At the Steamboat Mountain Music Festival on Sunday, July 7th, the emphasis is definitely on homegrown music. The band L8, which includes Pat Hess (guitar), Franz Grasegger (accordion), Bud DeCosse (guitar), Dwayne Diakiw (bass), George Blissner and Mark Dalton (percussion), is a prime example. L8 has evolved into a band that gets booked all over the valley for parties, dances and other community gatherings. Their good times fun-rock is sure to get everybody in the groove.
Edgewater’s Dry Gulch Ramblers include guitar virtuoso Mark Fraser, John MacRobbie who writes some of the tunes and plays bass, Larry Newman who writes some of the tunes and plays mostly rhythm guitar, and John Sobey who plays guitar and mandolin. This group has roots in old time and bluegrass, but they have moved on to a more contemporary style, playing more of their own original songs that chronicle life here in the Kootenays in the new millennium.
Smarty Pants — Kurt Reichel, Bill Cropper and Brian Rogers — like getting together to write songs and figure out their own arrangements of old songs that express their madcap and slightly ironic point of view. They have been deeply influenced by rhythm and blues and classic rock, but they don’t let their influences limit their adventurous spirit.
Invermere’s duo of father and son Marty and Eli Beingessner are guitar wizards and while Marty is unapologetically country in his approach, Eli’s style can break out in any number of directions from flamenco to Celtic and beyond, always bringing in generous portions of that famous Beingessner humour.
The Halfsacks are a Fairmont- and Radium-based band whose original tunes will take off on rollicking road trips through the valley and over the mountains. This group includes Scott Ivers, Christopher Howse, Todd White, and Peter Harding.
Tweeners are performers who play short sets between headline acts. Having Tweener acts also allows for showcasing emerging talent and performers who may not have a huge set list.
Some of last year’s Tweeners are returning once more. Edgewater singer songwriter Mickey Maione’s original songs are usually infused with his graceful, intricate picking and his irreverent satire. Another Edgewater up-and-comer, Abby Wells, bowled everyone over last year with her beautiful voice. Golden’s promising young singer-songwriter, Paige Ellerton played a very impressive short set last summer. Guitar and bass duo Beard’s Creek — Glen McRuer and Cathy Ferguson — return from Parson with some of their traditional tunes. Dos Equis, Scott and Kathleen Ivers from Edgewater and Radium, harmonize with their blues influenced offerings.
Tweeners new this year are quite exciting too. Golden’s buffalo farmer and singer-songwriter Leo Downey will bring some of his original anthems. Harrogate’s beloved songwriter Will Wardwell and his bass man Mike Garner play under the name Jubilee Mountain. Maigan Jayde is a talented young newcomer. Edgewater summer resident Craig Ellis is another musician new to the local scene.
The headliners coming from afar include Vancouver’s Five on a String; Calgary’s Fender Bender, Stone of Nowhere, and Los Morenos; and Cranbrook’s Red Girl and Good Ol’Goats.
Steamboat Mountain Music Festival organizers remain committed to showcasing the wonderful musicians of the valley, and with the proceeds of this event they seek to continue to fund musical scholarships and bursaries to help keep the music strong into the future.
Tickets are available at many local outlets and online at www.steamboatmtnmusicfest.ca.
Contributed by Anne Jardine