The Robson Valley is a great place to live and make music I’ve felt very warmly welcomed by Valemount, Tete Jaune, and the Robson Valley since moving to the area. I’ve put on several shows, had jam sessions and a one-day local arts festival at the museum where I work. There are all kinds of possibilities in this area: lots of great people are doing interesting things and having wonderful, crazy ideas. If you come here interested, there’s no shortage of stuff to keep you interested.
I am no stranger to Dunster or the Robson Valley Music Festival. I grew up on the land and can remember when it was just a handful of locals creating this beautiful thing that has blossomed into the Festival it is today. Not only did I get my first taste of performing there but RVMF has put Dunster on the map and I no longer need to explain where I come from. I say Dunster and people just know from the Festival being a hit time and time again. Sasha Lewis www.sashalewis.com
Shara Gustafson of Mamaguroove
I choose to make my life in Dunster, nestled between the Cariboo and Rocky Mountains along the banks of the Fraser River. It is a special place: you can feel the energy of the earth here. The Robson Valley Music Festival is held on our property and features a beautiful stage, hand-painted by local artist Paula Scott. I make my life here because there is an underlying current of what is real, important, and why we are alive on this planet.
When in the Robson Valley pick up The Valley Sentinel for all the Valley happenings
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CO NTENTS Contributors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 & 3 What we gain and what we lose. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 BY PETER NORTH
Neverending field trip . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 BY TARIQ
This Winding Road . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 BY LINDA MCRAE
The music life and single parenthood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 BY TONE INDBRYN
Sept - Oct 2010, Issue 82 ISSN 1918 -560x 82 BC Musician Magazine is published by Patanga Steamship Co. PO Box 1150 Peachland, BC V0H 1X0 604.999.4141 www.bcmusicianmag.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan Mangan, the Calgary Folk Fest & Polaris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 BY BARBARA BRUEDERLIN
The Vinyl Word. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Publisher, Editor Leanne Nash
BY KEVIN KANE
PINUP: The Grapes of Wrath at Fusion Fest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 BY ADAM PW SMITH
The Pumpkin Patch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 BY ANA BON BON
Photos: BC Musician Magazine at summer festivals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 - 15 BY RICHARD CHAPMAN
Peer Reviews! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 - 18 BY RC JOSEPH, GRAHAM LAZAROVICH, ROWAN LIPKOVITS
Scatterheart on Haida Gwaii . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Associate Publisher, Editor Christina Zaenker Associate Editor Paul Crawford Advertising & Marketing Representatives Lower Mainland and Interior Christina Zaenker email@example.com
BY MIKE SOUTHWORTH
Ashcroft & Spences Bridge: BC’s cultural hot spot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 BY NADINE DAVENPORT
Yoga. No really, yoga . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Okanagan Mike Hamm firstname.lastname@example.org
BY MELISSA BANDURA
Absinthe for the mind and soul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 BY NEIL BURNETT
“I was just recently made aware of your publication when a friend gave me your July/Aug 2010 issue and the Summer Festival Issue as well... Very Cool. Looks like I’ll have to subscribe.” Mike Mallon, Lazy Mike and the Rockin’ Recliners, Port Alberni
Pamela Tessman (and her 6-month-old son) won tickets to the Vancouver Island Music Fest: It was an incredibly hot weekend, but with plenty of shade and cool water around (a mist tent, river, and volunteers filling up reusable water bottles for the public), musicfesters were in good spirits. With 5 stages fairly close to one another, you could catch 5 shows within an hour – without sounds clashing! Oh, and I can’t forget the kids tent! Filled with dress up clothes, arts, crafts and stories, children always had something to do. Families, teens, dancers, clappers – you name it, they were there. Thanks for the Tickets!
A Big “Thank You!” to the Vancouver Island Music Fest, Harrison Festival, Komasket Music Festival, and ArtsWells Festival of All Things Art who all gave us passes for some lucky readers. Everyone had wonderful experiences and loved the music!
Cover illustration by Richard Chapman. Canoeing the Fraser River through New Westminster, when it was the provincial capital, with legendary BC pianist Mike Van Eyes. Please send us your letters! You can also send us CDs and we’ll do our best to have them peer reviewed.
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CO NTRIBUTORS Ana Bon-Bon
is a Blues Cabaret songstress who brings down the house with her saucy, rhythmic accordion style. Currently situated betwixt London UK and Vancouver BC, Ana continues to develop her delivery of rhythmic atonal jump blues and countryfried cabaret. Never one to shy away from the humour and temporality of quivering ﬂesh and broad humanity, Bon-Bon is depth and sensuality combined. Bon-Bon’s music is a wellrounded confection- hard and bouncy on the outside and sweet and juicy within.
Kevin Kane is a professional musician
and has worn many hats over the years: songwriter, recording artist and touring musician (both solo and as vocalist/ guitarist with Capitol/ EMI’s platinum-selling The Grapes Of Wrath), record producer, session musician, lecturer, educator and has even built guitars and ampliﬁers. His latest album, How To Build A Lighthouse, was recently short-listed for a Grammy award in the Best Pop Vocal Album category.
Linda McRae spent 8 years touring the world with Platinum recording artists Spirit of the West. She has since released 3 critically acclaimed solo recordings and in 2007 was awarded a Canada Council Study Grant to work with Grammy winner Jon Vezner in Nashville, TN and clawhammer banjo aﬁcionado Brad Leftwich in Bloomington, IN. Linda was married in a bail bonds ofﬁce in Jackson, TN to James Whitmire, a retired donkey rancher-turned poet. They are working on a new CD of their own songs and a one-act play about how they met. lindamcrae.com Tariq found his way to songwriting after
completing a degree in theatre. In 1998, he released an album called The Basement Songs (EMI) that earned him a Juno nomination for Best New Artist. His passion for music led him to Vancouver in 2006 where he joined the ranks of CBC Radio 3. These days, he is writing songs for a new album and playing guitar and lap steel in the Vancouver band Brasstronaut.
When he’s not hosting his monthly “57 Varieties” open stage or the weekly all-accordion podcast at accordionnoir.org, hirsute squeezebox mogul Rowan Lipkovits can be found fronting the jug band of the damned, The Creaking Planks, or backing the Joey Only Outlaw Band.
is a Vancouver-based ﬁddler/singer-songwriter and yogi best known for her appearances with international touring jazz group the Coloriﬁcs, gypsy jazz country rocker Kent McAlister and urban folk band and CBC favorite Lily Come Down. She also does session work and would love to jam with you! Her favorite yoga classes are those where she is encouraged to never stop exploring her movement; where “held” postures become “dynamic” ﬂow.
BC Musician | September - October 2010
moved to Ashcroft in the BC’s Interior in 2008. She is a Concert & Artist Promoter, Sound & Stage Tech, Showcase Host and the creative mind & founder behind the Vancouver Women Songwriter Series ‘Grrrls With Guitars’. She is a member of the Ashcroft based Winding Rivers and Performance Society who have produced many Plays, A Solstice Festival and Music In The Park over the last 2 years in Ashcroft.
Neil Burnett has been playing his beloved celtic harp on the streets and in the halls of Vancouver for over two decades. But there’s more: Neil plays tin whistle, Irish ﬂute, organ, banjo, and a host of whimsical instruments produced by Henry Marx. He was a Junonominated member of The Paperboys and The Widdershins; has recorded with the Brothers Creeggan, Doug Cox, and Will Millar. Barbara Bruederlin is a freelance
writer in Calgary. She is trying to singlehandedly save the arts community in Canada by promoting struggling musicians and theatre troupes. Her reviews are regularly linked on the press pages of the Calgary Folk Music Festival and Sage Theatre. Barbara also maintains an insanely popular blog, Bad Tempered Zombie. Her writing has been published in Prairie Fire Magazine, Swerve Magazine, Kitschykoo! Subcultural Magazine, and Alberta Views Magazine.
BCM tix winner takes in Komasket Julia Clark
writing has appeared in The Georgia Straight, 24 Hours, and The Tyee. When he is not posing as a musical tastemaker, RC is the singer/songwriter of the Vancouver-based folkrock collective Kingsway.
Peter North is an award-winning music journalist and has been activlely promoting and reporting on music in all forms of media for over 30 years. He is the host of Dead Ends and Detours on CKUA Radio in Alberta.
Graham Lazarovich is a musician,
writer, and wise guy often located in East Vancouver. For ten years he has been wandering Paciﬁc Northwest in search of great melodies and great memories.
