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Lots of blues and alternative music happening this week

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It’s a blues, blues world this week with several blues and roots shows happening. Erin Ross returns to the Slice this week. Photo by Richard Amery

 The week kicks off on Feb. 20 with the jazz jam at HBO3 at the Owl Acoustic Lounge.
 If the Derina Harvey Band didn’t give you enough of a Celtic rock fix last week, don’t miss Newfoundland’s the Irish Descendants’ return to Average Joes, Feb. 21. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. The show begins at 7:30 p.m.
But there are also several alternative rock shows at the old Firehall. There will be a loud experimental rock and keyboard pop show at the Old Firehall, Feb. 21 with local electronic noise pop duo Touching God, Calgary electronic experimental techno artist Trigger Warning and  local garage rock duo Cope. The show begins at 8 p.m. There is a $10 cover.
The next night, Feb. 22, is all about metal with  Red Deer hard rock band Dusty Tucker, Medicine Hat metalcore band For A Life Unburdened, Calgary metal core band Lacuna and Taber hard rock/ metal band Eons of Earth. Admission is $10 for the show which begins are  8 p.m.

St. John born, Vancouver based  rock band Chase the Bear  and local band the Decadent Phase play the Slice, Feb. 22.
The Owl features a special show, Feb. 22— the return of Bands as bands begins at 8:15 p.m with  Black Roses for Breakfast as Billie Eilish, Mercury as Metallica , Chief Mountain as the Ramones, Mombod as the Runaways and The Rainbow Patrol being KISS.
 And Pretty, Witty and Gay kicks off with a new play reading at Club Didi as Calgary playwright Ryan Diller  makes the first public reading of “Public Arts Ohio,” at 9 p.m.  There is $10 cover.

Pianist Cal Toth is playing Mojos pub on Feb. 23 at 9 p.m. and that is only part of the fun happening  on Saturday
 Over at Casino Lethbridge, Fast Times will be rocking the pop on Friday and Saturday.
Saturday, Feb. 23 is all about the blues.
 Calgary’s Erin Ross returns to the Slice, Feb. 23 with Chris Drew plus George Arsene playing an opening set and previewing the upcoming new Rancho Deluxe album.

The Owl Acoustic Lounge is competing with that blues and roots show with the always popular Papa King and The Boogiemen. King will be joined by bassist Doug Freeman and keyboardist TJ Waltho. Admission is by donation.

 And the Lethbridge Folk Club welcomes back Bill Bourne, who will be playing The Lethbridge College Cave, Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. sharp with openers Reid Seibert and Bruce MacKay. Bourne can play everything from Celtic music to blues and folk. He was last in Lethbridge at the GeomaticAttic with Tri Continental, last March, was half of Celtic duo Bourne and MacLeod, Celtic band The Tannahill Weavers and was even a  member of the Real McKenzies in their early days. Tickets are $25 members, $20 for invited guests which, as always includes an annual membership for Folk Club events.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 February 2019 10:25 ) Read more...

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 seldom, if ever, get up to our neck of the woods.

Webb Wilder playing the Outlaw Country Cruise 4. Photo by Richard Amery
 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 noticed 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.Elizabeth Cook hands out Squidbiillys swag. pHoto by Richard Amery

 The main draw for me this time was the fantastic Texas alt country/rock band The Old ’97s playing 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.

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.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 13 February 2019 12:27 ) Read more...

The Trews return to play new album Civilianaires and lots of hits

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 Hamilton/ Toronto based , Nova Scotia born band the Trews always put on a truly enjoyable show as  they returned to Average Joes to heat up a chilly night, Tuesday, Feb. 5 with a good, long, solid set of of a good long set of hits , new tracks and obscurities. It was lots of fun, lots of soul  and lots of solos.

e Trews’ John Angus MacDonald solos on top of a pool table at Average Joes, Feb. 5. Photo by Richard AmeryTrews’ frontman Colin MacDonald at Average Joes, Feb. 5. Photo by Richard Amery
 I was saddened to have missed opening act Altameda, but arrived three songs into a solid set of soulful contemporary Canadian rock music, which focused heavily on their brand new, long awaited new album Civilianaires.

