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Crazy klezmer with The Plaid Tongued Devils

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Calgary  klezmaniacs, The Plaid Tongued Devils have been keeping a low profile over the past few years with kids, wives and houses, but they are looking forward to playing again and writing again.
“I just recently separated from my wife, so I’ve been writing feverishly. I’ve got a lot to write about now. I just wrote a song last night. I’m pretty proud of it,” said singer Ty Semaka. They were to have played Henotic, tonight, Dec. 4, but canceled due to the weather. “We try to  play Lethbridge twice a year. Last time it was the Slice. We used to play the Zoo at the University of Lethbridge, then they started to get  in DJs and stuff. We used to play a place called Carole’s which became the Slice and I think it became something in between that,” the Taber born and raised Semaka remembered adding they will be bringing in both fiddle players, Roxanne Young and Jonathan Lewis to Henotic.
“Jonathan is a technical player and Roxanne is a showman, so we get to have the best of both worlds. They’re both electric, and they’re trading leads, so it’s like a rock show,” Semaka said.
So how does  someone  born and raised in Taber get into klezmer  music?

Last Updated ( Friday, 04 December 2009 15:53 ) Read more...

State of Shock shocked by success

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Having the song “Money Honey” explode all over the airwaves across North America over the past two years, has left a Vancouver band in a ‘state of shock,’ somewhat.
“When you sit down and write a song, you don’t expect it to become a hit. It just comes out. We just want to write something  you can bob your head to and sing along to,” said State of State of Shock play the Blarney Stone, Nov. 30.State of Shock guitarist,  Jesse  Wainright, whose band plays the Blarney Stone, Monday, Nov. 30 with Latency.
‘Money Honey,’ was only the first of  a string of hits  from their major label debut, “Life, Love and Lies” which was released in 2007.
“That whole record was based on two years of our lives. We had an independent album which we toured on before that and we all had relationships which fell apart,” he continued from the current tour’s third  date in Grande Prairie. He added the  band, including vocalist Cameron Melnyk, bassist Alison Toews, drummer John Philippon and guitarist Kadooh, is working on a new CD which is expected to  be released in March or April.
“We just finished demoing a few songs for it before the tour and we have been playing them. They have been going over very well. The new CD is based on the last three years of our lives. We’ve all being going through changes and people have changed around us. Our lives have changed, we’ve gone from touring in a tiny van to  a big bus. And that’s a big positive,” he continued.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 28 November 2009 11:57 ) Read more...

Good night for skiffle, storytelling and the blues

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Tuesday night was a good night for storytelling, a bit of skiffle and the blues at the Geomatic Attic.
A sold out show with Rod Davis as well as New York acoustic bluesman Guy Davis was  superb. They play again at the Geomatic Attic tonight at 8 p.m.. There are still tickets left for the show
 Rod  and Guy Davis play Can't Be Satisfied. Photo by Richard AmeryRod Davis, who used to play with John Lennon in skiffle group the  Quarrymen while at school began the set  on guitar with  “Freight Train,” whistling along to it , joking the song that started it all “ Rock Island Line” which was prefaced by a blow by blow account of  what it was like in the early days of rock and roll in Britain, hearing  Lonnie Donegan’s version of “Rock Island Line,” buying a banjo and joining the Quarrymen, meeting John Lennon and accidentally etching his place in British musical history.
 So there were a lot of entertaining stories, but even better, some impressive  guitar picking. Davis played everything from  “Rock Island Line” to Flatts and Scruggs bluegrass and even Ian Tyson’s Four Strong Winds.” He ended with  the Beatles’ “Day in My Life” and  “Midnight Special.”
Guy Davis was next with some impressive 12 string guitar slide and finger picking on some obscure acoustic blues. He cracked jokes, switched guitars, took his time tuning them, cracked a few more jokes and  introduced  one of his songs “Chocolate Man” which   made one fan exclaim it was her favourite, which in turn made him jump about a mile in his seat. And then he pulled out the harp, and his harp holder, which he said used to hold his sister’s braces on before he swiped it. He played impressive melodies on it, and harmonized with his guitar throughout.  His vocal melodies  also harmonized with a few of his guitar leads and got the audience to sing along with him.
He played a few selections from his most recent CD,  ”Sweetheart Like You,” as well as older material, which he interspersed between stories about being in Scotland.
 Turning serious for a brief moment he  told a story about visiting blues legend  Odetta in her last days in a New York hospital and playing  the song “Payback” for her, much to the chagrin of the hospital staff. He had the crowd singing along with that too, and then pulled out  the harp again for an impressive original song reminiscent of Sonny Terry, which included  the sounds of train whistles and live stock.
Impressive. Rod Davis joined him on stage for a version of Muddy Waters’“Can‘t Be Satisfied,” which drew the show to a close, after he stayed on stage for a couple encores.
 The Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $35. E-mail Mike Spencer at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Tanglefoot’s last ride ends in Alberta

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“It’s been a great ride,” said Tanglefoot guitarist Steve Ritchie, from just outside of Winnipeg.alt
 The Canadian folk stalwarts have been playing all over the world since the late ’80s, have released seven CDs and a live DVD, gone through numerous line up changes and are going to call it a career ending with a handful of Alberta  and B.C. shows, including Lethbridge at the Wolf’s Den, Nov. 27 which are all winding up their farewell tour.
“We made the announcement at the beginning of the year, so all of the places we’ve played have been farewell shows. We’ve played everywhere one except for one town in upstate New York, where we played twice  because they wanted us back. It’s been great, the shows have been very well received,” Ritchie continued adding the response has been very gratifying, especially returning to places where  they have made a lot of new friends who come to their shows.
“Having slugged it out on the road  for this long, to see that reflected in people coming out in droves to hear us, it’s been tremendous,” he continued adding  he has been playing in the band  since 1988 and now it’s time to move on.
“For me I’ve been doing this for 21 years. It has been my career and my obsession since 1988, but I need to do something different and get away from the road. I want to do something where I don’t have to spend three months in a van. I just want to stay at home for a while,” he said adding the past 21  years have also been the most fun he’s ever had in a career.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 November 2009 15:29 ) Read more...

Three Days Grace return to Lethbridge with the Used and Default

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Three Days Grace return to Lethbridge, Nov. 27 at the Enmax Centre. They have been keeping a low profile since coming  off the tour for their best selling 2006 CD One-X. They will be bringing  the Used and Default with them as special guests.
 The past few years  have kept the Toronto band busy writing and recording their latest CD “Life Starts Now,” but have also been busy with families and children.Three Days Grace. photo from
“Response has been really great for the new CD. For us it’s really been part of  our evolution. We usually write more about our personal problems, but we’re all at different places in our lives,” said Three Days Grace lead guitarist  Barry  Stock.
“We all have wives and kids now and we’ve had to deal with a lot of sickness and are still dealing with it. (bassist Brad Walst’s son is battling neuroblastoma)” Stock said.
“So it’s been a  real eyeopener for us. We’ve learned that life is precious,” he said, adding Three Days Grace’s new CD shows further musical evolution, not the least of which is the presence of more stand alone guitar solos. He listened to a lot of his older brothers’ classic rock records including a lot of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin
“We usually have a lot of layered guitar parts. But we wanted to challenge ourselves by adding guitar solos and  crazy drum solos,” he said adding  the band writes all of the music as well as lyrics as a group.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 November 2009 14:48 ) Read more...
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