And then it was out into a winter wonderland, that being the first snow storm of the year, and for me at least, back to semi-hibernation. We’ve had a storm a week since that date and I’m just not encouraged to go out into the cold weather with frigid winds and treacherous walking conditions, consequently I’m feeling a little housebound and going a bit stir crazy. So, a weekend like the one just coming up is just the thing to get me back out and enjoying music and meeting people. All of a sudden there’s a lot going on and it’s too good to miss!
First of all, there’s Winterfolk (www.winterfolk.com) starting on Friday, February 22nd and running to Sunday the 24th; there’s a smorgasbord of music with plenty of names you’ll recognize and want to see again and many new acts to check out. Go to their website to review the calendar of events and plan your weekend. Planning is especially important this year because you have to work around our big Acoustic Harvest concert on Saturday, the 23rd, featuring The Slocan Ramblers (www.slocanramblers.com). The Slocan Ramblers (2019 Juno Award Nominees) are Canada’s bluegrass band to watch. Rooted in tradition, fearlessly creative and possessing a bold, dynamic sound, The Slocans have become a leading light of today’s acoustic music scene. With a reputation for energetic live shows, impeccable musicianship and an uncanny ability to convert anyone within earshot into a lifelong fan, The Slocans have been winning over audiences from Merlefest to RockyGrass and everywhere in between.
Steve Pritchard, our Bluegrass expert (one of our bluegrass experts as we also have Judy Fink who has worked very hard on this concert) was at the Folk Alliance International Conference in Montreal this past weekend and he says The Slocan Ramblers were a huge success there, (Lillian agrees!) as they have been all over North America, in Europe and the UK. Here’s what Steve had to say:
"Fresh from a killer performance at the Folk Alliance International in Montreal, the Slocan Ramblers are about to invade the Acoustic Harvest concert series on the 23rd of this month; in my humble opinion, along with the Dardanelles, the Slocan Ramblers were the glow and the glitter in Montreal; young urban folk musicians abound in Canada....we ought to celebrate each and every one of them. Slocan Ramblers are unique, they have the ability to drive bluegrass and old-time music direct to your heart through the innovative banjo playing of Frank Evans....He and his fellow Ramblers play and sing hard, clean, emotional and with heart, only a fool would miss them given the chance.”
The Slocan Ramblers will be featured on Steve Pritchard’s show “Radio Boogie” this Wednesday, February 20th. They won’t be there in person (much to Steve’s disappointment, I’ll bet), but he’ll be playing some tracks and giving some commentary. The show airs on CIUT.fm live from 3pm-6pm and will be archived on www.ciut.fm for one week after the airdate.
"They play so fast, so together that there ought to be a warning sign near the stage: "Professional musicians, do not attempt.”– Saskatoon Star Phoenix.
This show is being sponsored by The Tottenham Bluegrass Festival (June 14-16, 2019)
At this concert, we are pleased to welcome back Edmonton based singer/songwriter, and now author, Ben Sures (www.bensures.com) who will be opening for the Slocans. Ben’s book "The Boy Who Walked Backwards" was published in September 2018 and is a moving story about a young Ojibway boy, Leo, and his family in Serpent River First Nation.
The Slocan Ramblers have a great website – go there and listen to some of their music – and Lillian and I are agreed that one of our challenges in promoting our concerts this year has been that so many of our performers lack an Internet presence, something that we can share with you to entice you to come out. Mary Kelly was one of those people; we knew she was great but there was nothing there, in the air, nothing! We may have mentioned this, I don’t know, somebody might have said something, because now Mary has a website, go check it out at www.mkdivamusic.com. Well done Mary Kelly and congratulations! If you’re wondering why mkdiva? Just google Mary Kelly, they are ubiquitous, so many talented Mary Kellys and, of course, there's the unfortunate Mary Kelly who was Jack The Ripper’s last victim.
Abigail Lapelle (www.abigaillapelle.com) made an appearance at Acoustic Harvest last year, opening for Madison Violet, I think, Lillian? (Yes, says Lillian). Abigail has news - “I made a music video! Featuring the amazing Dana Sipos, with cameos from producer Chris Stringer and assistant engineer Darren McGill. This is the third and final single from my upcoming new album GETAWAY out February 1st on Coax Records. Thanks to The Bluegrass Situation for debuting the video (and, technically, my directorial debut!) along with some stray thoughts of mine, which can be found HERE. Check it out and let me know what you think!”
And Congratulations to Michelle Rumball. After a mere 10 years, Michelle has released a follow up to her CD “Welcome to the Beauty Saloon”. Her new CD "Years Behind” was released January 18th to not one, but two full houses, at The Monarch. Michelle is sounding better than ever and I wish I could have been there, but hey, doesn’t sound like they missed me.
That’s it for this month, thanks for reading and I’ll see you on Saturday.