Surprise, surprise, it is another busy week in Lethbridge.
U of L-based radio station CKXU’s FUNdrive, with theme “Legends of the Radio Realm,” continues this week with several events happening throughout the week. FUNdrive ends on March 22 at the Old Firehall with Musical Monarchy featuring performances by Shaela Miller, Biloxi Parish, Chief Mountain, Tut and Jess and Sil who will be playing the hits of your favourite monarchy or fantastic-themed bands like Queen, Queens of the Stone Age, Prince and more. There is a $10 cover at the door. The music begins at 9 p.m.
But there is a lot of other fun happening.
Josh Davies and HBO3 host the jazz jam at the Owl Acoustic Lounge on Wednesday, March 20. And the Geomatic Attic has the first of three shows this week featuring Winnipeg country musician Sean Burns. The show begins at 8 p.m., March 20. Tickets are $25 and $30 at the door. As usual, Geomatic Attic shows start at 8 p.m. Juno-nominated folk/ pop musician Donovan Woods plays a Geomatic Attic show at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, March 24 at 8 p.m. Sharp with special guest Katie Pruitt. Tickets are $38.
Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar featuring Lethbridge singer Mwansa Mwansa return to the Geomatic Attic, Wednesday, March 27. Friday night will be off the hook beginning at 7:30 p.m. where local country musician Trevor Panczak plays the fourth annual Boots and Roots Benefit for STARS.
The event happens at the Sandman Signature Hotel downtown. It features a prime rib dinner hosted by Prime Catering, a live and silent auction and Panczak playing all the country music you want. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $75.
Good Times features comedian Simon King performing two shows at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Friday, March 22. Tickets are $15 in advance $20 at the door.
Theatre Outre features The Drinking Game in Club Didi, “an opportunity to learn about yourself and a celebration of human relationships in all their simplicity and complexity,” March 21 and 22. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.
If you like the Eagles, Hotel California, an Eagles tribute band, is back at Average Joe’s, March 22 beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance $25 at the door. The Nova Scotiables will open the show at 8 p.m..
For blues fans, the Steve Keenan Band return to Casino Lethbridge for two nights, March 22 and 23. The show begins at 8 p.m.
It will be mellow but fun night at the Slice, March 22 with singer songwriter Max Hopkins, Silent Mike and Makiisma performing.
One of my favourite duos, Edmonton’s F&M a.k.a. Ryan and Rebecca Anderson return to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, March 22. Tyson Ray Borsboom opens the show.
Saturday, March 23 will be just as hectic.
If you want to laugh, comedy trio the Arrogant Worms, best known for writing “Last Saskatchewan Pirate,” are at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $34.50.
The Lethbridge Community Gold Band returns to the College Drive Community Church where the Gold Band will be performing The Spirit of Spring, March 23 with a little help from Medicine Hat’s Allegro Band. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $15. The Lethbridge Folk Club features Irish-born, Charlottetown-based contemporary folk artist Irish Mythen at the Lethbridge College Cave beginning at 8 p.m. sharp with George Fowler opening. Mythen has performed with Gordon Lightfoot, Rod Stewart and Lucinda Williams to name a few. Tickets are $25 for members $30 for non-members.
The big metal show of the week is at La Cité des Prairies, where local metal band Tyrants of Chaos release their new CD “…into Oblivion.” Local punk band Sessions is also on the bill. The music begins at 8 p.m. There is a $10 cover charge.
Calgary singer songwriter Tara Warburton, who won the South Country Fair songwriting contest last year, returns to the Owl Acoustic Lounge March 23 with Victoria indie pop/rock duo Flawed Hearts and Waiting Room. Admission is by donation.
Nelson, B.C. indie rock band She Hangs Brightly returns to the Slice March 23 with Coaldale band 21st Avenue.
Honker’s Pub celebrates another birthday, March 23, with a birthday bash with their usual Saturday open mic. Kelly Klimchuk hosts the Friday night open mic.
Laugh early in the week as The Trailer Park Boys’ Randy brings his Cheeseburger Picnic Tour to Average Joe’s March 26. There will be Trailer Park Boys humour and country music as well. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $25.
