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Doucette among quality artists performing in the city

Posted on February 19, 2014 by Lethbridge Sun Times

February ends with a whole lot of rock. If you like classic rock, Average Joe’s is the place to go as Jerry “Mama Let Him Play” Doucette returns to play his hits and a whole lot of blues, Feb. 21.

The Montreal-born Doucette moved to Vancouver in 1972, where he hooked up with a band called the Seeds of Time, who would prove to be the nucleus of another popular Canadian rock band — Prism (who actually come to Average Joe’s Feb. 27). Dated Delay is also on the bill. The show begins at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $15. Local classic rock cover band the Chevelles play the SoundGarden, Feb. 21. The Ruby Plumes and Theodore Cashmere will add a touch of punk to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Feb. 1 as well.

If you like rock with more modern pop twist, Hedley comes to the Enmax Centre, Feb. 20 with Danny Fernandes, JRDN and Alyssa Reid. The show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $45-$75 for the show.

For something different, get a taste of Madagascar culture with the Donné Roberts Band who visit La Cité Des Prairies, Feb. 19. The show begins at 7 p.m., Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the Door. Donné Roberts is a Juno Award-winning guitarist who is part of the African Guitar Summit.

If you are on the road, take a trip to Fort Macleod’s Empress Theatre where multi-talented multi-instrumentalist J.P Cormier plays Feb. 20 and Feb. 21. Tickets are $32 each and available now by visiting http://www.empresstheatre.ab.ca or by calling 1-800-540-9229 today. The shows begin at 7:30 p.m. with special guest Adrien AuCoin on bass.

Kristen Krein is getting ready to release the fifth edition of feminist and queer zine Fourth Wave Freaks.

They are launching the magazine at the Slice, Feb. 22. with a variety of performers including Little Karma Bomb, Mwansa, Ashley Northey, Wanda Krein, Emma L, Shannon Stone, Sean, Dil, Danika J, Glinda Sparks, Sophie Wright, Pzeudo, Jake P and the Space Wolves.

“It is a community collective feminist and queer zine,” said contributor/editor Kristin Krein.

The opening event begins at 9 p.m. There is a $10 cover.

The excellent blues gigs this week include Ottawa blues trio MonkeyJunk, who play the Lethbridge College Barn at 8 p.m.with special guests paul Kype and Texas Flood on Feb. 26. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door.

The other awesome blues gig is Edmonton’s the Boogie Patrol who play the Slice, Feb. 21. There is a $10 cover for the show which begins at 8 p.m. And Steve Keenan host s his Friday night blues jam at Honkers, Feb. 21 as well.

There are a lot of local musicians playing this week as well including Billie Vegas rocking Casino Lethbridge on the weekend plus Herb Hicks and Sheena Lawson returning to jazz up the Mocha Cabana on Feb. 21 and Feb. 22. James Oldenburg has his regular Thursday night gig at the Cotton blossom lounge and will be playing with Anna Vanderheide at Ric’s Grill, Feb. 21.

There are a couple of excellent roots and country gigs as well this week with Kampuskasing, Ontario roots/country band Al Lukas playing the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Feb. 22.

The Blue Ridge Mountain Country Society has their monthly country jam at the Moose Hall on Sunday, Feb. 23 and country star Charlie Major plays an acoustic show with Trevor Panczak on Feb. 25.

Edmonton-based blues band The Boogie Patrol can stand “toe to toe” with the best blues musicians in the world, as they proved in Memphis for the 30th Annual Blues Challenge last month.

“We were sent there by the Edmonton Blues Association to represent Northern Alberta. There were bands from all over the united States, Canada, Israel, the Philippines,” said Boogie Patrol frontman/harp player “Rotten Dan” Shinnan. The trimmed down blues juggernaut come to the Slice, Feb. 21.

“There were 158 bands. We did all right. We made it to the semi-finals with 46 other bands, but we didn’t make it to the finals. But it was great,” he said.

“We’re always stretching it. We play more than just the blues. But the blues is where it all comes from,” he said.

“It was interesting to see everybody else’s take on the blues and to see how they appreciate and appreciate our take on it,” he said.

They played three shows on the same bill with a lot of other bands. This was their second visit to Memphis for the International blues Challenge.

“We also went to Mississippi to jam at some juke joints there,” he said.

“The highlight for me was we went to Al Green’s church service in Memphis. There weren’t many people there but there was so much energy. And Ron Wood from the Rolling Stones was there,” he enthused.

