New Stage North concert season kicks off Sept. 27

Five shows in the series, plus one stand-alone

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

The Stage North Concert Series for 2018/19 consists of five shows, starting with Elliott Brood on Sept. 27.

Oddly enough, there’s a sixth show that the Slave Lake group is bringing to town, but it’s not part of the Concert Series. What that means is if you buy the season ticket package, the George Jones tribute show by Duane Steele isn’t part of it. You’ll have to buy the ticket separately.

Other than that detail, it’s fair to say Stage North is bringing six shows to town, between September and March. That’s one fewer than the past two years.

All will be at the Legacy Centre in Slave Lake.

So who is Elliott Brood? A trio from Hamilton Ontario, whose music may be hard to categorize. Folk rock? Alt-country? Whatever. It involves a banjo, along with various other instruments.

“It’s pretty rockin’,” says Stage North president Len Ramsey. “They’re pretty good.”

“We’ve wanted them for quite a while,” says Stage North board member Nicola Ramsey. “It took a while to talk the committee around.”

Elliott Brood has performed at the North Country Fair and apparently has a bit of a following in Alberta.

“We’ve had some support already,” says Len.

Show #2 is The Legend of George Jones, featuring Duane Steele and band, on Saturday, Nov. 3. Stage North as a rule stays away from the cover or tribute band scene (with a couple of notable exceptions), but they were taken with Mr. Steele.

“I found myself quite in synch with his musical taste,” says Len, who isn’t much of a country music fan.

“Apparently the stories he tells about George Jones are quite entertaining,” says Nicola.

George Jones died in 2013, after about a 60-year career in country music.

Stage North’s Christmas show this year is called ‘Amero Little Christmas,’ with Winnipegger Don Amero and two other guys.

Amero has won two or three Juno awards. This show is described as an “old-fashioned, feel-good Christmas concert thing.”

The show takes place on Sunday, Nov. 25 at 6:00 p.m.

Up next is the Joey Landreth Trio, from Winnipeg Manitoba. He’s also a member of the Bros. Landreth, a roots rock outfit.

“He’s the guitar genius of the Brothers Landreth,” says Nicola.

“He plays and doesn’t seem to be thinking about what he’s doing,” says Len.

“We saw them at the North Country Fair,” Len adds. “We could not get enough of them.”

The show goes on Saturday, Jan 19.

In the dog days of February (sled dogs, that is), comes the Derina Harvey Band. It’s a sort of “Newfoundland kitchen party, Celtic party band,” except it is based in Edmonton. It has at least five members, with Harvey at the centre of things.

“They play a lot of classic Newfoundland stuff,” says Nicola.

“Very lively,” says Len. “Full of energy. She’s got a pretty good voice, too.”

The date is Saturday, Feb. 23.

The final act on the Stage North schedule features a singer with “a stunning voice that is capable of summoning up tidal waves of spine-tingling emotion.” So says the blurb on Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar. It doesn’t say much about what kind of music the group plays, but “she does a New Orleans kind of thing,” says Len.

“She’s been in the U.S. blues charts,” says Nicola.

She also might be based in Toronto, but is probably an Albertan.

“She did live in High Prairie at one point,” says Nicola.

SM&BS are playing on Thursday, March 21.

Stage North started several years ago with a show that had 40 people turn out. Somehow they survived that rocky debut, and in the past two or three years have seen audiences of 200 or more turn out to the shows. One positive development in local audiences is that more young people are coming out, Len says.

“Every other organization in Alberta wonders how we do that.”

Opening acts help (an opening band from Westlock earlier this year brought about 30 of its own fans along). Having food helps too, Nicola says.

Having a solid group of volunteers helps as well.

“Everyone pitches in,” says Nicola.

“It’s a really strong group,” Len says.

Joey Landreth: the guitar genius of The Brothers Landreth.

Samantha Martin: ‘Tidal waves of spine-tingling emotion’

Elliott Brood, from Hamilton Ontario, performs on Sept. 27 at the Legacy Centre in Slave Lake.

Amero Little Christmas, with Don Amero and two other guys.

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