Steve's Blog
Wednesday May 5, 2010

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Hi everyone

This week we have the CD launch concert by Shari Ulrich at St. James Hall, 3214 West 10th Avenue (Friday, May 7th at 8pm). Shari is, of course, well known as a solo performer, a member of Pied Pumkin, and the organizer of the local Bluebird North songwriter series. Her latest CD, Find Our Way, has just been released. It is a stunning collection of extremely personal songs recounting her story with the shimmering, tender beauty we have come to know and love from this fine artist. Tickets are selling fast, so don't delay.

Shari Ulrich Sings About Finding her Son on Find Our Way

Find Our Way album launch concert
Including special guests daughter Julia Graff, partner Bill Runge, and, appearing for the first time, son Mike Magee. Also joining Shari will be Bruce Miller, Jane Mortifee and Tom Taylor.

In August 2007, Juno-winning recording artist Shari Ulrich spontaneously signed up for one of those web sites that helps reunite adopted children with their birth parents. Within 48 hours, she was talking on the phone with the son she had handed over at the unwed mother's home 39 years earlier. She had been barely 16 at the time. The joyful reunion is chronicled on "By the Grace of Goodbye," one of the highlights of Ulrich's new CD, Find Our Way - her seventh solo album and her first ever fully self-produced project. Best of all, the May 7th CD release concert at the Rogue Folk Club will see the whole family perform together for the first time - including son Mike Magee, who, it turns out, plays percussion.

A member of the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame, Ulrich has absolutely nothing to prove as a singer, musician or composer, so to say that Find Our Way maintains the consistency of her previous recordings is a compliment of the highest order. That she achieves this having taken control of the production for the first time is a toast to both her skill and - she says - to the influence of the producers she worked with along the way.

Ulrich, who has always been exceptionally generous about sharing her personal joys and sorrows with her fans - whether in her lyrics, on her web blog, or in her public advocacy for survivors of assault - offers more glimpses into life and family on Find Our Way, sharing thoughts and stories that countless others will be able to relate to. "(Now You're) Gone" is inspired by her daughter Julia's leaving home to go to university. "Life Goes On" and "Everlasting Great Regret" are reflections on life's unexpected turns. "What She Left for Us" is a tribute to her late mother. Then, of course, there's "By the Grace of Goodbye," a moving number that avoids both sentimentality and melodrama while tackling a subject that has been surprisingly under-sung-about.

The arrangements on Find Our Way are a true family affair, with violin parts performed by Ulrich's daughter, Julia Graff, and piano and bass lines provided by her partner, jazz legend Bill Runge. Ulrich herself plays guitar, mandolin, fiddle, piano, cello and accordion. Additional contributions come from friends Barney Bentall (harmonica), Karen Savoca (percussion) and David Celia (guitars), among others. The classic roots instrumentation provides a tasteful backdrop for Ulrich's voice, which is every bit as pure and expressive as it was in the 70s, when, as a member of Valdy's Hometown Band, she first won audiences over with her rendition of Joe Mock's "Flying."

Transplanted from San Rafael, California during the height of the flower child era, Ulrich made a name for herself in Canada as a member of the seminal West Coast folk outfit, Pied Pumkin. Her breakthrough came when she joined the Hometown Band, with whom she won a Juno for Most Promising Group. She went on to release two solo albums with A&M Records and one with MCA, earning a second Juno - for Most Promising Female Vocalist of the Year - and two subsequent nominations for Best Female Vocalist. When the majors released her from her contract in the wake of corporate mergers, Ulrich began recording as an independent artist, while also pursuing a wealth of other projects. She produced segments for Sesame Street, wrote and hosted CTV's Inside Trax, co-hosted Futurescan with David Suzuki and composed for film and television. Ulrich has recorded three independent albums and released a Best Of compilation. She is also a member of the folk supergroup UHF, along with Bill Henderson and Roy Forbes. Most recently, she has been recording and touring with Barney Bentall and She Stole My Beer's Tom Taylor.

Shari Ulrich plays the St James Hall on Friday, May 7th at 8pm. Tickets are $23 ($20 for members) and can be purchased at Highlife Records and Rufus' Guitar Shop, online or by calling the Rogue Ticket Hotline at 604.736.3022. Doors open at 7:30pm.

Next week:

The Rogue celebrates its 23rd Birthday with three great concerts:

Full details of these concerts can be found on the Concert Calendar of our new-look website.

Last week:

Last Sunday we presented the Vancouver debut of Indiana singer Krista Detor. It was a fabulous show. Sadly, we had our smallest ever attendance that night. The weather was appalling, and that probably kept a few of you indoors, but the last time we checked the roof at St. James Hall was still intact, and nobody got wet. I cannot begin to express our disappointment that so few of our members were willing to take a chance on this fine artist.

It is all the more worrying as we enter a month or so where we are presenting a lot of shows with emerging artists you probably have never heard of. Many of them are Canadian, and we guarantee all our shows 100%, so if you don't think they live up to our billing we will give you a refund - or treat you to another show. What have you got to lose? Not a lot.

As for the Rogue, we have a lot at stake. If the audience for these shows is as small as it was for Krista we will not survive. Maybe The Rogue hasn't meant that much to you over the past 23 years. Perhaps you have never discovered someone new and exciting at a Rogue show, and you won't miss The Rogue when it's gone. But if you do care, if you have enjoyed our shows in the past, and if you do relish the thrill of new discoveries - and / or the power of real, live, acoustic music with solid roots in tradition - then please come to as many of these shows as you can. We really do need your support. And you won't find anything anywhere near as good - note for note, dollar for dollar - elsewhere. We guarantee it.

As a non-profit Society, we are required to hold an Annual General Meeting and to elect a Board of Directors. Now, we know that such a process may not sound all that appealing, so we hold our AGM before a concert. Please come early to the Madison Violet / John Henrys show on Saturday May 15th at St. James Hall. The AGM will be held downstairs at the back of the building at 6:00pm. If your membership has expired, or if you wish to join on the day, come a few minutes earlier and we'll sign you up. We will present a slate of directors for you to elect, and will also have copies of our Annual Report available at the meeting. It won't take long, and it's a great chance to meet the Directors and fellow Rogues - and the concert afterwards will be fabulous.

Shore 104.3 fm
A couple of our members told me last week that in their opinion, Shore 104 is far and away the best radio station in town for music. They had driven around the city and environs all that day and had channel-surfed on the car radio, and found themselves returning post-haste to Shore 104.3 after a few minutes listening to each of the other stations. Including all the CBC stations. Not only does the Shore have a fabulous playlist which covers Roots, Rock & Rhythm in all its variety, they are also committed to supporting Canadian musicians. They sponsor concerts in our series, too - the most recent one was the sold-out Matt Andersen / Wil concert in April. Their next co-presentation with us is the Madison Violet / John Henrys show on Saturday May 15th. Without their support, this concert would not have come to The Rogue. It might have gone to a bar like The Biltmore, for instance, but then you probably wouldn't have been able to see these two excellent young Canadian bands. We want to express our deep gratitude to Shore 104.3 for supporting The Rogue, for believing in what we do, and for enriching the airwaves. If you haven't tried it yet, switch your radio dial to 104.3 fm and visit their website at and become a Shore Club member. Like us, they need your support, and like us, they are dedicated to returning the love with the most incredible music you've ever (or not, yet) heard.

Don't forget to tune in to The Edge On Folk on Saturday morning from 8am to noon on Vancouver's #1 alternative radio station, CiTR fm 101.9! I'll have some new releases and old favourites and previews of concerts and all sorts of goodies. (Then you can switch back to Shore 104 afterwards!)

See you on Friday