Donovon Woods is a busy man. As of this writing, he is playing Juno week in London, Ont. and touring in support of his most recent album “Both Ways.” He comes to the Sterndale Bennett Theatre March 24.
Woods, based in Sarnia, Ont.-based a two time Juno-nominated singer/songwriter. He has previously been nominated for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year as well as Songwriter of the Year at the Juno Awards in 2014 and 2017 respectively.
He is enjoying being part of Juno week in London. Ont.
“The routine for Juno week includes more thinking about clothes than I like to do. There’s a lot of dressing up and expectations to look cool and stuff. That stresses me out a bit. What I enjoy most about it is just seeing friends and folks I know,” he wrote in response to a series of emailed questions.
“Our Canadian music community is small, so in a way, it’s just a fun hang. Being nominated for ‘songwriter of the year’ is exciting, of course. It’s the award I dreamed about winning as a kid writing songs. Lots of my heroes have won it, so it’s a thrill. I’m always pleasantly surprised to be nominated for things. I know how many good records come out every year, because I’m a music fan, and I love so many of them, so it’s surprising to be centred out, yes. ”
He has been spending some time co-writing in Nashville for country stars like Tim McGraw, Billy Currington and even great Big Sea’s Alan Doyle.
“I was invited to go to Nashville to do a couple co-writes about 6 years ago, by a guy who had heard my records and thought I might be good at it. I was very nervous, and I’d never written with anyone else before. Now it’s old hat and I love meeting songwriters. They’re my favourite type of people. Hearing a famous person sing a song you wrote never gets old, it’s always a trip. To hear a voice you know well suddenly singing your words, and your phrasings is weird and wonderful. But the best part is going to a show and hearing a crowd singing along. That’s when you feel like you’ve really done your job well.”
His new CD “Both Ways” has a more fleshed-out sound.
“‘Both Ways’ has the biggest most full-sounding songs I’ve ever recorded and some of the smallest sounding, which is why I called it that. I think the recordings have grown larger over time for a couple reasons. One, the budgets get bigger, so you can afford to have great players come into the studio and be great. And two, the shows I play have gotten bigger. You always have to go around and play the songs on the record for everyone and as we begin to play in bigger spaces, it makes sense for the songs to reflect that and fill up those spaces well,” he wrote, noting he is working his fifth CD.
“I’d say I’m about four songs done into the next record, but I think we’re a good while away from it coming out. I don’t know what it’ll sound like yet, and that’s my favourite place to be at. We’ve got some other new exciting things coming out before then though,” he noted.
He is looking forward to his Lethbridge debut.
“I’ve never played Lethbridge before, no! Very excited to do so. I’ll be performing with the whole 5 piece band, The Opposition, so it’ll be loud sometimes and quiet other times. We’ve even got a big banner with my name on it, so for sure come and check that out. It was $1400 so at least have a look at it.”
The show begins at 8 p.m. sharp in Sterndale Bennett Theatre. Tickets are $38.
Samantha Martin is excited to bring her hot blues/gospel band Delta Sugar back to the Geomatic Attic, Wednesday, March 27.
She will be bringing beloved local singer Mwansa Mwansa with her, who opened for her the last time and who soon joined her band, which has since toured all over the world.
“We haven’t played there since 2016 and it was really really great because we found Mwansa Mwansa, who opened for us. She joined the band soon after,” Martin recalled, taking a quick breather at home, having just returned from a successful European tour.
Their latest CD “Run To Me” has been nominated for Blues Album of the Year, up against luminaries like Colin James, Jack DeKeyser, Myles Goodwyn and Sue Foley.
In which case it really is just an honour to be nominated. They won’t be attending the Juno awards celebrations in London, Ont.
“We’re not going to be there because we’re touring out there,” Martin said, noting they will be in the middle of a tour of B.C. and Alberta.
She is pleased with the big-band sound of the new record “Run To Me,” which she released last April.
“We didn’t have a very large budget for the last record ‘Send The Nightingale.’ We had a bigger budget for this one, so I wrote these songs with a big band sound in mind,” she said.