“It was an inspirational trip in different ways than one. And we showed we stood toe to toe with anybody,” he continued.

“We’ve been without keyboards for a year now. And we’ve got some new songs. And some of the songs off the last CD (‘I Try and I Try and I Don’t Know What To Do… The Plan Was Set Some Time Ago And We Must Follow Through’) we just don’t play anymore,” he said.

It has been a couple of years since they played Lethbridge, so they are excited to return.

“We are looking forward to it. It has been too long,” Shinnan said.

There is a $10 cover for the show which begins at 8 p.m.

Ottawa-based blues trio MonkeyJunk have hit on a connection that works.

They won five more Maple Blues awards, bringing up their total to 20 and have another Juno nomination for their most recent CD “All Frequencies.”

They won a Juno in 2012 for best blues album and they are just getting started. They come to the Lethbridge College Barn to play a show for the Geomatic Attic, Feb. 26.

“That all feels pretty good. We’ve all been playing for so long in other bands for a lot of years, but there is something about this band that just sounds good,” said MonkeyJunk frontman Steve Marriner, who is vocalist/baritone guitarist and harp player. Drummer Matt Sobb and guitarist/vocalist/slide guitarist Tony D complete the bassless band.

“We have so much fun playing together. But there is something different about this. It is one of those mysteries, we don’t really want to figure out,” he said.

“We played the Edmonton blues festival last year and the album wasn’t out yet, but our manager said we should have some. And we sold 400 copies of it at the festival,” he said.

Not having a bass in the band is not just a gimmick, though it helps MonkeyJunk stand out from the crowd.

“That’s not going to change,” Marriner said.

“It does work and it makes us different. I’m a bass payer. I love the bass,” he said.

“But it makes us different and that’s important these days,” he said, adding it is a challenge to make songs work without bass.

He used to multitask on keyboards as well, though that has also changed.

“It’s a lot of gear to carry around. And I found I was only playing keyboards on two songs. And legitimately, I’m not that good on them. If I was a keyboard whiz, it would be different,” he said.

“I’m a harp player, that’s actually my first instrument, so we’re trying to figure out more ways to feature more harmonica. That’s my first instrument,” he said.

They begin their latest tour of Alberta and Saskatchewan, Feb. 14 with six Alberta dates and a few in Saskatchewan.

They always enjoy playing Alberta.

“We actually have a bigger following in Alberta than we do here in Ottawa,” he observed, adding some of the shows have sold out already — theatres holding over 500 people.

They are pleased with the response to the new CD “All Frequencies.”

“It is a little different. It’s more original. We spent more time crafting the songs. On the last CD we had a self-imposed filter. We were deciding whether the songs were bluesy enough. This time we didn’t have a filter,” he said.

“This time we just made songs as good as possible and didn’t worry if they fit into a box,” he continued, adding fans have responded well to it.

Another exciting happening in MonkeyJunk’s world happens in March when they will get to open for Cheap Trick for a few of their concerts including at Massey Hall in Toronto and at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

“We’ve played every room in the Massey Hall Arts Centre, so we finally get to play the big room,” he noted, adding their publicist’s contact with Cheap Trick lead to these prestigious gigs.

MonkeyJunk with special guests, Paul Kype and Texas Flood play the Lethbridge College Barn, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door.

Charlie Major celebrates major career highlights

To paraphrase a popular song Charlie Major never thought it could happen to him.

So he figured now was the time to celebrate 20 years in the music business with a greatest hits CD “Best 20 of the Last 20,” which he released in September.

“The highlight for me is just being here making music in a business where a lot of careers only span two or three years,” said Major, just “hanging out at home” in Ottawa.

“That’s pretty amazing for me. I wasn’t expecting it. It just happened,” he continued

He definitely has a lot of hits charting back to his debut CD in 1995 including “It Can’t Happen To Me,” “For The Money,” “Young at Heart,” and “Backroads,” just to name a few.

He will be playing an acoustic show at Average Joe’s with Trevor Panczak, Feb. 25.

“I’ve played a lot of acoustic shows, he said.

“All of my songs start on guitar and all of my songs are played on guitar. It’s a different feeling then having a band behind me. It’s fresh. It’s a little bit more personal, which is something I enjoy,” Major said.

