On Sunday, the Waskasoo Bluegrass Music Society presents female vocalist of the year Dale Ann Bradley at the Elks Lodge.
Tickets for this evening of highest quality of bluegrass entertainment are available at numerous outlets: 53rd Street Music, Red Deer Book Exchange, Parkland Mall Service Desk, The Key Hole, Jackson’s Pharmasave in Innisfail, Popow’s Autobody of Lacombe, Rocky Mountain House’s Novel Ideas, and Dee J’s in Olds. Doors open at 6:30 with tickets $30; children 16 and under are admitted free.
On the evening of Saturday, Nov. 14, the Edmonton-based folk duo of Cory Danyluk and Sarah Card visit the Velvet Olive.
One of the more popular duos working the province, the pair has toured Canada releasing three albums. Danyluk and Card deserve to be heard, and let’s hope a nice-sized audience comes out for their performance.
An exciting season of roots music continues Nov. 15 with the modern Cuban rhythms of Alex Cuba, a British Columbia-based singer and instrumentalist. His lively blend of Latin and Caribbean music infused with funk and pop flavours promise an evening of spirited dancing and engrossing sounds.
Tanglefoot visits our city for the final time on Nov. 25. The legendary Canadian folk band brings their farewell tour to the Elks Lodge presented by the Central Music Festival.
Tickets for both these shows are available at the Black Knight Inn and Valhalla Pure Outfitters.
This week’s disc review:
Dale Ann Bradley
Don’t Turn Your Back
A mountain soprano of rare talent, Dale Ann Bradley has been wearing a path from the hills of Eastern Kentucky to the Music City Heartland of Nashville for two decades. With Don’t Turn Your Back, she has not only created an album featuring rare musicianship and vocal harmonies, she has continued her ascendancy to the highest reaches of the bluegrass vocal world.
Releasing albums for more than 15 years, it has been with Bradley’s most recent recordings that she has created artfully constructed discs. Much of the credit must go to the guidance provided by producer Alison Brown, but studio and business acumen can only take one so far.
The talent must shine through, and three-Bluegrass Female Vocalist of the Year statuettes provide evidence that Bradley is at the top of her game.
Don’t Turn Your Back is a masterful recording, one that falls solidly within the most stringent of bluegrass definitions, yet is country enough that all roots fans should embrace its rich, melodic tones.
Whether propelled by the banjo of Gene Britt (as on an eye-opening take of Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down) or by Stuart Duncan’s fiddle (Rusty Old Halo and Ghost Bound Train come to mind), the majority of the songs zip along in spectacular fashion. In other places, Bradley shows why her flat-picking skills are highly regarded, and the mandolin work from Tim Laughlin is second to none.
When the song calls for it, Bradley’s sweet voice carries the song. Will I Be Good Enough is sentimental but Bradley’s control and expression saves the song from becoming cloying. On material as familiar as Fifty Miles of Elbow Room and Fleetwood Mac’s Over My Head, Bradley reinvents the piece to make it her own without losing the essence of the song.
Those who appreciate mountain music will find satisfaction in Blue Eyed Boy and gospel fans will be thankful for Heaven, featuring Dailey and Vincent. Bradley’s trepidation making the inevitable leap to Nashville from her more isolated Kentucky home is captured within her original, Music City Queen.
Bluegrass has long been an embarrassed second-cousin to country music. Ridiculed by those who fail to grasp its complexities and heritage, the music has sat on the porch a-waiting to be invited to hang out with its wealthier and more popular relations.
With albums like Don’t Turn Your Back and singers like Dale Ann Bradley, the bluegrass community continues to shake off back-wood images. Those who take the time to listen are sure to be rewarded.
Also in heavy rotation this week: James Hand, Shadow on the Ground; Various Artists, Things About Comin’ My Way — A Tribute to the Music of The Mississippi Sheiks; Steep Canyon Rangers, Deep in the Shade; John Wort Hannam, Queen’s Hotel; James Keelaghan, House of Cards.
Donald Teplyske is a local freelance writer who contributes a twice-monthly column on roots music; visit fervorcoulee.wordpress.com for additional reviews. If you know a roots music event of which he should be aware, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org