Colour yourself Celtic with the boys of St. James’ Gate

Break out the Guinness and Keith’s- the boys of St. James’ Gate are back! Riding high on favourable response to their new album License to Kilt, the local Celtic band holds forth at the Blarney Stone-North tonight.

Break out the Guinness and Keith’s- the boys of St. James’ Gate are back! Riding high on favourable response to their new album License to Kilt, the local Celtic band holds forth at the Blarney Stone-North tonight.

At the Velvet Olive, Jesse Dee and Jacquie B. bring their eclectic performance back for a show tonight. Canadian blues veteran Morgan Davis’ guitar-based music is at the Velvet Olive October 10. Tickets at the venue.

Two iconic Canadian acts will visit Red Deer soons. Roy Forbes, formerly Bim and now host of Roy’s Record Room on CKUA, comes to the Elks Lodge October 15 for a show sponsored by the Central Music Festival. On November 25, Tanglefoot brings their farewell tour to the same venue. Tickets for both at the Black Knight Inn and Valhalla Pure Outfitters.

On a more contemporary front, Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans show up November 3 in support of their new album. Tickets at Ticketmaster for the Enmax Centrium concert.

The Waskasoo Bluegrass Music Society continues their season with Dale Ann Bradley fronting her bluegrass troupe from Nashville. Tickets for this November 8 Elks Lodge performance should soon be available.

This week’s disc reviews:

Cliff Eberhardt

500 Miles: The Blue Rock Sessions

Red House Records

The folk roots world is full of singers and musicians we are unlikely to encounter and yet who inspire such devotion that they maintain a fruitful career far from the spotlight.

Cliff Eberhardt would fit comfortably on such a list. Having only recently become aware of Eberhardt, I found myself wondering, “How have I missed this guy?” Like Jimmy LaFave and Kate Campbell, when you listen to Eberhardt you are fully willing to accept that he is the finest singer you have heard in a very long while.

There is little especially unique about his voice, but the open manner in which he approaches each song brings each composition to life. He is a devastating acoustic and slide guitarist, coaxing gentle sounds from his instruments supported by a small, rotating band of collaborators.

Featuring largely acoustic instrumentation with a bit of electric guitar on select tracks, 500 Miles resembles 1990’s The Long Road, Eberhardt’s debut album, in more ways than it does the similar sounding but more intricate The High Above and the Down Below which preceded this new release.

With this album, Eberhardt inspires listeners to continue searching out his cinematic, mindful music.

The Wooden Sky

If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone

Black Box Recordings

Sam Beam has much to answer for. In his wake, an entire sub-genre of introspective, indie acoustic folk has sprung with much of it little more than tiresome and twee, angst-ridden adolescent poetry set to guitar, bass, and percussion.

Amongst the drivel glimmers of substance are apparent, including Canadians Great Lake Swimmers, Barzin, and even Wood Pigeon. I missed Toronto’s The Wooden Sky’s first disc When Lost At Sea two years ago, but purchased a copy this summer; I became enthralled with the blend of pop influences with a folk song approach.

With this new album, Gavin Gardiner, principle member of TWS, has expanded the group’s sound by pulling back from the indie rock touches. Oh My God (It Still Means A Lot to Me) is a masterful lead track featuring Gardiner’s youthful voice searching for answers. By the time Debra Jean Creelman comes in to harmonize on the refrain, one is hooked.

The momentum generated by the lead track is maintained over the course of the album’s 13 tracks.

For fans of Elliot Brood and Joel Plaskett, If I Don’t Come Home… is an early contender for the 2010 Polaris Music Prize.

Also in heavy rotation this week: The Black Crowes: Before the Frost; Mike Plume Band: 8:30 Newfoundland; Tom Russell: Blood and Candle Smoke; John Wort Hannam: Queen’s Hotel; Louden Wainwright III: High Wide and Handsome.

Donald Teplyske is a local freelance writer who contributes a twice-monthly column on roots music; visit fervorcoulee.wordpress.com for additional reviews. Contact him at fervorcoulee@shaw.ca

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