A busy June begins with a play and a farewell to an independent record store/concert promoter.
An excellent play happens at Southminster United Church to open June. “We Are All Treaty People” explores the possible friendship between an indigenous girl and a non-indigenous girl. Tickets are free, but you must get them in advance through through Eventbrite at http:/bit.ly/Wearealltreatypeople.
A bittersweet show takes place at the Slice, June 1, as several local bands bid farewell to independent record store and concert promoter Blueprint Records, a fixture downtown for 12 years. The spirit lives on with Street legal Records. Performers include Cope, Mombod, Open Channels, Sparkle Blood and Biloxi Parish perform beginning at 9 p.m. Admission is $7 in advance, $10 at the door. The next night, June 2, Street Legal Records launchers with a big rap showcase featuring OK+NTK, Shed beat Boyz, Sammy and the Fiend, Trey Mark, Crisko, JPB and Stratum403. Admission is $5.
If you aren’t in to rap music, Moose Jaw indie rock band Bears in Hazenmore return to the Owl Acoustic lounge and Birch Barks. Admission is by donation.
Things take off after that. The Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival is set to go the following week beginning June 8 and running until June 16. In addition to lots of local talent, some of the highlights include Brooklyn-based jazz guitarist Nobuki Takamen, who was a highlight at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens at last year’s festival and will be bringing his trio back this year, June 10. Tickets are $25 or $50. Other highlights include the Sojourner’s Marcus Moseley hosting Sweet Inspiration Gospel Choir, June 13 at Southminster United Church; the Calgary Jazz Orchestra, June 14 at the Enmax Centre lounge featuring Edmonton singer and Tommy Banks’ granddaughter Mallory Chipman who performs with her band the next night. Saskatoon bluesman BC Read plays the Slice, June 15. and Juno award winning saxophonist Allison Au Quartet plays the Owl Acoustic lounge in the afternoon, June 16. And Holly Cole headlines the festival at the Enmax Centre, June 16. Tickets for that concert are $51.
The weekend after that The Rotary Dragon Boat Festival is at henderson lake, June 22-24. There will be lots of entertainment including the Chevelles and Desert Wind Belly Dancers on June 22.
Also on June 22, this months’ ’90s throwback is Blind Melon who had a big hit “No Rain” in 1993 and Eve 6 will be playing Average Joe’s. Tickets just went on sale for $45 in advance, $50 on the day of the show. It will begin at 8:30 p.m.
Mallory Chipman, the granddaughter of senator and beloved jazz musician Tommy Banks, is making it in her own way. She has just released her second album in as many years— a tribute to the music of Leonard Cohen called “Rags and Feathers — A Tribute To Leonard Cohen.”
The 24-year-old vocalist/arranger/songwriter will be playing a couple of shows at this year’s Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival, June 14 with the Calgary Jazz Orchestra at the Enmax Centre Lounge as part of a tribute to her grandfather and her own show, June 15 in the same place with her band, long-time pianist Chris Andrew, guitarist Brett Hansen, bassist Murray Wood and drummer Jamie Cooper for her June 15 show.
“I wasn’t going to release an album, because I just released my debut not even a year before,” said Chipman. “I was tired and most people don’t release albums that quickly. But I was working on arrangements of Leonard Cohen songs for the Leonard Cohen Festival in 2014. It takes place every two years somewhere in the world. And I did it again in 2018 in Amsterdam. But working on the first album right before working on the next one really informed the experience of recording this album. It’s a lot of fun to make an album, but it’s a lot of work. There’s a lot to learn.”
She noted she wrote alternate arrangements of seven Leonard Cohen songs including popular hits like “Bird on a Wire” and “Hallelujah.”
“I also wrote two songs for the CD about Leonard Cohen,” she said.
“Grandpa came to the hometown show in Edmonton and said you have to do this as an album because it’s timeless. And Leonard Cohen passed away just a few months before it was released. I put my grandpa’s name in the thank-you credits. He saw it and teared up. He was so humble. That was just like him,” she said.
“I write a lot of songs,” she continued, adding she will likely play some of the Cohen project as well as songs from her debut “Nocturnalize” plus some jazz classics and a lot of improvisation including scatting, which is a prominent part of her sound.
Tickets for each of the shows cost $35. Both shows begin at 7:30 p.m.
