Kootenanny barnburner coming to Royal Alex
The Kootenays love their bluegrass! Nothing gets your toes tapping and hands clapping like good old time tunes and brilliant harmonies.
By definition Bluegrass music is a form of North American roots music, and a related genre of country music. Influenced by the music of Appalachia, bluegrass has mixed roots in Irish, Scottish and English traditional music, and was also later influenced by the music of African-Americans through the incorporation of jazz elements.
What started out as a stand-alone performance by the Horsefly, B.C. duo Pharis and Jason Romero at the beautiful Royal Alexandra Hall on April 5, is taking on a life of it’s own, as things often do in the Kootenays.
The Cranbrook concert will be part of the first tour that the Romeros have taken since their very eventful “year off.” What was going to be time to spend with their young family and catching up on Jason’s growing waiting list of banjo orders, took a tragic turn when their studio/workshop burned to the ground last June.
Pharis and Jason were just coming off a break-out moment in their recording and performing career as singer-songwriters in the folk music tradition, with stellar notices in national press, and rave reviews in the U.K and U.S. Their most recent album, “A Wanderer I’ll Stay,” won the Juno Award for best traditional album.
The Romeros’ music reflects their deep immersion in folk, music, bluegrass, Blues and early 20th century American. Their original songs capture the spirit of these traditions, with a capital T, while their covers and interpretations give new electricity to old forms. And yet, their music becomes something that is uniquely themselves. Their vocal harmonies are matchless.
The pickin’ and grinnin’ set are a close-knit community. Musicians and vocalists mix and mingle like your favourite trail mix and are always looking for opportunities to share their craft.
Enter the Lonesome Ace Stringband. This Toronto based trio brings grit, skill and abandon to old-time, Appalachian folk songs and fiddle/banjo tunes. These are songs and tunes for life and all of it’s occasions: festivals, dances, wars, parties and funerals.
The music comes from a tradition that has inspired and brought together generations of people. It’s themes – love, loss, hard work and hardship, faith, and everyday life – speak to everyone. The members are Chris Coole on banjo, John Showman on fiddle and Max Heineman on bass. Together they bring a deep respect for the roots of the music, a keen sense of innovation to the performance and material, and a passion for the sound that transcends both. This is old-time music for today’s old soul.
Word quickly spread that something special was afoot and Fernie’s favourite duo leapt at the chance to join in the fun. Redgirl is a light shade of bluegrass with some visible folk roots showing. Fronted by the clear and fearless vocals of Anie Hepher: Redgirl’s music is built around her pure and unfettered voice, clawhammer banjo, guitar and occasionally, a sassy ukulele. Michael Hepher (married to the girl) on lead guitar, mandolin and backing vocals, brings a balance in harmony, humour and musical creativity to the songs and stories of the band.
The term barnburner may have been coined for musical moments just like this. Thanks to Key City Theatre, the Kootenays are in for an unforgettable kitchen-party evening that will feed the soul and celebrate community.
Pharis & Jason Romero, The Lonesome Ace Stringband and RedGirl perform April 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Royal Alexandra Hall.
Tickets $35 | $29 Key City Theatre Members | $15 Youth.
Buy Online at www.keycitytheatre.com