Steve's Blog
Musical Gatherings at The Rogue House to keep our spirits up!
Wednesday October 4, 2017

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Need some great music to cheer you up this week? Look no further than our next show at The Rogue! It's tomorrow night, and it's so good we had to start it early. The 7:30pm start time applies to this show and the next one on October 19th as well.

1. Don Ross & Calum Graham, plus special guests Cassie & Maggie, Thursday October 5th, 7:30pm, at St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

Don Ross
 (left) has toured regularly since 1989, across Canada, the USA, a dozen European countries, Japan, Taiwan, China, Australia, Russia and India. He has played with symphony orchestras in Canada and Germany, and collaborated live and on recording with Andy McKee, Canadian singer/guitarist Brooke Miller, Canadian guitarist Calum Graham, & Toronto bassist Jordan O’Connor. He also composes scores for television, radio and film, and does production and recording engineering for a variety of other musicians. In addition to acoustic guitar, Don also plays electric guitar, slide dobro and lapsteel guitar, harp guitar, voice, piano, keyboards, bass guitar and drums. He has just started learning to play the Kelstone, a 9-string guitar developed by Belgian musician/inventor Jan Van Kelst. At this point, Don admits that learning a new instrument from scratch at this point in his career is “humbling. I’m a rank amateur Kelstone player, and I still completely suck at it!”

Hard to believe, Don! You are an amazing musician who never ceases to stun our audience with your skills on a sparkling array of stringed things!
Don's brilliant new CD, A Million Brazilian Civilians, will be on sale at the gig.

At just 25, Calum Graham (pictured above on the right) has already enjoyed a career that would be the envy of most artists twice his age. The Alberta-based guitarist and singer/songwriter has released five acclaimed albums, won major national music competitions, performed at the Olympic Games in both Vancouver and London, racked up some phenomenal views on YouTube, and was most recently named one of the top 30 guitarists in the world under 30 by Acoustic Guitar MagazineAndy McKee, one of today’s most popular acoustic guitarists, calls Calum “the most promising young guitarist I’ve seen. His command of the guitar is already really impressive!”

We saw Calum for the first time at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival in August - and were mightily impressed! His new CD, Tabula Rasa, will also be available at the show.

Nova Scotian sisters Cassie and Maggie have been lighting up the world with their unique blend of traditional and contemporary Celtic instrumentals and vocals. Appearing on stages across North America, the UK, and Europe the sisters have enchanted audiences far and wide with lively fiddle, piano and guitar arrangements, stunning sibling vocal harmonies in both English and Gaelic, all complemented by their intricate and percussive stepdancing style. 

Cassie and Maggie have already won an impressive number of awards: 2016 Live Ireland Radio’s VOCALISTS OF THE YEAR and NEW GROUP OF THE YEAR”, Chicago Irish-American Newspaper’s EMERGING ARTIST and RECORDING OF THE YEAR winners, Galaxie Radio Rising Stars, Independent Music Award WORLD SONG OF THE YEAR nominees, as well as multiple Canadian Folk Music Award, East Coast Music Award and Music Nova Scotia Award nominees. Currently, they have FOUR nominations for 2017 Canadian Folk Music Awards.

This will be their second Rogue show. Since they wowed us in May 2016 they have released their 3rd CD, The Willow Collection, a stunning album of songs and tunes featuring the willow tree - one of the most powerful recurring images in folk music down the years. Their set will start at 7:30pm, so don't be late!! For tickets and more information click here.

2. Trio Da Kali, Friday October 6th, 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

We team up with Caravan World Rhythms to present an evening of West African music by Mali's Trio Da KaliFodé Lassana Diabaté, the musical director of Trio da Kali, is a virtuoso balafon (a large wooden xylophone) player from Guinea, where the instrument originated in the 13th century. Hawa Kasse Mady Diabaté is one of Mali’s finest female voices today, revered at home for her knowledge of repertoire and for her powerful, clear and expressive voice, rooted in the tradition of Kela, a village in southwest Mali famous for its griot music, where she grew up. She is the daughter of Mali’s most celebrated male singer, Kasse Mady Diabaté – guardian of Kela’s special tradition. Bass ngoni player Mamadou Kouyaté, the eldest son of the instrument’s greatest exponent Bassekou Kouyaté, also holds down the groove in his father’s band Ngoni ba.

The trio just released a wonderful CD, Ladilikan, with renowned string quartet The Kronos Quartet. it's breathtaking, and will be on sale at the show. Click here for more details and where to buy tickets.


3. Rick Scott & Nico Rhodes plus special guest Steph Cameron, Thursday October 19th, 7:30pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

Veteran dulcimer maverick Rick Scott and young keyboard ace Nico Rhodes join forces for an intergenerational smorgasbord of roots, rhythm and groove!

What do you get when you combine a famed folkie with a rising star? Seasoned expertise and youthful exuberance? Old school groove with Broadway chops? Rick and Nico blur all musical boundaries. In a word, (well okay - two words) they cook!

Rick Scott emerged in the ‘70s in the iconic folk trio Pied Pumkin. Since then he has released 18 recordings and performed his highly original music in nine countries, earning three Juno nominations and Vancouver Island, Western Canadian and Canadian Folk Music Awards. Singer, songwriter, actor and raconteur, he is legendary for his capacity to combine music and humour to uplift and refresh the human spirit.