The Komasket Music Festival is in its ninth year of entertaining families with a vibrant local and international music scene. For me, it is my first and as a newbie I leave Vancouver on the August long weekend with hopeful thoughts. Our hatchback is jammed with camping paraphernalia. As the driver I set down some passenger rules: no kicking the back seats, and no high pitched sounds trying to resemble a wolf’s howl. As we round the corner on the final leg of the trip our first glimpse of KMF is of a giant blue and orange tent followed by sprawling tent villages and the unmistakable sound of reggae. For the weekend, the Okanagan Indian Band share their PowWow grounds with us festies. Our camp spot is nestled between a teepee and a highly ornate tarped tent. It takes a bit of time for us to get the feel of the place — but very soon, with a bit of golden dust on our ankles and a quick dip in the lake, we feel at home. The line up at KMF is impressive. Equally impressive is the genuine appeal for families. Kids are everywhere; they are freely playing, creating rain sticks and taking part in parades. I spend a good few hours being entertained by my all-time favourite, Fred Penner. There really is nothing like singing “This Little Light of Mine” with a crowd of strangers feeling like they are all your friends. The music is vibrating, electric and pounding. The music reaches everywhere. I wonder how anyone can sleep. Not many people do — remarkably my son sleeps soundly through Shane Philip’s one man high energy, drum loving, didgeridoo performance. Another highlight is Cheb i Sabbeh, an unassuming gentleman who whipped the crowd into a frenzy. We rise with the sun on Monday morning and our tent-home is bundled up for the drive back to the real world. With our expectations exceeded, my family and I leave KMF exhausted but very full of music and good times. Thanks for the tickets!
is a musician and producer based in Vancouver, BC and lives with his wife and pet iPhone (both of whom felt a little neglected during this summer’s trip to Haida Gwaii).
has been performing her music (described as Indie folk music decorated with edgy humour) for over 15 years throughout BC. She has released 2 cds “Silence” and “A Little Disgrace. She is currently working in collaboration with producer and co-writer Phil Krawczuk on her third cd.
Richard Chapman has worked with
a wide variety of great Canadian artists for nearly three decades - from the Rheostatics and Herald Nix to Moose Records and The Pointed Sticks. Currently he conducts the Northern Electric collective www. northern-electric.ca.
BC Musician | September - October 2010
WHAT WE GAIN AND WHAT WE LOSE By Peter North It’s an interesting question to be asked: “what have you gained and lost over the years”, having chosen to immerse oneself in the world of music so many years ago. There have been many chapters in my life-long love affair with this art form that moves us on deep levels. The question was posed at an interesting point in my life. I had made a decision to say farewell to what had been a quarter century of writing up to 150 music columns a year for Edmonton’s daily newspapers. Around the time I was considering shifting gears at CKUA Radio (after eight challenging, gratifying, and at times draining years of working as music director at the beloved, eclec-
tic, listener supported network) a sudden change in the economics of CKUA meant the position of music director no longer existed. “Be careful what you ask for”. Suddenly I was hosting my Dead Ends and Detours show and a new interview program called Points North. The changes in my professional life gave me the opportunity to reflect on what drew me to this world in the first place and what I needed to stay constant as a broadcaster, journalist, producer, and presenter. How could I still be properly engaged, provide support and contribute as best I can to the industry? Upon considerable reflection, when I purchased concert tickets as a teenager it was the sounds of those artists that resonated with me and led me into specific halls on specific nights. Whether it was for Neil Young, John Lee Hooker, Joy of Cooking, or The Preservation Hall
Jazz Band at Edmonton’s Jubilee Auditorium in the early seventies; artists such as Leon Redbone, The Dillards, Roland Kirk, Bob Carpenter, or Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee at a folk club called the Hovel; or major events featuring Led Zeppelin and The Byrds at cavernous all purpose halls, anticipation preceded every concert I attended. Turn the page and suddenly I was promoting shows, brokering gigs, booking talent on a syndicated television show hosted by Ian Tyson, and then accepting a job writing columns and reviews for a daily newspaper. Somewhere along the line, that sense of anticipation faded. All too often I was concerned with meeting deadlines, staying on top of assignments and trying to not drown in a deluge of reContinued on next page
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m s a B D
BC Musician | September - October 2010
Field Trip By Tariq I love those songs by Tom Waits where he’s a drifter at a diner somewhere. He’s a trucker, an ex-con down on his luck, or a divorced businessman. He is alone, always moving, trying to get to the next town. I’m forever curious about this character that speaks to the restless spirit and burning desire to escape beyond the borders of everyday routines. I’m a musician who loves the road and being on tour. I haven’t tired of it, even with salt and pepper in my beard. One of my band mates christened our recent threeweek tour “the never ending field trip.” Last fall our trips took us to Reykjavik, Iceland, and this year we’ve crossed Canada twice (four times with the return trips), and made it to Austin and New York City. Most of our touring is done in a van. There’s nothing quite like rolling into town in a big white Ford Econoline (with trailer), pulling up somewhere and feeling like “a band.” People look at us and we know they’re thinking: “Those guys are in a band.”
As we move from town to town, we have each other. We are six friends that become like family. We eat, sleep, drink, disagree, laugh (a lot) and play music together every night. We have inside jokes so inside, you’d need a degree in psychology to figure out what’s so funny. We shirk responsibilities, standing together as a force against the rational world that tells us to grow up and get a life. Sure, they may have a point, but when we’re on the road staring at a string of thirty shows ahead of us, we’re not listening to sage advice. Instead, we’re living in the moment. Tonight, I’m thinking about how wild and responsive the Hillside crowd was. I’m thinking about the next town and how much fun it’s all going to be. Reality lurks around corners everywhere, haunting gas station aisles and booths at the White Spot. But we avoid him every time and run back to the safety of the van. When I return home, I will be poorer than I was when I left, financially. I will be disoriented and jobless. But that is weeks away. Right now, I’m on tour and the envy of all my friends. I feel more alive than ever.
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Blu Hopkins & Silvercreek Original, Traditional and Contemporary Acoustic Music • Duo or Trio BCIMA Award winners 2007/2008
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What we gain and what we lose continued leases. I had lost the capacity to savour what was presented to me by so many gifted artists in concert. Our “culture of more” insists we be on top of what has just been released and know what is coming up next. We must listen to new acts whose publicists insist are another brilliant hybrid of “Johnny Cash and Tom Waits.” Now, six months after shifting gears, my pace has changed considerably. This summer I cherry-picked performances and find myself still savoring shows from Ben Harper, Levon Helm and the Steve Dawson-produced Mississippi Sheiks
tribute at the Edmonton Folk Festival. I only spent five hours at the Blueberry Bluegrass Festival (not three days) but still reflect on a set from The Gibson Brothers and a gospel show hosted by Rhonda Vincent. The icing was Jesse Winchester in the hot and humid atmosphere of The Haven, which added to the impact of his musical etchings inspired by southern culture. There were also 90 minutes of incomparable brilliance from Bill Frisell at the Edmonton Jazz Fest. So what was lost has been found. Coming full circle feels good; make that great!
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BC Musician | September - October 2010
TH IS WINDING ROAD By Linda McRae Being a parent is an amazing experience but can definitely be a challenge, especially if you’re a touring musician. If you’re a father and are away from your kids for any length of time, getting back into your family’s routine while you’ve been away can be difficult. You likely find it takes time for everyone to adjust to having you home again as schedules, routines and dynamics are sure to change somewhat while you’re gone. Having a strong foundation and good communication is extremely important. Finding out about how you and your partner feel about these things before getting into a serious relationship can save a lot of heartache. I’ve seen a lot of relationships end when one person feels the other is spending too much time away from home. Same goes for touring moms although I imagine most moms take their kids with them if possible. If you’re lucky enough to have an understanding husband/partner, and can take off on your
own from time-to-time that’s good too. If you’re both touring musicians and can manage home schooling your kids while on the road so much the better. I decided to go a bit of a different route. During the years my daughter was growing up I wasn’t a touring musician. I dropped out of school in Grade 11, got married and had my daughter. I was too young and not ready for marriage and as a result it ended after five years...my daughter was 4 and a half, you do the math! Thankfully we were able to move back in with my parents while I went to college to get my Grade 12 diploma. Awhile later I got a job at the University of Victoria Physics/Astronomy Department and we moved into a place of our own. Six years later I was hired as the Assistant to the Chairman at the UBC Theatre Department and we packed up and moved to Vancouver. Even at that some of those years were pretty lean. I can’t imagine how lean things would have been as a single mom and making my living as a touring musician. Still, they were fun years. I used to take her to band rehearsals with me and there was always music in the house. She has
the same love of music ingrained in her as I do as a result of the music that was always present in her childhood home as well as mine. Three months after my daughter moved out on her own I was asked to join Spirit of the West. Since then I’ve been on the road pretty much constantly and enjoying myself immensely. In 1997 when I recorded my first solo CD after leaving Spirit of the West, I flew her out to the recording sessions in Toronto to come sing harmonies on the CD with me. After she finished singing the first song, we both had a good cry! She sounded amazing! Colin Linden was at the helm producing the CD and said he was amazed by the blend we had. He had never recorded a mother and daughter or father and son before and said she did a good a job as the professional singers who sang on the recording. My daughter is all grown up now and has two gorgeous girls of her own. I found it extremely heartwarming when she named her two girls Aria and Harmony, both musical names. Whatever works for you, all the power to ya. Go out and make some memories on This Winding Road.
