Steve's Blog
Exciting New Season at The Rogue!!
Friday September 9, 2016

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Up next at The Rogue it's Ontario singer songwriter Craig Cardiff (Sept 15) who writes many of his songs from anecdotes given him by the audience in his "Book of Truths". A uniquely engaging and compelling performer. Tickets & info here

Then on Sept 17 it's the return - after a 12 year absence - of Canadian blues and roots supergroup Tri-Continental (Bill Bourne, Madagascar Slim, and Lester Quitzau). Click here for tickets & info

Sadly, we have had to cancel the Don Ross & Brooke Miller show on Sept 23. For ticket exchanges or refunds, call 604-732-1305 

We've just added a show with legendary Canadian songwriter Connie Kaldor - one of the nation's most entertaining performers (Sept 29.) Tickets & info here

On Sunday Oct 2nd we are bringing in a stunning young trio from the Isle of Man: Barrule. These three young guys play some of the most scintillating Celtic music we've ever heard. They also sing in both English and Manx. This is their first ever Canadian tour, and we are convinced that they will make a hugely favourable impression. We hope all local Celtic music aficionados will take a chance on this band; you will not regret it, I promise you! Click here for tickets & info

On Oct 6, American blues artist Guy Davis returns to the Rogue, and the following night, Birds of Chicago grace our stage again (this show will definitely sell out, so don't delay! Buy your tickets now! 

We are also bringing back Washington DC's live band of the year for the last 4 years, The Bumper Jacksons. They will perform at CBC Studio 700 on Oct 14th.

The following night, Fred Eaglesmith plays a rare duo gig with Tiff Ginn at The Rio Theatre (Commercial and Broadway.)

We round out our October program with a solo show by prolific English songwriter Jez Lowe (Oct 19) and popular Canadian singer Roy Forbes (Oct 22).

Looking ahead: we have just added wonderful PEI trio Ten Strings & A Goat Skin (Nov 11) at St. James!

Unless otherwise stated, all shows are at St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue). Tickets and information for all shows can be found on

BC Entertainment Hall of Fame

Last Sunday I was inducted into the BCEOF as a Pioneer, along with musician Linda McRae. What an honour!!

Thanks so much to everyone who made this possible, to David Eby MLA for helping present the awards, and to all the good folks who came along to share the experience!
New Hire
We had to bid a sad farewell to Scherene Auchterlonie as our Admin Assistant at the end of August. She fell victim to the paucity of affordable rental accommodation in Vancouver and relocated to Nanaimo. We wish her well, and hope she makes it back to Vancouver some day.

Happily, we have just hired Gabriel Dubreuil as our new Admin Assistant! He's another fine young fiddler and a recent graduate of Berklee College of Music. His trio, which includes J. Knutson on guitar, will share the bill with The Paperboys at a Fundraiser for the renovation campaign at St. James Hall on November 18th
Festival Photos!!

I've just added some photos from the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and Denmark's amazing Tonder Festival to my FlickR page.

There are also photo albums of our trip to Scandinavia and Russia in there. 
Festival Reviews
I posted brief reviews of Edmonton and Tonder in my column in The Celtic Connection. Here are the relevant bits:

To be honest, so much has happened since Edmonton that I can barely recall that many details! There were stunning sets from African singer Fatoumata Diawara and Quebec's Barr Brothers to open the event on the Thursday, but I went for a walk up the hill for the next set and didn't stay for the last set of the night. I recall jumping at the chance to see Maura O'Connell and Karan Casey on the Friday evening. Maura has officially retired, but was in such great voice that I invited her to continue her retirement with a Rogue gig some day soon! Tom Russell was up next with his new guitarist Jason Wilber - who also tours with John Prine. There's usually some god Irish music on hand at Edmonton, and this year we had the rare chance to see three veterans of the trad. scene playing together: Matt Molly of The Chieftains on flute, with fiddler John Carty and guitarist Arty McGlynn. Dervish also made a rare appearance in western Canada, and were superb as ever! Niamh Parsons & Graham Dunne treated us to some songs from her great new CD, Kind Providence. Canadian Celtic music was represented by the brilliant PEI trio The East Pointers and Newfoundland singer Matthew Byrne, while Australia's Mae Trio were also impressive. The most pleasant surprise for me was a workshop with the East Pointers, Denmark's Dreamer's Circus and an Irish-Scots-Canadian combo called The Step Crew. The Step Crew comprises - amongst others - Ottawa Valley brothers Jon and Nathan Pilatzke, Scots singer Alyth McCormack, the extraordinary step dancer Cara Butler, and Vancouver's Mark Sullivan (fiddle) and Rob Becker (bass). 

