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Busy week on local music scene

Posted on January 23, 2019 by Richard Amery

Things are starting to pick up on the music scene this week, about the same time I’m going on vacation on the Outlaw Country Cruise from Tampa to the Bahamas and back.
There is a lot of fun to be had right here in Lethbridge. Start off the week on Wednesday, Jan. 23 with Calgary based alternative rock band Krowns featuring the music of Kyle McKearney, Shade McKearney and Adam Casey.
Megan Brown has returned from her travels and has a busy week. In addition to playing the songwriter’s showcase at the Slice, Jan. 26, she will also likely be celebrating Robbie Burns Day at the Owl Acoustic Lounge with the Junkman’s Quire, Jan. 24. That will be preceded by the Owl Acoustic Lounge’s poetry open mic which begins at 7:30 p.m.
I’ll miss a couple of awesome shows on Jan. 25.
Up at the Watertower Grill, one of my favourite new classic rock bands, Blame Andi, including vocalist Andrea Roberts, bassist Shawn Worden, lead guitarist Sheldon Arvay and drummer Ryan Dyck, will be holding court from 8-11 p.m., playing all of your favourite classic rock and pop hits on both Jan. 25 and 26.
One show I am really sorry to miss will be at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. Regina-based indie rock band Bears in Hazenmore will be playing with the queen of Vancouver Island, Carolyn Mark and as a bonus, Vancouver-based surf/rock/folk duo Kitty and the Rooster. So bring your sense of humour, the filthier the better. Kitty and the Rooster aka Jodie Ponto behind the cat mask and the drum kit and Noah Walker, sporting a rooster mask and wielding the axe, are playing in support of their new CD “One Gig Hard Drive.”
Admission is by donation.
There are a lot of excellent shows on the weekend.
Tanner Cyr and local pop band Stars from Streetlights make a long-awaited return to the stage when they play the Slice, Jan. 25. Medicine Hat alternative rock band Indifferent are also on the bill. Admission is $15. The show will begin around 9 p.m.
Winnipeg country musician Sean Burns returns to Casino Lethbridge this weekend, Jan. 25 and 26.
And the Herb Hicks Jazz Quartet return to the Mocha Cabana on Jan. 25.
There is a lot of fun on Saturday, Jan. 26 as well.
East Indian-influenced Delta bluesman Harry Manx visits the Empress Theatre beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $37.50.
Back home, Good Times welcomes back comedian Charles Andrew Payne for two shows at 6 and 9:30 p.m.
The Owl Acoustic Lounge rocks out on Jan. 26 with a special ticketed event featuring Edmonton stoner rock trio Black Mastiff plus Whitehorse duo Soda Pony and local rock band Biloxi Parish. Admission is $10.
For a contrast, the Slice features a songwriter’s showcase night featuring music from George Arsene, Makiisma (Megan Brown), Corduroy Brown (James Swinney) and Chris Drew. Admission is by donation.
And get ready to laugh for a good time as Good Times features a comedy benefit Sunday, Jan. 27 for the Colombon-Rodriguez family who lost everything in a fire, 7-10 p.m. Performers include Lakshjit Gill, John Pogo, Ainsley McPhail, Solly KP, Cole Howg, Brian Daydiuk and Jordi Bott. Tickets are $15 advance, $20 at door. The show is 7-10 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 27.
The first big country music show of the year is at the Enmax Centre, Jan. 28. Airdrie-born Paul Brandt, Northern Alberta’s High Valley and Saskatchewan musician Jess Moskaluke will be performing beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $43, $53, $93 or $99.50.
Vancouver rock/folk/surf duo Kitty and the Rooster are excited to make their Lethbridge debut, Jan. 25 in support of their new CD “One Gig Hard Drive” as part of their “Best in Snow Tour.”
The duo include drummer Jodie Ponto, who wears a rubber cat mask during their shows and guitarist Noah Walker, wearing a rooster mask. They were a hit at South Country Fair last year, but are excited to play Lethbridge with Carolyn Mark and Bears in Hazenmore at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Jan. 25. They were kind enough to take some time away from their vacation in Mexico to answer a few questions through the wonders of e-mail:
How did you two meet and what made you decide to make music together?
