar in South Texas.

 They added a few covers including   an excellent Version of Harper Valley OPTA and  Four Non blonde’s  “ What’s Going On.”


 Horizon played a  set of country and rock favourites, opening with a few bars of “Old Town Road,” before segueing into Genesis’ “ I Can’t Dance.”


Rossiter sat perched on a stool on stage, mic in hand and reading  lyrics from an iPad.


They moved into a solid, groove laden version of Alison Krauss and Robert plant’s “ Can’t Let Go.”They looked back for the Boxtops’  1967 smash “The  Letter.” and stayed in the ’60s for CCRs “ Green River.”


 They moved to a more country mode for Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow your Arrow, and “Just Passing Through.”

 The band wound up their set with a laid back version of Ricky Martin’s “ Living La Vida Loca.”

 Horizon will be playing Canada Day Shows at Galt Gardens as well as  in Henderson lake park.”


 Luke James Bruce played a strong solo set of mostly original music, but opened with Eddie Rabbitt’s “I Love A Rainy Night” and followed it up with Luke Combs’ “ When it Rains it Pours,” which would have been apt on Friday, but was just a relief on Saturday.


 He played a couple brand new originals including “One Bar Town,” and stuck to that theme with David Lee Murphy’s country hit “Dust On the Bottle,” before winding  up his set  with crowd pleaser the Nitty Gritty Dirt band’s “Fishing in the Dark.”

Last Updated ( Friday, 28 June 2024 14:42 ) Read more...

Tanner James returning to Lethbridge to play Owl Acoustic lounge and chat about new film

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Taber born musician and film maker Tanner James Holthe is good at multi-tasking. He was in Lethbridge to advance his short film  Wild Bill,” starring fellow Taberite Bill Lawson  a few months ago, but returns to Lethbridge to play a show with Brett Cassidy  at the Owl Acoustic lounge, Friday, June 28.


He will have a full band playing with him and plans to play Nix Dicksons songs, Kid Cali songs, solo songs and music from the Wild Bill soundtrack.


Tanner James returns to lethbridge Friday, June 28. Photo by Richard Amery

 He approached the movie with a similar DIY work ethic he put into his musical career with indie rock band the Nix Dicksons and as a solo artist.


He put together a crowd funding campaign in Fall 2023. He spent most of April and May  doing screenings and premieres  of the film at bars and pubs, approaching the release parties in a similar way to booking gigs for   his bands and solo shows.


“ It’s a very Alberta film. But it’s also an homage to films like ‘Hard Core Logo,” James said  before a screening of the film at the Slice on April 4.


 He will be sharing behind the scenes stories of the film at his show on Friday.


 The 20 minute unapologetic Albertan comedy stars Taber musician Bill Lawson, Vancouver's CR Avery and a host of western Canadian musicians. James described it as  “straddling the line between Hard Core Logo and Searching For Sugarman.”

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 June 2024 15:27 ) Read more...

Vanstones to bring bright sounds from the Yukon to Ribfest and the Slice

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Whitehorse based Indie rock band The Vanstones are excited to be making  their Lethbridge debut on Friday with two shows at Ribfest and the Slice, where they plan to share a new line up and new songs plus music from their debut album “Cascadia.”


“Much like lots of folks  from Whitehorse, not many people are actually from the Yukon. but we’re based in Whitehorse. I’m from Newfoundland originally and so ’s  Rob, actually, the drummer. I ended up here because my partner always wanted to live up north and I had an aunt that lived in Whitehorse, so we decided to go there  for a year. It’s been seven years now. It’s a really lovely place to live and once I landed here it was hard to imagine living,” said Vanstones lead singer Sarah Murphy along with drummer Rob Jones and bassist Hannah Mazurek will be playing two shows on Friday, June 28 including opening Western Canada Ribfest  at 5 p.m. at Exhibition Park and later on at the Slice with  fellow northerners Paris Pick and the Pricks and  B.C. indie folk musician Damian Albas.


 The band released their debut album Cascadia in 2023, but since then, two members left due to musical differences over the past month.

Vanstones play two Lethbridge shows on Friday, June 28. Photo submitted

“There’s been big changes in the band over the past month,” Murphy said.


