After last week’s slower week punctuated by South Country Fair, July 21-23, things pick up steam in a big way early this week with the Wide Skies Music Festival at Southminster United Church.
A variety of bands (5:15: Shaela Miller; 5:50: 24th Street Wailers; 7:55: Ryland Moranz; 8:50: Deep Dark Woods; 8:15: Mariel Buckley; 9 :15: Alex Cuba) play a free outdoor show on Wednesday.
While the Wednesday event is free, festival passes cost $60, which include preferred seating for Thursday night, swag as well as a transit pass. Organizer Mike Spencer noted there will be a suggested donation of $10 for Wednesday night to help cover expenses.
The next night, Thursday, is a paid concert inside Southminster United Church featuring roots and blues duo Dave and Phil Alvin. Lindi Ortega opens the show at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $60.
After that, there is a big indie rock show at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Thursday, July 27 featuring Toronto-based singer-songwriter Charlotte Cornfield and the Provincial Archive, Edmonton indie rock band Jesse and the Dandelions and local Indie rock band the Utilities.
The Owl Acoustic lounge also brings back Montreal singer-songwriter Bobby Dove, Friday, July 28, with special guest Joey Only.
After closing for a few days for South Country Fair, the Slice is back in full swing as well as they host rock duo the Due Clause on Friday, July 28.
The next night, put your dancing shoes on as Dunster, B.C. band Samson’s Delilah will be taking the stage at the Slice with new local band Sad Mango.
Samson’s Delilah blend a variety of influences including soul, world music, reggae, folk and roots music with a dash of funk music.
You can also dance at Casino Lethbridge, this weekend as local rock band Bamboo Guppies play at 8 p.m., July 28 and 29.
For something a little more laid-back, Herb Hick Jazz Quartet return to the Mocha Cabana on Friday night.
And get ready to bang your head at the Smokehouse on a Sunday, as they host a trifecta of death metal bands, July 30.
Vancouver melodic death metal band God Said Kill will be playing with fellow Vancouverites Unbeheld and local metalcore band Bring Your Own Bodies. The show starts early with the first band taking the stage at 6:45 p.m. There is a $10 cover.
Dave Alvin is excited to return to Southern Alberta to play the Wide Skies Music Festival in the Southminster Untied Church, Thursday, July 27 with his brother Phil Alvin and the Guilty Ones (guitarist Chris Miller, drummer Lisa Pankratz and her husband Brad Fordham on bass).
Dave and Phil Alvin played one of the first Geomatic Attic shows six or seven years ago.
Dave and Phil Alvin were part of the burgeoning cowpunk scene in Los Angeles in the last ’70s and early ’80s, where as part of the Blasters, opened for a variety of bands like Queen to some of the early Los Angeles punk bands.
Dave Alvin eventually embarked on a solo career after the Blasters disbanded and reunited with his brother a few years ago to record two albums “Common Ground: Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy”— and their most recent CD, 2015’s “Lost Time.”
“I’ve been able to play rock and roll full time for my whole life, which is pretty nice,” said Dave Alvin from his home in Downey, California.
Alvin contributed an excellent essay about the Blasters’ eternal outsider status, not only in mainstream rock, but also in the punk scene for X co-lead singer John Doe’s book “Under the Big Black Sun.”
“It was John Doe’s idea. He gathered a lot of people from bands and from the scene. So it is our book. He’s a great guy. John Doe is all right in my books,” Alvin said.
He noted the band has had some interesting experiences included getting booed and pelted with debris by 18,000 angry Queen fans while opening for the band in the ’70s. While you wouldn‘t expect Queen fans to get violent, Alvin wasn’t surprised.
“Au contraire. There was a pretty big culture clash. Music fans were pretty divided if you wore your hair in a certain way and we all had pompadours, which would make them angry. But the band themselves really supported us. They asked us to be in the bill. They liked us. They were great guys, especially Freddie Mercury,” he said, adding after that, not much frightened the Blasters, not even playing alongside rowdy punk fans, who could also get violent.
