Music of John Lennon revived at The Matchbox

Red Deer’s roots music calendar continues to be busy.

Red Deer’s roots music calendar continues to be busy.

On Saturday evening, the Songs of Lennon come alive in the hands of Mark Sterling at The Matchbox. Tickets at the theatre and Ticketmaster.

Only marginally roots, Hawksley Workman is an in-demand Canadian artist and producer. He visits the Memorial Centre on Wednesday.

Stephen Fearing returns to Red Deer’s Elks Lodge on March 19 with tickets at the Black Knight Inn and Valhalla Pure Outfitters. Andy White fills out the folk bill.

March 21 is bluegrass night as the Waskasoo Bluegrass Music Society brings The Special Consensus to the Elks Lodge. Tickets available at 53rd Street Music, Parkland Mall, the Key Hole, Red Deer Book Exchange, Jackson’s in Innisfail, and Novel Ideas in Rocky Mountain House.

Angel Records presents A Night with Our Stars featuring talented Alberta artists Alex Dion, Lenny Howell, and Tim Harwill on March 26. A fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House, tickets for this Memorial Centre show are available at the Black Knight Inn. Details at

Ray Montford travels to town as part of what is billed as a rare tour for the Ontario-based guitarist. Fusing “rock, world, folk/country and blues/jazz” into a sweeping, atmospheric instrumentals, this very impressive musician’s music transcends labels.

Now three albums into a career as an itinerant songwriter, Raghu Lokanathan brings his wares to The Hub of Ross on April 14. His lyrics are sure to raise an impressed eyebrow while the melodies on which he hangs his lyrics are memorable. Also appearing are area favourites Jesse Dee & Jacqui B. For information, call 403.340.4869.

A Case of Blues — the music of the Blues Brothers — is at The Matchbox on April 15-17. Duane Steele’s acoustic show is at the same venue on June 10 and 11.

This week’s disc review:

Ruth Purves Smith & the 581

Out in the Storm


From Three Hills comes the debut album of Ruth Purves Smith & the 581.

Spectacular doesn’t begin to describe the craftsmanship and talent this 13-track disc reveals. It is that rare album that divulges greater richness and depth each listening.

To describe Out in the Storm as a country album isn’t inaccurate, but it is limiting. Closer in tone, mood, and sound to Lucinda Williams and Kimmie Rhodes than it is to any CMT version of country, Ruth Purves Smith has produced a platter of Canadiana roots music.

Purves Smith’s voice reminds one of Williams with similar flexibility and personality. Her backing band consists of veterans of the Alberta music scene and their contributions cannot be overstated. Jim Kukko’s lead guitar is as important to Purves Smith as Gurf Morlix’s was to Williams’ breakthrough Car Wheel on a Gravel Road.

Each song is a little different from the others and Purves Smith’s vocal dynamic is such that she inhabits each song with a diverse voice.

Ruth Purves Smith is not a new voice in the Alberta roots community, but many of us are discovering her for the first time. In Out in the Storm she has created a masterful album.

Donald Teplyske is a local freelance writer who contributes a twice-monthly column on roots music; visit for additional reviews. If you know a roots music event, contact him at