Music for every taste is in the offing when roots-rocker Levi Cuss joins forces with poetic singer Curtis Phagoo, edgy artist Kimberley MacGregor and “golden voiced” folkie John Guliak.
Red Deer artists Phagoo and Cuss will perform in the city with Edmonton’s MacGregor and Guliak twice on Aug. 3. There will be a free 4 p.m. show on the Ross Street Patio, as well as a songwriter’s circle the same evening at the International Beer Haus in Red Deer at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door.
The four tunesmiths will take turns showcasing their works, so “it will be 100 per cent about the song,” said Phagoo, who spearheaded an earlier tour that was so successful the artists wanted to do it again.
This time out, the singer-songwriters will perform 20 shows in 18 days from Victoria to Calgary, with stops across Vancouver Island, the Okanagan, Rockies and Alberta Badlands.
Listeners will be hearing music from all sides of the spectrum. Cuss, who performs “aggressive” foot-stompin’s roots-rock tunes, believes his own sounds are nicely counterbalanced by Guliak’s folk songs, as well as the introspective music made by Phagoo, whom he’s long known from the local bar circuit.
Phagoo plays in many local musical incarnations, including as a back-up musician for other artists. His own songwriting is reflective, emotional and poetic. “I would say it’s almost more pop-y” said the 34-year-old.
Cuss, 41, met Guliak while completing a music residency at the Banff Centre. Guliak, in his 50s, is the oldest of the four. Cuss describes him as a fellow alpha male, and “the guy with the golden voice,” whose rich baritone delivers alt-pop/folk tunes with roots influences.
When the three men talked about touring together, they wanted to add a female perspective, so Guliak brought MacGregor on board. As youngest of the group, MacGregor is described as being a powerhouse vocalist, who sings with passion and edgy soul.
“The dynamic between the four of us is such a beautiful thing,” concluded Cuss.
The singer/songwriters are each given space to deliver their own original material with some musical backing or harmonies from the others to help fill in the sound.
“If you don’t like one kind of music, you’ll soon be hearing another,” promised Cuss. “Whatever happens we’ll be landing on somebody’s favourite.”
Phagoo calls songwriters circles “the truest expression of what I do. It’s just me and my guitar, with the support of fellow musicians on stage.”
The in-the-round format “allows you to showcase your best material” for a discerning, listening public, Phagoo added. “People will actually come up and talk to me afterwards about the lyrics of my song.”
Among his darker tunes is one about a relationship between a lion tamer and a circus acrobat. It ends tragically when one discovers the other’s infidelity. “That’s my favourite of Curtis’s songs,” said Cuss, who admires his way with a lyric.
Cuss will in turn perform his Night Thief, which gets a big thumbs up from Phagoo. It’s loosely about Louis Riel’s struggle with the government “as he’s fighting for his land and his freedom.”
The local singer/songwriters invite everyone who appreciates the creative process of turning ideas into music to the shows. “It’s neat to see how it grows,” said Phagoo.