Steve's Blog
A Mighty April Calendar at The Rogue!!
Wednesday April 6, 2016

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Hi folks! It's been a long time since I sent one of these out. Sorry about that. I've been incredibly busy attending booking conferences, completing grant reports, preparing for our own future events, and juggling my time - and dropping the ball quite a lot!

First off, big thanks for supporting our Irish music concerts co-presented with CelticFest Vancouver! Sharon Shannon's show was sold out and mindbogglingly incredible! De Danann put on a great show as well. We could not have presented these concerts without the support of CelticFest Vancouver, so big thanks to them, too. Sharon is so keen on returning next year we are already working on a date for next March!

The sad news last week was the sudden closure of one of Vancouver's best-loved watering holes and music venues - The Railway Club. It opened in the early 1930s and continued to thrive as a watering hole (apparently) until my arrival in 1981. Trade increased markedly when I started going there for lunch, then returning after work and hanging out to see who was playing that night! After 5 years of cultural and comestible immersion I was ready to start my new life as a Folk DJ and Rogue Folk A.D.! Artists like Los Lobos, k.d. lang, Spirit of the West and countless others played their first Vancouver gigs there. The Rogue "lived" there, briefly, in 1988 when The Savoy was sold. We had our incredible opening night there with Loreena McKennitt and her guitarist Brian Hughes (maybe Hugh Marsh on fiddle, too) and The Sunday Umbrella Band - a local Celtic music ensemble led by Daniel Lapp on fiddle and piano (and trumpet!) and the likes of John Gothard, Dave Marshall, Se Duggan, and more! What a night that was! We also held a couple of Folk Fest Hangover shows there that summer featuring the likes of Kathryn Tickell, Hamish Moore, and Malcolm's Interview. Many more such Rogueish tales will be retold over the next year or so as we work on The Rogue History Project to celebrate 30 years of Roguery in May 2017

Meanwhile we continue to make history with some fabulous concerts in prospect this month!!

1. David Francey, Thursday April 7th, 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

This concert Sold Out two weeks ago! David Francey has been a regular visitor to Vancouver since the turn of the century, and he continues to write songs for the common man and woman. His new CD, Empty Train, is his 11th album and his songwriting craft has never been more impressive. He will be joined by three of Canada's finest accompanists: Chris Coole (banjo, guitar), Mark Westberg (guitar), and James Whittall (mandolin). Chris is also a member of Toronto bluegrass combo The Foggy Hogtown Boys and he has just released a lovely solo CD, The Tumbling River. I never realized just how good a singer and songwriter he is!

In order to squeeze in as many of you as possible we decided to make this a "dry" event. With a bar we can only accommodate around 230 people; without a liquor license the capacity is over 350. We will have juice, coffee, tea, near-beer, and pop as well as snacks like popcorn, chips, nuts, rum balls, and cookies.

There will be no tables set up in the hall, just rows of chairs and the pews at the back an upstairs, of course. Get there early if you want to grab a particular seat! Doors open at 7pm. There is a very, very small possibility that there will be any tickets on sale at the door, so I wouldn't recommend making a trip from afar unless you have a ticket or a confirmed reservation.

2. Fundraiser for St. James Hall - with The Rocket Revellers, Friday April 8th, 7:30pm at St. James Hall

One of our former board members, Bonnie Rice, is celebrating her birthday, and she has hired local Texas Rockabilly Swing sextet The Rocket Revellers (Jimmy Roy on pedal steel, Stephen Nikleva on guitar, Sam Shoichet on bass, Mike Van Eyes on piano, James Badger on drums, and Dennis Brock on vocals) to mark the occasion with some exhilarating tunes! This fine collection of Vancouver musicians plays every Wednesday at The Revel Room in Gastown; they are donating their services this evening to help raise funds for the Hall. Bonnie will make a donation to the St. James Hall Restoration Fund from the proceeds of the show. The City of Vancouver, which recently purchased the hall and leased it back to St. James Community Square Society to continue to host all the amazing programs here, will also match any funds raised in the next 12 months or so. There is much restoration work to be done: improving washrooms, accessibility, and especially ventilation, plus replacing the floor in the hall and on the stage for starters. There will be plenty of fundraising going on for sure! This is just a start. A fun way to start too! Tickets are $25 and are only available at the door.


