Steve's Blog
Rally Round The Rogue - and Save St. James Hall!
Wednesday April 8, 2015

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Update on the future of St. James Hall 
It's been a couple of weeks or more since the last update from me. I've been busy catching up on things like financial reporting and grant reporting and planning future shows - and perhaps even more importantly - battling to save St. James Hall from being lost to developers. We thought we would lose not only The Rogue's "home" venue, but it also looked as though all the other wonderful programs that take place there every week would be lost. The Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra, Phoenix Gymnastics, St. James Daycare, Japanese Preschool, and all the other choirs and AA meetings and Contra Dances etc. would be homeless. We organized a petition to rally local support and put pressure on the building owners and the City to save it. We are very pleased to report that it looks like the building will be saved! However, there is a lot of fundraising required and a lot more effort is needed to persuade the City to help St. James Community Square Society to purchase the building. The Society has run the building at break-even for the past 21 years - with no operating funds from any level of government. Now they / we must come up with a huge amount of money to keep the building and to preserve all those marvellous programs. We need your help. Please visit to see how you can help save this amazing venue!
The Year So Far - So Good!!
2015 got off to a fabulous start at The Rogue, with several sold out shows and some fantastic concerts notably Fred Eaglesmith, The Fretless, The Sweet Lowdown. Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, The Arrogant Worms, and The Duhks. Thank you so much for your support! 
I must say I thought Goitse (see photo above) were absolutely incredible last month! There was a good crowd at St. James to witness their local debut, and it really showed them to be right at the forefront of Irish music. If you don't believe me listen to their new CD, Tall Tales & Misadventures. A few days earlier we saw the return of Donegal quintet Altan after around 10 years away. (I can't remember when they were last here; some time in the mid-noughties. Their last Rogue show was back in 1999!) Instrumentally they were absolutely fabulous, with their twin fiddles and new accordionist Martin Tourish in especially fine fettle. Vocally it seemed that Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh was struggling a bit, and Daithi Sproule wasn't quite as convincing as is his norm. Perhaps this was more to do with the sound system and / or operators at The Centennial. Apparently they were having problems with their monitors and there was some horrendous feedback in the first half. Strange, because they tour with their own sound engineer and the theatre has a fabulous new sound system. Anyhow, musically they were great, and the dancers were incredible! The turnout was OK, with the venue around half full. With another 50 tickets sold we would have broken even. Disappointing to lose money on such a fine band with such a great new album - The Widening Gyre (Compass Records), but that's life.
Coming Soon To The Rogue
We are about to enter the most ambitious program of concerts that we have ever had! There are a lot of performers making their Rogue debut in the next few weeks, and it's a bit of a gamble for us. However, we are absolutely convinced that you will find the quality and variety of the music extremely fulfilling. We have everything from old time to bluegrass, blues to cajun / zydeco, Celtic to gypsy jazz, and singer songwriters - and a range of experienced performers and emerging talent from across Canada and beyond. If there is a more varied and exciting series of shows anywhere on earth I'd be very surprised - and I'd love to be there to witness it!

N.B. To make sure you're informed about all the very latest Rogueish news, visit us on Facebook 
Pharis & Jason Romero
Friday April 10th, 8pm
St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Pharis and Jason Romero are on the cover of the new issue of Canadian music magazine Penguin Eggs (a mighty fine publication!) They launch their new CD, A Wanderer I'll Stay, with a concert at St. James Hall. Their music is a sumptuous blend of original songs in trad. style, Appalachian ballads and folk blues, and Old Time banjo tunes. Their harmonies are simply gorgeous, and the songs are so atmospheric and mesmerizingly beautiful! Pharis used to front a fabulous band from Victoria called Outlaw Social. Now married to Jason Romero, one of the most in-demand banjo makers in the world, she lives in Horsefly BC and they started a family recently. Speaking of family, Pharis' sister, Marin Patenaude, will open for them. The show will very probably sell out, so get your tickets now! For more on Pharis & Jason click here
Guy Davis
Saturday April 11th, 8pm
St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Next up we have two quite different approaches to acoustic Blues. On Saturday April 11th New York's Guy Davis plays a Rogue gig for the first time in 6 years. This compelling singer and storyteller is the son of actors and civil rights activists Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee. He has presented one-man shows on Broadway and has a string of superb albums to his name - most recently Juba Dance (Red House Records). He was a big hit at last summer's Mission Folk Music Festival and travels around the world bringing his music and message to the people just about every day. We are so happy to welcome him back to The Rogue!