LIFE AS A SINGLE PARENT MUSICIAN By Tone Indbryn It’s a Monday night and I am sitting in a dark empty room with dirty velvet wallpaper and 70’s wrought iron decorating the entryway, hence the name of the place, “The Gate.” I am waiting for Art Bergmann to introduce me. He said, “You’re next sweetheart,” but that was an hour ago, and four people have gone on since then. Bergmann is a tall, poky and fairly
greased up character, hunched over a table with a beer bottle loosely perched in his hand. As I sit there I wonder if this beer bottle is somehow a metaphor for Mr Bergmann: How close he comes to the inevitable line of a spill? Or is it just a beer? He moves slowly onto the stage and introduces the next act; not me. It’s now been two hours. I got here early, of course, as there’s a babysitter at home. She’s only 14, and school comes early. I decide to get up and ask Mr Bergmann if I can go next since
BC Musician | September - October 2010
I need to get home to pay my sitter. He looks up at me with alcohol eyes and gives a sigh, “Yes, you’re next,” and waves me away. He then gets up and announces into the microphone: “I am trying my best to get everyone up here and some people need to go home to their babies and everyone wants to go next so, whatever, here she is Tone Inderebin.” Luckily for me I have quite an arsenal Continued on next page
Continued from previous page of songs just for these particular situations, so I started with a sweet little ditty called “Fuck Me,” continued on to a poem titled “Bone Me” and closed with a delicate tune about “PMS.” The room woke up and I got down. Mr Bergmann looked a little more sober. As I was leaving he approached me. I couldn’t hold back my frustration and let him know that as a single parent I was possibly the poorest person here, and likely the only person paying to be here. To my surprise he apologised. I told him that I hoped he would be more sensitive next time a woman said she needed to go on early. He promised he would. Art Bergmann became a little more aware that night and I became a little more confident. I raised my son in East Vancouver on my own, two broken marriages, twice to hell and back, leaving me with plenty of songwriting material in my back pocket. Being a single parent and a musician has its advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that you know how precious time is. Between work, parenting, and going to school, time was something I literally bought to pursue my art. Another advantage is you become an expert at creating something out of nothing, and turning that around into some sort of a cash or trade item. Such as the quick cash that comes from children’s entertainment shows, Farmers Markets, teaching music, and of course the old standby, busking outside the liquor store. But much in the music world happens in the evening and, well, I said it before: babysitters cost money. My son of course probably has more to say from his end on how it was being raised by a creative and very “out there” mother. I’ve performed a lot, from Music West to Music Waste, topless woman’s days, slams, festivals. My son grew up listening to instruments vibrate in his house and knows the difference between honest expression and crap. I think one of the tough parts of being a single parent is feeling invisible, that you
YES WE CAN! The First Annual “Desert Daze Music Festival” featured fantastic live music, dancing, meteor showers, and even canning workshops. Somehow Stage Manager Lisa-Marie Strauss found time to can a jar of pickles!
Festival organizers & Packing House owners Steve Rice and Paulette dance their Daze away!
Linda MacRae on stage at Desert Daze. Linda was busy this summer, performing at various BC music festivals including ArtsWells and the Robson Valley Music Festival.
don’t matter and what you are doing is of no consequence. It hasn’t been awful, just intense, like living on an electrical wire. No sick days or vacations, you are usually broke, and any cash you do have is already spent. Practicing your instrument comes at the end of the day as you nod towards sleep in front of paper, guitar in lap pencil in hand. Being a musician is not really a choice, you just are one and whether you are out playing a show or playing at home is of no
significance as music is what drives you. When I see the faces of people I touch with my songs, songs that seem to find me and then in turn find others I know, even though I am not being paid much, that what I am doing matters and that as a musician I am relevant. I look at the amazing, open person my son has grown into and I thank music. As a mother I take great comfort in this because I know that is this world money comes, people go but music sustains.
BC Musician | September - October 2010
Dan Mangan and the quest for Polaris By Barbara Bruederlin It’s 3:30 on a scorching afternoon, with not a whisper of a cloud in the sky, the sun all but boiling your eyeballs inside their parched sockets. And there, on the desiccated turf in front of Stage 4, that notoriously sun-baked spot that offers not the slightest sliver of shade, a crush of sweaty bodies are dancing, clapping, and singing joyously that robots need love too. If I wasn’t convinced before of the power that Dan Mangan has to engage an audience, I sure was now. “I was amazed everybody stuck it out,” he confides later, as we cool off by the Bow River. “It was so hot and we got a great crowd and everybody was really giving themselves to the concert.” Dan seems genuinely surprised and humbled by his reception at the Calgary Folk Music Festival, but his was certainly one of the more buzzed names on the island that weekend. At the autograph table, the throngs of fans lined up for Mangan outnumbered those waiting for Corb Lund, the day’s highly anticipated headliner. At the media tent, interview requests for a performer whose only Main Stage appearance was as a ‘tweener were the most numerous ever received. In the merch tent, he also did well, well, very well. There’s no denying that Dan Mangan’s star is steadily rising, but it hasn’t happened without a lifetime of hard work. “I’ve always had an absurd amount of ambition. There’s no reason to work any less hard at this than any other job on the planet,” he reasons. “I remember as a kid I was sweeping a deck, doing a really crappy job and my dad came out and within 10 seconds completely swept the deck. I had spent 30 minutes out there completely wallowing, pushing dust around. That was a real moment for me.”
Working hard, touring incessantly suits the gruff-voiced troubadour. Though he sings with the world-weary raspiness of an old soul, he’s a young man with fire in his eye. “As exhausted as I might get on the road, I have a big appetite for people and new experiences,” he explains. “Everywhere you go, there’s someone there to help you. When you visit someone’s hometown they want to show you all the things that most tourists miss.” Despite his hunger for travel and urging people to “get outside of their comfort zones and hometown bubbles”, Dan has some inevitable road regrets. Ironically, for someone who studied literature and for whom literature figures so prominently in his music, he has little time left for reading. “It’s actually really getting me down”. It’s not just the cedars, apparently, that he pines for. Dan has a reputation for accepting every gig and media request that comes his way. The fact that six reporters were scheduled to speak to him at 5:30pm on the final day of the Calgary Folk Festival speaks volumes about both his capacity for work and his enormous popularity. He shrugs it off matter-of-factly. “If you want to open a restaurant or if you want to sell lawnmowers, it doesn’t matter, you should have that same kind of ambition to do a good job.” He’s no stranger to accolades, but Dan maintains that having an album shortlisted for the 2010 Polaris prize “may be the coolest milestone that I’ve had yet, as an aspiring musician.” For a person who is normally so accessible, he is surprisingly tight-lipped about the odds of collecting the big prize, declining to even speculate on the outcome. “I would be happy if they didn’t even choose a winner,” he insists, when pressed. “The calibre of the bands that are on the list and on the previous shortlists … I just have so much respect for the award and for everything it stands for.”
BC Musician | September - October 2010
He may be a consummate diplomat, but Nice, Nice, Very Nice is certainly Polaris-worthy. Against a solid field of competitors, this album has the power to rip the most cynical heart into tiny shreds, with detailed observations of the sweet sorrows and painful glories of existence. The signature song, Robots, has become so much of a crowd favourite that people risk heat-stroke to participate in the inevitable sing-along. Despite popularity’s somewhat doubleedged sword, Dan is grateful for the phenomenon that Robots has become. “It’s hard not to be moved every single time, especially when people are just giving you everything.” Clearly, this crowd favourite would make a most gracious winner.
