Roots coming back to surface

The hearty gumbo of blues sounds served up by the Front Porch Roots Revue is feeding the musical tastes of more and more young people, says the show’s producer.

Dave ‘Crawdad’ Cantera plays harp for the Revue.

Dave ‘Crawdad’ Cantera plays harp for the Revue.

The hearty gumbo of blues sounds served up by the Front Porch Roots Revue is feeding the musical tastes of more and more young people, says the show’s producer.

“There’s more people in their 30s in our audiences lately and I’m not sure why,” said Peter North, who supposes it takes a new generation a while to get onto the fundamental roots music style born nearly a century ago along the Mississippi River Delta.

Perhaps younger people have to explore their own music scene first before “looking back to where music came from,” he added.

While the blues took a backseat to other musical forms in the 1990s, North believes it’s been making a strong comeback.

“Maybe now they are wanting something other than hip hop — but it’ll dip again,” predicted North of the rising and falling fortunes of a music form that never completely goes out of style.

The Front Porch Roots Revue is coming to The Matchbox Theatre in Red Deer on Friday, Jan. 14.

With a core lineup of Edmonton-based musicians Ron Rault, Stewart MacDougall, Bobby Cameron and Dave ‘Crawdad’ Cantera (Red Deer’s show will also include special guest singer/guitarist Tim Williams of Calgary and Ian Tyson’s former drummer Thom Moon), the local audience is going to hear everything from acoustic blues and gospel to electric, “high velocity” blues, said North.

“There will be something for every kind of blues lover out there.”

The piano playing will come from MacDougall, a former member of Tyson’s Chinook Arch Ryders, and k.d. lang’s Reclines.

The prolific songwriter’s tunes have been recorded by Tyson, lang, Randy Travis and the Great Western Orchestra. The Red Deer audience will hear Yellowhead to Yellowstone, which MacDougall co-wrote with Tyson, and which is the title track of his latest disc.

The roots revue will also perform Busy Being Blue, which MacDougall penned for lang’s Shadowland album, and the hit Jump Up, which bass player and singer Rault originally wrote for the Power Blues Band.

North said traditional blues standards will be part of the mix that will sometimes involve “two guys performing on stage, sometimes there will be six. . . .”

North said the core members of the revue, who recently put out a well-received album, have been part of Edmonton’s roots music scene for so long, “they have a comfort zone together and they are able to nurture it.”

Cantera is a singer and harp player who was a longtime member of the Yardbird Suite house blues band. And guitarist Cameron once toured with Long John Baldry and recently wrote a tune for Julie Black’s hit album.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show are $27.50 from The Matchbox box office.

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