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SCF songwriting competition features mix of talent

Posted on April 30, 2014 by Lethbridge Sun Times

With Mother Nature in the middle of another one of her many hissy fits this year, the South Country Fair is something Lethbridge area music lovers especially look forward to.

So the big event this week is the finals for the South Country Fair Songwriting Competition, May 3 at the Slice, where the official lineup will be unveiled for the July 18-20 music lovers mecca in Fort Macleod.

So far confirmed performers include Blackberry Wood, Little Miss Higgins and the F-Holes, Australian songwriter Kim Churchill, Montreal songwriter Ryan McNally, The Young Benjamins, Edmonton jazz/folk singer Jenie Thai Nolan and the Crooked Brothers.

What’s particularly special about the fair is the competition. There are two categories of finalists — emerging artists who have never released a professional CD and old pros who have. The winner of each category will play their song on the south stage on the Friday and Saturday night during the South Country Fair.

This year’s emerging artists are Noel Bowman (Where the Water Runs Deep); Nathan Kunkel (Older); Caroline Freeman &; Murray Nelson (On the Rise); Emily Guthrie (Gentle Stranger); Sarah C. Louise (If I’m Unkind); Dan Prairie (Crowsnest Highway); Jenn Pellerin (The Good Songs Never Die) and Jayson Hood (Live Every Breath).

This year’s old pros are Leanne Copithorne (A Loving Heart); Chris Gheran (Marching Orders); Bryson Waind (The Way the Crow Flies); Jon Martin (Can’t Go Back); Andrew Scott (The Median)

Curtis Glas (Sink or Swim); Gaven Moore (Tattered Old Blanket) and Michael Dunn, Kevin Simpson (Daisy – Small Town Dreamers)

The finals begin at 7 p.m. sharp so don’t be late. There is no cover to attend.

The Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra finishes their season this week as well.

The last Chamber Series concert of the season, featuring violist Ronelle Schaufele, is May 2 at the Southminster United Church.

The pieces feature Mark O’Connor’s String Quartet No. 3 “Old Time,” Aaron Copland’s Saturday Night Waltz, Ernest MacMillan’s “Two Sketches for String Quartet” and Antonin Dvorak’s “String Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 97. It is designed to showcase Canadian and American influences. Tickets cost between $20 and $40.

The last Lethbridge Symphony Masters Series IV concert features violinist Eleanor Yu and takes place Monday, May 5 at the Southminster United Church at 8 p.m.

Yu is the 2013 Young Artist Competition winner. She, along with the Lethbridge Suzuki Strings, are the final concert of this season. They will be performing Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1, which is arguably his most famous composition. Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony finishes the program. The performance also features the Lethbridge Suzuki Strings.

Tickets cost between $20-$55.

There are a couple of local jazz shows this week as well.

James Oldenburg has his regular Thursday evening gig at the Cotton Blossom Lounge on May 1, and will be celebrating First Friday at the Slice, May 2 with HBO3 beginning at 5 p.m.

The Herb Hicks Jazz Quartet featuring Sheena Lawson returns to the Mocha Cabana May 2 and 3 as well. The Mocha Cabana has a special Cinquo De Mayo celebration, May 5 featuring Colin McGuiness and Murray Nelson.

The Owl Acoustic Lounge has a couple of interesting mid week events including a drink and draw for local artists on April 29. The Owl also has their end of week comedy open mic on April 30 instead of the L.A. Beat open mic. This week they feature the talents of Randy Webb and Jeff Gundarson.

On the weekend they bring in Warspite, Alberta-based songwriter Jake Ian and Wooden Horsemen on May 2 and a special Shelter Me In The Park Fundraiser featuring Wintercourt on May 3.

Bo Diddly’s is moving their open mic to Wednesday night. The Slice goes back to the ’50s with a sock hop featuring   Shaela Miler, the Palmers and the Ruby Plumes putting their own “twist” on ’50s rock and roll.

And, last, but definitely not the least, of you are in the mood for some punk music, you should be at the Vent in Coaldale where Calgary punk veterans the Mother f——rs will be playing with local punks the Scallywags and the Dregs. They are touring in support of their latest CD “Relentless.”