A collection of collaborations created at Wells BC during a pair of 90 minute songwriting sessions in July 2009. This unique document of time, place and cultural ecology has been preserved to exemplify a group of exceptional songs founded upon spontaneous inspiration. Featuring rare and previously unreleased songs by: Pat Buckna Bob Campbell Cameron Catalano Rocco Catalano Scott Cook Jane Eamon David Francey Tempest Gale
Amy Kebernik James Lamb David Newberry Janine Stoll Yael Wand Mike Webb Craig Werth
Includes the 2009 Arts Wells hit Trainwreck by The Triettes. This album is available online through itunes and the bizmo at gladgnome.ca. To hear samples and preambles from whence these songs were first presented in Wells visit: soundcloud.com/heartswells If you’d like to book studio time or assistance in creating a similar release, email: email@example.com A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Arts Wells Festival. Dedicated to the memory of Tempest Gale and Mike Webb.
guitars amps and accessories Richard Chapman and Reno Jack at the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival. Reno Jack is a legendary bass player and band leader who has played with Herald Nix, Handsome Ned, and his own band, The Jack Family. He recently moved back to Salmon Arm after 30 years in Toronto.
The November/December issue of BC Musician Magazine will provide aspiring festival performers, vendors, and artists with valuable tips and information on how to put together summer festival applications.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org by September 24 and you can win tickets to Abbey Road live at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre
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LIVE MUSIC EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT Outdoor Deck • Organic, Fair-Trade Coffee Live music and open Jam sessions every week Call us for details
musicians: call us if you are passing through town during the week and want a place to play!
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LINGUINI’S - 255 Vermilion for pasta and steaks!
#9 - 136 Tapton Rd • Princeton, BC
250 295 3431
BC Musician | September - October 2010
THE VINYL WORD - “THE BOX” By Kevin Kane In the summer of 1984, Chris and Tom Hooper and I loaded our crummy gear into their dad’s sedan and drove from Kelowna to Burnaby to spend the weekend recording the 4 songs that comprised our debut 12” (the sessions paid for with monies garnered from yard sales and the selling my father’s extensive collection of jazz albums). While this would be the first time any of my own performances were to be committed to vinyl, Chris and Tom had released a 5 song 7” some 3 years earlier with their punk band, Gentlemen Of Horror. I had been envious of this achievement ever since the day that a box of 200 records (the minimum order) arrived from Praise Records – a pressing plant in California who mostly did Christian records. Then we all sat around Chris’ bedroom, listening to it over and over while we hand drew the labels (they had gone for plain white labels, saving something like $10 in printing costs. Ironically, an original copy of this record can now fetch over $500). The record didn’t sound at all hi fi – it had been recorded in a few hours on a 1/4” 4 track machine – but to us it sounded incredible because the music was COMING OUT OF THE GROOVES! This time around we were pulling out all the stops: a couple of 8-hour sessions, recording onto a single roll of 2”/24 track tape that was all we could afford (we had chosen the songs we would record based upon how long they were, so that we could squeeze every possible second out of the 16 minutes recording time that single roll would allow). But compared to how Gentlemen Of Horror’s session went down, in our minds this was practically “Dark Side Of The Moon”. Although we had planned to get it pressed ourselves, the engineer we’d hired to mix it passed a cassette copy onto the founders of a fledging label in Vancouver: Nettwerk Records. They offered to release it, so not only did we have a real 12” record coming out, but now someone else was actually footing (part of) the bill! I have to say I’ve never been as excited about hearing my own music as I was on the morning of Saturday, December 1, 1984, when I returned from the Greyhound station with a cubic foot box containing 100 copies of our selftitled debut EP, and my band mates and I gathered in my bedroom to crack open and play the first copy. These ones even had printed labels – we had hit the big time! Over the course of the following year, I got to know those hundred-count record boxes all too well: after the band had relocated to Vancouver, I took on the job of “head of local distribution” for Nettwerk, which essentially meant taking the Robson bus down to the handful of record stores along Sey-
BC Musician | September - October 2010
mour and Granville that were willing to stock independent product. For this I received 25¢ per copy sold, which wasn’t bad considering Nettwerk’s profit margin was about $1 per record (in writing this now I feel kind of like an old man talking about driving his Model T down to the Five and Dime…). So why le trip “nostalgique”? In last month’s column I told of my decision to greatly pare down my vinyl collection in preparation for a move out to Toronto, eliminating those records I no longer play, nor could ever envision playing again. At that time, I had restricted myself to bringing whatever fit into a couple of old skool Dairyland crates (from before they altered their size slightly in the early 1980s so that folks wouldn’t steal them for exactly this purpose: holding records). However, it recently became clear that my car was on its last legs (or wheels) and very likely wouldn’t survive this cross Canada odyssey. So rather than allowing myself to bring whatever I could cram into my 1991 Civic – and I most certainly would have cheated my 2 crate restriction by stuffing albums in any available nook or cranny twixt other belongings – I’ve decided to limit my vinyl to whatever will fit into one of those cardboard cubes I used to hoist around Vancouver back in the mid 80s. Then while at a local rent-a-car business that also sells moving supplies, I noticed that they sold a “1 ½ cubic foot” box that measured 12 ½ by 12 ½ by 16 ¾ inches. That’s an extra 4 ½ inches for those playing along at home - well worth the $2.95! I had already made a couple of heroic cuts through my vinyl: from the initial 1500 down to 500, and a second pass that chopped that number in half. I had also started to wean myself off vinyl: amazingly, I haven’t listened to music on anything other than my iPhone in months. At one time this would have sounded horrifying, but now it just seems practical (despite the part of me, deep within my psyche, huddled in the fetal position, eyes shut tight and fingers in ears...). But now it was crunch time and I needed to decide what was going to be shipped across Canada to me, an odd sort of dilemma considering I won’t have a turntable to play them on once they get there. So do I disqualify a record from inclusion based upon whether or not I have already it on my hard drive? What about albums I’ve kept just for that one amazing song? Or those I’ve hung onto because they “changed my life” when I was younger but would quite likely never be played again (except if I was feeling especially sentimental and/or had been drinking)? And what about records that were obscure, hard to find, have a cool jacket, or were manufactured in another country?” And why the hell do I still swoon hopelessly over British pressings in their shiny sleeves?? No - this is not going to be easy. But that first Grapes Of Wrath EP will most definitely be making it into the box…which to be honest, I don’t think I’ve played since the 80s.