Kitty & The Rooster is the product of a torrid love affair in soggy tent during a very rainy music fest in Wells, B.C. A few years after our initial fest-mance we started to get to that point in a relationship where you either need to have a baby or start a band. We picked band.
A lot of your songs on the new CD are about sex; what inspired you to write about sex? (I play the Sexercise a lot on my punk show on CKXU) What inspired the songs in general?
They always tell you to “write what you know” so Kitty & The Rooster has a lot of songs about touring in an unknown band, our hometown of Vancouver B.C., and yeah … Kitty & The Rooster’s main goal with songwriting is to make our friends laugh. We figure if we can achieve that then we are on the right track. The song Sexercise is all about The Rooster’s exercise philosophy and how to stay in shape when touring in a rock n’ roll band.
In your promo pics you both have cat and rooster masks. Do they appear on stage? What is the biggest challenge performing in masks?
Yes, our masks will be making an appearance in Lethbridge! It is almost impossible to see in the masks so The Rooster has had a few epic bails on stage but it adds an element of danger to the show.
Jodie, you’re a band photographer. Which came first, photography or music? Why did you form this band? What was the concept behind it?
The Kitty has been a professional photographer for a long time and so it made sense that when we started the band that it had to have a significant visual component. Shortly after our first rehearsal we ordered away to a company called “State of Latex” for some cat and rooster masks. Jodie Ponto put to use her photo skills to make a series of hilarious images and photoshops which we call “Pontoshops”.
What do you remember about your last show in the Lethberidge area?
This is our first time! Although we’re popping our Lethbridge cherry, we have played in the area at South Country Fair before. We played in the afternoon and it was so blisteringly hot that Noah was worried he might pass out during the set. Then he realized, if he did pass out, people would love it, so he played even harder and managed to make it through one of our favourite shows of the summer. What do you hope people will take with them after one of your shows?
Hopefully people will take home one of our Kitty & The Rooster prayer candles with images of Mary Kitty and Rooster Jesus on them and maybe one of our Kitty & The Rooster lollipops which we like to call C— Suckers and P— Lickers
What are we going to be hearing at the show? What are you looking forward to most about it?
A healthy dose of surf-tastic rock n’ roll with Jodie (the Kitty) Ponto on the stand-up cocktail drum kit, and Noah (The Rooster) Walker on guitar dishing out some reverby retro comedy rock. We are looking forward to playing in Lethbridge and seeing some friends and family we haven’t seen in a while and to be reunited with the Queen of Vancouver Island, Carolyn Mark. Whenever she is involved you know it’s going to be a good time.
Will it be just the duo; do you add other musicians to live shows?
Not JUST a duo! A high-energy rock n’ roll show with the sound of a full band. Though there’s only two of us on stage we have to haul more gear than most rock bands. That said, whenever possible we do perform with our backup singers The C—kettes.
You’re playing with Carolyn Mark and Bears in Hazenmore. What do you enjoy most about playing with them?
Oops, I already raved about Carolyn Mark but I’d happily rave some more. She is just the best and easily one of our biggest heroes/influences. We are excited to see Bears in Hazenmore too, we’re both playing at the Big Winter Classic festival in Calgary the day before.
Now the CD is out, what are your plans? Do you have a big tour in the works for it?
I type this from an airport in Mexico where we just spent a week writing a whole batch of new songs that will be on our next record. Kitty & The Rooster will be touring Western Canada extensively between now and the end of summer then we are planning on heading out to Ontario and beyond in the fall.

Rocanville, Sask.-based country star Jess Moskaluke has a lot to be excited about over the last year and indeed the past 10 years.
She earned a platinum record for her hit “Cheap Wine and Cigarettes,” the only female artist to win one since Shania Twain. She also took home her third CCMA award for female artist of the year and just got a gold record for “Kiss Me Quiet.” A few of the highlights including winning best album for her third album, “Past The Past,” at the 2018 CCMA awards, playing a tribute to Shania Twain, charted several hits including “Past the Past” and “Save Some of That Whiskey” and, oh yes, also married her longtime boyfriend in August.
“It’s been a great year,” Moskaluke enthused from her home in Rocanville, getting distracted by her frolicking dogs, noting the highlight is getting married, though she has no plans to turn him into a musician and teach him guitar.