 Michael Jerome Browne
Sunday April 19th, 8pm
St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Montreal's Michael Jerome Browne brings his new CD, Sliding Delta - an homage to the Blues legends of the 1920s and 1930s who inspired him to pursue a musical career when he was growing up in Quebec, the son of English professors at a local university. Michael is a superb player on 6 and 12 string guitar - with and without slide. He is a fine singer and songwriter and also plays gourd banjo, Cajun fiddle and harmonica. He is often seen accompanying his good friend Eric Bibb (who is also a long time musical partner of Guy Davis.) Website
 April In Paris
9th annual festival of gypsy jazz
 Friday April 24th, 8pm
 Saturday April 25th, 8pm
 Sunday April 26th, 7pm
April is a great month to be in Paris. Not everyone can manage to get there this month, so Paris is coming to Vancouver in April by way of the Rogue's 9th annual April In Paris festival of gypsy jazz, Friday April 24th to Sunday April 26th at St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue.) There are plenty of Celtic connections between gypsy jazz and the west coast acoustic music scene, notably fiddle players Cam Wilson (Mad Pudding) and Tom Neville (Fear of Drinking) and flute / sax / harmonica "windgod" Mark Dowding (The Wheat In The Barley.) Cam Wilson will bring his amazing string quartet Van Django on the Sunday night, and will also guest with Marc Atkinson (The Bills) and his trio on the Saturday. Mark Dowding and Tom Neville will perform with Deanna Knight & The Hot Club Of Mars on the opening night, which is the big Cabaret / Burlesque Night with magicians and swing dancers and a chorus line - and a vivacious burlesque dancer - weaving in and out of the music provided by Deanna and the boys. Parisian guitar goddess and singer Christine Tassan returns with the outstanding combo Les Imposteures, so named because gypsy jazz is a notoriously male-dominated genre, but these incredible women from Montreal are more than a match for any gypsy jazz combo on the planet! Vancouver's Company B Jazz Band were such a big hit last year that we have invited them back for the Sunday show, which starts a little earlier than the usual start time (7pm instead of 8pm.) Full details of the festival can be found here
Cassie & Maggie
Friday May 1st, 8pm
St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
To get you in a Celtic mood why not check out the local debut of the amazing sisters Cassie & Maggie MacDonald from Nova Scotia? These young women have come on leaps and bounds since I first encountered them at a Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis a few years ago. Their latest CD, Sterling Road, is quite wonderful, featuring some very spritely medleys of polkas, jigs and reels and a few songs in English and Gaelic. Since its release last year they have gone into musical overdrive! Recent reports on their concerts are progressively more replete with praise. For more visit their Website
Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill
Sunday May 3rd, 8pm
St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
The big news for Celtic music fans is the impending concert by Co. Clare fiddler Martin Hayes and his guitar-toting buddy Dennis Cahill on Sunday May 3rd at St. James Hall in Kitsilano. Many of you will have seen them in their new "supergroup", The Gloaming, at the Chan Centre in November. Many more of you will have seen them at The Rogue down the years, dating back to Martin's first solo gigs in 1993. In all, Martin has played 13 times at The Rogue since then! Most recently in 2012. He was also at the Mission Folk Music Festival a couple of years ago with John Doyle and Kevin Crawford (in a trio called The Teetotallers. None of them drink!) While recordings by Hayes & Cahill are rare as hen's teeth - just three since 1996 - they are both kept incredibly busy with other projects, including Masters Of Tradition and The Gloaming. There is something truly magical about Martin's music. Some of their pieces are rambling medleys of traditional tunes which start with a slow air or a moody slip jig and build in intensity and speed until they hit top gear in a blinding flash of reels, driven by Martin's pounding feet and illustrated by his flying curls as he conjures breathtakingly beautiful notes out of his fiddle. Dennis propels the rhythms with the most tastefully understated yet supercharged guitar and mandolin chords and picking. This is not your everyday Celtic music; this is more like a musical trip on hallucinogens or tantric sex or transcendental meditation! Exhilarating and consciousness-altering music played by two of the most gifted musicians around. Here is their Website