I arrived during “Vintage Love,” the first track from new CD.“Leave it Alone” was also a highlight. But they interspersed  some of their bigger sing-along hots in throughout to the set like “Hope and Ruin,” and  their always popular “Sing Your Heart out,” which a  good sized audience was happy to do.
A newer song “ Bar Star” with the catchy refrain “electric in the dark” was a newer highlight.

 The Trews sure know how to heat up an audience, despite not having  a lot to say in between songs, frontman Colin MacDonald’s  vocals dripped with soul and oozed passion. His brother, lead guitarist John-Angus was happy to e Trews’ playing an acoustic set at Average Joes, Feb. 5. Photo by Richard Amerystay in the shadows of a dimly lit stage and knock out tasty solo after tasty solo, though he’d wander into the audience during the end of a set to stand on a pool table for a solo during one of many extended jams on their more popular hits.

 You could really notice how much the band has changed over the years upon listening to the more pop and alternative rock influenced newer songs compared to the massive riffs and blues influence of some of their older material.

 They stripped everything down to the bone for a very enjoyable acoustic set, featuring all of the band gathered in front of the stage strumming acoustic guitars, bass ukulele plus  a melodica plus random percussion. They ended that up with a new song “Amen” which Colin MacDonald said was about saying good bye to someone they have known for a long time. “No More Saying Goodbye” was similarly themed. They turned things back up again for “Power of Positive Drinking” and another new song “Jericho.”
 John Angus wandered  into the audience to solo on top of a pool table and returned to the stage to play his big Les Paul behind his back during one of the jams on one of their bigger hits.

The Trews’ keyboardist playing a melodica.Photo by Richard Amery
Keyboards were also prominent throughout the show, with plenty of keyboard solos on songs like “Paranoid Freak,” one of many songs which had the audience clapping along.

They wound things down with a big jam on “Poor old Broken Hearted,” me,” which included a few bars of blues rock classic “Going Down” and the Trews played “Tired of Waiting” before leaving the stage for a while before returning for a long encore.
 That started slowly and picked up the pace with Highway of Heroes”,” which also had the audience  singing along, their lighters held aloft.

They played some of Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” and ended with “Hold Me In Your Ams, ” which included a mid song segue into the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage,” before breaking back in to “Hold Me in your Arms.” and calling it a night right before 11 p.m.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 13 February 2019 11:46 )

CKXU amped about expanded transmitter and Into the Realm of Radio Fundrive

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 Thanks to the community,  local University of Lethbridge based, community radio station CKXU has expanded their signal reach, so people all over Southern Alberta who are tired of mainstream radio have another listening option.
“ There is always room for more local content. The door is always open at CKXU to start your radio journey,” said CKXU program director Adrianna Smith said.CKXU station manager Aaron Trozzo is excited about the new transmitter and Fundrive. Photo by Richard Amery
 After five years of planning, grant application and local fundraising, mostly from five Fundrives, CKXU is now broadcasting at 2,900 watts at 88.3 f.m., upgrading from the previous 150 watt transmitter, which means you can listen all the way out to Claresholm in the north, Fort Macleod in the west, down to Coutts in the south including most of the Blood reserve and out to Taber on the east. And depending on environmental factors and the strength of your car stereo, the signal reaches even further, even out to Vulcan.

“ All you need is a radio. You don’t need a computer or a streaming service, smart phone or app to listen to us now,” said  Smith, noting the station has over 40 local shows and 20 other shows  from across Canada, plus  several others in training.
“This transmitter is a long time coming and I feel privileged to be part of it,” she said.
“CKXU is 100 per cent community stakeholder driven. We have no affiliation to any outside entities. CKXU is as real as you and me,” said station manager Aaron Trozzo.