Halifax-born, Toronto-based crooner Holly Cole makes her first visit to Lethbridge to headline the Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival, Saturday, June 16 at the Enmax Centre.
She just released her first CD in six years called “Holly” with her “unbelievable” band including long time pianist Aaron Davis, bassist George Koller, drummer Davide DiRenzo and horn player Johnny Johnson.
She has taken a few years away from the music scene to work on other projects and spend time with her mother who passed away.
So what has Cole, who scored a hit cover of “I Can See Clearly Now,” with her beloved trio of David Piltch and Aaron Davis, back in 1993, been doing since her last album?
“Nobody’s asked me that quite so bluntly. But mostly I was spending some time with my mom. We knew she was dying and I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible. But she understood, if I wasn’t out on tour, she suggested I study something. So I became a registered hypnotist. Mom always said I have a very hypnotic voice, ” Cole said, from the coast of Nova Scotia, raving about an old 1845 house she and her business partner bought and are renovating to rent out.
“I love it. It’s a huge project. It used to be a post office and a barrel factory. It has a greenhouse,” she said.
“When I think about it, I’m approaching it the same way I approach music. I think about and care about the history of it. I think of the people who lived in the house, who they were, how they lived. When I look a a song from the ’30s or ’40s, I think about the people who were listening to it, wrote it and then I just put a modern twist to it,” she said.
She noted she focuses on paediatric hypnotherapy, so she could help children.
“It’s not stage hypnotism. That entertainment. But kids today are so stressed out and anxious. I never heard of those words until I was an adult,” she continued.
“I also learned a lot about self-hypnosis. You can hypnotize yourself to do anything. But you have to really want to. I hypnotized myself to stop smoking and haven’t for quite a few years now. I can also hypnotize myself to go to sleep in about 45 seconds. So now I can fall asleep anywhere, on, buses or on planes. I never used to be able to do that,” she said.
She also took the past six years to work on her new album.
“I took some time to really research this album,” she said, adding she worked with Grammy Award-winning producer Russ Titelman in New York to make most of “Holly.” She recorded the rest of it with her trio in Toronto.
“This is the first album I haven’t produced myself, so I really had to let go. I really love to arrange music. I loved working with Russ. He came up with all of these great Russ ideas and we used all of these great musicians he knows,” she said.
She covered Mose Allison’s “Your Mind is On Vacation.”
“It’s such a timeless song and all the more pertinent with the events going on today,” she said.
Tickets for her show are $51.50. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.
MonkeyJunk at the Geomatic Attic
I’ve been busier than a one-armed paper hanger with Hatrix’s production of “A Comedy of Tenors” this past few months, so haven’t got to all of the shows I wanted to. However, my timing was on after our opening night Thursday and the play ended in time for me to catch all of the second set of Ottawa blues rock trio MonkeyJunk at the Geomatic Attic, May 24.
The good-sized crowd was already hot and sweaty as Mike Spencer had cleared away a couple rows of chairs to create an improvised dance floor for several of the patrons to enjoy.
I always look forward to MonkeyJunk’s blend of blues, rock, soul and the inimitable sound of lead singer Steve Marriner’s baritone guitar and harp. They began the second set with “Light It Up,” and kept the energy and good vibes high and the dancers bodies moving throughout.
Lead guitarist Tony D drew many a burst of applause for short and to-the-point guitar solos and catchy riffs. Marriner told stories and jokes. He introduced “Pray For Rain” by talking about performing with Mic Mac traditional dancers in Ottawa.
They played several familiar tacks including tracks from their first Juno award Winning album “To behold,“ including their cover of Hank Williams’ “You’re Gonna Change or I’m Gonna Go.” Matt Sobb held a steady beat and got to show his skill at the end of the show as they played “Gone” from their second Juno Award Winning album “Time to Roll.” Marriner put down his guitar and picked up a harp and wandered through the crowd while playing.
They were called back for an encore of a spirited version of Chubby Checker’s ’50s hit “The Twist,” and wound things up with another, slower ’50s-sounding doo-wop number, “Lonely Heart.”
Royal Wood and Fionn at Geomatic Attic
I caught one of two soldout shows at the Geomatic Attic with Royal Wood and White Rock, B.C. duo Fionn, Tuesday, May 22. They had a great week with the two soldout shows and a close to soldout MonkeyJunk show.
