Steve's Blog
Friday September 18, 2009

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Hi everyone

We're all set for a fabulous Fall Season of concerts at the Rogue! It all starts tomorrow night at St. James Hall. Read on for more details.

Radio Waves

I'll be Sheryl McKay's guest on CBC North By Northwest tomorrow morning, Saturday, from 7am to 7:30am. It's on fm 88.1 and am 690.

Then I'm off to CiTR fm 101.9 for The Edge On Folk from 8am to noon. The show can also be heard on your computer on

Features will include:

A tribute to the passing of Mary Travers of Peter, Paul & Mary. They were never really my cup of tea, but anyone who grew up in the 60s will have those songs living in the memory for life. They touched us all, and even people who never listen to folk music still love them.

Sneak previews of the new CDs by James Keelaghan, Harry Manx, and Chris Smither

New releases by Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba (described by UK newspaper The independent as "the best rock 'n' roll band on the planet",) Devon folk singer Jackie Oates, Scotland's irrepressible Battlefield Band, South Australia's The Audreys (Taania Coates' voice is stunning,) The Red Stick Ramblers, and Geordie singer / fiddler Bella Hardy.

Previews of all Rogue shows, including some hot new tunes from French vielle a roue master Gilles Chabenat

All this, and a whole lot more. Please join me for four hours of the very best in Roots, Folk, Celtic, and World Music this Saturday from 8am to 12 noon.

The Edge On Folk is a Radio Partner of Sing Out! magazine. Visit to see why I believe in that publication, and why I am so chuffed to be a Radio Partner.

Plough CD Launch Postponed to 2010

Due to circumstances beyond our control this concert - originally set for Thursday September 24th - will be rescheduled in 2010. The new CD is wonderful. Let me know if you'd like to buy a copy. We will try to have some on sale at our concerts.

Slaid Cleaves with special guests The Lingo Sisters, Saturday September 19th 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

This is what famed novelist Stephen King wrote about Slaid's new CD. I couldn't agree more, and I would never presume to be able to write as convincingly as Mr. King:

Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away by Stephen King

Once upon a time. children, back in the happy olden days when Americans' choice of music was a little more diverse than it is now, there was a wonderful program called Rogue Calls on XM Cross-Country - a radio station that played country music by men and women who did not, by and large. wear cowboy hats. The format was as simple as the motto: "You request, we decide." People would call in from all over the country, usually on skeezie old cell phones, asking for songs by fabulous performers that mainstream country-music radio never heard of: James McMurtry, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Cross Canadian Ragweed. Gurf Morlix (who, it so happens, co-produced the album you're now holding in your lucky little hand), Rosie Flores. also known as the Rockabilly Filly.

I listened to Rogue Calls without fail, and one day some trucker with a southern accent as thick as Alabama chicken-dirt called in and asked ifhe could hear "that quittin'-drinkin' song." That song. of course, was "Drinkin' Days," by Siaid Cleaves, and it went into me like a bolt of dry lightning. Some of it was how the subject-matter was treated (unflinching and unsentimental-no fake Nashville tears here), but a lot of it had to do with the singer's calm. dusty/sweet voice. I thought it was the voice of a real American troubadour, and when I got home, I made checking Siaid Cleaves out on the Internet my first priority.

I bought the album - Wishbones - the next day, and was astounded to find there was not a single bad track on it I also discovered he was from South Berwick, Maine, the town I was living in when I wrote Stand by Me. We were, in other words. homeboys. Nice!

I'm not particularly good when it comes to talking about music, but I know what works for me: what comes across as one hundred percent authentic. Siaid Cleaves is that thing. He starts in, and something inside the listener speaks up and says. "You're home." He can be funny; he can be romantic without being sappy (no mean trick); he can touch your heart with songs like "Cry" and "Temporary;" he can tell stories without lapsing into the rather worn-out poses of American folk music.

His taste is as deft as his touch. As on Wishbones, his breakthrough album, there is not a single bad track or wrong-footed step on Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away. From the hardscrabble (but cheerful) verses of "Hard to Believe" to the bluegrass-tinged lament of "Green Mountains and Me" to the harsh, sarcastic - and reluctantly optimistic - lines of "Beautiful Thing." this is a record that just goddam works. from first to last.

I'm glad I found Siaid Cleaves. because my life would have been poorer without him. You'll feel the same, I think, when you listen to this beautifully crafted album. Listen, go to one of Slaid's shows, take a friend. and pass on the news: not all the good guys wear hats.

(Stephen King, January 18. 2009)

You may have seen Slaid opening for Guy Clark at The Vogue a few months back. That's where we saw him for the first time. We were mightily impressed. We booked him right then and there. Last month we saw him at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, sharing songs and workshops with the likes of Gurf Morlix, Tift Merritt. Lynn Miles, The Steeldrivers, Alana Levandoski, and Chuck Brodsky - esteemed company, and Slaid more than held his own.

So, definitely a show to take in. There's also an opening set by Vancouver's lovely songstresses The Lingo Sisters - Meg Tennant and Janet Lillian Russell, whose sublime harmonies and thoughtful, soulful songs are a constant delight.

Gilles Chabenat with Jean-Marc Padovani, Monday September 21st 8pm, St. James Hall, 3214 West 10th Avenue

Born in 1963 at Lignières in Central France, Gilles Chabenat began playing the hurdy-gurdy at 13 with Les Thiaulins, an association devoted to folk arts and traditions. Following private lessons with Georges Simon, he won several music awards and subsequently devoted himself to his region's traditional repertoire with a desire to branch out into other musical styles. Around that time and after several years of research, luthier Denis Siorat developed an electro-acoustic instrument which facilitated the integration of the vielle a roue into the modern musical experience.

In 1992, Gilles thus began a twelve-year partnership with the Corsican group I Muvrini. During that period, he met and worked with a number of artists, including Sting, Frédéric Paris, Alain Bonnin, and Gabriel Yacoub. He last played here in 2003 with Bonnin, a wonderful jazz pianist, at Capilano Performing Arts Theatre. He also works regularly with former Lo Jai piper Eric Montbel, Didier François (a nyckelharpa player,) and Patrick Bouffard. Gilles' latest CD is a second collaboration with Alain Bonnin, Changer d'Air, which was released in April of this year. It includes a stunning cover of Frank Zappa's Peaches En Regalia, with the vielle taking the sax part! Most recently, he has worked with renowned jazz saxophonist Jean-Marc Padovani, who will join him tonight in this very special concert.

Gilles' musical experience and evolution are constantly shaped by the people he meets. In his approach to vielle playing, he draws essentially on the multifaceted nature of an instrument which has been in constant evolution for more than a thousand years. Expect the unexpected, and expect to be amazed at the virtuosity and charm of this exceptional musician and his wonderfully mysterious musical instrument.

Looking ahead

We have an incredible run of shows coming up, including the return of Hindustani slide guitar virtuoso Debashish Bhattacharya at CPAT on the 26th, Yukon Fest - with four amazing acts from the Yukon at St. James Hall on the 27th. Then there's the rescheduled concert with Scotland's "wee highland heartbreaker" Dougie MacLean on the 30th, the return of Quebec's powerhouse trad trio De Temps Antan the following night. Eric Bogle's final overseas tour brings him and sideman John Munro to CPAT on Oct 2nd, and Chris Smither launches his brilliant new CD at CPAT on the 4th.

Full details are on our concert calendar where you can also buy tickets on-line.

Happy Autumnal Equinox! See you at The Rogue!