Steve's Blog
Wednesday October 23, 2013

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Hi everyone

We have two concerts this weekend. Both will be incredibly memorable. David Francey's show is just about Sold Out, but we do have a few tickets left at Highlife Records and online. If you're quick you just might be able to buy one. There are plenty of tickets left for Friday's show, which promises to be one of our very best of the year!

1. Martha Scanlan plus Cahalen Morrison & Eli West, Friday, October 25th, 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

Martha Scanlan is a bluegrass singer songwriter who used to play in a band called The Reeltime Travelers, with whom she appeared in the movie Cold Mountain. She was last seen at The Rogue in 2009, when she opened for Dave Alvin. Here is what she has to say about her new album:

"Tongue River Stories is a recording project about place and belonging. The writing and recording for this project is being done on a hundred year old ranch, a place which is both isolated and at the centre of an American cowboy culture which runs generations deep. Songs for this project are born out of a landscape where arrowheads lie next to fossils next to hundred-year-old cedar fence posts alongside tracks of horses set rock solid in the mud from the last good rain. Stories inside of stories inside of stories. Songs recorded in meadows as quiet and open as they have been for a hundred, a thousand years.

"Tongue River Stories came out of my own hiatus from the road and from writing. Two years ago I moved to the small family ranch in the Tongue River Valley where I had been spending time between tours over the last ten years. I have been lucky here to work with my hands and with horses, to settle into the ways of ranch work and animals, sagebrush, stars, silence and space. This place took me in. I wrote because I needed to write.

"Here the place sounds like it always has; coyotes, horses ambling by in the half-light, birds, cottonwoods shushing in the breeze, silence so deafening it almost hurts. When the last note ends, that's what you hear. Crickets. Cottonwood leaves. Silence. I wanted to bring musicians out to record them in the place they were written, and hand picked musicians who I knew would be open to the wonder of the place and the experience, whose musical abilities would allow them to capture the sense of movement and flow and vastness that is at the heart of the place and the work and the songs themselves.

"Tongue River Stories is a project about place and belonging. It is also about bearing witness to a place and a people and a way of life that now hangs in the balance; the recent leasing of the Otter Creek coal seams would involve a railroad running the length of the Tongue River. The effects of such a development would forever change the landscape and the agricultural viability of the valley. Coal Bed Methane development is also encroaching on the Tongue River Valley (CBM development involves pumping out the aquifer that feeds wells and springs in order to extract methane gas. The saline discharge water is toxic to crops and streams). So far the resilience of the people and place has held out against these threats. These songs are stories that this place told me."

The gift of a great storyteller is the bringing of the listener into the story, and the story into the listener. It's not just the words of the songs in this collection that provide that rare lasting transformative alchemy that has become so characteristic of Martha Scanlan's work, and earned her the small loyal cult following that seems to be steadily growing. It’s the space between the words, the sound of the place itself.

Cahalen Morrison & Eli West are a fabulous old-time duo from Seattle. "There is a dirt-stained nobility to their music, an acoustic blend of strings, harmonies, and songwriting that hearkens back to the roots of America and beyond." (No Depression) We are really excited about bringing them to The Rogue for the first time. This is a duo that's going places, and we are all in for a treat to witness them in our especially cosy venue.

From No Depression again: "There's a danger one risks, when deciding to pursue traditional-style music. You can spend so much time digging into the roots that you lose grip on your own solid ground. We see this all the time from folks who follow the trends into the traditions. But, what's refreshing and rare is the opportunity to hear artists whose roots are so firmly planted, they seem to simply be channeling something beyond themselves. There's an effortless simplicity to the correlation between melody, lyrics, rhythm, and roots. Such is the case, once again, with Cahalen Morrison and Eli West"

Cahalen plays claw-hammer banjo, mandolin & lap slide guitar. Eli plays guitar, bouzouki, and claw-hammer banjo. They both sing, and their harmonies are stunning!

2. David Francey, Sunday October 27th, 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

David Francey returns to the Rogue with a new CD, So Say We All - which has received no less than four nominations for Canadian Folk Music Awards next month - and a hot band. He was in great form at Mission in the Summer, where he was accompanied by Chris Coole on banjo and guitar and Mark Westberg on guitar. This time he'll be joined by Nova Scotia multi-instrumentalist Darren McMullen as well. We just saw Darren in his brilliant Celtic band, Coig, at the Celtic Colours festival. He is a fabulous musician on a variety of instruments, including mandolin, guitar, banjo and whistle. All three played on David's latest CD. Karla Mundy will join them on backing vocals, as well. It's going to be a great night! There are very few tickets remaining for this show. Get yours now if you haven't already done so.

3. The Edge On Folk, Saturday 8am to noon, CiTR fm 101.9 and

Please join me for four hours of amazing roots music - including a new selection for Halloween! Plus previews of Rogue shows, new releases from Finland, Diane Birch, Over The Rhine, NoCrows, Breabach, Linda Thompson, Donna The Buffalo, The Full English, and much more. Tune in live on 101.9fm or Telus TV channel 7203, or tune in live on the net on, where you can also find podcasts of past episodes of the show.

oh, and by the way:

4. Amos Garrett Benefit, Rio Theatre (Broadway & Commercial), Thursday October 24th

Great guitarist Amos Garrett lost a lot of instruments and his home in the High River floods last summer. He will be guest of honour at The Rio tomorrow night, with Jim Byrnes, Tom Lavin, Roy Forbes and co. and an all-star band in this fundraiser to help Amos get back on his feet.

See you at The Rogue House!