I was impressed by twin sisters Alanna and Brianne Finn-Morris a.k.a. Fionn, who harmonized like they shared a brain and a set of vocal chords. They sounded like twin Jane Siberries with a touch of the Indigo Girls, singing a variety of original femme positive folk/pop music including “Tell Me I’m Pretty,” and “Magazine Face” though I was disappointed not to hear their catchy new earworm of a single, “Skeletons.”
Mandolin-wielding Alanna sang lead for the first half of the set as her guitar-picking sister sang effortless harmonies. I enjoyed their song “Sad Boys,” and especially enjoyed listening to Brianne taking over on lead vocals as they explored their Irish roots and Celtic musical background on “Pagan March” and giggled as she sang about her first love, “Robert.”
Royal Wood has had an interesting couple years of upheaval since he last played here, at Southminster United Church with the Good Lovelies in 2014 — his father died of Alzheimer’s and he met and married his wife. So he had a lot of life experiences to draw from. He joked he wasn’t used to singing happy songs, but played a couple of new ones anyway.
He started out slowly, solo on the piano before being joined by two back up singers, a drummer and a bassist who alternated between upright bass and electric bass. He reminded me of a young Julian Lennon, especially on piano.
He asked the audience to applaud for “those talented kids” Fionn before getting started on “I’m Going to Be Your Lover.”
He played a new song he wrote while recording his new CD “Ever After the Farewell” about being single, noting “I wrote it right before meeting my wife.” He introduced his talented backup singers, who added a touch of gospel and soul as he switched to a 12-string guitar for a song. Then it was time for the crowd to sing the “Hey hey hey forever and ever” chorus of one of his more popular songs, “Hey Hey Hey, Forever and Ever.” The affable Royal Wood laughed and joked and tried to play matchmaker for his single bassist Steve Sirai.
After that he dug deep for a song he wrote in 2001. He ended an enjoyable set with “Not Giving Up,” on piano and was, of course, called back for an encore, which he played solo. He called back his band for a peppy cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.”
A good-sized crowd caught a diverse bill at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, May 19. I caught the end of Conversations With Bears a.k.a. Calgary musician Lucien Lahey’s set. He strummed dirty electric guitar and sang haunting indie rock in a spooky falsetto, which was well suited to fellow Calgarians Astral Swans set.
But before them, local alternative rock band sounded a little out of place with their noisy, ’90s-style alternative rock. The band including Quint Viskup on guitar, drummer Garwin Poff, Sil Campus on bass and trading vocals with guitarist Rob Cooper, who was seated for this show, having injured his back. As usual, their loud set had a very strong Pixies influence with Sil Campus’ haunting background vocals. I hadn’t seen Astral Swans for a few years. They delivered a strong set of spooky, indie rock.
They played an appealing set of really relaxing, multi-layered, introspective ambient indie rock punctuated by bursts of microphone feedback.
Wildwood at the Owl
I was looking forward to Edmonton alternative country quartet Wildwood, featuring Tanyss Nixi and The Fuzz Kings’ David Johnston plus bassist Mitch Diesel and drummer Scott Lingley, but only caught half of their May 18 show at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. I arrived just in time for a great cover of Chris Knight/Cross Canadian Ragweed’s “Cry Lonely,” sung by Nixi, who followed that up with “Rich People” from Wildwood’s new CD “Laverne.” She traded lead vocals with Johnston, who sang the more Neil Young and Crazy Horse-tinged alternative country, while she sang the more classic country songs including an upbeat cover of Johnny Cash’s “Cry, Cry, Cry.” which wound down their first set.
Dave Johnston sang another highlight from the CD in the second set “Half As Rich As You Are Lonely,” with Bruce Springsteen swagger.
They traded vocals on a couple songs and Nixi turned things totally country on “Lonely All The Time.” They made things a little more rock and Roll with “Let the Juke Box Keep on Playing.”
Gabriel Thaine/Megan Rourke at the Slice
The Slice had a decent-sized audience for last-minute show featuring Gabriel Thaine and Megan Rourke, May 18. Thaine sang a few country and blues songs and turned the Beatles’ “All My Loving” into a country song.
I hadn’t heard Megan Rourke perform for a while so it was great to hear her sing a more simple folk/roots stylings than her usual more experimental folk music. A Gillian Welch song was among the songs she played.
