Think winter: think Blue Rodeo in January

After an active fall roots season, we ease into winter weather with things slowing down just a little.

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After an active fall roots season, we ease into winter weather with things slowing down just a little.

This coming Wednesday, Canadian folk band Tanglefoot visits our city for a final time as their farewell tour arrives in the province for a selection of shows.

Tickets for this Elks Hall concert, presented by the Central Music Festival, are available at the Black Knight Inn and Valhalla Pure Outfitters.

That same evening, country and folk singer Gary Fjellgaard stops by the Century Theatre in Innisfail for a concert. Tickets and information from 403 224 2688.

Thinking ahead to Christmas gift-giving, Blue Rodeo make an appearance at the the Centrium on Jan. 12.

And tickets for Ian Tyson’s Feb. 26 Memorial Centre show are available at the Black Knight Inn outlet.

If you’d like to give the gift of bluegrass, consider tickets to the Lonesome River Band who are coming to town Feb. 28; call Gale at 403 347 1363.

This week’s disc reviews:

Kent McAlister & The Iron Choir

How I’ll Remain

Self-released

Based is Vancouver, Kent McAlister has quietly over a pair of whiskey-drenched albums established a nice portfolio of working man tales and jaded dreams.

Ballad of the Oar & Chain features primitive percussion of a style seldom heard within dusty roots music. Elsewhere, McAlister delivers in a talking blues manner not dissimilar to Corb Lund (Crossing Arm Blues) but with less novelty and even a bit more sophistication, as on What is this Evil?

How I’ll Remain is sparse and haunting, while Another Bridge lopes along like a Shawn Jonasson-Waylon tribute. Gillian Welch would be proud to call The Cane & The Switch her own — an abusive husband, a deep, dark well, retribution, and nervous horses all in five minutes.

McAlister’s voice is sturdy and smooth, lacking even a hint of slickness.

Various Artists

Things About Comin’ My Way — a Tribute to the Mississippi sheiks

Self-released

Perhaps the roots tribute of the year, Steve Dawson and his spouse Alice have assembled a masterfully balanced collection of blues, folk, and unclassifiable renditions of music recorded by the Mississippi Sheiks during the early ’30s.

Picking highlights from such a storied collection is a fool’s game, but listeners are certain to be impressed by Oh Susanna’s take on Bootlegger’s Blues, The North Mississippi Allstars’ fiery We’re Backfirin’ Now, and Bruce Cockburn’s Honey Babe Let the Deal Go Down.

Rare is the tribute album that possesses the consistency and unity of Things About Comin’ My Way; from soulful sounds (The Sojourners’ He Calls That Religion) to softer vocal treatments (Please Baby from Madeleine Peyroux) and banjo showcases (Too Long from Danny Barnes), every track resonates and no two sound alike.

Also in heavy rotation this week: Maria Muldaur & Her Garden of Joy: Self-titled; James Hand: Shadow on the Ground; Steep Canyon Rangers: Deep in the Shade; James Keelaghan: House of Cards; Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and Phil Ochs: Amchitka.

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 fervorcoulee@shaw.ca

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