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Bumper March 2023 Issue of Steve's Blog
Sunday March 12, 2023

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Bumper March Issue: What's Going On Chez Rogue? Concert Previews, Canadian Folk Music Awards, Steve's Rant, and more! View this email in your browser



1. Windborne, Sunday March 12th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall at St. James (3214 West 10th Ave)

"We take great joy in making music even when the subject matter is challenging, and we want our audience to feel uplifted and reinvigorated as well as inspired to engage with the issues." (taken from the accompanying booklet to Windborne's latest album, Of Hard Times & Harmony)

This fine album comes in a hard cover with an 80 page illustrated booklet, complete with original illustrations, full lyrics, and extensive notes on each of the 14 songs. Windborne is a quartet from New England, making their Rogue debut this night. (I don't think they have played in Vancouver before, so this is a unique opportunity to witness their incredible harmonies and thought-provoking, inspiring lyrics.)

BBC Traveling Folk describes Windborne as “subverting expectations and redefining the genre… just absolutely phenomenal!” Audiences and critics lavish praise upon the singers not only for their technical mastery, but for the passion, engagement, and connection with each other and the audience that imbues each performance with a rare power.

But there’s another, crucial dimension to Windborne that guides and roots their artistry. They are adherents to folk music’s longtime alliance with social activism, labour and civil rights, and other movements that champion the oppressed, the poor, and the disenfranchised. Their latest project, Of Hard Times & Harmony, explores themes of social consciousness, singing in four languages and showcasing the depth of emotion their voices can evoke, as well as moments of true hilarity and wit.

Tickets for this concert and / or the live streaming option are available here.

2. St. Patrick's Day Singalong Rock Concert Fundraiser, Friday March 17th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall at St. James (3214 West 10th Ave)

Richard Lowy and Friends
 will perform at St James Community Square's fundraiser concert on St Patrick's Day, March 17. The Square has recently been forced to replace the old furnaces, upgrade the washrooms and drainage (again), and now The City has increased the building rent. So, this is, in effect, a Rent Party, folks! 

Richard Lowy is a talented Kitsilano musician. His fine rock band will play classic rock songs - and one or two Irish anthems too, I imagine. Come for an enjoyable and lively evening of singalongs, dancing, door prizes, snacks and beverages.

Please buy a ticket to support St James - available here!

3. Derek Gripper, Sunday March 19th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall at St. James (3214 West 10th Ave)

We are delighted to team up once again with Capilano University's Global Roots Series to present the return of the brilliant South African acoustic guitar wizard Derek Gripper. His concert here in January 2019 was exceptionally enthralling and entertaining, as he demonstrated his unique ability to transfer the intricate twenty-plus stringed kora music of 71st generation Malian griot Toumani Diabate onto his six string guitar. With no overdubs, loops, or gimmicks. Just amazing talent! And that's not all he can do, either. This man makes truly beautiful music, and is a lot of fun on stage! Tickets can be purchased here 

4. Dave Gunning & J.P. Cormier Trio, Thursday March 23rd, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall at St. James (3214 West 10th Ave)

These two guys from Nova Scotia - Dave Gunning from Pictou County and J.P. Cormier from Cheticamp on Cape Breton island - have been making music together for many years. Each has a fabulous solo career, but they have recently joined forces again to record their second album as a duo: Leather and Dust. They are touring across the country to support this new CD, which is scheduled for release on April 1st. Fear not. They have plenty of copies with them on this tour! This time they are travelling as a trio, with a bass player. I spoke to J.P. on the phone the other day and he reckons this recording is his finest hour. Tickets are on sale right here 

Please note, in accordance with the wishes of the performers, this show will not be streamed live.

5. Mary Gauthier, Sunday March 26th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall at St. James (3214 West 10th Ave)

How do you sing about the wonder and glory of falling in love, while also simultaneously losing dear friends and mentors during a global pandemic? How do you write about the shock of sudden loss and the richness of new love, while knowing that grief and love are sisters, interwoven and inseparable? My new record Dark Enough to See the Stars was born of these questions, a collection of songs that reflect a complex emotional journey. Many of the songs were written with longtime co-writers and dear friends during the pandemic years. Love and grief are the dominant themes, joy and sorrow, the dominant emotions. A happy sad record, moreover, a record about what it means to love. I am proud of these songs, and grateful for the help of all my collaborators. I hope you like it. ⁠- Mary

It's been a long time coming! Mary Gauthier first played a Rogue show as part of Tom Russell's Roots On The Rails show back in 2005 alongside fellow guest singer Gretchen Peters. Mary played her only previous solo show at The Rogue in 2013. Finally, almost a decade later, the stars have aligned and she is back!! Without a doubt one of the most eloquent and expressive songwriters around, she has always chronicled the lives, loves and struggles of ordinary folk, whilst bringing their - and our - lives into the exceptional focus we all harbour inside. It was so great to see her in Kansas City last month at Folk Alliance International, and at last August's Edmonton Folk Music Festival. I am super-pumped to be able to bring her back to town after all this time. Tickets are going fast and can be purchased here.