3. The Small Glories plus Jenny Ritter, Saturday April 9th, 8pm, St. James Hall

Folk powerhouse pair The Small Glories are Cara Luft and JD Edwards, a dynamic new duo planted on the Canadian Prairies. At first glance few would peg them for a highly creative musical partnership. Yet these two seasoned singer/songwriters have teamed up and are building a buzz around their tight harmonies, authenticity and visceral performances. Luft is a JUNO Award winner, co-founder of folk trio The Wailin’ Jennys, and a touring road warrior. She has earned a solid reputation as an exciting live performer, accomplished guitarist, claw-hammer banjo player and insightfully honest songwriter. Edwards has a voice that defies categorization, one that easily ranges from gentle and melodic to fierce and powerful, leaving listeners begging for more. Mix that with honest, passionate songwriting and it’s easy to see why he’s an enchanting troubadour. Together as The Small Glories, Luft and Edwards are a tour de force, a case of 1 + 1 = 3. They released their debut album, Wondrous Traveller, in February. We saw them launch it at the Folk Alliance in Kansas City and their tour has brought them all the way out to the west coast - they were sensational on Bowen Island last weekend, we hear! We can't wait to see them back at The Rogue! (You can also hear them on Wednesday April 6th at Bluebird North at The Roundhouse, by the way.)

This concert is a unique double bill of the kind you will only see at a place like The Rogue! We celebrate Canadian music from coast to coast to coast all year round here, and that includes presenting music from next door as well as from places like Winnipeg. On this night we feature Vancouver-based songwriter, choir leader and banjoist Jenny Ritter and her trio (with Ryan Boeur on guitar and Adrian Dolan on accordion and fiddle and goodness knows what else?) Late last year Jenny released her second solo CD, Raised By Wolves. It made it onto Folk Radio UK's Best Of 2015 chart and led to her being invited to perform at Glasgow's amazing Celtic Connections Festival in January, where she opened for Lucinda Williams at the Royal Concert Hall! Jenny used to front a Victoria string trio called The Gruff. They were often featured on CBC radio and were darlings of the festival circuit out west. A couple of years ago she was Eliza Gilkyson's favourite discovery at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. She has a penchant for writing catchy melodies and soul-stirring laments. She launched her previous solo CD, Bright Mainland, at The Rogue in 2012. We are delighted to present her latest project at The Rogue once more.

Tickets for this show are available here


4. The Fretless, Friday April 15th 8pm, Revue Theatre (1601 Johnston St. Granville Island)

Next week we present the incredible Canadian Celtic String Quartet The Fretless at Granville Island's Revue Stage (Friday April 15th, at 8pm) The Fretless have played to a full house each time at The Rogue (2014 & 2015), so were a bit concerned when someone else had booked St. James Hall on the only night they could play in Vancouver on their current tour. Fortunately we found a similar-sized venue right on our doorstep on Granville Island. The Fretless just finished recording their 3rd album, which will be released in the summer. This album is focused on original music, with a few traditional tunes thrown in the mix. The sound of the new album follows the trajectory from their first two CDs, and aims to expand the rhythmic, harmonic and structured style of the many folk genres they play using only stringed instruments. For more information about this fine band click here


5. Corin Raymond & Jonathan Byrd, Sunday April 17th, 8pm, St. James Hall

We move back to St. James Hall on Sunday April 17th for An Evening With Corin Raymond & Jonathan Byrd, two brilliant songwriters - one Canadian, one American - who have teamed up many times in recent years. We love Corin Raymond. His Fringe show last fall - about funding his album with Canadian Tire Money - was amongst the highlights of the festival, and he has a brand new CD, Hobo Jungle Fever Dreams, which, like its predecessor, Paper Nickels, includes an 80 page booklet of lyrics and stories.

Jonathan Byrd hails from North Carolina and he released a fine album last year called You Can't Outrun The Radio to follow up his wonderful album Cackalack and his only previous Rogue appearance in May 2013 with The Barn Birds. "This rootsy North Carolinian may be the most buzzed-about new songwriter in folkdom. He displays John Prine's gift for stark little songs that tell big, complex stories, Guy Clark's lean melodicism, Lyle Lovett's wry mischief, and Bill Morrissey's knack for the revealing image." - Scott Alarik, Boston Globe


6. April In Paris Gypsy Jazz Festival, April 21st - 23rd, 8pm, St. James Hall

We are very excited about our 10th annual festival of gypsy jazz - April In Paris (April 21st - 23rd at St. James Hall) When we started the festival in 2007 we couldn't have dreamed it would still be going strong a decade later! This year's event kicks off with Van Django and Company B Jazz Band (with special guest Francois Houle on clarinet). Click here for tickets and information about the opening night.

