Steve's Blog
Celtic Colours and a Musical Call to Arms
Friday October 14, 2016

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So here we are in Montreal on the way home from Celtic Colours in Cape Breton. We have an hour before our flight home so I thought Iíd send a quick report and a preview of our next few shows. 

I've since posted some photos to my FlickR page. 

We flew into Sydney on Sunday and went to Cheticamp on the Cabot Trail to see Coig, who ended the show playing with a Jamaican-born steel drummer on a bunch of reels! Then we zoomed off to Port Hawkesbury in the SE corner of the island and on to a remote village called Lower River Inhabitants to see Tony McManus and Daniel Lapp - a definite ìprospectiveî show for 2017 at The Rogue - JP Cormier, Barrule, and young siblings The Broussards from Cape Breton. That was another remarkable show! 


Monday was a very wet and wild day and we had a showcase to attend at the Gaelic College in St. Annís near Baddeck. Three local duos - the pick of them being local fiddler Rosie MacKenzie (ex-Cottars) with Irish guitarist Matt Griffin. Fiddler Colin Grant was joined by guitarist Scott MacMillan for some wonderfully jazzy trad. tunes, and Decota MacNamara showcased his new duo with NB fiddler Jeremy Finney. The rain was really hammering down by this time and we drove back to our motel through floods and waves off Bras d’Or lake washing over the road! We had tickets to see Dougie MacLean and Tony McManus in Membertou, near Sydney. I didnít fancy tackling Kelly’s Mountain in the storm - which was the resurgent Hurricane Matthew reeking havoc across Cape Breton and into Newfoundland. So we stayed home and tuned in to the live stream on the festival website Dougie and Tony were given just 3 songs while the venue tried to sort out water problems. Turned out to be a broken water main and the washrooms and sprinkler system were out of service. So the fire department rightly ordered the show be stopped. So a good decision to stay at our motel was further vindicated when the festival rebroadcast The Unusual Suspects of Celtic Colours -  27 musicians from Scotland and Canada on one stage. Absolutely wonderful stuff with fiddles, pipes, drums, singers, and a horn section. 


Tuesday was a lovely sunny day. Still windy though. We had another showcase to attend and also met up with delegates from Europe and Canada and the USA to share experiences and recommendations from the wide and wonderful world of folk music. I also met up with my cousin Elaine and her husband Greg from Digby. This is becoming an annual family tradition for us! We then drove east beyond Sydney and Glace Bay to Port Morien to see Tim Edey and Brendan Power, Rosie MacKenzie and Mec Lir - a quartet from the Isle of Man with two members of Barrule augmented by a drummer and a keyboard player. This was in the local Legion with its secret downstairs bar and flea market. Another fabulous show and another long drive home to Baddeck. 


Yesterday we caught a lovely set by The Once, taped live in a church for CBC Nova Scotia, before heading north to Bay St. Lawrence for a seafood supper and my first experience of Chase The Ace. I bought the winning ticket and received the princely sum of $59 but then had a chance to win a whole lot more if I could find the Ace of Spades in a deck of cards arranged face down on a table. I got one chance. Everyone was transfixed, willing me to guess incorrectly so they might have chance at winning a larger jackpot next time! I guessed wrong. Too bad. Then we drove back down the Cabot Trail to Aspy Bay for our final concert: John Doyle with fiddlers Kimberley Fraser, Brenda Stubbert and amazing dancer Nic Gareiss. Plus Mec Lir again. With their fabulous Manx dancer Alannah. This was if anything even more incredible than the other shows and a fitting finale to the musical portion of our trip. Faced with a 2 hour drive back on the Cabot Trail with a constant hazard of moose running from hunters we chose to find alternative digs in Dingwall. Didnít sleep well for some reason but the drive back today was spectacular! Now weíre on the plane in Montreal about to take off for YVR. 


There have been a lot of trips to festivals this year. I believe itís a vital part of my job to find new music and artists on the cutting edge of the roots music scene - as well as to witness collaborations which we could later bring to The Rogue. Itís also important to meet other presenters, agents and artists to explore cooperative opportunities and to cement working relationships. 



For me, music is a vital sustaining force of life. After food, clothes and shelter there is music. Itís fundamentally important. So at The Rogue we strive to bring you a series of concerts that can enrich your soul and infuse your spirit with music. With the very best music you - and we - can afford! I have often said that we guarantee our shows 100%; if you donít feel they live up to our billing we will return your money. The majority of our last few shows have been remarkable for two contrasting reasons: amazing entertainment and - sadly - a real struggle to find enough of an audience to cover our costs. We canít afford to spend hundreds of dollars every week on print ads and we donít want to bombard the streets with posters that are covered up within hours. Instead, we rely on our website, the support of the really important media around town (those who care about real, live, life-affirming, independent music), social media ñ especially Facebook - and, above all, word of mouth. Friends telling friends and encouraging them to share the experience of music TOGETHER. 


So, dear readers, we seek fans of country blues and New Orleans-style early street jazz to come on down to CBC Studio 700 on Friday October 14th at 8pm to enjoy The Bumper Jacksons. This band was voted the Best Live Act in the DC area each of the last 4 years! Their music is lively, soulful and real. Itís a Friday night. What better way to mark the end of the working week than to share the experience of live music at The Rogue? 


On Saturday we want to fill The Rio Theatre with the songs and road stories of one of Canadaís most acclaimed songwriters: Fred Eaglesmith. Next Wednesday October 19th at St. James Hall, Jez Lowe will present a rare concert in these parts. His tuneful and impassioned songs of life in the north east counties of England in these austere, asset-stripped times in post-Thatcher Britain are remarakbaly powerful ñ and very catchy with it!


The Rogue is all about Folk Music by the people and for the people. To dance, laugh, cry, shout, sing and celebrate life with friends and fellow Rogues. 


I hope you can make it to two or three of these shows. Remember there is a 100% guarantee and if you buy a Parcel oíRogues the cost is less than $16 per show! And you can also Pay What You Can, $10 and up, for Bumper Jacksons and Jez Lowe. Got music? Go Rogue! (Cos The Rogue needs YOU!)


Tickets and info are on Please share this with your friends. 


Thanks a million!