“It was a very vibrant scene. Early punk rock was about creativity. It was very eclectic” he noted, adding in the ’70s the scene included writers, artists, musicians, fashion designers, poets and a diverse collection of people who really didn’t fit in anywhere else.
“Most scenes are like that, Haight-Ashbury in the ’60s, Greenwich Village in the ’50s, Paris in the 19th century,” he observed
“It’s funny in the early ’70s, me and my brother used to sneak into a club called the Ash Grove to see blues bands. There were a lot of us there, who really didn’t fit in anywhere. When it burned down in 1973, we were a bit lost. But in the late ’70s when punk started happening, it ended up there were a lot of the same people who were at the Ash Grove so it was like we rediscovered each other,” he said.
Blues and roots music was a natural fit for the Alvin brothers.
“When I was growing up, you could here Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Hank Williams, Rambling Jack Elliott and the Beatles on the same radio station. That’s just the way it was,” he said.
Alvin noted the blues is always in a constant state of flux and change
“Blues music has always been very inspirational. People are always trying to do something a little bit different with it. A lot of damage has been done to blues music, some of it by me,” he chuckled.
“Someone is always trying to take it to the next level,” he continued.
Dave and Phil Alvin play the two Wide Skies Music Festival at Southminster United Church, July 27. The show begins at 8 p.m. with Lindi Ortega.
Montreal-based roots/country musician Bobby Dove is looking forward to being back in southern Alberta for a tour which includes a stop at the Owl Acoustic Lounge with Joey Only, Friday, July 28.
She played the owl Acoustic Lounge last November with Lance Loree.
“There’s a bunch of great people there and we had a great steel guitar player, Bob Blair,” said Dove from a tour stop in Thunder Bay, after a long drive across the endless rocks and trees of Northern Ontario. Since then she has been touring in support of her first full-length CD “Thunderchild.”
The Lethbridge gig is included in a spate of southern Alberta gigs including Twin Butte and Nanton.
She recorded the new CD in Peterborough with some talented guests including Sam Weber of the Weber Brothers.
“I wanted to get his brother (Ryan) to play bass, too, but I got a rhythm section which came together,” Dove continued, noting she got Weber Brothers organ player Shai Peer to play on the CD as well.
She also got Anna Ruddick (who has played with a variety of other musicians including Randy Bachman, Ben Caplan and Paul Reddick) to play additional bass on the CD.
Her music has drawn praise from esteemed artists like Mary Gautier, who observed:
“Bobby Dove is a gifted artist, and a brilliant new light on the songwriting scene. Her songs speak to my heart. Her work is a link in the chain that binds the future to the past. A time traveller, Bobby’s songs meld genres with the touch of a master. I am a fan.”
Dove said Gautier has been a great mentor.
“That was a really great feeling,” she said.
“When I was in Nashville, she convinced me to play one of my songs at a songwriting workshop and took me under her wing. So I feel like I’m the right track,” she continued, adding Gautier made her a fan of Americana music.
“She has got some great songs. I love ‘Mercy Now.’ I love her song “I Drink.’ People laugh when they hear it, but when they listen to it, it is really a sad song,” she said. “I’ve been learning how to play some of her songs.”
Dove said her Lethbridge show will feature music from the new CD as well as her 2013 EP “Dovetails.”
“I’ll also be playing some Hank Williams and George Jones,” she said.
Bobby Dove and Joey Only play the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Friday, July 28 at 9 p.m. Admission is by donation.
Country singer/songwriter Lindi Ortega was feeling a little lost in the music business after releasing five recordings; that is, until she moved to Calgary in February after meeting a man and started listening to songwriter Townes Van Zandt, which rekindled her love for music and songwriting, which lead to her new EP “Til the Going Gets Gone.”
She will be playing the Wide Skies Music Festival at Southminster United Church, July 27, with at least her guitarist Champagne James Robertson
“It wasn’t really inspired by Townes Van Zandt, but it was inspired by me thinking of getting out of the music business and getting a job,” she said.
“I’m in my late 30s and I’ve got a lot of bills to pay, which is difficult to do in the music business,” she said.
