Steve's Blog
Thursday January 29, 2009

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Hi Everyone

Looks like normal winter weather is back - rain, rain, rain. Ah well, we have the perfect cure: music, music, music!

Our 2009 programme gets underway tomorrow night with a stunning Blues Double-Bill starring Canada's Renaissance man of The Blues, Colin Linden, along with Texas Bluesman Gary Nicholson aka Whitey Johnson. On Saturday we bring back Tennessee songwriting couple Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart, and on Monday it's Welsh songwriter Martyn Joseph. Then, a week from tonight, we bring back the amazing fiddler from Co. Clare, Martin Hayes, with his guitar wizard accompanist Dennis Cahill.

Later in the month we have California Roots / Country / Americana star Dave Alvin with special guest Martha Scanlan, Canadian songwriters Stephen Fearing and Dave Gunning, wonderful Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis from North Uist in the Outer Hebrides with her excellent quartet, and then veteran BC entertainers David Essig & Rick Scott who recently teamed up to record a superb collection of songs together.

In March we have Tom Russell coming back with a new CD, Quebec trio De Temps Antan and local openers Pastiche, Toronto harmonica wizard Carlos del Junco, Winnipeg songbird Romi Mayes, inimitable English folk singer Vin Garbutt, Italian guitar maestro Beppe Gambetta, and legendary Scots songwriter Dougie MacLean - on a new date.

Colin Linden & Whitey Johnson, Friday January 30th 8pm at St. James Hall, 3214 West 10th Avenue

An Evening of Deep Blues and Guitar Mastery

Don't miss this collaboration between two of the most versatile and creative exponents of the Blues - Colin Linden, and Gary Nicholson (aka Whitey Johnson).

Colin Linden, Canada's musical renaissance man, is indeed a multiple threat - as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer. He is in major demand by artists wanting him to produce, write for, and/or play on their records (he has played on 300 and produced 60 albums), yet somehow finds time to both pursue a prolific solo career and play a key role in Canadian roots-rock "supergroup" Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. If forced at the proverbial gunpoint to come up with just one self-defining phrase, chances are he'd come up with "bluesman." The form that first stirred Colin's musical soul nearly four decades ago sustains him still.

"I've been playing country blues, '20s style acoustic blues, since I was a really little kid. When I was 11, I met [electric blues pioneer] Howlin' Wolf. One of the things he said to me that really got me onto this path was that 'if you want to play this kind of music you should listen to the people I listened to.' He told me about Charlie Patton and Son House and that generation of artists. That was like opening the biggest door in the world for me, so I just dug in deep. I listened to it and have been playing it seriously for over 30 years now."

Colin has two new CDs out this week: The Columbia Years (which contains "When The Spirit Comes", "South At Eight North At Nine" , "Through The Storm Through The Night" and "(raised by wolves)") and the all new From The Water. Both are on True North Records.

Whitey Johnson is a recently discovered blues singer/songwriter/guitarist from Texas, now living in Tennessee and performing worldwide. There are various stories about Whitey's past, he has made his living making music for well over thirty years, yet has remained relatively unknown, having only recently recorded his debut album. But one known fact is that under the psuedonym Gary Nicholson his songs have been recorded by such blues greats as BB King, Etta James, Bonnie Raitt, Keb Mo, Delbert McClinton, Gatemouth Brown, James Cotton, Junior Wells, Shemeka Copeland, John Mayall and many others. He also won a Grammy as producer of the Best Contemporary Blues Record 2001, Delbert McClinton's "Nothing Personal".

Why Whitey? Well, you'll just have to come along and find out. Website:

Concert details...

Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart, Saturday January 31st 8pm at St. James Hall, 3214 West 10th Avenue

Few husband-wife musical duos provide audiences with the complete entertainment package that Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart dish out in a live performance. Armed with clever acoustic guitar interplay, autobiographical songwriting, lovely harmonies, and humorous storytelling this couple captivates your attention from the first moment they are onstage. Based in Tennessee, Earle and Stuart draw from blues, pop, country, rock, and more in their heartfelt music. The years of touring the folk/Americana circuit (playing 170 concerts a year) have given them a knack for reaching out to the audience in an intimate "come in to my living room" fashion. Stacey and Mark own their own record label, Gearle Records, and have made 8 CDs over the years. Since meeting in 1992 and marrying in late 1993, the partners have toured the USA, Canada, and Europe repeatedly. They left the environment of pursuing a major label deal in Nashville in 1998 to target small intimate venue crowds in theaters, coffeehouses, festivals, clubs, and house concerts. This has become their home and they are a recognized fixture on the folk music trail they blaze. Each has a new solo CD out, plus a fabulous double CD Town Square featuring 32 songs recorded live and incorporating songs from all their previous albums performed in their own uniquely personal style., Concert details...

Martyn Joseph, Monday February 2nd 8pm at St. James Hall, 3214 West 10th Avenue

"One of the most charismatic and electrifying performers in Britain today...tough and passionate" — Tom Robinson BBC 6 music

Martyn Joseph is a performer like no other. Shades of Springsteen, Knopfler and Dave Matthews there may be - but he stands in his own right, built on a reputation for giving what thousands have described as the best live music experience of their lives. Across a 25-year career, and having released his 30th album Evolved in October 2008, which traces the organic morphing of some of his best loved songs, Martyn's song catalogue is an awesomely impressive archive of our times, our tribulations, our wonder and our wounds. One reviewer after seeing Martyn in concert likened the experience and content to "the beautiful business of being alive with all it's jokes, absurdity and sadness, seared by music for the heart and head."

Always charming, sometimes alarming, Martyn Joseph is a unique songwriter who digs deep and delivers an ultimate, life-affirming message. One of the most unusual and compelling performers you are likely to encounter., Concert details...

Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill, Thursday February 5th 8pm at St. James Hall, 3214 West 10th Avenue

We are so thrilled that the sublime music of Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill will once again emanate from our stage on the 5th of February. The duo plays traditional Irish music as you've never heard it: slower, often full of tension, highly improvisational and always celebratory.

Martin Hayes is regarded as one of the most extraordinary talents to emerge in the world of Irish traditional music. His unique sound, his mastery of his chosen instrument