Leaving Edmonton on the Monday we flew to Toronto then on to Copenhagen to board our cruise ship. The next 12 days are also a bit of a blur, with St. Petersburg being an outstanding two-day experience that defied belief! Such incredible palaces and churches, and so many bridges (over 400!) Talk about culture shock! Highlights included a wine bar / speakeasy off Nevsky Prospekt called Garagiste, an evening vodka cruise on the canals, and of course, The Hermitage Museum and the Church On The Spilled Blood. We didn't hear much music on the cruise, just some early music in Tallinn, and a Finnish trio playing kantele in Helsinki, but we weren't concerned; we had the big treat in Tonder still to come. 

My first impression of the Tonder Festival was of a festival of excellent food and drink with incidental music! In all there are 11 stages, 13 drinking establishments - beer, wine, coffee - and 19 food vendors. These are mostly in tents with wooden floors and the choice of food and drink is exemplary. Evidently, Danes are very particular about the quality of their comestibles! The venues range from the large outdoor stage with a concrete forecourt and grassy slope behind to the more intimate jam tent and Dublin pub. There are two very large tents - where audience and stage are completely covered - and several smaller ones, including two spiegeltents. If you haven't yet experienced a spiegeltent try to find one on your next trip to Europe. There are only about 6 in Europe, one in Australia, and apparently two in North America. Picture a circular venue with booths around the sides, a stage at one "end", a bar at the other, and a dance floor / rows of seats in the middle. Billowing red curtains with gold brocade adorn the ceiling, the floor and the booths are made of wood, with mirrors on the pillars and two rows of stained glass windows all around the walls. The interior is all rich reds, browns and golds and the mirrors and windows add sparkle and magic to the feel of the place.

We began our first ever Tonder experience with Irish band Hudson Taylor in the large spiegeltent, Palais de Glaces (capacity 500). It was almost 30C outside and pretty warm inside too! Hudson Taylor are like a latter-day Everly Brothers. Great songs and great harmonies. I met up with a Danish friend and his wife and they treated us to some great food and wine and we led them out to hear The Peatbog Faeries in the great outdoors. They had never been to Tonder before, and though they like all types of music they had never heard of the bands at the festival. I described the Faeries as something akin to Pink Floyd with beats and bagpipes. They did not disappoint, although we waited in vain for a large inflatable pig or a flying saucer to appear over the Open Air stage! Unable to keep up with the drinking pace, Margaret and I wound our way back to the Palais to hear young Scots trio Talisk. Fiercely fast concertina, with fiddle and guitar, Talisk won the best young band award at Celtic Connections this year (I think that's where it was). Then we crossed the "street" to the huge Tent 1 (capacity maybe 2,000+) to see The String Sisters (Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh, Annbjorg Lien, Catriona MacDonald, Liz Carroll, Emma Hardelin and Liz Knowles). Fabulous! We'd seen them at Celtic Colours last October, but this time they were without James MacIntosh of Shooglenifty on drums. James had an unfortunate accident on his birthday this year, and broke his leg. It went septic, and he has had several operations since then. Happily, he's on the mend now, it seems! Sadly, though, The Shoogs didn't make their scheduled appearance at Tonder. 

We were invited to attend the festival as guests of Folk SPOT Denmark - along with other presenters and media from Belgium, Germany, USA, Poland, Finland, Norway and Canada. We heard some great Danish music from the likes of Himmerland, Basco, Fru Skaggerak, Fromseier-Hockings, and more. They also gave us a place to stay and shuttled us around the town and beyond. What a treat!

Over the weekend we also saw a wonderful set from Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band (who needs Bellowhead anyway??), Rosanne Cash & John Leventhal, Tim O'Brien & David Grier, Eric Bibb, Ten Strings & A Goat Skin, A.J. Croce (some piano player, that man!), Sweden's Vasen, and gospel heavy-hitters Blind Boys of Alabama, Fairfield Four, and The McCrary Sisters.

With so many stages there are inevitably going to be some sound bleed problems. These were mostly at the bottom end of the sound spectrum, causing me to consider christening this piece The Rolling Tonder Review. (Tonder is actually pronounced more like a cross between Turner and Tuna, but in this case the Irish pronunciation of thunder seems more appropriate!) Most of this thunder could be attributed to marauding Scots bands like Rura, Manran, and Treacherous Orchestra. Great bands, and great fun - the more-so when it is not someone else you want to hear at the time! Tonder is nothing like any Canadian festival - nor any other festival I've attended. It really is a fabulous music event, and the food is superb. Most Danes speak perfect English and it's an extremely friendly event. I'll definitely be back!

Radio Waves
On This week's Edge On Folk I'll be spinning some new music acquired at the Tonder and Edmonton Folk Festivals, previewing Rogue shows like the long-awaited return of Tri Continental, and lots more. I hope you can tune me in and turn me on this Saturday from 8am to noon on CiTR fm 101.9 and

Radio Rogue has a new playlist of 1,000 songs, and runs 24/7 on our website