Opinion

Hodge: Home-grown musical talent on display in coming weeks

When it comes to enjoying great music by talented, top-notch people, it doesn’t get better than this.

My social/musical calendar over the next couple of weeks is a bit of a déjà vu smorgasbord but like wine, the menu just gets better and better.

Two lifelong friends, who have both recently returned to the world of live performance, have local gigs planned in the next couple of weeks and you really want to make a point of seeing them.

The incredibly beautiful and diversified singing skills of Deb Stone will be on display next weekend and one of Canada’s very best singer/songwriters, Barry Mathers, is also back in the spotlight this month.

I’ve been fortunate enough to not only know both of these talented people as dear friends for decades, but also privileged enough to have worked with them musically in the past as well.

Their individual skills and talents are only exceeded by their passion for writing and performing music and it shows.

The Deb Stone Band will be in concert at the Kelowna Community Theatre on Friday, May 20, kicking off the May long weekend.

The concert and dance will include Stone singing a number of her original songs from her excellent CD, Written in Stone, as well as amazing covers of songs by such artists as The Eagles, CCR, Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Trooper, Doobie Bros, Patsy Cline and Janis Joplin.

After more than 35 years involved in the B.C. and Canadian music scene, I can honestly say I’ve met no one with the masterful vocal range of Stone. Honest to goodness, the girl does Patsy better than Patsy does.

“Our intent is to introduce the band to the city, and to hopefully bring people downtown for some entertainment that is for all ages. If you are over 30 in this town but under 70, there are not a lot of places to go dancing, especially right downtown. If this dance goes off well, we would love to do it on a regular basis,” Stone says.

 

The Deb Stone band has six other talented

members including. Yvonne Caldwell on drums, Jim Caldwell on lead guitar, Ed Erickson at keyboards, Ryan MacKay on bass, Janice Schmidtz on vocals and Darwyn Sloat guitar and vocals.

 

Tickets are available at Mosaic Books, Parkinson Rec Center, and at the door. Doors open at 7:30 with concert/dance starting at 8. For further info contact Deb at 250-491-0234 or 250-864-3940.

Barry “Golden Throat” Mathers is no stranger to Canadian music fans, especially Kelowna country, roots and rock fans.

Probably best known for his 26 years with Juno nominee and multiple Canadian Country Music Association award winners The Cruzeros, Mathers, is truly a song-writing legend in Canada.

His amazing vocals match his marvellous skill as a songwriter.

As a poet, I envy Mathers’ lyrical skills. No question he is one of Canada’s very best.

While the Cruzeros (Barry, Curtis Tulman, Gary Smyth, Rod Millar) still perform occasional big stage shows, Mathers has recently formed a traditional country-roots-Americana band called Me ’n Donna.

The unique sounding band includes Mather’s personable wife Donna, Gary Smyth, and banjo master Graham Maltby.

“I needed to take a break for a while after so many years on the road,” he said. “One day Donna and I started singing in the kitchen and all of a sudden (after more than 30 years together) I realized, my God, the girl can sing.”

After a couple of months playing for the pets and the refrigerator, he suddenly had the urge to get out and perform again and that was it.

“We are having a riot playing together,” he added.

Mather fans will have a variety of locations to catch the new act, including May 19 at Rutland May Days and July 16 and Aug. 20 at The Bike Shop Cafe.

As well, Me ’n Donna has just started hosting Western Wednesdays at the Grateful Fed.

Anyone interested in coming down to play some country music can (and must) contact me ahead of time at mathersmusic@telus.net.

Each week the names of the jammers will go into a draw for a Molson Canadian Epiphone guitar. Music at the Fed starts at 8 pm.

Song by song, Me‘n Donna taps the heart of the folk, roots, alt-country, Americana, call-it-what-you-will genre, combining compelling originals with decades-old standards by Hank Williams and Patsy Cline and tasty covers that run the gamut from John Prine to Old Crow Medicine Show, the Flying Burrito Brothers and the White Stripes.

Check it out, you’ll be glad you did

•••

And just to add to the musical menu, another blast from the past.

The talented Ran Berry and his new band are also performing regularly.

Rann Berry and the Random Act, featuring Scott Gamble, Dana Barnes, Michael Fic, and The Uptown Hornz are at the Blue Gator May 27 and 28.

The Gator is a great place to dance and party at and Random Act is a great band to do it with.

Charlie Hodge is a Kelonwa freelance writer.

hodgepodge2@shaw.ca

 

 

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