He has a whole tour of acoustic shows planned all over Western Canada in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“You want to dance with the one who brought you, people bought the CD and want to hear the hits, so I’ll try to deliver them, though some people enjoy the album cuts,” he said, adding it is too early to think about releasing a new CD.

“I’m always writing. But the greatest hits just came out in September and there’s some new music on it, so I’ll sell some of them first,” he continued.

He couldn’t choose his favourite hit.

“They’re like my children. But I always liked ‘It Can’t Happen To Me.’ It’s one of my favourites, it’s a social consciousness song so it was a surprise, but it is one that a lot of people have been affected by,” he said.

“As an artist, it’s always the next one so I’m still working on it,” he said.

His 20-year-old son, Tommy has followed in his footsteps and has started writing songs.

“I’m actually a bit surprised he hasn’t started sooner. He’s probably a lot better than I ever was. He plays guitar, piano and saxophone. He’s been writing songs since he was 14,” he said.

Charlie Major and Trevor Panczak play Average Joe’s, Feb. 25 beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15.


Pop goes the country with Brett Kissel and One More Girl

A great crowd showed up on a Monday night to get “popped” up on country music, Feb. 10 at Average Joe’s.

While I missed the first two acts of the Young Guns tour stop in Lethbridge including Jordan McIntosh as the show actually started early at 8 p.m., I arrived in time for a rollicking, incendiary set from rising Juno-nominated country star Brett Kissel. He kicked things into high gear with a couple of newer songs, “She Knows What She Likes” and the popular “Girl In A Cowboy Hat,” which had a lot of cowboy hatted girls in the audience cheering.

He talked about growing up on a northeastern Alberta cattle ranch and told stories which were mostly lost in reverb drenched vocals. He told a story about “having a heart to heart” with George Strait and getting positive feedback about Kissel’s song “Country In My Blood,” which he played and launched into a new song “Do What You Want.”

His old friend and mentor Trevor Panczak joined him on stage to show his for a cover of Waylon Jennings’ “Good Hearted Woman,” to show the roots of country.

Kissel sounded fantastic. He played some new songs and all of his hits, including “Raise Your Glass,” which led to a brief set of strong covers of Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” Garth Brooks’ “Baton Rouge” and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.”

He ended his brief set with his biggest hit “It Started With A Song,” and was joined by One More Girl who took over the stage, backed by Kissel’s band.

They were in more of a pop and rock mindset than a country mind though they played their hits and a few new songs from their brand new EP.

One More Girl played a medley of their own hits and another set of one-hit wonder ’90s hits including “One Headlight,” “Mr. Jones,” and “Semi-Charmed Life.” The girls have definitely matured into young women by adding a few more mature songs including their new single “about drinking” and by playing my favourite cover was of Matraca Berg’s “Back In the Saddle.”

Kissel came back to end the show with the girls by playing an eyebrow furrowing encore of modern pop hits including a cover of “Good Night” by the Black Eyed Peas.

Revamped Hurtin’ revisit covers and original music

A good-sized crowd caught revamped local country band Hurtin’ playing country classics and originals at the Slice, Feb. 8

Lead guitarist/vocals Shael Pezderic traded lead vocals with rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Taylor Ackerman while Danny Dyck added steel guitar. Ray Banman and Dustin Gergel locked in on bass and drums respectively.

I only caught one set which included a lot of honky tonk, a very cool Doug Sahm song sung by Taylor Ackerman about country turning pop in the ’80s called “Oh No, Not Another One.”

Pezderic sang a catchy original called “Hell for the Company.” They also sang a variety of covers from Ryan Adams and Old Reliable, as well as a few originals.

The contrast between Pezderic’s twang, and Ackerman’s more folky voice worked well together.

Windborne experiment with cello and guitar

Okanagen duo Windborne aka guitarist/percussionist Jeff Pike and cellist Nils Loewen played an unusual show for a good-sized crowd at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Feb. 8.

It was an unusual lineup with the cello and the guitar, but it definitely worked.

They played experimental folk music marked by spooky cello and some innovative slap guitar playing as Pike plucked the strings of his guitar like he was slapping a bass. They incorporated a variety of styles of music including folk, some experimental jazz moments and a whole lot of blues as Loewen growled like Tom Waits on a couple of songs including an excellent version of “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

Matt Andersen belts out the soul

I only caught the last little bit of Matt Andersen’s stellar show at the Southminster Untied Church, Feb. 8.

The big man from New Brunswick had a massive voice to match his girth.