Nico Rhodes is astonishing, not just an accompanist, you have to hear and see him caress, cajole and at times almost punish the piano. Breathtakingly fresh sounds and style radiate from this young musician whose hands effortlessly fly across a keyboard leaving us in utter amazement and jumping to our feet at the end of a solo!

Rick and Nico released their first CD together, Roots & Grooves, in September! This collaboration has been decades in the making. At age 8 Nico wrote Rick a fan letter and at age 23 he orchestrated Rick’s music for symphony. Equally proficient on keyboards and woodwinds, he’s in constant demand across Canada as an arranger and musical director for stage shows from Chemainus to Ontario, when not playing jazz with his own trio or touring with his mother, renowned chanteuse Joelle Rabu.

Rick says, "At 27, Nico Rhodes is on fire, not since Pied Pumkin have I experienced such unfettered creativity as he totally reinvigorates my earliest tunes. We're cooking up grooves these old bones can hardly believe. Hope you will join us." 

Tickets and info

Steph Cameron's music and lifestyle seem to echo another time and place. Think of the beatniks in the '50s, hitchhiking and hopping freight freights. Think Greenwich Village circa 1963, and the beginning of the Dylan-fueled folk explosion, or a late '60s commune in northern California perhaps. In fact, Steph Cameron and her community of like-minded friends have made their own time and place, right here, right now. They have chosen to share music and ideas around the campfire, or by candlelight within the rural cabins they have built themselves.

There is an undeniably retro feel to Cameron’s work, but she is certainly not mired in the past. “I’ve been involved in the underground punk and hip hop scenes for years,” she says. “I have always felt an affinity for music that comes from the street or other places of conflict.” She goes on to express a “respect for music that admires the resourcefulness of struggling people and demonstrates a distrust for authority.” Steph acknowledges that her core passion, however, remains “folk and blues music.” This ranges from the country blues of Lightnin’ Hopkins to the bluegrass of Doc Watson to the vintage ’60s folk of Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and early Joni Mitchell. Born in Saskatoon, she has since spent time living in East Vancouver, Vancouver Island, and now the Kootenay region of the B.C. interior, as well as logging serious miles traversing the country. Steph will open this show at 7:30pm, so come early to hear one of Canada's finest young voices. 

4. Little Miss Higgins, Friday October 20th, 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

From the Great Northern Plains of Western Canada, Little Miss Higgins struts and serenades her way, guitar in hand, lips blazoned red, onto any stage. As if she just drove in off the back-road of another time with gravel dust and a sunset trailing behind her, this pocket-sized powerhouse plays music brewed up in old-time country blues sprinkled with a little jazz and maybe a hint of folk. Whether it’s songs about passion or songs about panties, she writes about real things in a rooted and poetic way. 

Little Miss Higgins (aka Jolene Higgins) was born in Brooks, Alberta, and raised in Independence, Kansas. Music entered her life early. “When I was about four my dad bought this old piano at a local bar,” she recalls. “It was a mini grand piano. He brought it home and told me it was mine. I carved my name in the side and started taking piano lessons.”

Growing up playing piano, Higgins now uses guitar and voice as her main instruments as well as her theatre background to bring a “refreshing sound and story to the stage.” She spent a number of years after studying theatre at a college in Alberta, roaming Western Canada, acting in plays, frequenting blues clubs and playing her guitar. Higgins finally settled down in Saskatchewan and that’s when music took the driver’s seat.

For over 15 years, she has performed, toured, collaborated, recorded and released 5 independent albums.  Her music has won three Western Canadian Music Awards and received Junoand Maple Blues Awards nominations.  Now, along with motherhood, Higgins has the newest addition to her list of accomplishments,  a superb new CD - released this month - My Home, My Heart.

For tickets & information click here

5. Radio Waves
Tune in to The Saturday Edge On Folk every Saturday from 8am to noon on CiTR fm 101.9 in Vancouver and everywhere on

On this week's show I'll have new releases from the likes of Eilen Jewell, Molly Tuttle, Jim Byrnes, Robert Plant, Leveret, Tom Russell, as well as a tribute to Tom Petty, and previews of shows by The Gloaming (Chan Centre, Oct 15th), 
Petunia & The Vipers (Rickshaw, Oct 7th), Little Miss Higgins, Steph Cameron, Rick Scott & Nico Rhodes, Beolach (Wendy MacIsaac, Mairi Rankin & Mac Morin from Cape Breton joined by piper / guitarist Matt MacIsaac from Natalie MacMaster's band, playing The Rogue on November 3rd), and Texas Troubadours Ruthie Foster & Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Carrie Rodrigues (Chan Centre, November 8th).

I'll also preview the Celtic Colours Festival. We're off to Cape Breton this weekend. Yay!

Arthur & Andrea Berman of Pacific Pickin' will host The Saturday Edge on October 14th, and I'll be back for The Gloaming and then hosting two shows on CiTR on October 21st - my own show at 8am and then Code Blue - CiTR's blues show - from 3 - 5pm. 

You can also tune in any time to Radio Rogue for an eclectic mix of roots music from around the world.