“He works in the oilfield. But it’s funny you ask that. I can barely play guitar myself, but I have a guitar and he’s expressed interested in learning how to play it. It will give him something to do while I’m away,” she laughed, adding juggling a busy music career and a marriage won’t be difficult.
“We’ve been making it work ever since I started this career,” she observed, noting she is gearing up for the first big tour of the year — The Journey Tour with Paul Brandt, High Valley and fellow Saskatchewanites the Hunter Brothers, which stops by the Enmax Centre, Monday, Jan. 28.
“I’ve played with all of them before. So that’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s a long tour. It’s going to take at least five weeks,” she enthused.
“I only know what we’re doing. We’ve got a 30-minute set. The Hunter Brothers will be on first, then us, then High Valley and Paul Brandt will finish,” she outlined, adding she doesn’t know what she will be playing.
“I can’t tell you that. I’ll be playing my songs. But I don’t think I’ve ever written a set list for a show,” she mused.
Another highlight was doing an acoustic concert for CBC last year.
“I’ve done a couple of those. They’re unusual for us. But they’re a great way to highlight the songs and my voice. They’re really cool. They add a lot of variables to the music,” she said.
She is as surprised as anyone by all of the success she has enjoyed.
“I didn’t expect any of this, the tours, the hits, the Juno award, any of it,” she said, adding she has another busy year ahead of her.
“The Paul Brandt tour will take up the first part of the year. I’m really excited about the tour with Paul. I’ve got new music I’m working on new music and somewhere along the way we’d like to squeeze a honeymoon in there someplace,” she said, adding does all her writing in Nashville.
“I’m still in the very beginning stages of writing new music. I like to do all of my songwriting in Nashville. it’s a central hub and better than having to drive two hours for a single songwriting meeting. And I have to decide how to release it,” she said, adding she doesn’t have any date in mind to release the new music. For now, she is just excited to tour.
“I’m just excited to play and to get to see some people,” she said.
The show begins at 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $43, $53, $93 or $99.50.

Folk Club at the Cave
The Lethbridge Folk Club opened the new year with a soldout show at the Lethbridge College Cave, Saturday, Jan. 12. As usual on a Saturday, I arrived late, but caught the end of a hot set from John Hannam and his bandmates, keyboardist Steve Fletcher, upright bassist Jason Valleau and drummer Jon May.
Hannam sang earnest original folk and acoustic music including “Only Love Can Save Us Now,” from the new CD. I arrived as Fletcher was blasting out a melodica solo, making Hannam’s music sound a little more Celtic on several songs, especially on “Goodnight Nova Scotia.”
They ended as Hannam joked about not leaving the stage and waiting for applause before returning for an encore, and noted he and the band would just go ahead and play the encore of “Damn Tattoo.” They received a standing ovation for it.
Global Acid Reset at the Slice
As expected, a decent crowd showed up for Global Acid Reset, who returned to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Saturday, Jan. 12.
Taylor Ackerman played big solos and bellowed out up-tempo blues music while drummer Dustin Gergel and bassist Pat Ackerman set down a solid groove as the trio played an exuberant set of blues-based rock and roll.
He played some blues music by people like R.L. Burnside and switched to another guitar to play slide for blues classic “Boot Hill.”
Jolene Draper and the Inquisitive Few
Friday, Jan. 11 was my first opportunity to check out the new Watertower Grill, located, as expected in the watertower on Mayor Magrath Drive.
The room was packed wall to wall for Jolene Draper and the Inquisitive Few and I had to squeeze my way through a lot of chairs and tables placed right next to each other to make it to the bar, located right next to the windows, so you can see Lethbridge from the west.
It is always a pleasure to hear Jolene Draper sing, especially when backed by a crack band of bassist Steve Martin, lead guitarist Braeden Rouse and drummer Ryan Ebbinghoff. I arrived during a sultry version of Peggy Lee’s “Fever.”
They covered a variety of musical styles including quirky, jazz-tinged originals, a couple of capable covers of classics like me and Bobby mcGee, ’90s rock with Four Non Blondes’ “What’s Going On” and a spooky Portishead cover, which ended the set I saw.
Martin alternated between upright bass and electric bass. Rouse showed he was a phenomenal guitarist, playing ambient riffs and bluesy solos.
They added a touch of psychedelic rock. And their drummer kept a strong, steady beat. Draper, as always, sang in her beautiful, unique warble.