“ Cascadia was actually recorded with the two original members that recently left. So it was me and two other people. Then following the recording of the album, Rob and Hannah joined the band. So if you draw the Venn diagram then I’m  in the person in the middle of the transition of the band, ” she said, wishing her former bandmates well their future musical endeavours.

“ I think being in a band is a complex thing.  Anyone who ’s played in a band will say that. So what it came down to is we started to go in a bit of a different creative direction and tried it for a while, but it just didn’t end up working  out. I think we’re a heading in a different a direction and I hope they’ll pursue the more folky   thing  or whatever it is they want to do moving forward,” she said, adding the album sounds a lot different when played as a trio.

 It’s definitely pretty different. And I’ll say that. And to be honest even  before the two folks left, it was already sounding different because we had gone from more of a folk oriented trio with lots of rock influences  but very much  folk instrumentation to  being like more of a whole  band sound. So a lot of the tunes with a drummer and a bass player already sounded rockier. The translation-wise we’ll still be playing a lot of the same tuners, but they’ll have am different flavour to them. The harmonies are still there a lot of the elements that brought a lot of energy to album are still there.  If you like the album, it’s  worth checking out tom se if you like the live show,” she continued.

 They have a busy ay,  ahead of them.


“ It’s super busy day, but when you’re so far away from home it’s great to get as many opportunities as you can. So we’re super grateful that both Ribfest and the Slice were cool with us doing both shows. Given how far away from home. We’re super exciting  to be playing Ribfest. It’s an awesome, awesome gig and hope to see a lot of people out there. And at the Slice were’ playing with a friend from the Yukon as well, Paris Pick and  the Picks and Damian Albas from Grand Forks, B.C. So really these folk are super high energy performers. So we’re excited to be playing with them,” she said.

 She said there is a thriving music and arts scene in Whitehorse, largely due to government support.


“There’s an awesome scene in Whitehorse. Some really , really good music in Whitehorse and there’s infrastructure supporting as well supporting music. There’s a new musicians fund that was put in place by the government a couple years ago and I’ve really noticed a lot of great music coming out of the Yukon because the resources are there to allow people to actually record it and get it out there in the world. The scene is small but  everyone is great. It’s such a tight knit scene. People are amazing here and the talent is unreal,” she said.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 June 2024 14:43 ) Read more...

Fantastic festivals feature jazz, Latin , Ribfest and rock and roll music over Canada Day weekend

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Celebrate Canada Day with a cornucopia of free festivals  happening over the long weekend featuring a variety of live music.

 The Mosaic  Music festival features Latin and jazz music in Galt Gardens on Saturday, June 29.

 JUNO award nominated Venezuelan percussionist  Luis “El Pana”  Tovar opens up the Mosaic festival at 1:30 p.m. followed by  Calgary based soul and funk musician  Lynn Maric at 3 p.m.

 Local jazz favourites Midnight Channel  hot the stage at  4: 30 p.m. with their fusion of jazz and exotic sounds and instruments exploring the realms of jazz.

 Saskatoon  based reggae band Oral Fuentes completes the Mosaic with a touch of reggae mixed with  Afro/ Latin music at 6 p.m.

Horizon play two Canada Day shows, July 1. Photo by Richard Amery


 Western Canadian Ribfest returns to  Lethbridge  Friday Through Monday. The expanded festival has moved to Exhibition Park this year.

 There are a variety of music performing throughout the weekend for the free festival.

Yukon based indie rock trio  the Vanstones are  doing double duty on Friday, beginning with the opening set at 5 p.m.

 They will be playing the Slice later that night with Nelson, B.C based  “Yacht Rock Princess” Paris Pick and the Pricks and Kootenay indie folk musician Damian Albas . There is a $15 cover for the Slice show.

Friday’s Lineup at Ribfest includes Justin Sutton and former Lethhbridgian Dan Berdusco at 7:30 p.m.

 Saturday at Ribfest features Chase Morgan at 5 p.m.; Brettyn Rose at 6 p.m. and Saints and Sinners playing all your favourite hits at 7:15 p.m. 