Once again, 
in accordance with the wishes of the performer herself, this show will not be streamed live.

6. Mama's Broke, Tuesday March 28th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall at St. James (3214 West 10th Ave)

“Their songs are weather beaten by dark realities and grey areas. The human condition…It’s brutally honest and evocative, managing to feel otherworldly, albeit with unvarnished truths.” — fRoots

I first read those words in the late, lamented UK magazine fRoots in 2017. Wow! These women seem right up my street, I mused. So I looked up their website and discovered that they were performing THAT VERY NIGHT in The Wise Club Lounge! That small room was packed, and gave me my first chance to see The Burying Ground and of course Mama's Broke (which remains my favourite band-name of all time!) Both bands became firm favourites. But Mama's Broke were particularly mesmerizing. Last Summer they released their second CD, Narrow Line, and we presented them back in September. It was such a great show, and a good turnout too. In fact it was my favourite concert of 2022! Their vocals, guitar, fiddle, banjo and mandolin weave spells with their stark imagery and deep roots in many traditions from Celtic and Balkan to Old Time Appalachian.

Amy and Lisa Marie are nominated for Canadian Folk Music Awardsand Juno Awards and will be performing a short set at the CFMAs a few days after this show, but I could not possibly resist the opportunity to give them a full length show as well. This show will be stellar!! Tickets are available right here

I also want to promote my radio show, so I'm sponsoring the concert and giving away two pairs of tickets to join Margaret and I at one of the front tables in the hall. You can throw your virtual hat into the ring by sending an email to and asking to enter the draw to win. Tune in to The Saturday Edge On Folk this coming Saturday to find out who are the lucky winners. If you don't win there will still be time to book a ticket! 

7. B.C. Showcase Concert, Thursday March 30th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall at St. James (3214 West 10th Ave)

We were asked by the Canadian Folk Music Awards to organize a showcase of BC artists for the opening night of this amazing annual event which is coming to BC for the first time. St. James Hall - in fact the whole building - is the host venue this year. It's a huge honour!

So, along with Music BC, we sent out a call for musicians to showcase. And we applied for a grant from Creative BC to help stage it. What could be more appropriate for Creative BC than to sponsor a concert showcasing some of BC's finest performers to a Canada-wide and international audience of presenters, media, and industry professionals? We came up with a spectacular line-up for a marathon show in two halves. Four songwriters (three solos and a duo) in the round, followed by a band in each of two sets. 

First Half

  • Stephen Fearing
  • Meg Tennant
  • Yael Wand
  • Tom & Kalissa Landa (Paperboys)

followed by a set by Early Spirit

Second Half
  • Valdy
  • Lydia Hol
  • Pat Chessell
  • Kathleen Nisbet & Steve Charles (Viper Central)

followed by a set by The Jim Byrnes Band

We really believe this show will make a big statement as to the incredible wealth of musical talent in BC. Sadly, Creative BC didn't see it that way, and they turned us down for funding. I cannot begin to express the level of personal disappointment at this decision. It puts a lot of strain on The Rogue's finances, and we need you, good people, to buy a ticket to the show or at least to see the live stream and help us put BC on the musical map.

8. Canadian Folk Music Awards, Friday March 31st - Sunday April 2nd, Mel Lehan Hall at St. James (3214 West 10th Ave)

This major event takes place over three evenings and two afternoons at the Hall. Note the early starts!! Tickets are on sale to the general public. Or you may choose to watch the live streams for free on (EN) and (FR) plus the CFMA’s Youtube channel 

Friday March 31st 6pm - Traditional Music Showcase

  • Ken Whiteley
  • Jaffa Road
  • Jocelyn Pettit
  • Shannon & Tony Quinn
  • Li'l Andy
  • John Reischman

Saturday April 1st 1pm - Songwriters Showcase

  • Ken Yates
  • Amanda Rheaume
  • Sebastien Lacombe
  • Suzie Ungerleider
  • Adam Sutherland
  • Ancolie

Saturday April 1st 6pm - Awards Night 1 (6 awards and five x 12 minute tweeners by these nominees)

  • Genevieve & Alain
  • Angelique Francis
  • Kyle McKearney
  • Camie
  • Barney Bentall

Sunday April 2nd 11am - Children and Family Music Showcase (Waterfront Theatre Granville Island)

  • The Relative Minors
  • Ginalina
  • Paige Penney
  • Wil Stroet
  • The Oot n' Oots

Sunday April 2nd 2pm - Trad Session (open to local musicians as well as nominees)

Sunday April 2nd 6pm - Awards Night 2 (six awards and five x 12 minute tweeners by these nominees)

  • Abigail Lapell
  • Wesli
  • Mama's Broke
  • Digging Roots
  • John Wort Hannam & T. Buckley
This is going to be an incredible weekend! There will also be a movie, a square dance, and more showcases!

