Whoop-Up Days takes over Lethbridge, Aug. 22-26 at Exhibition Park. As usual, Exhibition Park will be alive with the sound of music all week long, with an eclectic range of genres from bands who are in all stages of their careers from breakout stars to semi-retired. Country star Jess Moskaluke started out as a Youtube star and has since won a Juno Award. Classic rockers April Wine who only play a few shows a year, will be playing with .38 Special. Established Canadian rockers like the Trews, Theory of a Deadman and Finger Eleven are also on the bill as is up-and coming pub rockers the Glorious Sons who were nominated for a Juno Award.
Theory of a Deadman are excited to open Whoop-Up Days on Aug. 22 with the Trews.
“We’ve definitely played Lethbridge before, but it has been a long time. So we’re excited about it. And it’s Aug. 22 so it’s my birthday, too,” enthused Theory of A Deadman bassist Dean Back from his home in Vancouver.
Theory of a Deadman just finished the second video from their upcoming new CD “Wake Up Call,” which is due out in October. They have already released a video for the first single “Rx”— a slow, mournful, dark song about opiate addiction.
The next video and song will be completely different from that.
“It‘s a party scene in a frat house. The song lends itself to a party scene. It’s an upbeat song. So we got an old house and played in it so it looks like we‘re playing in a frat house. It should be out by the time we play Lethbridge,” he said, adding fans can expect to hear the new songs as well as plenty of old favourites like “Bad Girlfriend,” “Hate my Life,” “So Happy,” “Since You’ve been Gone” and “Blow.”
He said the new CD reflects a slight change in musical direction for the band,
“It’s a lot different, but it is also something we’ve wanted to do for a while,” he said.
“It’s definitely changed but it is still rock and roll,” he continued.
“Tyler (Connolly, frontman) had a birthday and decided to treat himself to a grand piano,” he said. Guitarist David Brenner and drummer Joe Dandeneau complete the band’s line-up.
The band decided to shake things up a little, not only sonically, but geographically to record the new album.
“We flew to London and spent six or seven weeks there,” he said.
Theory of a Deadman have been playing together for 15 years.
“We still love to do play and we’re all friends. We’ve played Lethbridge, but it has been many years. We got to play the Calgary Stampede this year,” so it was good to be back in Alberta,” he continued.
April Wine guitarist/vocalist Brian Greenway is clean, sober, and ready to rock and roll.
“I’ve been clean and sober for the past two years,” said Greenway while turning off his vacuum robot at home in Montreal.
April Wine plays Whoop-Up Days Wednesday Aug. 23, opening for Southern rockers .38 Special.
April Wine last played Whoop-Up Days in 2010 and played the Yates Theatre in 2012.
“All my friends now don’t drink, smoke or do drugs anymore,” he said.
“I want to be able to remember the next 30 years,” he continued.
The Halifax-born, Montreal-based rock band, who scored numerous hits in the 1970s and ’80s including “Weeping Widow,” “Sign of the Gypsy Queen,” “Tonight is a Wonderful Night To Fall in Love,” “Roller,” “I Like to Rock” and “You Could Have Been a Lady,” to name a few, doesn’t play more than 50 concert dates a year.
“We do about 25-30 shows a year. I’d like to do more, but Myles (frontman Goodwin) wanted to retire and only wants to do that many,” Greenway observed, adding many of their shows are bigger outdoor festivals like Whoop-Up Days.
“We probably won’t be playing arenas and stadiums again. But I do enjoy playing larger clubs,” he observed, noting they just played a festival for 12,000 people. They have also played festivals with bands like Queen and U2.
April Wine formed in 1969 in Halifax, but Greenway is happy to be celebrating he 40th year with the band, having joined in 1977. Drummer Roy “Nip” Nichol joined the band in 2012 and bassist Richard Lanthier joined in 2010. Longtime bassist and songwriter Jim Clench quit April Wine in 2007 and passed away in 2010, while long-time drummer Jerry Mercer retired in 2008.
Finger Eleven and local band Uncovered play the Gas King Stage on Aug. 24.
Kingston-based rock band The Glorious Sons have come a long way in a short time so frontman Brett Emmons took some time to reflect on things before getting work on their sophomore CD “Young Beauties and Fools,” due out in October. They take a quick break from a mostly sold-out U.S. tour with American rockers Greta Van Fleet, to play Whoop-Up Days again, Friday, Aug. 25 with local blues band the Steve Keenan Band.
