By Anne Jardine
Steamboat Mountain Music Festival
Last weeks Steamboat story spotlighted the visiting performers, Rick Scott, The Cumberland Brothers, The Static Shift, Los Morenos, and Dick Damron and the Stoney Creek Band, as well as Cousins John Cronin and Mac Walters a blended local and exotic duo.
This week is a focus on the local artists who round out the program at Edgewaters July 5th Steamboat Mountain Music Festival. There are four main feature local acts:
The Halfsacks performed at Steamboat both previous summers. They have developed lots of original tunes over the past few years and have built up a strong local fan base. Their main themes explore the joys and heartbreaks of life. This group includes Scott Ivers, Christopher Howse, Todd White, and Peter Harding.
Siofri, a Celtic Invermere family band starts with four OSullivans: parents Pat (on guitar and banjo) and Leisa (on bass, flutes and whistles) joined by their teenaged sons Liam (on guitar and percussion) and Tomas (on mandolin and dobros). From beyond the family, they include Bernie Evans on concertina and bodrun, and Joe Hildez on guitar and percussion. Although the band appeals to all generations, the talented OSullivan lads give Siofris music a young and edgy sound.
Combo Akimbo, a bluesy, jazzy, good-time trio, has been delighting local audiences since the 1980s. The Invermere bands cool groove cuts its way straight to the heart. Lead vocalist Deb Ede has a deep, rich voice that is full of soul but at the same time smooth as butterscotch. Guitar wiz and songwriter Kurt Reichel lays down witty and intricate rhythms and sings harmony, while sax man Brian Hoffos blows perfect punctuation to complete the Combos distinctive musical style.
The Bruise Bros are father and son Marty and Eli Beingessner. From a musical family spanning many generations, Marty learned his first licks from his own daddy Martin and from Edgewaters legendary Dennis LaRochelle back in the 1970s. His 2010 album All Country, No Apologies is still a regional bestseller. Twenty-year-old Eli learned his first licks from his daddy Marty, and has been in a musical growth spurt ever since. While Marty specializes in classic country, Eli leans more towards blues and anything that challenges his frantic fingers from flamenco to jazz. Eli writes his own tunes and has just released his second CD.
In addition to the featured local bands, the Steamboat Festival will present nine tweener (in between) acts to perform shorter sets that keep the show going while sound techs prepare the stage for the main acts. This year, by popular demand, the tweeners will have longer time slots than in previous years.
Wilmer singer-songwriter Bill Cropper is well known as the festivals emcee, and his band Smarty Pants played Steamboat last summer. Bills humorous, ironic observations always work their way into his songs.
Beards Creek (Kathy Ferguson on bass and Glen McRuer on guitar) is a seasoned bluegrass duo from Parson who played both previous festivals.
Edgewater perennial Mickey Maione is a witty wordsmith, who plays an ancient but very sweet guitar. With his deft musical and lyrical phrasing, Steamboat Mickey makes everybody smile.
The Masters of Nn, new to the Steamboat stage, are well-known in their home town of Golden. This folk-based quartet includes Carl Trinkwon on guitar, Todd Keith on mandolin, Ian Rowe on fiddle, and Mike Garner on bass. Recently, they celebrated the release of their debut CD.
Abby Wells is a soulful up-and-coming vocalist just turned 15, but her voice goes way beyond her years. Abby has performed both previous summers, making all her Edgewater homeys glow with pride, as they watch her and her music grow.
Emily Rawbon is a graphic designer by day, and a blues/folk musician by night. Her powerful guitar style has won over Invermere audiences, and now she is set to bowl over Steamboat with her good friends Ian Wilson on guitar and harmonica, and James Reimer on the cajon.
Sheberdean is a young Edgewater trio whose style takes old-time music in a fresh new direction. Dean Kendrick plays guitar, Aaron Sherban plays bass, and lead vocalist Sylvia Power plays mandolin.
The Pickups are a father-son duo from Parson. Larry and Travis Pickering have smooth family-style harmonies and a wide-ranging country repertoire. This is their first appearance at Steamboat, but they were a popular act at Radiums Music on Main last summer.
Larry Newman is the program director of Steamboat Festival. In previous summers, he performed with the Dry Gulch Ramblers. That band is not available this year, but Larry was happy to step up as a tweener when Paige Ellerton was unable to come.
For tickets and more information about the festival, visit the website at www.steamboatmtnmusicfest.ca .