9. Rogue Folk Club 50/50 Draw 2023!

With the success of our inaugural 50/50 draw last Fall, together with the enormous disappointment of being turned down for that Creative BCgrant, we are going to launch another 50/50 draw to run from later this month until May 18th. We will have a dedicated terminal on site this time and you will also be able to purchase tickets online. You could win up to $10,000 So keep an eye on our website and my next blog for the announcement of the launch date and how you can enter to win - and please support us!!

10. David Lindley R.I.P.

The news of the passing of Mr. Dave, the inimitable master of all things with musical strings, hit me very hard. David Lindley has been a favourite of mine since I first heard him on Jackson Browne's early LPs in the 1970s. Then my pals Frank and Will Heron (Montreal - Venice CA - Halifax NS) turned me on to his electric band El Rayo-X in the 80s and we got to see him several times at the Town Pump in Gastown in the late 80s and 90s. There he exhibited his skills on Weissenborn slide guitars, Turkish saz, bouzouki, banjo, and all kinds of stringed things. Mind blowing sets with Arabic percussionist Hani Naser at festivals in Edmonton and Mission followed in the 90s and noughties. Then he teamed up with American drummer Wally Ingram for a few CDs and more memorable festival shows.

Finally we were able to bring David to The Rogue in 2014 (St. James) and 2017 (at The Rio - see above photo). Fabulous memories. Thank you, Mr. Dave, for all that incredible music!! Rest in peace and shine on, you crazy diamond!

11. Steve's Rant

Last week I attended two shows featuring renowned Irish bands: Celtgrass quartet JigJam at The Blueshore Financial Stage at Capilano University on Thursday and Irish trad band Teada at Donnellan's Pub on Granville Street on Friday. We saw JigJam in Kansas City last month as well. There they played straight-ahead bluegrass with no Celtic music at all. They featured a guest fiddler from KC. I was a bit disappointed in their set. Up here they played a mostly Celtic set with little bluegrass, and with the prodigiously talented Vancouver fiddler Michael Burnyeat as their guest. In many ways he was the star of the show. But it made me wonder if JigJam have a fiddle player at all. They joked (I think it was a joke) that he was serving 20 years in an Arizona jail so couldn't make it to the show. Anyhow, I have no idea what kind of music they might play on a "normal" night, and I'm somewhat relieved that we weren't the presenting organization having to worry about false advertizing! 

Teada, on the other hand, are most assuredly a trad Celtic band par excellence. But they really should not be asked to perform in a very (extremely) noisy pub with two opening acts and a raucous crowd. I, for one, will not attend a performance by a trad band in such a venue again. It's just wrong on so many levels, and disrespectful to the bands and the trad fans who venture out to see them. I really hope the next time Teadacome through they will play at The Rogue.

By comparison, it was a total delight and an utterly mesmerizing experience to see Lunasa the other week at the Kay Meek Theatre in West Van. Such incredible players and entertainers! My only gripe is that I purchased a ticket to see the streamed show as well, thinking I could watch it later and see what the streaming shows look like on other folks' platforms. I still haven't received the link ....

12. Radio Waves

More or less every Saturday since June 1985 I've been on the air on CiTR, presenting the music I love on The Saturday Edge On Folk. The show is broadcast on and each episode - dating back over 15 years -  is still available as a podcast. That's quite the archive! It's also a vital part of my week! And yours, too, I hope! I have no idea how much longer I can continue to enjoy such a long run but the supply of exhilarating new music in all folk and roots genres shows no sign of decreasing. Quite the opposite, in fact. The hardest part is whittling down all the songs I want to play into a mere four hours!! 

Today I paid tribute to David Lindley, previewed the Windborne and Mama's Broke concerts, and sprinkled in a fair few new releases before winding things up with a St. Patrick's Day flourish. Next week's show will probably focus on the BC Showcase, and, if I receive a copy in time, the new CD by Gunning & Cormier. Who knows what else might be on the show? Probably something from the new CD by Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy, and the Irish / French trad fusion of the Gaulway Ramblers, or Aoife O'Donovan's remarkable cover of Springsteen's Nebraska album, or Taj Mahal's new big band CD? There's only way to find out, folks. I hope you will join me next Saturday from 8am to noon on