Hanson Brothers

I don’t usually cover out-of-town shows, but I could not pass up a chance to see the Hanson Brothers — not the “Mmm Bop” Hanson brothers, but Victoria/Vancouver punk icons Nomeansno hopped up on beer and hockey pucks.

So I joined a good-sized crowd in Coaldale April 19 at a newer venue called Sidelines.

Unfortunately I missed an opening set by Chixdiggit, not to mention everything else happening in Lethbridge, but it was totally worth it, never having caught their unapologetically Ramones-influenced set right down to the quick “1, 2, 3, 4” count and four on the floor power chords. They even turned a cover of the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” into a song about brewing beer called “Blitzkrieg Hops,” which put frontman Johnny Hanson’s home brew recipe to the sound of power chords, which made sense as instead of touring in support of a new CD, he was promoting his new microbrew “Punk Rauch” beer which he was happily alternating between swigging and giving his enthusiastic fans a taste of the delicious brew in between jumping around in front of the stage.

Everyone knew the words as Johnny Hanson passed the microphone into the front row for everyone to shout along.

They were playing just in time for the NHL playoffs and were happy to supply a variety of songs inspired by two of their favourite things — beer and hockey.

They began a long and fast set with “My Game” and carried on there, singing about hockey contracts and “Sabrina (My Baby Doesn’t Like Hockey.)” They were supremely tight, playing a flurry of crazy power chords and planet of fingerbendingly complicated bass lines.

One of many highlights was “110 per cent,” which was apt as they were 110 per cent fun and 110 per cent awesome.

It wasn’t new by any stretch, but it didn’t matter as the Hansons and their alter egos NoMeansNo were among the creators of contemporary punk. And for guys showing more than a little grey hair, they showed the young punks in the audience exactly how it should be done. They had more energy than kids half their age.

April 30

Owl Acoustic Lounge — Comedy night open mic with Randy Webb and Jeff Gunderson

Soundgarden — open mic

Bo Diddley‘s — open mic

May 1

Cotton Blossom Lounge — James Oldenburg

May 2

Casino Lethbridge — Cal Toth

Average Joe’s — Yuk Yuks Comedy

Slice — HBO 3 First Friday jazz 5 p.m. The Palmers with Shaela Miller sock hop

Mocha Cabana — Herb Hicks Jazz Quartet

Jimmy’s Pub — open mic

Wolf’s’ Den — bluegrass jam

May 3

Mocha Cabana — Herb Hicks Jazz Quartet

Casino Lethbridge — Cal Toth

Slice — South Country Fair Songwriters Competition 2014

The Vent — The Motherfuckers, the Scallywags and the Dregs

May 5

Mocha Cabana — Cinquo de Mayo with Colin McGuiness with Murray Nelson

Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic

Onion — Open mic 9 p.m.

May 6

Slice — open mic

May 7

Slice — Scott Nolan with Brandy Zdan

Lethbridge Public Library Floyd Sillito with Karen and Ottle Pahl Keyboards, electric bass and vocals. Noon – 1 p.m.

Owl Acoustic Lounge — L.A. Beat open jam

Soundgarden — open jam

Bo Diddley’s — open jam

May 8

Cotton Blossom Lounge – James Oldenburg

May 9

Casino Lethbridge — Paul Kype and Texas Flood

Slice — Trevor Alguire

Mocha Cabana — Randy Epp

Jimmy’s Pub — open mic

Bo Diddley’s — Damage Inc Metallica Tribute

Soundgarden — Blackdaze, Ozzy Osborne tribute $5 9 p.m.

Scores — Miesha and the Spanks with Highkicks

McLennans — Mahoney for Relay for Life $15

Owl Acoustic Lounge — The Delawares

May 10

Mocha Cabana — Randy Epp with Don Robb and Guests

Casino Lethbridge — Paul Kype and Texas Flood

Studio 54 — open mic

Smokehouse — open mic

Bo Diddly’s — Damage Inc. Metallica tribute $10

Blueprint — Electric Eye Music Festival

Slice — Electric Eye Music Festival

Owl Acoustic Lounge — Electric Eye Music Festival

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