Steve's Blog
A Mini-Festival at The Rogue - and CiTR's Fundrive
Wednesday February 24, 2016

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It's a three-night mini-festival of Roots Music in all its glory at The Rogue this week! What started out as a defiant swan-song for the quite probable demise of St. James Hall when I booked these shows in the Fall, has now become an even more defiant statement of intent: The Rogue - and the Hall - are here to stay! If you want good music, Go Rogue!

1. Bumper Jacksons, Thursday February 25th 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
We just got back from the Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City. What a blast! So much great music and such a great community celebration! Well over 2,000 musicians, DJs, and music lovers under one roof! Whenever someone asked me who was coming to The Rogue next they were united in their view that the Bumper Jacksons are a fantastic band: great fun and superb players and singers. "You'll have a great night!" was the universal response.

Like an old-time barn dance in downtown New Orleans, the Bumper Jacksons' joyous ragtime dances and roadhouse drinking songs are tempered by delicate waltzes of loss and regret.  They will be making their first trip across their Northern Border to perform at the Rogue on Thursday, February 25th. They started out humbly in 2012 as a country-meets-city duet between Jess Eliot Myhre (clarinet, vocals, washboard) and Chris Ousley (guitar, vocals, banjo) in the backyards, living rooms and front porches of DC and Baltimore.  They soon ventured out and honed their chops in the dark jazz clubs of New Orleans as well as their favourite old-time fiddler’s conventions throughout the southern Appalachians.

Chris and Jess built the core of the Bumper Jacksons’ sound through these diverse and unassuming beginnings.  It has matured quickly over these few short years and caught the interest of the rest of the Bumper Jacksons members. Dave Hadley (pedal steel), Alex Lacquement (upright bass, vocals), Dan Samuels (drum kit, suitcase) & Brian Priebe (trombone) masterfully amplify the diversity of tone, rhythm and power that defines the band’s core sound.  The success of their albums - Sweet Mama, Sweet Daddy Come In (2014) and Too Big World (2015) – demonstrates the ongoing refinement of their scrappy-yet-elegant, familiar-yet-reaching sound that explores a full spectrum of human emotion in its goal to find the caramel core of Americana. 

Whether it’s a packed house in a historic amphitheatre or a fireside in the hills of western Maryland, their intimate ballads, growly blues, and fast paced two-steps will call you into another world that’s at once like home and the road.  Their unique sound grabs at your soul and connects you with over 150 years of human passion.  

If you’ve got lips, they’ll smile… if you’ve got feet, they’ll dance… if you’ve got a heartbeat, it’ll quicken… all when you hear the sounds of the Bumper Jacksons.

Check out these songs - recorded at the esteemed Kennedy Center last August, and at a steamy dance club in Maryland a few months earlier - for a sneak preview of this concert. Then come on out and party with them at The Rogue. This will be their first ever Canadian gig and we wouldn't want them to feel like strangers in a strange land ...

Coffee Mama

Trouble In Mind

Darlin' Corey

For tickets and information click here


2. Eilen Jewell, Friday February 26th 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

Idaho singer / songwriter Eilen Jewell returns to The Rogue for the third time with a hot new CD - Sundown Over Ghost Town - and her uniquely smokey vocals and the scorching hot guitar of Jerry Miller

"Jewell's music has the languorous quietude of Gillian Welch or Norah Jones, but there is something more direct, almost in your face, about her stark, neo-traditional melodies, subdued vocals, and confident, slow-swaying groove. It's as if she's daring us to say we miss the bells and whistles of pop... Jewell's songs are achingly good, twanged-out elegies to a world of barbed wire, rusty trucks, and a frontier that no longer exists." (Boston Globe)

 A revelatory journey rich with cinematic visions, elegant, sweet, and smoky vocals, and hauntingly autobiographical songs inspired by her return to the West.” Jeremy D. Bonfiglio, No Depression, May 28, 2015

“Her melodies create sonic landscapes, mostly of the mythic American West where human beings have the perspective of big open spaces to compare themselves with a wide-screen setting… The music sets the words off, like the Milky Way on a dark black night.” – Steve Horowitz, Pop Matters, May 28, 2015

“She’s got a sweet and clear voice with a killer instinct lurking beneath the shiny surface.” -  NPR Song of the Day

Actor Tom Hanks included Eilen as a “Summer Must” in Entertainment Weekly.