WEst Coast Music awards
BC nominees Congratulations to our BC Musicians who are nominated for a 2010 West Coast Music Award! The Music Awards will be presented in Kelowna during BreakOut West 2010 on Sunday October 24th. For the first time in the award’s eight year history they will be broadcast in English on CBC Television and in French on Radio Canada. BreakOut West runs from October 21st to 24th, 2010. This festival runs over three nights in nine of Kelowna’s finest music venues, and also features workshops, Western Canadian Music Industry Awards and more. For more on the BreakOut West Festival and Conference and The Western Canadian Music Awards visit www.breakoutwest.ca Aboriginal Recording of the Year Wayne Lavallee – Trail of Tears Blues Recording of the Year * all BC artists! Colin James – Rooftops and Satellites David Gogo – Different Views Jim Byrnes – My Walking Stick Rich Hope & His Evil Doers – Rich Hope Is Gonna Whip It On Ya The Jimmy Zee Band – Devil Take Me Down Rock Recording of the Year Bif Naked – The Promise Said the Whale – Islands Disappear Yukon Blonde – Yukon Blonde You Say Party – XXXX Roots Duo/Group Recording of the Year Carolyn Mark & NQ Arbuckle – Let’s Just Stay Here Dustin Bentall – Six Shooter The Sojourners – The Sojourners
The Grapes of Wrath backstage at Fusion Fest Surrey, BC July 18, 2010 www.bcmusicianmag.com · www.adampwsmith.com
Roots Solo Recording of the Year Dan Mangan – Nice, Nice, Very Nice Songwriter of the Year Dustin Bentall Colin James Dan Mangan World Recording of the Year Ivan Tucakov and Tambura Rasa – Tambura Rasa Beats Alpha YaYa Diallo – Immé Live Music Venue of the Year Biltmore Cabaret The Commodore Ballroom The Habitat
Producer of the Year Ben Kaplan Ryan Dahle Vince R. Ditrich
Country Recording of the Year Whiskey Jane – Things Left Unsaid
Independent Record Label of the Year Black Hen Music Mint Records
Francophone Recording of the Year Will Stroet – Dans mon jardin Rap/Hip Hop Recording of the Year Cityreal – The Beginning
BC BCMusician Musician | | September September- -October October 2010 2010
Down at the ‘ol pumpkin patch By Ana Bon Bon Have You Tried the Patch Yet? Stories from the Other Side... There is a place where many Vancouver musicians find themselves every year. It’s big, it’s orange, and it’s called the Pumpkin Patch. “October is here!” I always cheer, because it means a month of homemade pumpkin soup and eating even more than the usual amount of raw garlic (to fend off vampires). Every October for the past 20 years, Vancouver musicians have worked their way through the season by playing music for children, families, and all sorts of people at the Richmond Country Farms. You never know who is actually inside the dancing Polly Pumpkin and Corny Corn suits, channeling the spirits of fantastic farm vegetables. It could be me, Ana Bon-Bon! I consider it a serious notch in my performers belt: bouncing around in the hot suit for hours without making a peep. The Farm is a family-run operation, home to delicious, affordable, locally grown fruit and vegetables. Tucked away behind the market is the “Pumpkin Patch” where for under $10 a head, the real fun begins! First you’ll pass animal pens with llamas, horses, chickens, ducks, and ponies. Next you’ll cross the wagon trail, and bridge across the little duck pond, entering a southern delta-style mini farm complete with tiny bayou houses on the pond, and a log cabin cantina on the left. You may not notice, however, as your eyes fill with visions of dancing pumpkins and talking cornstalks. The covered wagon will take you out to the ‘Pumpkin Patch’ where you can pick a pumpkin to take home with you (part of the price of admission). You will be entertained with music from the Stephen Foster songbook along the way, so please sing along – the more out of key, the better! Just re-
member the Patch rule: insert the word “pumpkin” as many times as possible in every song. Hosting each covered wagon is an oldtime musician singing, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” thirty times a day for three weeks every October. That’s US – your BC Musicians! We are in the bright orange hoodie sweaters, so you can’t miss us. We’ve also got 20 pounds of long johns on for those cold rainy days. The wagons have been commandeered, under false monikers, by the likes of Gary Comeau, Rob Thompson, Stephen Nikleva, Gerry Barnum, Paul Pigat, Linda McRae, Revellie Nixon, Joanie Keopler, Jimmy Roy Kinloch, Amelia Rose Slobogean, Sandy Scofield, Petunia, Howard Rix, Joey Only, Lorne Warr, Anna B., Dave Paterson, Michael Simpson, Alison Jenkins, yours truly, and many, many more professional musicians. You might see Mr. Howard Rix go completely rock and roll, falling on bended knee at the head of the wagon, giving his all; or the incredible Jack Velker, who once graced the stages of the Patch – he’s the ONLY person allowed to smoke amongst the hay bales. I still get to be Ana Bon-Bon instead of the requisite Hick-name (although I once introduced myself to the wagon, saying: “Hi, I’m Ana Bon-Bon!”
BC Musician | September - October 2010
and someone who’d apparently heard of my great fame growled: “No, you’re NOT!” “Yes, I really am!” sez I. Sheesh!). The musicians ride round and round, sometimes not leaving the wagon except when nature calls. When they are done, watch them spring back to life and emit a hoarse ‘Yeehaaa!’ to take us to the Pumpkinlandofdreams. Now that’s devotion! We’re off! Everybody scream YEEEHHAAAAA and hold on as the tractor driver pops the clutch and everyone jerks forward with the force of a whipsaw. The wagons are crowded on weekends so late afternoons are the best time to visit, although pumpkin pickings may be slimmer. Fun-loving folks come here every year as a tradition to get their Hallowe’en pumpkins. Famous people even come to the Patch. “C.J.” rides my wagon almost every year. Who is that? (Hint: he’s got
a Gretsch guitar sponsorship). Yes, that’s right – Colin James! I keep hoping he will hear my sexy, tractor-diesel-soaked voice and rescue me from the wagon… but it hasn’t happened yet. If you come too late in the season you may be stepping in rotten pumpkin juice, fighting crows to get the last unseeded pumpkin, and wiping out in the mud, which is everywhere (it’s a FARM, people!). It always takes twice as long to board the wagons on weekends because parents don’t share or listen as well as kids do. When disembarking from the ark (I mean, wagon), be careful: those steps are muddy and slippery! Everyone thinks it won’t happen to them – while carrying a 30 pound pumpkin, two children, video camera and diapers, wearing plastic bags on their feet, despite offers to help, many people take a bumpy ride to the ground! Some people are so keen to capture their experience in videographic splendour, they film every detail: walking up the steps of the wagon, baby crying, musicians coughing, tractor farting, and so on. All kinds of exciting things happen at the Pumpkin Patch. Once upon a time, a group of primary school children had
Polly (me) flanked and surrounded, and succeeded in spinning the pumpkin suit with their collective hands until Polly fell down in dizziness. Their power was truly amazing. Innocent kids? My pumpkin ass! Children are often uncontrolled and abusive. But with luck, veteran PPatch musicians Jumpin’ Joanie and Our Boss Revellie Rooster would catch sight of Polly or Corny going down or taking a more serious beating, and run to the rescue yelling: “NO! DO NOT Beat the Pumpkin!” There are legendary stories of workers who got the hard rubber boot from the Patch (a proud bunch in themselves). A certain respected BC musician, shall we call her Miss Pandy Pofield, was ceremoniously ousted after asking the children: “Would you like to pick a pumpkin THIS big?” demonstrating with the impressive example of her grand belly removed from behind its denim and orange hoodie curtain for all to see. Ha! Others have followed in this fashion. Mr. Paul Pigat abandoned his post after being told he Could Not Under Any Circumstances continue to play “Happy Trails.” This is like telling Big Bird he cannot whistle “Sesame Street.” Pigat jumped wagon, never to return. Miss Joani Bye and I got chased ‘round the wagon trail for playing the expressly forbidden “Rockabye Boogie” and I once witnessed hardcore Patch veteran and usually serene wagoneer Gary Comeau scare a little boy into tomorrow after being pestered to the point of threatening bodily harm. All in good fun! The upside of the job? The occasional darling child who only wants to hold Polly’s hand, but will not let go – ever! For some years the Patch was open for business at night. Flashlights, trios on the wagons, a fire-pit, and the moon made for truly fabulous pumpkin hunting and an Autumnal mood. Riding along the dark path and haunted trail, you’d see flaming cornstalks and jack-o-lanterns in the trees; occasionally one would catch fire – a real farm hoo-ha! There was also
an old cartoon-like graveyard with a real live man wearing a ‘Jason’ mask and holding a machete. Too scary for me! On my ‘last year’ playing, I bet the Rooster that I’d wrangle a kiss from the eldest farmboy before leaving the Patch forever! I also told my fellow victims of these Happy Trails, “If you see me up on that wagon again, you’d better shoot me off it.” But each year I find myself heading to the land of pumpkins to sing for eager pickers in the liquid sunshine, to earn my way in squash and greenbacks and hone my country chops, rain or shine. Alas, the Pumpkin Queen’s castle has fallen into disarray, plastic bags may litter the patch, Polly Pumpkin may appear a little less jolly after her hard life of abuse, and we may hear an occasional curse falling from Corny Corn’s puffy green lips, but the Pumpkin Patch rocks on, spirited by those who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of old-time goodness, music, pleasure, and money for rent. After all is said and done, being outside in the crisp fall air on a farm with the great music of banjos, accordions, fiddles, and guitars played by a dedicated and talented bunch, accompanied by occasionally enthusiastic sing-a-longers, is unbeatable at any price. On weekends there is a band on the bandstand, and there is even a corn maze and hayfight tent to lose your family in! So it is a beautiful time of harvest, change, and celebration in a complicated and material world. Thank You, Richmond Country Farms! Oh, I’m getting nostalgic! It’s an AMaze-ing Place! RICHMOND COUNTRY FARMS Website: countryfarms.ca Take the Steveston Hwy exit from 99, Richmond side of the Massey Tunnel. City bus transport available. Open every mid-October to Hallowe’en. Call Ahead! Ana Bon-Bon is currently living in London, England and is searching for a replacement orange hoodie.
BC Musician | September - October 2010
summer festival roundup!