He captivated the crowd with just his presence and a couple of acoustic guitars as he belted out blues and soulful folk music.

He invited opening act David Myles to the stage to add extra rhythm guitar and harmony vocals for a couple of songs, including the encore, which immediately followed a rousing standing ovation.

He not only had a huge soulful voice akin to that of Blues Traveller’s John Popper, but prodigious guitar chops as well.

The audience filled the floor of the church also filled quite a few seats in the upper level, which makes it the second successful Geomatic Attic presentation in a row.

I was in awe.

He played several songs from his latest CD “Weightless”, ending with “My Last Day,” which he wrote with Joel Plaskett.

He and knocked off a blistering guitar solo of finger blisteringly fast slide guitar incorporating a few bars of “Duelling Banjos,” AC DC’s “Thunderstruck” and “Deep Purple’s “Smoke of the Water.”

He wound things down with an energetic blues song “The Devil’s Bride,” then for a complete contrast, welcomed David Myles back to the stage and convinced the crowd to sing along with a beautiful rendition of the gospel standard “People Get Ready.”

Ross Neilsen reunites with old bassist

It is always a treat when New Brunswick bluesman Ross Neilsen comes to Lethbridge.

A decent-sized audience at the Owl Acoustic Lunge, Feb. 7, received a special treat — a reunion with longtime bassist Shawn Worden, who he hasn’t played with for about two years. But first, Neilsen played a solo set on a couple of electric guitars including lot of delta blues classics and music from his most recent CD “Resurrection” and his acoustic CD “The Shack Up Sessions.” He played a lot of Delta blues and a little bit of country music on a variety of songs. He switched to slide guitar on a n old electric resonator guitar.

He ended his first set on a classic blues note with “Possession over Judgment Day.”

For the next set, he welcomed Shawn Worden to the stage for the first time in two years. Staff found a bass for Worden, who has been living in Lethbridge for a the [past couple of years, to play and found another when that first one didn’t work, but once technical issues were sorted out, it was like he had never left.

They played a couple older Ross Neilsen songs including “Human Mud.”

Feb. 25

Average Joe’s — Charlie Major with trevor panczak $15

Owl Acoustic Lounge — drink and draw

Slice — open mic

Feb. 26

Lethbridge College Barn — MonkeyJunk With Paul Kype and Texas Flood $30 advance, $35 at door.

Ric’s Grill — James Oldenburg

Owl Acoustic Lounge — stand up comedy open mic

Feb. 27

Average Joe’s — Prism

Cotton Blossom Lounge — James Oldenburg

Feb. 28

Wolf’s Den — open mic

Jimmy’s Pub — open mic

Honkers — Open mic with Steve Keenan

Mocha Cabana — Randy Epp with Don Robb

Casino Lethbridge — 2 Cubic Feet

OWl Acoustic Lounge —Two bears North

Inferno — Strong V and Raymundo launch party

Slice — Zojo Black

U of L Zoo — CKXU 10th Anniversary party C.R. Avery, Jesse and the Dandelions

March 1

Streatside — james Oldenburg Paul Holden 5:30-8 pm.

Casino Lethbridge — 2 Cubic Feet

Mocha Cabana — Randy Epp with Don Robb

Ric’s Grill — Cal Toth

Scores — The Dudes $20

Smokehouse — Rock N the Nations

March 2

Yates Theatre — Jesse Cook $50 7:30 p.m.

Geomatic Attic — Del Barber with the Bros Landreth $25 advance, $30 at door

March 3

Enmax — Goo Goo Dolls

Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic

March 4

Yates — Brent Butt $43.50 7:30 p.m.

Slice — open mic

March 5

Ric’s Grill — James Oldenburg

Owl Acoustic Lounge — L.A. BEat open jam

March 6

Average Joes — Rebey with Leah Daniels — fundraiser for the Miller Family $15

Cotton Blossom Lounge — James Oldenburg

March 7

Mocha Cabana — Dana Honey

Ric’s Grill — Bryant Watson Duo

Smokehouse — Daryll Düus and Papa King

The Vent — The 1st Bloody Metal Show of 2014 with:

Death Toll Rising, Ides of Winter, Tramp Stamper and Trancide, Friday March 7 at the Vent

$10 at the door

Doors at 8 p.m.

Bands at 9 p.m.

March 8

Mocha Cabana — Dana Honey

Ric’s Grill — Cal Toth

Smokehouse — open mic

Slice — Locomotive Ghost with the Void

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