I made mention last week that the audience at the Barry Allen and The Rebels Reunion show included a number of profile members of our music community, past and present.
Corb Lund, who has recorded a number of tunes at Allen’s Homestead Recorders over the years, both demo and album sessions, wasn’t going to miss out on Allen’s night in the spotlight if he was in the vicinity, and there he was making his way into the room long before the stage lights announced the show.
Sporting a full beard, decked out in jeans, a funky tweed jacket and dress shirt, Lund was looking like he could have just stepped off the front cover of The Band’s second, self-titled album of 40 some years ago.
There was no mistaking that sincere smile of Lund’s as he locked into lengthy conversations with long-time friends and associates from various factions of the Edmonton music enclave. But it was funny to see a few individuals draw a blank for a few seconds, not immediately recognizing the singer-songwriter under that beard, and in the dimly lit Century Casino Showroom.
Lund is in the final phase of recording and mixing his latest album project, recorded in Edmonton at Riverdale Recorders with proprietor Scott Franchuk and a Texas-based producer.
The upcoming disc will be released once again by the American label New West Records, and as Corb mentioned, “it sure doesn’t hurt to be on a label with John Hiatt, Steve Earle, Kris Kristofferson and the Old 97’s.”
Delbert McClinton and Buddy Miller are also in the New West stable, which has a fabulous reputation for promoting its artists all over the world.
Although we can expect Lund and his Hurtin’ Albertans to be ripping up the asphalt on both sides of the 49th parallel when it comes time to tour behind the forthcoming disc later in the year, in more immediate terms he was looking forward to a handful of dates he’ll be doing with Ian Tyson during the Calgary Stampede.
As of last week 5 shows have been confirmed for what will be branded “100 Years of Calgary Cowboys with Ian Tyson and Corb Lund”.
“Originally we had three shows booked, July 9 through 11 in the Martha Cohen Theatre but we’ve added two more on July 14 and 15,” said Lund of the intimate 400 seat venue that is part of the EPCOR Centre for the Arts in downtown Calgary.
“It should be cool. Just the two of us on stools swapping stories and playing songs that reflect the name of the show. Ian and I have become good friends over the past ten years and he’s a very important individual in my life in a number of ways. The whole presentation will be relaxed and allow us to draw on each other’s stories and reflections,” added Lund whose lineage stems from a clan that has deep roots on the wide open plain.
At 78 Tyson continues to be in touch with his muse and for the past couple of years he’s been recording new material in southern Alberta without a pressure-filled deadline for completing a new album.
His 'Saddle Bronc Girl' single of late last year came out of those sessions at Steve Loree’s studio in Nanton. If that tune is any indication of where Mr. Tyson’s writing chops are at we can expect a fine follow-up to Yellowhead To Yellowstone and Other Love Stories. 'Saddle Bronc Girl' drew its inspiration from the present day story of Kaila Mussell who is the first cowgirl to ever ride saddle broncs on the pro-rodeo circuit. Not only is it a terrific story, the tune is set on a great melody and a short snappy chorus that combines for a great overall hook. Who knows if the tune has been shopped to any other artists, but it deserves to be snapped up, recorded and released by a vocalist, male or female, with current chart cachet.
Tyson’s forthcoming disc will be titled Raven Singer, and CKUA’s Holger Petersen will be releasing the disc on Stony Plain Records. Holger reminded me that the name Raven Singer was bestowed on Tyson by the Stony Indian Band, and that the release date on the disc is May 29.
As for tickets for the 100 Years of Calgary Cowboys, your best bet is to go online to the EPCOR Centre site, and don’t put it on the backburner as they are sure to be snapped up quickly.
In fact McKennitt just began the first leg of her “Celtic Footprints” world tour last weekend in Zurich. The tour consists of 33 dates in 11 countries and winds up with five shows in Spain. It’s no surprise that all 33 shows have sold-out signs affixed to the box-office and ticket websites. She’ll play to over 60,000 people by the time the last notes are played.
The harp-playing vocalist and composer has however released a new recording to coincide with the tour titled Troubadours of the Rhine. The 9 song set was captured at SWR Studios in Mainz, Germany before a small audience a year ago this weekend and it finds the international superstar in a trio setting with guitarist and musical foil Brian Hughes and cellist Caroline Lavelle.
McKennitt states in the abbreviated liner notes that “on arrival, I was soon to learn that this locale was in fact one more heritage site on the two millennia journey of Celtic history.”
She adds in the accompanying press release, “this is quite different from my other recordings. The experience was akin to an intimate house concert that I might have performed in my living room for a handful of friends.”
Troubadours On the Rhine is a beautiful sounding recording and this listener loves the fact that the arrangements are presented with so much breathing room.
There is a bit of good news for Canadian fans who wish to see McKennitt on Canadian soil.
Well it won’t quite be soil, more like concrete, but the artist who has now sold over 14 million records worldwide, will be playing a free concert at David Pecaut Square in Toronto as part of the Luminato Festival on Wednesday June 13. The date will be McKennitt’s first major Toronto appearance since two sold-out concerts at Massey Hall in 2007.
Pick your spot in the square now and don’t move.