Eilen's music is not just for summer listening. She can heat up your winter, cool you down on a sultry summer night, dry out your rain-soaked soul, or stir up your sassiest, raunchiest inner fox when you're down and lonely. In short, she is the perfect tonic for whatever ails you - and the perfect accompanist for your TGIF party strut! Here are a couple of videos to whet your appetite:

Rio Grande

Rain Roll In

For tickets and information, click here

3. Oliver Swain's Big Machine, Saturday February 27th 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

In sound and in voice, Oliver Swain's Big Machine is really big. Thus, the sophomore release Never More Together is big news, and the upcoming shows on the coast this February; well, they're just plain BIG.

Oliver Swain got his start performing and writing with many of the US and Canada's most loved roots bands including The Bills, The Duhks, Outlaw Social and The Red Stick Ramblers. He's a two time Prairie Music Award (WCMA) winner, Juno nominee and has a few "M" (Monday Magazine) and Times Colonist Music Awards under his belt. In 2011 he released In A Big Machine, hailed as "Absolutely mesmerizing" and "one of the best albums of 2011, regardless of genre", touring across Canada and the US including Folk Alliance International, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Calgary Folk Music Festival, and countless others. A masterful bassist, banjoist, and songwriter, Oliver boasts a three-octave voice and a compelling penchant for writing haunting songs of vivid sonic landscapes. 

"a rolling beast of a sound which seems to surprise and delight it's creators just as much as their audience." Peter Wrench, Eden on the Line, Tom Thumb Theatre UK

The new album, Never More Together, was released in October 2015, being referred to as "genre defying at it's best...beautifully played and performed, each song a mini masterpiece," by Fatea Magazine. This new collection of music strays toward the whimsical, spiritual, and socially conscious sides of what he unapologetically refers to as a "chamber folk odyssey". It's these beguiling and provocative elements that make him unique as an artist and songwriter. He starts with a traditional base of clawhammer banjo, bowed bass and slack key guitar, and pure, multi-octave vocals. Modern rock and early R&B find their way into some of the trad-inspired songs, used as a springboard into the far reaches of the imagination.

This Big Machine show will feature a full band including Adrian Dolan (violin/mandolin), Adam Dobres (guitar), and Richard Moody (guitar/mandolin), as well as Oliver's bandmates Matthew Pease (percussion) and Danuel Tate (keyboard), who play with him in side project Fans & Motor Supply Co. 

Vancouver's Twin Bandit will perform the opening set this evening. The duo, who recently signed to Nettwerk Records, bring an intimate roots performance made unforgettable with their gorgeous harmonies and original songs. They've been making waves across the country, charting on college radio and playing the Winnipeg Folk Festival, Squamish Valley Music Festival, and more.

For tickets and information, click here

4. Radio Waves - CiTR's Annual Fundrive Show
This Saturday, February 27th, from 8am to noon on CiTR fm 101.9 and, will be my annual CiTR Fundrive show: your chance to support local, community-oriented, independent radio. This year's Fundrive runs from February 25th to March 4th, and the theme is Growing Our Cultures! We want to invest more in training and development; help us to grow more writers and broadcasters, and to improve the quality and breadth of our on-air programming.

I have been hosting The Edge On Folk for almost 31 years, bringing you the very best Folk, Roots, and World Music I can find - every Saturday. (Well, almost every Saturday; I was away in KC last week, for example; but I'll try to make it up to you with some new music from Folk Alliance and some old favourites as well.)

If you enjoy listening to the show, please consider making a donation to CiTR - and naming my show as the reason for your support. You can either receive a Tax Receipt for the full amount of your pledge, or choose some "swag" (or premiums, as they call them, on posh TV stations like KCTS!) 
  • $30 pledge gets you a CiTR Membership Card, affording you discounts at some of the best music stores, cafes, and boutiques around town. 
  • For $60 you get a Membership card a CiTR Growler (for your favourite craft beer), 
  • $101.9 gets you these plus a CiTR Notebook
  • I'll also add some choice CDs and / or DVDs for all pledges of $101.9 and up, and will add concert tickets to Rogue shows if you give more than $150
For full details of Fundrive and a list of all the "swag" options, click here

I'll be spinning tunes from new CDs by David Francey, The Bills, Rhiannon Giddens, Colin Linden, Baaba Maal, Rokia Traore, Corin Raymond, Sidestepper, Solas, Show Of Hands, Leveret, Aoife O'Donovan, Tim O'Brien, We Banjo 3, The Rheingans Sisters, Calan, Lady Maisery, Lydia Hol, The Rambling Boys, and some of the delights I found at Folk Alliance last week.

I hope you can tune in and turn me on, and that you will help keep CiTR - and my show - on the cutting edge (no relation!)