Steve's Blog
Wednesday January 15, 2014

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Happy New Year, everyone! We're back, and about to launch another incredible series of concerts at The Rogue House! What better way to start than with one of the world's most exhilarating Celtic music combos?

1. Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, Thursday January 16th, 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas launch their brand new album, Abundance, which continues their thrillingly virtuosic, 21st-century reinvention of Scotland’s classic fiddle/cello pairing, creating music “as urbane as a Manhattan midnight, and as wild as a Clackmannan winter.” (Boston Globe)

The musical partnership between Alasdair Fraser, long regarded as Scotland’s premier fiddle ambassador, and the sizzlingly-talented young California cellist Natalie Haas may not seem an obvious one. Fraser, acclaimed by the San Francisco Examiner as “the Michael Jordan of Scottish fiddling,” has a concert and recording career spanning 30 years, with a long list of awards, accolades, television credits, and feature performances on top movie soundtracks (Last of the Mohicans, Titanic). Fraser has been sponsored by the British Council to represent Scotland’s music internationally, and received the Scottish Heritage Centre Service Award for outstanding contributions to Scottish culture and traditions.

Natalie Haas, a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, wasn’t even born when Alasdair was winning national fiddle competitions on the other side of the Atlantic. But this seemingly unlikely pairing is the fulfillment of a long-standing musical dream for Fraser, whose cutting-edge musical explorations took him full circle to find a cellist who could help him return the cello to its historical role at the rhythmic heart of Scottish dance music.

“Going back to the 1700s, and as late as the early 20th century,” Fraser says, “fiddle and cello made up the dance band of choice in Scotland, with the cellist bowing bass lines and driving the rhythm. Pianos and accordions elbowed out the cello, relegating it to an orchestral setting. I’ve been pushing to get the cello back into the traditional music scene for years, always on the lookout for a cellist with whom I could have a strong musical conversation, one that incorporated not just the cello’s gorgeous melodic tones, but also the gristly bits—the rhythmic, percussive energy that makes the wee hairs on the back of the neck stand up.”

Their 4th CD together, Abundance has just been released, and it's a terrific collection of tunes! Their concerts together are always memorable and there will be one or two surprise guests as well.

There are still some tickets left online and at Highlife Records and Rufus' Guitar Shop, so come along tomorrow night and see how long it takes for those hairs on the back of your neck to settle down again afterwards (and if they do, just put on the new CD and they'll soon be standing at attention again!)

More info on

2. Save The Hollywood Theatre Update

Thanks for all your letters of support and for keeping the campaign at the forefront of City Hall's attention!

This article was published in today's Vancouver Courier. We think it's good news, but we are not counting any chickens just yet ....

There are a couple of very important meetings being held this week between the owner and the city and the Coalition to Save The Hollywood. Visit for the latest news. Fingers crossed!

3. The Edge On Folk, Saturday 8am to noon on CiTR fm 101.9 and

On this week's show I'll have music from new CDs by the likes of Railroad Earth, Cara Luft, The Fretless, Sherman Downey, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, Lindsay May, Steve Dawson, Danish band Basco, and much more!

Huge thanks to Heather McCain for filling in for me last month! It was great to be back last week - even though there was a 45 minute segment of the show which was taken up with a lecture from the Student Leadership Conference (Which allowed me to watch the 2nd half of the match on the TV!) This week it's four hours of non-stop Roots Music Mayhem (what was it Grace Slick called Jefferson Airplane's set at Woodstock? Morning Madness Music? Something like that!)

I hope you can join me on my latest sojourn through the wide and wonderful world of the best in Celtic, Folk, Blues, African and Roots music from next door, across the continent and around the globe. Broadcast live on CiTR 101.9 fm, Telus TV Channel 7023, and streamed live on Podcasts of the show - dating back several years - are available here