Poppa Dawg, of Kelowna, plays a powerful show of electric blues to the Vernon Jazz Club Dec. 31. (Submitted Photo)

Kelowna Dawg gets down in Vernon for Dec. 31

Poppa Dawg will be onstage at the Vernon Jazz Club New Year’s Eve

John Turner

Special to The Morning Star

Ring in the New Year with a cross-country tribute to the blues from Memphis to Motown.

Rick “Poppa Dawg” Halisheff keeps you moving to a steady beat and a soul-searching drive that emulates the blues greats with Poppa Dawg precision. Dawg is a Blues man with energy and enthusiasm that runs deep. He has worked and shared the stage with many Blues celebrities and Juno Award winners including Tony Coleman (B.B. King), Sonny Rhodes, Fathead and (Mr. Downchild) Donnie Walsh, Jeff Healey, Jim Byrnes, Powder Blues Band, Sherman Doucette, and many more. He has the stage experience and presence of a true journeyman.

Armed with a versatility rarely seen, hard-core Blues fans will love Dawg’s ability to channel the energy and sound that has echoes of Albert King and Howlin’ Wolf. He can bring the slinky grooves reminiscent of Dr. John and the hard-hitting edge of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Guitar fanatics will be at the edge of their seats as Dawg delivers each song as if he is living and breathing it from the inside out. Of special note are the rare songs in which he employs the little used “voicebox” popularized in the 1970s by Peter Frampton.

See also: Vegas coming to Vernon for New Year’s Eve

From the age of three, Halisheff, knew that music was to be his life’s path. Even at that time he could make sense of the keys on an organ and had the feeling of music within his tiny frame. In his teens, he was fascinated by all the great guitarists in the blues world and happened to be teaching himself guitar at the time.

“I found this book written in 1933 in the piano bench we had at home. I taught myself to play but couldn’t imagine playing like those guys. I was in my late 20’s when I decided to just play blues. It’s the only music that’s meant anything to me.”

Hailing from the ‘Left Coast’ of Canada, Poppa Dawg has toured extensively throughout Western and Northern Canada with stints in La Paz, Mexico at The City of Peace Blues Festival and in 2013 as a participant at the 29th International Blues Challenge in Memphis. They made it to the semi-finals there and along the way forged some very strong friendships with friends around the world.

His influences are varied to say the least with artists from Dr. John and Ray Charles to Freddie King and Howlin’ Wolf and on stage, you can clearly hear them coming through the soul of this big man. Gritty and dynamic, he takes the music from rushing peaks to hushing lows and then steps back from the microphone to deliver the news!

Poppa Dawg will be onstage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31 St.) on Monday, Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. Doors open at 8 p.m. Cash only bar on site. Tickets $60 online at vernonjazz.com and at Expressions of Time (2901-30 Ave) with a $5 rebate at the gig for VJS members.

See also: Vernon pub celebrates New Year’s Eve

We are a volunteer-run organization. Please consider joining us.

Members receive 10 per cent off their food purchase anytime at Bourbon Street Bar & Grill (Prestige Inn). All Vernon Jazz Club patrons may enjoy a 10 per cent discount on food at Marten Brewpub upon presentation of their tickets for that evening’s show.


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entertainment@vernonmorningstar.com

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