“We had a lot more time. The horn section gives it a much fuller sound. They make it a lot more exciting,” she enthused.
She is also excited about her first Juno nomination.
“It’s exciting be nominated with veterans like Sue Foley, Colin James, Jack DeKeyser and Myles Goodwyn,” she said.
“It shows we’re doing something right, so we’ll continue doing it because it is working and continue taking the music to the people,” she continued.
“Both albums have also been nominated for Maple Blues Awards too, but we haven’t won them either,” she said.
She is excited to return to the Geomatic Attic with her bandmates, singers Sherie Marshall and Mwansa Mwansa, bassist Ian McKeown, guitarist, Curtis Chaffey, saxophoinist and keyboardist Andrew Moljgun and drummer/vocalist Stephen Adubofuor.
“We’ll be playing two sets of music from the albums. We’d like to get people dancing, but I don’t know if there‘s room. They can dance in the aisles,” she said.
She enjoyed an extensive tour of Europe with the full band.
“I’ve never brought to full band over there before. But we played 46 shows in 54 days in 10 countries. So there wasn’t a lot of time for sightseeing. But we had great audiences in Europe,” she said, adding they will return to Europe in May.
“Sometime along the way we want to make some time to write new music, wither that or get better at writing in hotel rooms,” she said, adding they plan on writing in September and October, after playing several North American festivals including the Ottawa Blues Festival, with a plan to release another new CD in 2020.
“It will also have a big band sound,” she said.
Tickets for Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar are $30 in advance $35 at the door. The show begins at 8 p.m. sharp at the Geomatic Attic, Wednesday, March 27.
It is always fun to see up-and-coming talent on stage, so I stopped by the AES (Audio Engineering Society) acoustic fundraiser at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Thursday, March 14.
I couldn’t stay for the whole thing but was there long enough to be impressed by Holly Kletke, who played a short set of mostly original material, inspired by Craig Cardiff’s songwriting workshop at the university last month. She showed an impressive vocal range, focusing on high her high vocal register.
She chuckled as she played a song she wrote when she was nine years old. She also played a couple of covers, which i didn’t recognize, but which had an enraptured audience singing along.
She gleefully introduced Dan Sequeira, laughing he was the funniest guy she ever met and an amazing guitarist who she met at the Craig Cardiff seminar.
He played a solid set of familiar sounding original mid-’90s sounding acoustic rock along the lines of Dishwalla and the Lemonheads mixed with more modern artists like Dan Mangan, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.
I missed Tyson Ray Borsboom, who has several shows coming up, as well as Richard Charlton playing with Splash Zone.
Windy City Opry with Markus Sommer Band
Shaela Miller has an excellent ear for music, so it always a pleasure to see who she brings in for her monthly Windy City Opry, but I also usually miss most of the show, which starts at 8 p.m. sharp, because I’m on the air on CKXU, so I usually count on an encore happening. It was not to be, Wednesday, March 13 at the Slice with Red Deer country musician Markus Sommer, who put together a solid band of opening act Tyler Allen, upright bassist Curtis Glas and, steel guitarist Ryan funk and Tyler Bird filling in on drums for Peter Cormier from peter and the Wolves, who I was really looking forward to seeing.
The last two songs were solid, roots country with plenty of twang, and heartfelt vocals. They ended with “True Sounds of the West,” the title track from Sommer’s new CD.
The next Windy City Opry features Matt Masters.
Eve Hell and the Razors
I missed Calgary rockabilly trio Eve Hell and the Razors’ Windy City Opry show in December, so was glad to catch them at the Owl Acoustic lounge, Saturday, March 9.
I had just come off the air, so I caught them in the middle of a set break in the early starting show, but I was just in time for their quick, second set.
Eve Hell beamed, looking completely blissed out, thumping on her upright bass, which made their upbeat, toe-tapping set all the more enjoyable.
They started with Link Wray’s rockabilly classic “Rumble” and played an array of originals, which sounded like vintage rockabilly, punctuated with a few dabbles into psychobilly for a song about cannibalism and straight ahead vintage country music for “Bitter Pill.”