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Standup Comedy open mic
Casa — SOAR cabaret 1 with Claire Line, Ben Price magic’s Rabbit Stew , Mercedes Fawns. $10 7 p.m.
Casa — SOAR Cabaret 2 Claire Lint, Jew Newman Mentalism Trickester, W.I.T.S. $10 7 p.m.
Slice — So long and thanks for all the Wax Blueprint farewell show, Street legal Records debut Open Channels, Cope, Sparkle Blood, MomBod, Biloxi parish $7 in advance, $10 at the door
Honker’s — open mic
Slice — Street Legal debut show Rebirth Hip hop showcase with Shed beat Boyz, Sammy and the Fiend, Trey Mark, Crisko, JPB, Stratum 403 $5 8:30 p.m.
Honker’s — afternoon open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Bears in Hazenmore with Birch barks
Club Didi — season launch
The Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Onion — open mic
Club Didi— open mic
Smokehouse — open mic
Slice — 7 p.m. Alone I Walk, Tanner Cyr, Rainbow Patrol, Passing Tides
Slice — open mic
The Gate — Lethbridge Jazz and blues Festival young lions 12:45-4:30 p.m.
Honker’s Pub — open micc
Slice — The Galacticas with Sessions $10 9 p.m.
Galt Gardens — Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival open air market Jazz at the park: noon Papa King and the boogiemen; 1 p.m. Paul Kype and Texas Flood; 2 p.m. hippodrome; 3 p.m. Metrik jazz Tentet;4 p.m. Lethbridge Big band
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Terrific kids presents Rhythm of Cruelty, Body lens, Touching God
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
Casa — ukulele jam
Stoketown Cafe — Lethbridge Jazz and blues Festival Blues Brunch with Papa King Trio noon- 2p.m.
Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens — Nobuki Takaman 7 p.m. $35
The Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Onion — open mic
Smokehouse — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival jam session 7:30 p.m.
Sonder Coffee Bar — Malcolm Jack, Max Hopkins cover $5 7 p.m.
Southminster United Church — Lethbridge jazz and blues Festival Sweet Inspiration Gospel Concert with Marcus Mosley $10, 7:30 p.m.
Telegraph — Lethbridge Jazz and blues Festival suppertime blues series with Randy Epp and Don Robb
Average Joe’s — Kick Axe with Killer Dwarves 8 p.m. $35
Slice — open mic
Enmax Centre (Canadian Western bank lounge Lethbridge jazz and blues Festival Johnny Summers and the Calgary jazz orchestra $35 7:30 p.m.
Plum — Lethbridge Jazz and blues Festival lunch series with Randy Epp and Andrea Walker Firestone — Lethbridge Jazz and blues Festival suppertime blues series with James Oldenburg 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Geomatic Attic — Cousin Harley $37.50 $40
Enmax Centre — Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival Jazz and more Food Truck Factory. noon HBO3 with Michael Carter: 3 p.m. Calling all Superheroes and princesses; 5 p.m. Steve Keenan Band
Enmax Centre (Canadian Western bank lounge Lethbridge jazz and blues Festival— Mallory Chipman Quartet 7;30 p.m. $35
The Slice — Lethbridge jazz and blues Festival. BC Reed 9:30 p.m. $20
Coulee Brew — Lethbridge Jazz and blues Festival suppertime blues series with papa King Trio 5:30-7:30 p.m. Firestone — Lethbridge Jazz and blues Festival suppertime blues series with Anna McBryan and Cal Toth 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Mocha Cabana — Lethbridge Jazz and blues Festival suppertime blues series with Dale Ketcheson 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Southern Alberta Ethnic Association — 3rd Annual Global Gala for Lethbridge and District YWCA with Dory and the weathermen
Enmax Centre — Lethbridge jazz and Blues Festival Holly Cole
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Lethbridge jazz and blues Festival Saturday jazz Break with Allison Au Quartet 3 p.m. $20 Pridefest
Streeatside Eatery — Lethbridge Jazz and blues Festival suppertime blues series with James Oldenburg 5:30-7:30 p.m. Firestone — Lethbridge Jazz and blues Festival suppertime blues series with Randy Epp 5:30-7:30 p.m.
The Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Onion — open mic