Festival volunteers checking in at Shambhala Music Festival, August 7, 2010, after hitchhiking from ArtsWells
The Sandman, aka, The Rapping Cowboy at ArtsWells Festival, August 2, 2010 Shelley Eckstein, stage manager at Surrey Fusion Fest, July 18, 2010
The Kerplunks autographing at Salmon Arm Roots and Blues August 14, 2010
BC Musician | September - October 2010
Ruthie Tabata and Paul Willinsky camping at Shambhala Music Festival, August 7, 2010
Bob Blaue, banana man, at Robson Valley Music Festival, August 21, 2010, with an all-star jam on stage
Andrea, Moon, and friend at Surrey Fusion Fest, July 18, 2010
Festival Arts Caravan at Robson Valley Music Festival, August 22, 2010
BC Musician | September - October 2010
album reviews! Colourful Noises Blind Horses Produced by Moravia Records By RC Joseph Blind Horses’ Colourful Noises actually came out late last year, but I didn’t cover it then because I have a rule about not reviewing debut recordings that are EPs. The jaded music writer inside me questions artists that can’t put together enough songs for an album. Lazy? Over-anxious? Underfunded? I don’t care. I just figure if they can’t make the extra effort, why should I? But alas, the subtle brilliance of Colourful Noises has won me over, so I am going to make an exception to my uptight rule for the following three reasons: 1) Daniel Josok, Danny Majer and Peki Hadhukovic were all still in high school when they released this collection of hibrow garage goodness. There are not a lot of artists out there writing songs this good
before they’re old enough to vote. 2) These songs take me back to the brilliance of such 90s (often overlooked) legends as Pavement, Possum Dixon, Spoon and even Archers of Loaf. Colorful Noises is rich with hook and energy and wordplay. (Likely due in part to the soulful lo-fi approach of producer Craig McCaul.) The opening track ‘Lost Inside Your Neighbourhood’ skips along with Breeders-esque swagger, ‘Spring Season Girl’ could have easily sat in at track 5 on Slanted and Enchanted, and the title track conjures up audio images of Eels, Grandaddy or even early Beck. I guess this is relative to an old rocker like me being influenced by Led Zeppelin or The Animals back in the day, and I am loving it. The cyclical nature of pop culture has put my musical tastes on the cutting edge once
again. Now if only my wardrobe could experience the same resurgence. 3) It’s seven songs, dammit. One more would have squeaked them over the EP/ LP line in my opinion. They could have even done a cover. Perhaps a Pavement cover. Problem is they might have done it better than the original. So yeah, Blind Horses – worth breaking the rules for. Put these kids on your watch list.
Block Treat Brandom Hoffman Produced by Social Life
by Graham Lazarovich A Block Treat is a yummy goody you pack with you to the cut block when you’re treeplanting. Block Treat is the project of soundsmith Brandon Hoffman. You might say this is Brandon’s attempt at making electronic music with soul. Brandon has spent the last few years producing records at Gladgnome Studios in Vancouver for such artists as Colin Easthope, Soft Serve and Myriam Parent. Through all the recording he wound up with all sorts of rejected musical bits on his hard drive, so he used his MPC, a device which he says “to-
tally changed the way I thought about making music,” and patched together a bunch of quirky sequences. He then overdubbed whatever instruments into the mix as he thought necessary and arranged it all into a cohesive whole. This record really blurs the lines between organic music and electronic. It’s sequenced organic music — it’s organic electronic. He gives you lush and pleasing sounds, but then bends them to Jupiter and back. You get bits of banjo set manipulated backing vocals, backwards horn samples with field recordings of people laughing, and mind bending sonic experiments set to cataclysmic breakbeats.
BC Musician | September - October 2010
Brandon kept an open mind about where the songs were going to take him, so there’s nothing predictable on this record. It’s bouncy, it’s tender, it’s earthy, it takes you to space. I’d say it’s reminiscent of Amnesiac without the gloom, Four Tet or Amon Tobin. Social Life can be downloaded for a mere $4.50 at www.blocktreat.ca
t e n s s e
Queen mary trash Rodney DeCroo Produced by Northern Electric By RC Joseph I am listening to the new Rodney DeCroo double album, Queen Mary Trash when an unsolicited opinion is offered. “His songwriting sounds too much like Bob Dylan.” Stu-fucking-pid. That’s akin to saying someone’s cooking tastes too much like Wolfgang Puck’s. Granted, right from the opening title track DeCroo’s smooth growl is reminiscent of Mr. Zimmerman, and perhaps that is the catalyst behind such a comparison, but let’s face it: folk rock has been around a long time and by this point everyone is gonna sound a bit like someone. And if we’re going to play that game, let’s at least be accurate. With all due respect to Dylan, there is something decidedly more soulful yet pleasantly ur-
gent about DeCroo’s delivery. He doesn’t sound like Dylan. From toe-tappers such as ‘Riverboat’ to the 70s radio classic ‘Van City’ DeCroo actually sounds more like a male Stevie Nicks with a pinch of Boz Scaggs. And who wouldn’t rather listen to that? Particularly when coupled with the craftsmanship of DeCroo’s lyrics, the simple yet varied arrangements, and the always-tasteful approach of producer/guitarist Jon Wood. And while the double album is an always overwhelming undertaking in so far as keeping the listener engaged with relevant material (honestly, how many different songs can most artists write?), DeCroo and company keep it swinging right through disc two with near-psychedelic country frenzy, though always holding back just enough, keeping the lyrical
craft in the forefront. It’s a fine collection of ditties bound to make your late-summer shortlist. In a dustbowl of a creative era when Hollywood remakes classics and cookie cutter “songwriters” are smug and/or ignorant enough to cover untouchable songs, it is refreshing to see an artist inspired to be so prolific. And wasn’t that supposed to be the point all along? Bob Dylan thinks so.
Against all odds, Prince George’s native son Scotty Dunbar has honed his songwriting chops as a street performer on the indifferent trottoirs of Montreal, cementing his tremendous development over the past two years. Rather than passively wait for people to give him their attention, he girded himself for battle and boldly went forth to TAKE it, spectacularly binding his legs in chains and mousetraps for a percussion grudge match. Beneath his feet, baking sheets and a suitcase kick-drum thunder like a summer storm. Then he opens up his mouth and the mad wisdoms spill out like driving rain, spurred on by guitar and accordion. The recordings on this gutsy double album capture the greatest extent of his one-man-band’s bombast as well as
more intimate renditions not possible in the roar of the mean streets. Copping surprisingly much from the basic hiphop songbook, his playful lyrical flow is reminiscent of early CR Avery. Standouts “Tinfoil Hat” and “I’m Dick Cheney” let you know right away that the songs won’t be navel-gazing ballads, instead both engaging the world we all live in and interpreting it in a unique and creative way.
One Man Band Scotty Dunbar by Rowan Lipkovits Buskers have a critical window of about fifteen seconds to persuade passing pedestrians to part with some pocket change. This doesn’t inspire many to cultivate an extensive songbook, and some can actually be seen idling on a chord before kicking into their best quarter-minute of Rolling Stones as a potential mark passes by, then reverting to the holding pattern until another pair of bulging pockets ambles by. Not an environment hospitable to the gradual workshopping of original material; genius needs to emerge fully developed or the hungry songwriter’s quarter will instead end up in the hat of the panhandler down the block.