Sunday is a full day at Ribfest with the Cornhole Tourney  opening the day at noon.. Karen Romanchuk performs at  2:30 p.m.. The Lethbridge Big Band Follows at 3:45. Jolene Draper and the inquisitive Few are on at  5 p.m. After the 50 50 draw at 6:15, The James Oldenburg duo  plays at 7:30 p.m.

 Sunday is movie day at Ribfest, with two Canadian movies playing.  

 Admission is free to Ribfest


  Across the  park, Canada Day celebration kick into full gear in Henderson lake Park with  The Lethbridge Community Band kicking off celebrations at 11 a.m. followed by the  Band Formerly Known as  Karen, Lewis and pam, The Southern Alberta Chinese association, Horizon at  1:15, Metis Juggling with Roy Pogerzelski, Jum Nuts, Can Dance Studio and  Bell Fountain performing at 2:55 p.m.  before the opening ceremonies.

 After the opening ceremonies at 4 p.m.,  local outlaw country band Badlands hit the stage at 4:45 followed by  Darian Bagnall and Brooklyn Fowler.

 Dave McCann performs at  5:45 p.m.

 The Latin  Soul Dance Studios perform at 6:45 followed by  the Bamboo Guppies and Zenon+.

 Cody Hall plays country music at 8:30 p.m. and After  the YQL Variety  Dance,  Paul Kype and Texas Flood shut down the celebrations beginning at 9:45 p.m.


Domesticated Divas host  Canada Day celebrations in Galt Gardens. The event is a fundraiser for the interfaith Food Bank. There will be live music on the  community Stage from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.. including Olivia Blue doing a land acknowledgement and performing at  9 a.m., , Timid The Brave, Horizon who play at 10 a.m.. Maple CONfusion, Maple Fusion followed by Reid and Writes at 11:45 a.m. Wildflower Whiskey perform at 12:45 followed by  Circle Ridge Country, Meghan Cooley, Unbolted, The Milkmen an Audio  Smith at 4 p.m.


The Domesticated Divas host an outdoor market,  plus a Charity Breakfast, food trucks and a show and shine hosted by the Family Centre. There will also be Tipi and Indigenous education hosted by Bridging Worlds Consulting and an artisans market.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 25 June 2024 17:35 ) Read more...

Sick Ritual and Devils Sons bring new punk psychobilly music to the Owl Acoustic Lounge

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Calgary based  hardcore/ metal crossover band  Sick Ritual played a furious set for an intimate audience, at The Owl Acoustic Lounge Friday, June 14 as most of Lethbridge’s punk and metal community were down the street at the Slice. They didn't care though. They played an intense set of metal tinged punk rock with plenty of gang vocals, bouts of shrieking feedback and metal tinged riffs reminiscent of the Dayglo Abortions and lyrics reflecting  themes of depression and suicide, as far as I could tell.



The Devils Sons playing The Owl Acoustic lounge, June 14. Photo by Richard Amery

They played some hot solos with the lead guitarist using a whammy bar which is unusual for punk bands.

 In addition to  original music, they played a couple obscure covers from the Cro Mags.


 I was waiting for the return of Edmonton rockabilly/ psychobilly band Devil’s Sons, who haven’t played here since November 2018 at the Smokehouse. They had approximately  20 people on that Sunday show and despite the competition from down the road seemed to double that in the Owl Acoustic Lounge.


 There was no upright bass, but they had added  shrieking keyboard and organ and gang vocals on song like “L.E.D”  to enhance the ominous feel of their music.


 The Devil’s Sons were incredible , playing  sizzling hot harmonized Gretsch leads on top of that organ and tearing up the stage with songs from al their albums including the next one.


Sick Ritual playing The Owl Acoustic lounge, June 14. Photo by Richard Amery

 They have a new album coming out later in the year so they played a several new songs off that as well as some from their earlier albums including “Godless Creatures” including a highlight “A War Inside”  and their 2018 EP “Black Moonshine” including one of my favourites “ Revenge Is Mine.”


A couple of the new songs  including “ Twist My Mind,” are sure to be a highlight of  the next album.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 June 2024 14:27 )
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