“I’ve retooled how I do things. I’ve learned a lot like not to overspend on tours, which has helped,” she continued.
Including the latest EP, Ortega has released six recordings including three EPS.
“The first one was in 2002, but I don’t play the first two anymore because I was doing a totally different style of music then,” she said.
“I’m definitely excited to release a new CD,” she said.
She has done a lot of touring since she was last in Lethbridge.
“I played the Grand Old Opry twice,” she enthused, adding getting the opportunity to play the Opry was definitely aa highlight of her travels.
“I played the Ryman Auditorium and got invited back to play the other auditorium. I never expected that as they usually have new country artists there, which I definitely don’t do. But they have the circle of wood from the original Opry. So just to stand there were Crystal Gayle played, who I grew up idolizing, was awesome,” she said, adding she also enjoyed seeing the displays of items from classic country artists like Porter Wagoner.
She loves living in Calgary.
“I moved here in February and I still love it. I really like the people. It’s clean and I love the fact that there is a river flowing right through it, which people float down. It’s raining now, which is great because my lawn is brown,” said Ortega.
Saturday – Pink 4Freud
Calgary-based Pink Floyd tribute Pink 4Freud know how to put on a show. I only caught the end of their show at Average Joe’s, Saturday, July 15. As expected for any Pink Floyd-related show, there was plenty of smoke, lights and lasers firing all over the room, as a good-sized audience sat enraptured. One lady even laid down on the dance floor to snap some pictures of a well-renditioned guitar solo during “Comfortably Numb.”
They played plenty of Pink Floyd’s trippy bass-heavy, ambient hits, several from Pink Floyd’s epic “The Wall,” like “Run Like Hell” and “Comfortably Numb.” There was plenty of delay-laden guitar, some apt keyboards and sweet saxophone solos.
Biloxi Parish/Ghost Woman
A made a point of catching new local garage rock band Ghost Woman at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Saturday, July 15 as I missed their last couple shows.
But first, I caught most of a stripped-down set by one of my favourites, Biloxi Parish, who were trimmed down to lead singer/guitarist Zach Passey and drummer Cole Howg for this show. They played their usual frenetic, energetic and sweaty set of original rock and roll and roots music.
Ghost Woman, including guitarist/lead singer Evan Euschenko, bassist Cory Fischer and drummer Thomas Woodman played a scrappy set of loud, garage rock and psychedelic rock and turned off all of the lights on stage, leaving them illuminated only buy a blood red spotlight shining up from behind the drum kit.
Slice — Rare Drugs
Southminster United Church — Wide Skies Music and Arts Festival with Deep Dark Woods Alex Cuba, Ryland Moranz, Shaela Miller, Mariel Buckley
Owl Acoustic lounge — Standup Comedy open mic
Southminster United Church — Wide Skies Music and Arts Festival with Lindi Ortega, Dave and Phil Alvin and the Guilty ones 8 p.m. $60
Enmax Centre — Michael Jackson HIStory cancelled
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Charlotte Cornfield and the Provincial Archive, Jesse and the Dandelions, the Utilities
Slice — The Due Clause
Coyote Joe’s — Dueling pianos with Cal Toth
Owl Acoustic lounge — Bobby Dove
Casino Lethbridge — Bamboo Guppies
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Mocha Cabana — Herb Hicks Jazz quartet with Sheena Lawson
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
open mic 3-7 p.m,
Coyote Joe’s — open mic
Casino Lethbridge — Bamboo Guppies
Twin Butte Store — Jim Reader
Slice — Samson’s Delilah and Sad Mango
Cornucopia — God Said Kill, Unbeheld, Bring Your Own Bodies 5:30 p.m. $10
Onion — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Slice — The Archaics
Slice — open mic
Twin Butte Store — Jay Aymar 8 p.m.
Average Joe’s — Yuk Yuks Comedy
Slice — Puttin on the Foil
Slice — J Blissette with Marlaena Moore and Birch barks 9 pm. $10
Twin Butte Store — Celeigh Cardinal 8 p.m.
Exhibition Park — Floyd Sillito 11