BC Musician | September - October 2010
album reviews! To You Steph Macpherson
by Graham Lazarovich Since To You came out Steph Macpherson has had a great year. For one, she won an online competition for the right to play at this Summer’s Lilith Fair festival in North Vancouver. She also qualified in the top 20 of the Peak Performance Project organized by 100.5 FM The Peak and Music BC. To You, Macpherson’s second EP, features 6 original songs performed on guitar and vocals supported by drums, bass and a tasteful sprinkling of strings, electric guitars, organ and piano in just the right places. The opener “Best of Us,” about keeping your cool in troubled times, sets you up and “Keep-
ing Time,” her hit, knocks you down. Macpherson’s voice is clear, welltrained and hauntingly beautiful, and her vocal melodies are deadly infectious. She alternates between quirky pop tracks and down-tempo contemplative waltzes. Her lyrical content shifts from sincere personal tales that somehow draw in the listener to endearing observations on the world and its inhabitants. My favourite chorus of hers goes: “Ah oh, listen / there are parts you’re missin’ / if you’re always talkin’ / over everything”. Steph Macpherson is from Victoria, and seems to somehow draw from the power of the ocean. Not only are her
BC Musician | September - October 2010
lyrics spattered with ocean imagery, but her rolling waltzes, like the title track “To You”, actually resemble the ebb and flow of the waves. “To You” is available at her shows. You can also hear the whole thing at: myspace.com/stephmacphersonmusic
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BC Musician | September - October 2010
JOURNEY TO THE EDGE O F THE WORLD scatterheart on HAIDA GWAII By Mike Southworth It’s 7am and I should be asleep. Unfortunately, I’m in an airport lineup frantically trying to shuffle items between my carry-on and checked bags. Our checked bags have to weigh 40lbs or less and at last weigh in mine is almost double that! Packing for a flight is made even more difficult if you’re flying to a show. In addition to your clothes you have instruments, pedalboards and merchandise. But with Scatterheart we have the added weight of our costumes and our singer Jesse’s wings (which unfortunately are not light as a feather). I try to explain that since Jesse weighs less than most people we should get some bonus baggage but that idea is quickly rejected. So I shuffle. Having passed grade 4 science I know that moving items from your checked bag to your carry-on isn’t really reducing weight at all, but the airline seems to be happy with this solution so I go with it. Even before boarding the plane I can tell this will be a very different experience from our previous ‘fly in’ shows. There are no scanners, metal detectors or dreaded shoe examinations. Even my carefully packed ziplock baggie filled with liquids and gels under 100ml goes unchecked! As I approach the entrance to the tarmac I’m met by a lone security guard who gives me a passing glance before waving me through. I imagine this must be what it was like to fly in the 1970s - ‘the golden age of man’, where rock bands were gods, drugs weren’t addictive, any sex was safe sex and you could walk on an airplane without 45 minutes of examination. It must have been fun, minus the everyone smoking everywhere part. We walk out to our plane, a small twin prop which the inflight magazine later tells me is a Saab 340. The magazine also boasts that only 400 were ever made as if to reinforce any doubts the passenger may have about Saab’s ability to make an airplane. However, the flight is smooth and surprisingly quiet. As we descend through the cloud cover it looks like a scene from Jurassic park; an endless expanse of ocean broken up by the hundreds of small rainforest islands that make up Haida Gwaii. The area used to be known as The Queen Charlotte Islands but was renamed this June to the Haida name for ‘Islands of the People.’
BC Musician | September - October 2010
Photo by Tom Smith
Our plane lands on a small runway and we pull up to a building that looks more like an old log cabin than an airport terminal. We load into a mini-bus and just start to spread out when our driver tells us we have to pick up a few more passengers on the way; 5 retired women with their mountain bikes! We help them squeeze their bikes and bags into the bus and begin the hour-long drive from Massett to Tlell, a town of only a few hundred people that has hosted The Edge of the World Festival for almost 30 years. The festival is staged in a large circular clearing in Naikoon provincial park surrounded by tall trees with a river on one side and the North Pacific Ocean on the other. Roeland, one of the festival’s main directors, proudly shows us to a large moveable semi truck stage with lights and sound attached. It’s their first year with this setup and we’re thankful to have such professional equipment in this remote location. The Edge of the World is run by a large group of music loving volunteers; even the security guard sits strumming old country songs on a beat up acoustic as we pass by. After dropping off our gear we hike down a trail through moss-covered trees and salal bushes towards ocean. The scenery is instantly reminiscent of the paintings of Emily Carr, who’s paintings were inspired by these islands. You can tell it gets windy here; most trees only have a few branches left, all pointing away from the strong northeasterly wind. After crossing desert-like dunes we come upon an endless sand beach littered with smooth pastel stones, stringy red seaweed and bleached crab shells. We have an impromptu beach-yoga session and then return to the festival. The music is already underway so we find ourselves a log
Photo by Jason Shafto, Full Moon Photo.
to sit on and enjoy the performances of some local acts and a few out-of-town performers like Kinnie Starr and FM Hi Low. Just before it’s time for us to play we’re treated to a lantern parade where 50 locals of all ages carry coloured paper lanterns of all shapes and sizes. It’s a beautiful sight. We take the stage to a pretty good sized crowd made up mostly of families. As we begin to play the scene instantly changes to what seems like a Scatterheart flash mob. It’s as if 100 youths were hiding in the bushes waiting for us to play; the dance floor is packed with smiling faces. The Haida Gwaii people turn out to be one of the most appreciative audiences we’ve ever seen, dancing, cheering and singing along late into the starry night. Exhausted, we drag our feet the five minute walk to our accommodations; not a hotel, but tents tucked between the forest and a long vegetable garden. As someone who loves camping but doesn’t get to do much of it, I savour the quiet and the sweet smell of cedar on the air while I drift off to sleep. The next morning we put on workshop to teach people how to make mini versions of the Scatterheart wings costume. I can’t help but smile as I see kids and adults alike happily working on their own feathery creations. A few hours later, during our daytime performance, the new members of the love rock revolution parade proudly in their handmade costumes. Af-
ter our set we are treated to a Haida closing ceremony with traditional song and dance. They even invite Jesse, still in his costume, to come sing along. The minute the crew start taking down microphones the Haida Gwaii clouds open up and we get our first rainforest downpour of the trip. It’s as if the festival organizers made a deal with mother nature, “Give us these three days and then you can pummel us all you want.” We put on our rain jackets, pack up our instruments and head back to the camp. Kirsten, who owns the property we’re camping on, kindly invites us in her house to warm up with a cup of tea and as I contently settle into the couch I realize this is my first time indoors during the whole trip. No phone, no email, no driving; I haven’t even opened my wallet in 3 days. It has been glorious. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and after another night in the tent, listening to the thick raindrops on the tarp above me, we’re back on a plane to Vancouver. As the airplane touches down I feel like I’m coming home from a yearlong trip around the world. Haida Gwaii is as magical, eye-opening and beautiful a place as any I’ve ever travelled to but it’s the kindness and warmth it’s people that makes me long to visit there again soon. Luckily for us in Vancouver, the edge of the world is only two hours away.
BC BCMusician Musician | | September September- -October October 2010 2010
BC’s Interior “H ot SPot” By Nadine Davenport BC’s Interior is turning literally into a ‘hotbed’ of music organizers, top-notch artist touring and recording opportuniAshcroft story goes here. Hoping for a photo. ties. Ashcroft, Spences Bridge, Kelowna & Merritt seem to be brewing a wicked blend of music and creative arts as of late. Exciting times are ahead as we create new opportunities and believe in the old ones to see them through to another incarnation. Festivals, Music In The Park, House Concerts and that ‘ol Opera House is being talked about again here in the ‘croft. The towns of Ashcroft and Spences Bridge share a growing number of dedicated event organizers including Steve Rice and his gang at Packing House, and in Ashcroft a new Society called “the Winding River Arts and Performance Society.” House concerts are a fascinating, growing trend that allows small acts to perform shows for intimate, attentive audiences in the livingrooms of fans. It is a chance to catch a worldclass performer up-close and personal. In Ashcroft, Creative Cow House Concerts (that’s me) has been co-presenting these shows in coordination with Home Routes in Winnipeg for the last 2 years. Since the closure of the Ashcroft Opera House,
for a night with
Doc MacLean October 23rd
The Packing House An original Apple Packing House brought back to its storied past. This historic landmark of Spences Bridge is a favourite Cafe for locals and travelers alike. The Packing House is a friendly country establishment depicting the vast history of the famous Widow Smith apples and Spences Bridge, a small desert like community located where the Thompson and Nicola Canyons meet!
Located in downtown Spences Bridge just off the #8 and #1 Highways on Riverview Avenue Monthly music dinner shows ◆ Contact us to book your show! 3705 Riverview Ave, Spences Bridge, BC (250) 458-2256 ◆ firstname.lastname@example.org
BC Musician | September - October 2010
these shows have been what keep the music and hope alive and flowing within this small, supportive community. Last season, we ended with a bang with Ken Whitely. Home Routes must be doing something right as they now have now 2 circuits running through BC. (www.homeroutes.ca). Our next season starts in September with a fabulous guitarist and songwriter from London, ON: Kristin Sweetland. If you missed the first annual Desert Daze Music Festival in Spences Bridge (August 13-15) you missed a real treat: fabulous non-stop live music in a beautiful venue with perfect weather that included nightly meteor showers. The Festival boasted 14 Vendors & 14 performers including headliners Gary Fjellgaard and Jason Burnstick, Nashville transplant and ‘ol friend, Linda McRae, and acts from Vancouver and all across BC. Combining many styles of Music, including First Nations drumming and opening/closing prayers, the festival simply looked good and appeared to be doing all the right things. With attendee numbers peaking at 275 on the Saturday night, Steve “was pleased with the layout of the Festival and how everyone came together.” As every festival has many learning curves its first year, Steve told me that his festival organizers participated in a story telling circle, all expressing what they had just experienced together and sharing many new dreams for next year. That’s what music festivals are really: a perfect dreamlike state that is peaceful in its intent, and never ending in our communal desire to come together- if only for that perfect storm of a mere three days. Certainly it left me understanding this. The know-how and commitment of the organizers was very impressive and it’s exciting for everyone to have a new summer festival on the circuit. See you there next year!