Friday's show is Cabaret Night with Deanna Knight & The Hot Club Of Mars. Deanna carefully curated a clever cast of local talent to add pizzazz and excitement to the evening. Alongside her vintage flare she will sprinkle in the tapping toes of Alex Clancy as well as the return of burlesque darling Miss Lydia DeCarllo. Mixing the night up with swing, bossa, tango and more, The Hot Club of Mars is Vancouver’s most eclectic gypsy swing ensemble. This year we will all delight in the charms of Jack Garton as emcee and perhaps he will share a song or two with the band. Enjoy the Parisian atmosphere created by Sue Baines on accordion and bring your dancing shoes… as you just might be inspired to get out of your seat and shake it! 
Click here for tickets and information on the Cabaret night

On Saturday April 23rd BC guitar wizard Marc Atkinson brings his trio over from Hornby Island, and Vancouver's Black Gardenia make their Rogue debut with Paul Pigat on guitar and delightful chanteuse Daphne Roubini to the fore. We anticipate some more fretwork magic when Paul and Marc get together for a Django jam!
Click here for tickets and information on this show.


7. A Mighty String Thing, Sunday April 24th, 8pm, St. James Hall

Sunday April 24th
will see a remarkable concert called A Mighty String Thing with six guitarists in-the-round: Kevin Breit has toured with everyone from k.d. lang to Lou Reed to Natalie MacMaster to Roseanne Cash and recorded with Norah Jones, Harry Manx, and Cassandra Wilson. Cecile Doo-Kingue (Cameroon-born Montreal-er) was a surprise hit at last year's Vancouver Folk Music Festival for her stunning repertoire of searing Blues on acoustic and electric guitar. Her music is based in the blues, but it comes with a solid side of funk and there's more than a dash of jazz in her changes up and down the neck. Real Blues come from real life and Cecile's lyrics speak to just that, with songs about racism, homophobia and poverty as well as good times, love and lust. Doug Cox was the first featured Dobro player at the Montreal Jazz Festival, and the first Canadian invited to Dobrofest in the birthplace of the Slovakian brothers who invented the Dobro. He's an in-demand teacher at music camps across Canada and in Alaska, Texas, England and Slovenia and the creator of 8 instructional books and DVDs. He's also the artistic director of the highly-regarded Vancouver Island MusicFest. Bill Kirchen founded Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen in the mid 60s and played with them for a decade before inventing the style "diesel-billy" - rock 'n' roll and country music drawing on blues and bluegrass, Western swing and California honky-tonk. He's recorded with Nick Lowe, Emmylou Harris, Doug Sahm, Elvis Costello, Gene Vincent, and Link Wray and many others. Sam Hurrie first heard the Blues when he tuned in to a Detroit radio station across the lake from Ontario and John Lee Hooker's Boogie Chillun rocked his world and changed his life! He played R&B at NYC's The Scene in the mid-60s and jammed with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon. Growing weary of the road he moved to Powell River and worked in the paper mill there for 35 years before the call of the musical wild led him back to playing the Blues once more. Mark Stuart is no stranger to The Rogue, having performed here many times with his partner Stacey Earle. He went from playing in his father's dance band in his teens to touring with Stacey's brother's band Steve Earle & The Dukes - with Stacey - before the duo began their successful years as a songwriting duo. He is a master of just about any style you can imagine! With six hot guitarists of this ilk, you can be sure of a stunning night of music at The Rogue. Full details of this amazing show can be found here

It's what we do. We've been doing it for 29 years. And counting. This month might just count as our best month yet! Got music? Go Rogue! Full details of all our shows is on For the latest updates, join us on Facebook and Instagram.


8. Radio Waves
On this week's edition of The Edge On Folk (Saturday 8am to noon on CiTR fm 101.9 and you can hear music by many of these performers, and new releases from all around the world and all around the wide spectrum of Roots music. I hope you can tune in, turn on, and feel the lurv!

We also offer Radio Rogue, streaming a growing playlist of over 1,000 tunes all day and all of the night from our website. Out a sight!