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Wednesday October 24, 2012

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Hi everyone

Welcome to Rogue October-Fest! Three great shows in three nights at St. James Hall, with some of the best and most prolific songwriters of our time and an amazing virtuoso (or three) from India! All this and two radio shows as well (tonight at 8pm and Saturday at 8am with yours truly at the controls.)

1. Debashish Bhattacharya Trio, Thursday October 25th 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

Kolkata's Grammy-nominated Debashish Bhattacharya is one of the world's most extraordinary and innovative slide guitarists. He fuses influences from all over India as well as the West, creating a style that is both hypnotic and fiery. Debashish famously gave up the sitar at age six in search of a greater challenge! He found it by modifying a jazz guitar and adding sympathetic strings. He is now universally celebrated for juggling his three self-designed slide guitars: the 22-string Chaturangui, the 14-string Gandharvi and a tiny slide ukulele called Anandi, representing three generations of instruments and continuing a thousand-year musical tradition. Debashish continues a tradition that began when Hawaiian slack key guitarists were stranded in India when WWII broke out, and local players adapted their open tunings and slide effects to perform classical ragas. Blending trance-like Hindustani sounds, southern ragas and an incisive, Western-influenced melodic style, Bhattacharya's guitars ring and reverberate, often in the style of a sitar (his innovations have frequently been compared to the great Ravi Shankar).

Debashish has performed at the Rogue on four previous occasions, most recently at CBC with pianist Bob Murphy and saxophonist Tom Keenlyside - what a show that was! He first came here with Bob Brozman and Martin Simpson on a World Of Slide Guitar Tour in 1996 and 1997. Each time he has been accompanied by his brother Subashis - the leading percussionist of his generation - on tablas. Their uniquely powerful interplay demonstrates an almost telepathic link which only siblings can achieve! On this tour they will be joined by Debashish's prodigiously talented teenage daughter Anandi on vocals and tamboura, who matches Debashish's swift-swooping melodies note-for-note.

The trio have a new CD, Madeira -- If Music Can Intoxicate. In the supremely gifted hands of this amazing family, music is most definitely a powerful intoxicant.

2. James Keelaghan Trio, Friday October 26th 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

Canadian songwriter James Keelaghan first played at The Rogue back in our first year at The Savoy - sharing the bill with his good friend Stephen Fearing - in 1987. He has released a string of superb albums since then, most recently House Of Cards in 2009. Since then he's been touring constantly, performing at prestigious events like Australia's National Folk Festival and Cape Breton's hugely impressive Celtic Colours Festival (renowned for its woodshedding events, bringing 6 songwriters together for a week to write songs on a theme. This produced one of his most memorable recent compositions, Medusa, co-written with Scots singer Karine Polwart. It's a brilliant theme for Remembrance Day next month.) Keelaghan's stories in song often portray historical events through the eyes of ordinary folk who were swept up in them. He will be joined by Hugh McMillan (Spirit of the West) on mandolins and vocals, and David Woodhead on basses and vocals. James has written several new songs and will perform some of them on this night. His 25th Anniversary CD / DVD will be released in the Spring. It was delayed because he recently took up the appointment of Artistic Director at Ontario's Summerfolk Festival at Owen Sound. A position he describes as a blast, but I spent a lot of time learning the organization. It's really quite a different thing from the other side, but a little bit like planning a three day long set of music. More info.:

3. Old Man Luedecke plus Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart, Saturday October 27th 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

Old Man Luedecke is one of Canada's best loved and most intriguing roots singer-songwriters. His memorable melodies, poetic sense and easy charisma appeal to anyone searching for new growth from old roots. He was born in Toronto but has made his home for years in the music rich maritime province of Nova Scotia. There his music has been wholeheartedly adopted and he is becoming renowned for adopting its traditional storytelling folk elements. His music speaks to a new generation of people craving meaning in their music. He has just released a stunning CD, Tender Is The Night (Borealis Records) and is touring across Canada to bring it to discerning folk music fans from coast to coast to coast.

Few husband-wife musical duos provide audiences with the complete entertainment package that Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart dish out in a live performance. Armed with clever acoustic guitar interplay, autobiographical songwriting, lovely harmonies, and humorous storytelling this couple captivates your attention from the first moment they are onstage. Based in Tennessee, Earle and Stuart draw from blues, pop, country, rock, and more in their heartfelt music. Years of touring the folk/Americana circuit (playing 170 concerts a year) has given them a knack for reaching out to the audience in an intimate "come in to my living room" fashion.

This double-bill promises to be on of the best nights of original songwriting that we've ever presented at The Rogue. It's also the closest Saturday to Halloween, so we are staging a Costume Party, with prizes for the best - and treats for all!

4. Folk Oasis, Wednesday October 24th, 8pm to 10pm, CiTR fm 101.9 and

I'm filling in for Val Cormier tonight, and will be interviewing both James Keelaghan and Chris "Old Man" Luedecke during the show. I've also got some tasty new music from Debashish Bhattacharya, Lau, Mark Knopfler, Show Of Hands, Jez Lowe, plus Canadian songwriters Amelia Curran and Dave Gunning, young Aboriginal fiddler Wesley Hardisty, and Toronto's crazy Balkan combo The Lemon Bucket Orkestra, and more! I hope you can tune in. I'll be giving away tickets to Rogue Octoberfest as well.

5. The Edge On Folk, Saturday October 27th, 8am to noon, CiTR fm 101.9 and

This will be my annual Halloween Special, with some stirring songs of the supernatural (there are heaps of them in folk music!) I'll have loads more music by Lunasa, Across The Borderline, Fish & Bird, Reid Jamieson, Madison Violet, Mad Pudding, Genticorum, the Jaybirds, Jim Byrnes, Staff Benda Bilili, Rupa & the April Fishes, Kelly Joe Phelps, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, and much more. Please join me for four hours of the very best in Roots music from next door, across Canada, and over the seas. Streamed live on and carried live on Telus TV channel 3717 as well as fm 101.9.

Hope to see you at a concert or two in the next few days. They are going to be amazing shows, and tickets are available for all three concerts. They will be even more memorable if they are full of Rogueish types having a ball! So come on down to The Rogue for good times - and great music!