 The on air personalities include community members and U of L students who are responsible for their own programming.
 “It has been a real passion project. It has been a real long term goal for CKXU to become a bigger community presence,” Trozzo continued, adding the project took five years to complete including a long year of solid planning and another four years of fundraising and tracking down and completing matching government grants.
“ We started planning in 2013. And 2018 was the build year though there are still a few things to work out. It feels really great to have it completed,” he noted.

“It’s come with a new set of responsibilities financially and socially. We want to increase the quality of the programming so we will provide better learning opportunities for the DJs of our responsibilities,” he continued, adding that means staff must ensure additional training is in place to maintain and increase professionalism among the on air personalities.
“With the expanded reach there are 100,000 more possible listeners all over  Southern Alberta,” he observed.

 One of the big on air changes during the initial testing period was playing station IDS every 15 minutes about the signal change and giving  a phone number to call with concerns, which the station passed.

“ So we don’t have to play those anymore. The main reason for those was safety because a lot of different things use FM frequencies particularly airplanes. So those gave them a chance to call us if there was any interference, Smith said.

“ It‘s really been a long time, so we really appreciate everybody’s patience,” Smith said.

Trozzo said the transmitter cost around $120,000 including a combination of grants and the proceeds from four CKXU FUNDrives.

“We had to use a portion of the FUNDrives to keep the lights on in the station. But the transmitter is solid proof of where your dollars went to in the community,” Trozzo said.
The station is getting ready for the next FunDrive, which has the theme “Into The Radio Realm” which is March 16-22. Proceeds from this years $30,000 goal will go towards updating the CKXU website.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 13 February 2019 11:01 ) Read more...

Lots of folk and open mics happening

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 There’s a lot of folk happening this week. But shake the snow of your shoes by dancing up a storm to the Celtic fire of Edmonton Celtic Rock band The Derina Harvey band.  They have released two albums and have released a couple new singles including “Fallen Man’s Daughter” which they entered in the CBC Searchlight competition.They play the Slice, Feb. 15 at 9 p.m. Admission is $10. Karen Romanchuk plays several shows this week. Photo by Richard Amery

The Slice has  something completely different on Saturday, Feb. 16 as they feature a local hip hop showcase featuring the Psychonauts, Loyal & T Blaze, Sammy & the Fiend, Pyke, xRGx &Cliche, Kropp hopper, Ty the Aboriginal, D.N.U.T and DJ Disko. Doors open at 8 p.m. There is a $10 cover.

 Local folk musician Karen Romanchuk has a busy week. She plays solo at Brick and Mortar, Feb. 14  for the Traveling Dress project, a new art exhibit featuring the work of 10 local photographers who photographed their own interpretation of the same dress.The event begins at 7 p.m.
The Karen Romanchuk 3 also play the Watertown Friday and Saturday night.

For Valentines Day, James Oldenburg and Paul Holden play for your supper at the Firestone Lounge, Feb. 14 from 6-9 p.m.

 And Dale Ketcheson is playing classical guitar on Feb. 14 and 15 at the Mocha Cabana.

 And High River based country singer Bruce Peterson will be playing as Valentines Day Dance, Feb. 15 at the Lethbridge Legion. He plays the country music of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Admission is $10 for members, $12 for non-members. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The music goes until 11 p.m.

It is also a good week for open mics.
 if you think you’re funny, test your best jokes at Good Times’ weekly comedy open mic, Thursday, Feb. 14.

There is also an open mic at Thursday Thursdays at the Zoo at the U of L and at the Slice on Thursdays as well.

 Beaches always has an open mic on Wednesday nights and Honker‘s Pub has an evening open mic on Friday and their usual afternoon open mic on Saturday.
 The Lethbridge Folk Club also has their monthly open mic at Casa at 7 p.m. on Friday. It is the second Friday of every month.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 12 February 2019 11:00 ) Read more...
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