Steve's Blog
Wednesday October 31, 2007

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Happy Halloween!

We just got home from watching "Across The Universe", a rather long but mostly enjoyable romp through the 60s, set to new versions of dozens of Beatles songs. With a screenplay by British Sitcom pioneers Dick Clement & Ian Le Fresnais (The Likely Lads etc.) and some very fine singing and acting, I'd say this a great way to spend 2 and a quarter hours.

Tri Continental, Sunday November 4, 8pm at St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

Our next show features three brilliant Canadian guitar players in concert - with room for dancing - at the St. James Hall this coming Sunday.

Tri Continental is a flavourful blues-based collaboration between Bill Bourne, Lester Quitzau, and Madagascar Slim -- each an award-winning solo artist, inspired guitar-player and poignant songwriter. In Tri Continental, the unique spirit and sound that Bill, Lester, and Slim each contribute to the mix can be heard in Madagascar Slim's Malagasy blues and African guitar playing, Bill Bourne's multiple Juno Award-winning folk and blues with international seasoning, and his acoustic guitar, fiddle-playing, and vocals that have been known to range from a stylized yodel to a conscious ballad about brotherly love or creating a positive legacy for future generations. Lester Quitzau, "a mellow guy who throws down a heavy groove," contributes a textural playing style on his slide, acoustic and electric guitars, and clear, honest vocals.

Together, they create a soulful blues-based groove with international spices and a head-waggin' travellin' energy that truly moves the listener to a new place. Don't miss this rare chance to hear them together in a warm, vibrant musical space. More information: Tickets are on sale at our usual outlets: Highlife Records and Rufus' Guitar Shop, as well as on-line. Concert Details

STrung (Tony McManus, April Verch & Doug Cox), Saturday November 10, 8pm, at St. James Hall

Combining breathtaking solo, duo and trio arrangements, the STrung tour brings together three of Canada's roots music greats - fiddler/ stepdancer April Verch, guitarist Tony McManus and resonator guitarist Doug Cox - in an evening of unexcelled virtuosity.

April Verch was first schooled in the fiddle styles of her native Ottawa Valley. The first and only woman to win both the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Championship and Canadian Open Fiddle Championship, Verch has since applied her formidable technique to a wide range of styles. April is not only a world-class fiddler, she is also an expert stepdancer, and a singer whose voice has been hailed as "absolutely captivating" by the Toronto Star. Since 2000 April has been touring tirelessly across North America and overseas with "The April Verch Band", winning over audiences not only with her sheer technical ability, but also with her charm, humour and boundless energy on stage. She crosses genres easily from Bluegrass to Appalachian to Celtic. She has seven recordings and one JUNO nomination to her credit.

Tony McManus has come to be recognized throughout the world as the leading guitarist in Celtic Music. From early childhood his twin obsessions of traditional music and acoustic guitar have worked together to produce a startlingly original approach to this ancient art. In Tony's hands the complex ornamentation normally associated with fiddles and pipes are accurately transferred to guitar in a way that preserves the integrity and emotional impact of the music. Having been nominated as "Musician of the Year" by both the BBC Folk Awards and The Scottish Traditonal Music awards, in 2002 his album "Ceol More" (Compass Records 2002) hit the "Critic's Album of the Year" list in Acoustic Guitar magazine and was named "Album of the Year" by the Live Ireland Awards. Tony is invited annually to the Chet Atkins Festival in Nashville, has appeared at Guitar Festivals around the world and recently appeared at the famous Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in the "All Star Guitar Night" featuring Steve Morse, Bryan Sutton, Muriel Anderson, Béla Fleck and Victor Wooten and headlined by the legendary Les Paul.

Doug Cox is a multi-instrumental roots music musician who specializes in the resophonic slide guitar. From Vancouver Island, Doug enjoys collaborating with musicians from around the world and is always exploring new styles of music. His most recent projects include the acclaimed 'Slide to Freedom' CD with India's Salil Bhatt & Ramkumar Mishra and special guest Vishwa Mohan Bhatt as well as a new CD with Sam Hurrie called 'Blues From The Forbidden Plateau.'

Accompanied by Cody Walters (of the April Verch Band) on bass, The Strung tour will add a new dimension to the music of these three individuals. Together they will deliver an eclectic blend of roots music styles with an expressive depth and intensity that allows each artist to shine. The Strung tour will be equal parts invigorating, surprising, haunting, thrilling, foot-stomping, and smile-inducing - all in all, utterly unforgettable.

Tickets are on sale at our usual outlets: Highlife Records and Rufus' Guitar Shop, as well as on-line. Concert Details

Tom Russell & Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Tuesday November 13, 8pm at St. James Hall

American songsmith Tom Russell may be just about the best storyteller- in-song today reflecting on the "Wounded Heart of America" - as he puts it on his new CD. Jack Elliott is a renaissance man who worked with Woody Guthrie and continues to write songs, tell stories, and sing all over the world. This concert is a rare treat, not to be missed! More info: and Tickets are on sale at our usual outlets: Highlife Records and Rufus' Guitar Shop, as well as on-line. Concert Details

Edge On Folk, Saturday 8am to noon, CiTR 101.9 fm

I'll have a major feature on the amazing new Realworld CD, "The Imagined Village" this week. Sheila Chandra, Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy, Billy Bragg, Paul Weller, Afro Celt Simon Emmerson, Transglobal Underground, an English Ceilidh Band or two, a rasta dub poet and several generations of the Copper Family take a new look at English music! I'll also have an extended feature on the members of Tri Continental and I'll play a few tracks from the brilliant new CD by Orchestra Baobab from Senegal. Please join me this Saturday on CITR 101.9fm and cable fm 101.9 in Vancouver, or on-line at wherever you are. Podcasts will be available later that day on the iTunes Music Store and also on CiTR's website.

Other Concerts

Alex Cuba Band at Cap College on Friday November 2

Contra Dance with The Sybaritic String Band on Saturday November 3 at St. James Hall

Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas at Cap College on Saturday November 3. The return of Scotland's finest fiddler, with ace cellist from USA. Their new CD, "In The Moment", is stunning.

Don Alder (who won the US National Fingerstyle Guitar title in Winfield, KS in September) gives a Yamaha Guitar demo at Rufus' Guitar Shop at 10th & Alma on Monday November 5, 7:30pm

The Umoja Band from South Africa plus Vancouver's Kutapira play the WISE Hall (1882 Adanac St) on Sunday November 11 at 9pm. Tickets are $18 at Highlife and online, $20 at the door. Concert Details

David Parmley & Continental Divide bring their acoustic bluegrass sound to St. James Hall on Monday November 12, 8pm. Tickets at the door.

Rafe Stefanini is coming to Vancouver to give a house concert of old- time music on banjo, fiddle and guitar (think Appalachian mountains). The house concert will be on Wednesday evening Nov 14 at 8pm and entry is $20. The next evening, Thurs Nov 15, he is giving a banjo workshop at 6:30pm and then a fiddle workshop at 8:30pm. Both workshops are only $25 each or you can sign up to both for a discount of $40 for two! Please phone me (604-736-4523) and leave a msg to confirm your attendance.