“It’s great, but I don’t know if it‘s because of us or because of them. They’re a great young rock band and we’re a rock band so it will be good to take them on the road with us,” said Emmons, relaxing on his deck at home in Kingston before hitting the road with bandmates, guitarist Jay Emmons and Chris Koster, drummer Adam Paquette and bassist Chris Huot.
He is excited to return to Whoop-Up Days.
“You’re going to be hearing everything. It will be a fun rock-and-roll show,” Emmons promised.
“You’ll be hearing the old stuff, the new stuff and stuff you might not hear again. It’s going to be a big party,” he continued.
The new CD is a slight departure for the band, known for hard-edged rockers like the title track of their debut full length CD “The Union,” “White Noise,” “Mama,” “the Contender” and “Heavy.”
They released a single called “Kill the Lights” in February.
The Glorious Songs play at 9 p.m. The Steve Keenan band open the show at 7 p.m. on the Gas King Stage.
Saskatchewan pop/country singer Jess Moskaluke has come a long way from releasing her music on YouTube to winning a Juno award for her last CD “Kiss Me Quiet,” which spawned several hit singles including the title track and “Take Me Home.”
Her new single, “Kill Your Love” a preview of her upcoming third album, due out in October, is currently shooting up the charts.
Moskaluke, who plays Whoop-Up Days on Saturday, Aug. 26, never expected she’d win a Juno award so quickly.
“The music business is so unpredictable. I started writing songs with a woman, Tiffany Vartanyan, and we decided to put them up on YouTube. I wanted to work with Tyler Ward and ended up doing so. I set a list of goals and winning a Juno was on the list, but I never expected to achieve it so soon,” Moskaluke said from her Saskatchewan home.
“I actually went to university for two years. I was planning on becoming a parole officer. Music was just a hobby but it took over,” she said. In addition to the Juno award for Country Album of the Year, she won a variety of awards including CCMA female artist of the year for three years in a row, several Saskatchewan Country Music Association awards for fans’ choice, female vocal of the year, single of the year, song of the year and video of the year for “Take Me Home” and that was just this year.
“There’s a lot more to the business than singing. There’s songwriting and business meetings and marketing plans, recording and a lot of different things,” she said, adding she doesn’t know what her next goal is.
“I’m pretty content. I’d like to win another Canadian Country Music Award because they are in Saskatoon this year on my mom’s birthday. (The awards are Sept. 7-10 this year.)
She is working on a new album which will be in a similar pop/country vein.
“My fans have grown up with it, and it’s who I am. If I were to do anything different, I wouldn’t be being true to myself creatively,” she said adding she is already playing the new songs live.
A song called ‘Camouflage’ “is pretty popular and, of course “Kill Your Love’ is doing pretty well,” she observed.
She noted she played Lethbridge before but couldn’t remember the details. She is bringing her band to accompany her. She didn’t want to spoil the surprise as to what she’ll be playing in Lethbridge.
“You’ll have to come to the show and see for yourself,” she laughed.
Jess Moskaluke plays at 9 p.m. on the Gas King Stage.
Theo Fleury and the Death Valley Rebels are on the stage at 7 p.m.
Dory and the Weathermen kick things off at 5 p.m.
Tickets for Theory of a Deadman and The Trews on the Grandstand stage cost $59, including gate admission as do tickets for April Wine and .38 Special, Aug. 23.
All other concerts are included with regular gate admission.
In addition to the music, there is fun for the whole family. Lethbridge Olympians Rachel Nicol, Heather Steacy, Ashley Steacy and Zach McAllister lead the parade, bright and early at 10 a.m. on Aug. 22.
On the fairgrounds, look for 25 rides including four new rides, Cristina the Crazy Hooper, Hypnotist Terrance B Dailey, the president’s Choice Superdogs, the Beshano Bike Stunt show, stunt ventriloquist Tim Holland and the Canada 150 pavilion and many other attractions.
Bucking and Barrels runs Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. each night and there will be fireworks bringing the show to a close, Saturday night, Aug. 26 at 11 p.m.
Gate admission is $12 in advance $15 at the gate.