Next weekend, the annual Canadian Rockies Cowboy Festival goes at the David Thompson Resort. Tim Hus, Danny and Susan Gibson, and area country and western performers appear. Information is available by calling 403-721-2103.
Globetrotting folk-pop chanteuse Christina Maria performs at The Vat this on Thursday.
A smooth singer with a sophisticated touch, this Vancouver native has a case full of light-sounding songs with hidden depth. Her latest release Straight Line is enchanting.
Local songwriter Donna Durand has a well-recorded album available, and she celebrates the release of The Road Back at the Sunnybrook Farm Museum on June 6 beginning at 2 p.m.
The Century Theatre in Innisfail presents an Ian Tyson Tribute on June 13.
The seventh annual Canadian Rockies Bluegrass Fest, also at David Thompson Resort from June 18 to 20, has Alberta and B.C.-based bluegrass and acoustic acts and old-time autoharpist Bryan Bowers.
Duane Steele is at The Matchbox on June 10 and 11. Steele also stops at Innisfail’s Century Theatre on June 20.
Ruth Purves Smith & the 581 make their area debut at The Matchbox Theatre on June 18. On June 20, acoustic stringband Headwater performs. Tickets at the venue and Ticketmaster.
Tickets for the Edmonton Folk Music Festival go on sale on June 1; Calexico, Tom Russell, Levon Helm, Lau, Dala, Alejandro Escovedo and Beth Nielsen Chapman are among the roots artists appearing from Aug. 5 to 8 at Gallagher Park.
The Central Music Festival is slated for Aug. 13 and 14.
This week’s disc review:
Razor & Tie
An impressive writer with a distinctive delivery, Mary Gauthier has established herself as one of the foremost songwriters of her generation. Rivaling Guy Clark, Gauthier crafts lyrical paintings that become vivid, living testimonials in four minutes.
With five stellar recordings under her belt, the product of the Louisiana school of hard knocks delivers The Founding, her most ambitious and personal album yet.
Once again delving into personal darkness, Gauthier writes about her own abandonment and adoption with honesty and clarity.
Recording for the first time with Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies), Gauthier expands on the story previously shared in Goodbye, a song from her breakthrough Filth & Fire. Blessed with the insight of a philosopher, Gauthier peeks into the abyss while pulling back from self-pity.
Gauthier’s song-cycle explores the lack of family attachment she has felt — the missing connection experienced by many children of adoption — while never becoming disconnected from the importance of creating stand-alone songs that flow through a sustained narrative.
Gauthier and Timmins take chances throughout the recording. March 1, 1962 is a one-sided transcript of Gauthier’s conversation with her birth mother, a meeting that ended in shamed rebuff. The liveliness of New Orleans jazz and blues provides juxtaposition to the isolation of Sideshow.
The Orphan King turns rejection into hopeful strength. Written with Darrell Scott, Another Day Borrowed brings the story to its close, at least for now: “passing through, I might be gone tomorrow,” Gauthier sings with acceptance, embracing her gifts.
The more one listens, the stronger the bond one feels with Gauthier and her experiences, the more one absorbs; one never feels more than about five seconds from tears.
To Mary Gauthier’s credit, the tears are of admiration, not pity.
Also in rotation this week: Pieta Brown — One and All; Donna Durand — The Road Back; Jackie Leven — Gothic Road; The Cooper Brothers — In From the Cold; Various Artists — Putumayo Presents South Africa.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org