Sweet Alibi
Friday May 8th, 8pm
St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Winnipeg trio Sweet Alibi make their Rogue debut. These three young women make beautiful music together. Such great harmonies and strong writing skills - plus reverential and innovative covers of songs by the likes of Woody Guthrie are among their hallmarks. We are working on adding another band to the bill this night. Stay tuned! Website
Gonzalo Bergara Quartet
Sunday May 10th, 8pm
St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Next we present a very excellent gypsy jazz band, led by Argentine guitarist Gonzalo Bergara - one of the most highly-regarded guitarists in gypsy jazz. We saw him last September at Djangofest NW on Whidbey Island and were mightily impressed! Joining him there - and also in this quartet - was / is sensational young American fiddler / chanteuse Leah Zeger, who is equally adept at singing torch songs or playing searing Hungarian czardas, Romanian horas or gypsy jazz standards. Website
Laurie Lewis & Kathy Kallick
Friday May 15th, 8pm
St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
How about some real tasty bluegrass? We have two of California's most celebrated singers - Laurie Lewis and Kathy Kallick - paying tribute to bluegrass legends Vern Williams and Ray Park, with a full band. Website
The Revelers
Sunday May 17th, 8pm
St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
It's about time we brought you some hot cajun / zydeco. Louisiana's Revelers are made up of members of The Pine Leaf Boys and The Red Stick Ramblers. It doesn't get much hotter than that! Website
Chris Ronald & John Ellis
Friday May 22nd, 8pm
St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Vancouver songwriter Chris Ronald was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award last fall. He lost out to Shari Ulrich - no disgrace in that - and we are turning him loose at The Rogue on Friday May 22nd with multi-instrumentalist John Ellis. Keep an eye out for details of the other half of this concert bill. Chris Ronald
Ten Strings & A Goat Skin
Saturday May 30th, 8pm
St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
I'll be celebrating 30 years of The Edge On Folk on CiTR with a special edition of the radio show and a concert in the evening with the supercharged P.E.I. Celtic trio Ten Strings & A Goat SkinThese young guys are Lennie Gallant's nephews, by the way. Website
Tickets for all Rogue shows are on sale at Highlife Records, Prussin Music, Red Cat Records, Rufus' Guitar Shop and online at
Radio Waves
Huge thanks to Stewart Seidel for resurrecting our old PC and turning it into a Hackintosh which is now running Radio Rogue, our streaming audio feed. The broadcast has run without interruption for several days now (the old Mac kept having to be restarted for some reason.) So tune in to hear music by all the performers coming to The Rogue in the next few months. If you haven't heard these acts before this is a great way to sample their music.
On this week's edition of The Edge On Folk - Saturday 8am to noon on CiTR fm 101.9 and - I'll feature music by Guy Davis as well as new releases by the likes of Natalie Macmaster & Donnell Leahy, Lee Harvey Osmond, Le Vent Du Nord, Harald Haugaard, April Verch, Alex Cuba, Buena Vista Social Club and lots more. I hope you can join me.
Finally, a big Thank You to all who pledged to the show on CiTR's Fundrive at the end of February! The Edge On Folk was the top-earning show on CiTR this year, and overall the radio station exceeded its goal of $40,000 by well over $2,000! It's so great to feel the love!