Steve's Blog
Thursday January 28, 2010

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Hi everyone

This is it! A huge weekend for the Rogue and then we take a break while the Cultural Olympiad and the Winter Olympics take over the city.

We have had some wonderful concerts - and dances - to start 2010, and this weekend is a great way to round off the month. We have something for just about everyone.

I have also updated the playlist on Radio Rogue with some hot new releases and loads of music by artists coming to the Rogue later this year, so if you start to suffer from "Rogue Withdrawal" you don't have to go cold turkey. Just go to our home page and click on the Radio Rogue link.

Dala, Friday January 29th 8pm at St. James Hall, 3214 West 10th Avenue

Fresh from sold-out concerts in Calgary, Philadelphia and Titusville NJ on their current tour, Ontario duo Dala (Sheila Carrabine and Amanda Walther) make their Vancouver debut tomorrow night. (Actually, they have played here once before, as part of Stuart MacLean's Vinyl Cafe on CBC, but this will be the girls' first concert here in their own right.) OK, so you've never heard of Titusville NJ. Nor had I, but this is what their concert organizer says about Dala: "One of my regulars was at Newport (Folk Festival last August), and he's been especially helpful in sending out mass E-mails to his friends about this concert. I also think that anyone who sees their video on our website, or on YouTube and hears their music can't help but be impressed"... "Their harmonies just give you goose bumps."

They were the only Canadian act invited to perform at the 50th anniversary of Newport. It's a shame there weren't more Canadians, of course, but think about this: they were at the top of Newport's list of Canadian songwriters. That would be a pretty impressive list in anybody's language, and for Dala to be at the top says quite a lot about them.

NPR, the American public broadcasting association, includes a Dala song in their Top 10 Folk Songs of 2009. Dala's "Horses", from their latest CD "Everyone Is Someone", sits proudly amongst the likes of Jorma Kaukonen, Nanci Griffith, Elvis Costello, Levon Helm, and Red Stick Ramblers in their Top 10. Esteemed company indeed!

They also received a glowing review in the Irish Post, alongside James Keelaghan, with both CDs highly recommended: "Their music is difficult to label because it feels like folk but yet is more than that. To call it acoustic pop would be dismissive and makes it sound a bit frivolous, and it is anything but that. The songs are thoughtful and beautifully crafted and performed to absolute perfection by two voices that blend incredibly well together and sound as one. The harmonies are stunning and it is almost impossible to tell which voice is singing lead as they seem to swap melody lines so effortlessly and harmonize so naturally. These two girls are not some lightweight manufactured pop act based simply around good looks. They are two incredibly talented young women who play a variety of instruments, including guitar, piano, keyboards and mandolin, and write lovely songs they perform to a level that some acts can only dream about."

At a recent concert an audience member heard Dala's version of Donovan's "Catch The Wind" on my iPod before the show. She was enchanted, and asked me who it was. I think she'll be there tomorrow.

As I noted on our website, I first heard them at the Edmonton Folk Festival a couple of years ago, and they have held me enthralled ever since. It's not just me. I took some friends and colleagues to see them showcase at Folk Alliance last February. Everyone was impressed.

You can hear them "Live" on Music Notes on Shore fm 104.3 on Friday at 6pm.

It's a big leap of faith for us to bring in a new performer. I have to have 100% faith in the artists' craft. No problem with Dala. Come along and find out what I mean. I guarantee that you will love them. And if you know anyone under the age of 25, bring them along too. They can explain what the songs are about! (Just kidding! But seriously, do bring your family and friends to this show. If they find out later that you didn't invite them you won't be popular!)

So, if it's goose bumps you're after, visit the Dala website and download their gorgeous version of the ballad Red Is The Rose. It's free. It's exquisite. And it will give you an idea of what to expect tomorrow night.

Red Stick Ramblers, Saturday January 30th 8pm at St. James Hall, 3214 West 10th Avenue

The joint will be jumpin' on Saturday night to the strains of Cajun music from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, when the Red Stick Ramblers come to town for their first concert gig. Don't worry. We'll leave plenty of room for dancing! You just won't be able to sit still for long.

"We live pretty fast and hard. We live life to its fullest. Then we pour that into our songwriting and our music, & take it with us wherever we go." Hard driving, witty, eclectic, and honest, the music of the Red Stick Ramblers is inseparable from their way of life and the rich Louisiana culture that first inspired them. Their fifth album, My Suitcase Is Always Packed, is as much a travelogue as a sound recording, complete with audio snapshots of relentless all-night dances, laid back campfire sessions, dusty honky-tonks, and raucous family reunions. It is the fullest flowering so far of the Ramblers' unique hybrid of Cajun, country, stringband, and swing influences.

The band members are Linzay Young (Fiddle, vocals), Chas Justus (guitar), Kevin Wimmer (ex Good Ol' Persons) on fiddle and vocals, Eric Frey on bass, and Glenn Fields on drums. Don't miss this incredible evening of Southern Exposure at the Rogue!

Don Ross w/ Jordan O'Connor, Sunday January 31st 8pm at St. James Hall, 3214 West 10th Avenue

We are always delighted to welcome back Don Ross, the incredible Canadian guitarist and song. He's just released "Any Colour", a collection of songs he's written over the years. He's best known for his "Heavy Wood" music, showcasing his amazing guitar technique and his remarkably funky delivery. On the new CD we still get plenty of magical guitar, but now we also get his fine vocals on each of the tracks. He's always been a great guitar teacher, and is now offering online lessons using Skype! Ever the great innovator, and a totally compelling and engaging performer, Don Ross returns with the brilliant bassist Jordan O'Connor for a concert this Sunday. A must for all guitar players and guitar fans (and bass players too!) Visit Don's website for more info.

Help Wanted

We need help picking up a drum kit and a couple of amps from Long & McQuade on Saturday afternoon for the Red Stick Ramblers show. L&M, on Terminal Avenue, is closed on Sundays, so if you also have secure storage and can return the items on Monday that would be even better. (We don't have sufficient storage space at St. James Hall.) If you have a minivan or similar, please email me if you can meet me at L&M on Saturday around 3pm. Thanks a million!

The Edge On Folk, Saturday January 30th 8am to noon on CiTR fm 101.9

I'll have new releases by Patty Griffin, Eric Bibb, Levon Helm, Joy Kills Sorrow, Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate, Kasse Mady Diabate, Karan Casey & John Doyle, Grada, BC fiddler Jocelyn Pettit, and more. Plus previews of our concerts and other events around town and beyond. Please join me for four hours of the very best in Roots, World & Folk Music every Saturday from 8am to 12 noon on CiTR fm 101.9 or live on the net on (podcasts of shows are available there, too, but - like most things in life - it's best to experience it "live")

Have a great weekend!

See you at The Rogue