They were tight, so I expected people trying out their best ’50s dance moves, but it was not to be this time.
They played some new songs plus some older tracks like the highlight “Blue Eyed Devil,” which segued into blues classic “Who Do You Love.”
Calgary’ pop punk/geek punk trio The Galacticas are always a lot of fun to see, it’s just a shame not a lot of people, approximately 20 people, were there to see them at the Slice, Saturday, March 9.
I missed opening acts Sessions and the Youngbloods, but was just in time for a solid set and tight set of energetic, punchy, adreneline-fuelled late ’90s, early ’00s style pop punk music along the lines of Green Day and Blink -182.
The Galacticas played a lot of new songs from their brand new Ep and a few from their “Diagnostics” CD including the fantastic “Ego industry,” with which they ended their set.
“As usual, Alberta girls, Sci-Fi and Rock and Roll” was a highlight, and which basically summed up the essence of the band.
They were a lot of fun, featured catchy guitar hooks and gang vocals.
They wound down their set with spirited covers of Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi and the apt “Teenage Dirtbag” by’00s one hit wonders Wheatus.
Geomatic Attic — Sean burns
Beaches — open mic
Owl Acoustic lounge — Jazz jam with HBO3 and Josh Davies
Empress — The Arrogant Worms 7:30 p.m. $25
Good Times — Comedy open mic
Slice — open mic
Owl Acoustic lounge — CKXU Fundrive Trivia night
Club Didi — The Drinking Game
Firehall — CKXU FUNDrive Musical Monarchy with Shaela Miller, Biloxi Parish, Chief Mountain,Tut, Jess and Sil $10
Slice — Max Hopkins, Makiisma, Silent Mike
Owl Acoustic Lounge — F&M with Tyson Ray Borsboom
Casino Lethbridge — Steve Keenan band
Sandman — Trevor Panczak Boots and Roots Benefit for STARS $75 5:30 p.m.
Average Joe’s — Hotel California Eagles Tribute with the Nova Scotiables $20 advance $25 day of show
Honker’s Pub — open mic with Kelly Klimchuk
Good Times — Simon King with $20 advance
Club Didi — The Drinking Game
Slice — 21st Avenue with She Hangs Brightly
Lethbridge College Cave — Lethbridge Folk Club Irish Mythen with George Fowler 8 p.m. $25 member, $30 guests
La Cite Des Prairies — Tyrants of Chaos CD release party with Sessions 8 p.m. $10
Casino Lethbridge — Steve Keenan band
Honker’s Pub — Birthday Bash
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Flawed Hearts and the Waiting Room with Tara Warburton
College Drive Community Church — Lethbridge Community Silver band and Medicine Hat Allegro Community band $15
Club Didi — Dream Haus launch
Sterndale Bennett Theatre — Geomatic Attic presents Donovan Woods and the Opposition with Katie Pruitt
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Open mic
Average Joe’s — Randy’s Cheeseburger Picnic tour 7:30 p.m.$25
Beaches — open mic
Geomatic Attic — Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar
Owl Acoustic Lounge — standup comedy open mic
Good Times — Comedy open mic
Slice — open mic
Owl Acoustic Lounge — poetry open mic with Teri Petz 7 p.m.
The Slice — Vandendool album release with open channels 8 p.m. $10
Sterndale Bennett Theatre — one Act Play Festival
Old Firehall — Motherf—ers, Mandible Klaw, Western Death, Total Wolf FaceCut
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Major Love with makiisma
Casino Lethbridge — Silver Creek Band
Honker’s Pub — open mic with Aaron Landry
Club Didi — DMTV
Sterndale Bennett Theatre — One Act Play Festival
Smokehouse — Eon of Earth, Hockey Moms and Night Blade
Casino Lethbridge — Silver Creek band
Slice — Catfish Woodrow with the High Level BluesTrio
Honker’s Pub — afternoon open mic with Joe Wilson
Owl Acoustic Lounge — Sam Weber with Danny Vacon
Club Didi — Panti Raid