St. James is spicing up country music

“Full-throttle,” boot-stomping, rabble-rousing country music, according to singer Ginger St. James, is best performed in Alberta.

“Full-throttle,” boot-stomping, rabble-rousing country music, according to singer Ginger St. James, is best performed in Alberta.

While her fellow Ontarians can also appreciate her honky-tonk, rock-a-billy act, St. James contends, “It’s rowdier in the West.”

She says this from the Last Chance Saloon in Wayne, Alta., a once-thriving mining town near Drumheller that’s now largely a ghost-town and tourist attraction.

The saloon retains real bullet holes in its walls — and St. James is obviously thrilled with these mementos of the town’s rough-and-tumble history.

“I took pictures of them,” said the singer, who performed a couple of sets at the saloon to fans who drove up from as far as south of Calgary for her show.

“It’s great here. I love the history, I love the people. I’ve been fantastically treated,” St. James added.

She’s next coming to sing at The Pinecone Opry with Ol’ Boots and the Hoots on Thursday at Fratters in Red Deer. St. James plans to share songs such as Somebody Shot Me, off her new album, One For the Money.

That song came out of personal experience — although no bloodshed was involved. St. James said “It’s about being two-timed, or stabbed in the back” — whether at work, or in personal relationships.

“You give your trust to somebody and you find out they were two-faced the whole time,” added the performer, who found some music industry people didn’t live up to their promises.

“It’s not a good feeling, but it makes for a good song …”

The Hamilton-area resident takes her inspiration from Patsy Cline and Bonnie Raitt, but started out in the business as a musical theatre and burlesque singer.

“It happened organically,” recalled St. James, who would lie on her bedroom floor as a child, belting out songs from Annie Get Your Gun after learning these show tunes at school. She eventually landed the role of Sally Bowles in a high school production of Cabaret.

Country music was also part of her childhood on a farm near Binbrook, Ont. St. James recalled her dad always listened to country radio while working in the barn.

Singers like Loretta Lynn stirred something within her — although St. James initially tried for an acting career in Toronto.

“I got an agent and I’d be sent to auditions every day,” she recalled. But she soon realized commercials for laundry soap were “not my bag.”

St. James quit to form a tongue-in-cheek burlesque trio, the Steeltown Sirens, and attained a good measure of local success through being campy and risque.

When she began gravitating back to the country music of her childhood, she naturally began delivering honky-tonk songs in a teasing, theatrical way.

The resulting mix of sultry singing and sassy showmanship netted St. James the Female Vocalist of the Year Award at the 2015 Hamilton Music Awards.

There’s a $10 cover for her 8:30 p.m. show at The Pinecone Opry.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Deadline for cabinet to decide future of Trans Mountain expansion is today

OTTAWA — The federal government is widely expected to green light the… Continue reading

Manslaughter trial hears recording of accused praying for forgiveness

CALGARY — A trial for a man charged in the death of… Continue reading

UN high commissioner urges redress as Canada responds to MMIWG inquiry

OTTAWA — Canada’s response to the conclusions of the inquiry into missing… Continue reading

Prevention key focus of dementia strategy released by federal government

OTTAWA — The cornerstone philosophy behind the federal government’s long-awaited strategy for… Continue reading

Groups launch challenge of Quebec’s secularism bill one day after it becomes law

Less than 24 hours after it became law, groups representing Canadian Muslims… Continue reading

Pro-pipelines rally draws crowd to City Hall

Canadian Taxpayers Federation says Canada missing out on billions in revenue

Manslaughter trial hears recording of accused praying for forgiveness

CALGARY — A trial for a man charged in the death of… Continue reading

UN high commissioner urges redress as Canada responds to MMIWG inquiry

OTTAWA — Canada’s response to the conclusions of the inquiry into missing… Continue reading

Prevention key focus of dementia strategy released by federal government

OTTAWA — The cornerstone philosophy behind the federal government’s long-awaited strategy for… Continue reading

Groups launch challenge of Quebec’s secularism bill one day after it becomes law

Less than 24 hours after it became law, groups representing Canadian Muslims… Continue reading

Poll suggests majority of Canadians favour limiting immigration levels

OTTAWA — New polling numbers suggest a majority of Canadians believe the… Continue reading

Raptors announcer credited with calming massive crowd after shooting

TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors’ play-by-play announcer is winning widespread praise for… Continue reading

Massive crowds, security concerns prove to be issues at Raptors parade

TORONTO — A shooting that sparked a stampede at a massive rally… Continue reading

Toronto mayor gives Raptors star Kawhi Leonard key to city

Toronto Mayor John Tory tried to woo Kawhi Leonard by presenting him… Continue reading

Most Read