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Posted: July 22, 2015

Steamboat Festival rooted in musical friendships

John Wort Hannam
John Wort Hannam

Headliners at this year’s Steamboat Mountain Music Festival include John Wort Hannam, Black Snake Moan, Los Morenos, and the Beagle Boys (pictured above).

Los Morenos, Black Snake Moan, and the Beagle Boys have developed long-time Columbia Valley connections that endear them to local audiences.

Los Morenos are returning for the third time, by popular demand. Their ties to the valley are strengthened by the friendships they have developed with local musicians in the after jams around campfires in Edgewater.

Several of the members of Black Snake Moan appeared here two years ago in another incarnation – Fender Bender. They too struck up strong local friendships then and will be warmly welcomed for this return.

The Beagle Boys (Chuck Frank, Fred Mallette, Bill Nodrick, Guy Plecash, and Phil Whitburn) have much longer and more influential ties, through three of their members.

Guy Plecash, their keyboard player has brought his blues rock music to the Horsethief Hideout summer gathering for several years, and has good friends and many fans among the biker population. Chuck Frank, the bass-man for the group is a Shadybrook resident who has been summering in the valley for over 20 years. Chuck has played Music on Main in Radium a few times over the years. Fred Mallette, who plays banjo, guitar and lap-steel, lived in Windermere for years in the 1970s and 80s. Fred’s many friends in the valley are eagerly awaiting his return with the Beagle Boys.

Mickey Maione
Mickey Maione

He and local guitar legend Mickey Maione were renowned for their amazing and witty run as house band at the old Radium Hot Springs Lodge. Fred also played in a band called the PhlegmTones with Gord Askey, Kurt Reichel, Brian Rogers, and Mickey Maione. Fred is a good composer too. Chuck Frank says, “Fred wrote lots of songs about life in the Valley. He wrote about the landscape and the people. His beautiful eulogy song for Gord Askey – ‘Sail Away’ – is a perfect tribute to his dear musical friend.”

Fred influenced and inspired most of the local master musicians. Maione recalls, “Fred could play anything with strings. He was pure joy to play with. He and I could seamlessly flow from one song to another without missing a beat. We had that rare and special ability to anticipate each other’s musical ideas.”

Head to Edgewater Saturday for some awesome tunes in an awesome setting. e-KNOW file photos
Head to Edgewater Saturday for some awesome tunes in an awesome setting. e-KNOW file photos

The Beagle Boys have a huge range of music, lots of danceable tunes, wild and witty humour, and three members with deep valley connections. Friendships between musicians build strong community, inspire fine music, and create musical memories that last a lifetime.

The Steamboat Festival strives to foster those kinds of friendships. Be sure to come out to Edgewater on Saturday, July 25 for the stage show, and Sunday, July 26 for the workshops. For details, visit


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