post-festival yoga recovery
Pose 1: Cross-legged Forward Fold (Variation: Square pose). Sit down with your legs crossed, one in front of the other. If it feels like it’s too much work for your back to stay sitting, simply sit on a cushion to elevate your hips (Pose 1a). Slowly walk your hands forward until you feel that great stretch in your gluts, or hamstrings, or lower back (maybe even upper back by this point in the festival game!) (Pose 1b). If you’re not feeling anything, try moving your ankles and feet further from you, towards the front of your mat (or practice space). Your shins may even be able to become parallel with the front edge of the mat. If you still don’t feel anything, try coming into square pose by stacking your front chin shin! directly on top of your other shin (so your legs are stacked ankle to knee) (pose 1c). If this just isn’t working for your knees, try uncrossing your legs and coming into an extended leg forward fold (Pose 1d). Pose 2: Heart Opener (Variation: with Hero pose). Sit crosslegged with a cushion elevating your hips (if you don’t like crossed legs, try sitting with your legs outstretched and wide, making a V shape with your legs (Pose 2a). To open your chest area, take your arms behind your back and grab opposite elbows (Pose 2b) or if you can go further, try interlacing opposite hands’ fingers behind you, trying to press the palms together. Now try lifting your chest to the sky and dropping your chin to your chest, to take stress off of your neck. If you want to go further with opening your knees, try hero pose while opening your heart, and simply kneel (as seen in Pose 2b). Pose 3: Standing Neck Opener. Standing with your legs hip-
. j e s s h i l l . ca
We’ve all been there: making rockstar moves with our instruments for the music-loving, dancing crowds. Motioning wildly with our fiddle bows, do-si-doing around our standup basses, ferociously plucking our banjos, craning our necks to sing 5 part harmony around a condenser mike, and dancing crazily to other bands until the wee hours of the morning. Yup, the body takes a lot. So how do we recoup? Besides our well-needed week of sleep after festival season, Yoga can help stretch the kinks out of our bodies. Try these simple poses at home and your body may love you enough to get you through the next festival season...hey, it’s only 10 months away!
By Melissa Bandura
width apart, with slightly bent knees (to take the pressure off of your hips): take your Right hand to your Left ear. Use your hand to bend your neck towards your Right shoulder. If this feels good, press down with your left hand heel, like your pressing on a table (Pose 3a). Ahhh, feels good, right? Hold here for a while then try the other side. Pose 4: Recovery pose (Supine Butterfly). Lying on your back (but try to stay awake!), bend your knees and touch your feet together. Now make a diamond shape with your legs by letting your knees fall away from each other and still having your feet lightly stay in contact with each other. If your knees feel like they have to work to stay in a diamond shape, put a block or cushion under each knee to support yourself. It may also feel really good to take a small cushion underneath your heart (right in line with your shoulder blades, no lower than that) to open your chest area (Pose 4a). Et Voila! You are fixed, or at least more open!
A hopeful melancholy carried by the melodies of folk noir
LIVE at BREAKOUT WEST October 21st, 2010 BC Musician | September - October 2010
The taboo secret By Neil Burnett Some years ago I had what I believed was my first introduction to Absinthe, the Green Fairy. I had settled into a deep burgundy leather chair in the dark and sexy Jupiter Lounge with my old friend, Ramsey. For $10 each, we would finally enter the decadent world of those 19th century Bohemians we believed had first been inspired and then driven mad by the wild and dangerous ancestor of Pernod and pastis. Our earnest hopes were only heightened by the ritual our hostess led us through. A pitcher of water, two tumblers topped with very exotic slotted spoons, a dish of sugar cubes with tongs, a box of matches, and a bottle of something so unearthly in its sheer blue-greenness that it belonged in a classic Star Trek episode were brought on a tray and placed methodically on the table. After an ounce of the stuff had been poured into each of our glasses, we were directed to place a sugar cube on our spoons, dip the sugar into the absinthe, place the spoon on the rim of the glass, and then light the sugar. It was quite a show: a blue and yellow flame burned steadily as the caramelized sugar dripped slowly into our tumblers. Finally, we added water “to taste.” And what a taste! For those uninitiated into the dubious pleasures of “Bohemian style” absinthe, imagine a cocktail of cough syrup, rotgut vodka, caramel, and something so tremendously bitter that our tongues involuntarily curled and cramped. And we were happy with the experience. The drama of the ritual conferred an august aura of authenticity on the proceedings and drink, and despite the perfect vileness of what we poured down our gullets, we believed we’d had the experience. In fact, we’d just been had. Bamboozled, you might say. I’m happy to report that within easy reach of my left hand is a glass half-full of an opalescent, smoky-milky mix of genuine absinthe and cold water and nothing else. It tastes and smells wonderful, and seems to have a fantastic effect on my digestion. There seems to be almost no relation between the Taboo Absinthe I’m drinking at the moment and the frightful concoction I’d wasted money on those several years ago. According to Rodney Goodchild, marketing director for the company, Okanagan Spirits produces a wide range of premium-quality eaux-de-vie (distilled fruit alcohols) from local Okanagan fruits that are blemished, bruised, or otherwise unlikely to go to retail. Talk about a win-win: nearby orchards
BC Musician | September - October 2010
have found a market for good but otherwise unsalable fruit, Okanagan Spirits has a ready supply of material with which to make their medal-winning products. If it’s possible to make an authentic and delicious absinthe today, what accounts for the predominance of over-priced pseudo-absinthe swill in bars and stores? “Absinthe was originally produced with highquality fruit alcohol,” Rodney explains. “But as the popularity of absinthe grew over the 19 century, very poor quality absinthe flooded the marketplace. This absinthe was made from cheap grain or potato derived distillates, and was really a kind of schnapps or vodka to which extracts of wormwood (artemisium absinthum) were added at the end. The process needed to produce real absinthe is far more painstaking and complex.” Genuine absinthe has its roots in late-18th century Switzerland. Although there is some controversy, it is generally accepted that it was first formulated and produced by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire as a general tonic and panacaea. The folks at Okanagan Spirits have studied and worked to emulate that early absinthe. The end result is a drink of real subtlety and delight. But it would be a mistake to drink it straight. I have been drinking my Taboo at a ratio of about 3-4 parts water to 1 part absinthe, and I find the result refreshing, delicious, and diabolically easy to drink, despite the inherent complexity of the flavour. Yum yum. The alcohol itself needs mentioning. It is warm, round, and rich, and reminded me immediately of some unlikely combination of a grappa, an expensive tequila, and a little even of a subtle scotch. Many of the tastier components of absinthe – the anise, fennel, and star anise – are known as carminitives. They invigorate and relax the whole digestive tract. The wormwood is a liver and gall bladder tonic. Together these ingredients have a marked beneficial effect on my tummy, at least; this absinthe may be the best digestive I’ve ever had. And what about the wild hallucinations, halos around stars, and wild behaviour the Green Fairy is supposed to unleash? So far, nothing. But then again, I’m only on my second bottle in 10 days. So, while I’m unlikely to produce an Impressionist painting, cut off my own ear, or write poetry in the style of Rimbaud anytime soon, it is just possible that I’ve successfully acquired a decadent habit. Thank you, Okanagan Spirits.
38 BAR BLUES CR Avery
North American release, September 2010 through Write Bloody Publishing http://writebloody.com/
New Book of Poetry from East Vancouver’s Outlaw Hip-Hop Harmonica Player • Beatbox Poet • Punk Piano Player • String Quartet Raconteur • Rock & Roll Matador • Playwright
MAN SITTING BESIDE ME AT A CAMPFIRE
38 Bar Blues is available through www.WriteBloody.com www.cravery.com for Fall Tour Dates
I asked him if he was a musician; he said “no,” but added, “I write some poetry, though.” Later in the evening I asked when he started writing. He replied, “When my wife left me,” then looked into the fire as it crackled and warmed us in the rain and added “It was also around the same time I started hanging out with criminals.”
to our WCMA nominees
For info on these and other zesty releases, visit us at: www.blackhenmusic.com
Jim Byrnes “My Walking Stick” Blues Recording of the Year
John Wort Hannam “Queen’s Hotel” Roots Recording of the Year (Solo)
Steve Dawson & Sheldon Zaharko Engineer of the Year
Thanks for Reading BC Musician!
The Sojourners “The Sojourners” Roots Recording of the Year (Group) Black Hen Music Label of the Year