Keith “Catfish” Woodrow is starting to put on blues shows in Lethbridge. He played an excellent show at the Slice, Friday, Jan. 11.
He had a decent, receptive and patient audience in attendance who didn’t mind as he took his time tuning his many guitars. He and his tight band played an array of blues music including relative newcomers like Keb Mo to more classic blues tracks like “Hoochie Coochie Man,” John Lee Hooker’s “Boom, Boom, Boom” which had a couple of couples dancing and slower blues like “Stormy Monday,” which had them listening.
He switched to a national steel guitar to break out some slide powered blues including “Walking Blues.” He talked a little about the history of the music and some of the major players he was playing.
He also welcomed Calgary bluesman Harley Packer on stage to add guitar solos to a couple of songs as well as to sing lead vocals on another.
It is always exciting to see rising talent perform, so I caught Mercedes Fawns’ CD release party at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Friday, Jan. 14 for her new CD “I Grew Up Here.”
I missed opening sets from Bailey Kate and The New Weather Machine, but was glad to catch the main event — Mercedes Fawns and a tight band I didn’t recognize other than the Rainbow Patrol’s Richard Charlton, who also produced her album.
Fawns doesn’t play live very often; at least, I haven’t seen her play for a few years, which made it a treat to see such a strong show. She started off with a piece of free-form poetry before bringing in the band to rock out.
She had a powerful voice which brought to mind Avril Lavigne and a touch of Alanis Morissette. She put a captivating set, bouncing around the stage and knew how to control her voice and her microphone.
Their set focused on original music, but they rocked an SIA cover. She followed that with a couple more songs from the album, “Backseat” and “Freezing in April.”
They ended the show with the new single, “Lighting Candles With Matches.”

January 23
Beaches — open mic
Slice — Krowns
January 24
Slice — open mic with Gabriel Thaine
The Zoo — Thursday Thursday open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — 7 p.m. Owl Poetry open mic with Terri Petz 9:30 p.m. Robbie Burns Celebration with Junkman’s Quire
January 25
Slice — Tanner Cyr and Stars From Streetlights And Indifferent 8 p.m. $15 in advance
Casino Lethbridge — Sean Burns
Watertower — Blame Andi 8:30 p.m.
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Bears in Hazenmore with Carolyn mark and Kitty and the Rooster
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Mocha Cabana — Herb Hicks Jazz Quartet with Sheena Lawson
Good Times — Roast Battle
January 26
KCs Pub — open mic
Slice — Songwriters showcase with Makiisma, Corduroy Brown, Chris Drew, George Arsene
Owl Acoustic Lounge — special ticketed event With Black Mastiff, Soda Pony, Biloxi Parish, FaceCut $10
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic
Empress Theatre — Harry Manx
Casino Lethbridge — Sean Burns
Watertower — Blame Andi 8:30 p.m.
Good Times — Charles Andrew Payne
KCs Pub — open mic
January 27
Good Times — Comedy benefit show for Colombon-Rodriguez family $15 advance, $20 at door 7-10 p.m. with Performers include Lakshjit Gill, the John Pogo, Ainsley McPhail, Solly KP, Cole Howg, Brian Daydiuk, Jordi Bott
January 28
Enmax Centre — Paul Brandt with High Valley and Guests. 7 p.m. $43.00, $53.00, $73.00, $93.00, $99.50 (Incl. GST) + s/c
The Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Onion — open mic
January 30
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Standup Comedy Open mic
Beaches — open mic
January 31
The Zoo — U of L Craig Cardiff Songwriter workshops
Slice — open mic with Taylor Ackerman
The Zoo — Thursday Thursday open mic
February 1
U of L Craig Cardiff songwriting workshop
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Makiisma with the New Weather Machine
The Slice — Chief mountain with artist Robyn Alicia
February 2
Casa — play your ukulele day 11:30-12 p.m.
Good Times — Mike Dambra
Honker’s Pub — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — J Blissette solo, Zach Passey, Marigold
The Slice — Free the Cynics, The Coulee Rattlers, Good Time Charlie
February 4
The Owl Acoustic Lounge — open mic
Onion — open mic
February 5
Average Joe’s — 8 p.m.the Trews with Civilianaires $35 in advance $45 day of show

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