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Legendary Blues Band on their way to Red Deer!

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From The Central Music Festival Society – Click to buy tickets now.

By Mark Weber

The Legendary Downchild Blues Band 50th Anniversary Tour

Few absolutely nail the magic and mystery of the blues quite like the Downchild blues band, a legendary group that is marking 50 trailblazing years in the music biz.

Presented by the Central Music Festival Society, Downchild is slated to perform at Red Deer’s Memorial Centre Oct. 30th.

As noted in their bio, Downchild catapulted to international acclaim as inspiration for Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belush’s smash film The Blues Brothers. In fact, two Downchild tunes – Shotgun Blues and (I Got Everything I Need) Almost were covered on the Blues Brothers 1978 disc Briefcase Full of Blues.

The band is led by founder Donnie ‘Mr. Downchild’ Walsh on guitar and harmonica, singer Chuck Jackson who also plays harmonica, tenor sax man Pat Carey, Michael Fonfara on keyboards, Gary Kendall on bass and drummer Mike Fitzpatrick.

Jackson, who signed on with Downchild 30 years ago, noted that the band made tremendous headway right from the get-go as there weren’t a lot of blues bands criss-crossing the continent in those early days.

Everyone can identify with the blues,” he added of the genre’s unfading and historic appeal. “Everyone has their bad days in different ways. And originally, blues music was meant to help you get over your blues and pick you up and to help you forget about your troubles,” he said, noting that Downchild is known for the band’s ‘jump blues’ style.

Essentially, it’s an up-tempo feel that weaves in elements of swing, and also often features sax or brass.

As to the band’s astounding longevity, Jackson points out that really, the essence of the group hasn’t changed a whole lot over the years. “The band knows what it does. We write all our own music, and of course a lot of it has to do with our leader Donnie Walsh ‘Mr. Downchild’.”

Also, there’s a cohesiveness amongst the members that keeps the vision front and centre as well. “We’ve got a great relationship, and we just stay true to what we are. We play the blues, we don’t (stray) from that, and we’ve got great fans. Really, we have generations of fans – we’ve got grandparents that bring out their grandchildren to see us!

We’ve played everywhere across Canada and beyond – it’s been amazing, it’s really opened up the blues all around the world.

We’ve played in Central America, the United States, Canada, Europe – there was a time I never had any idea I would get to play the blues in Costa Rica or Jamaica or Norway or France.”

As mentioned, it’s that connection to their loyal fan base that also means the world to them. “We sign autographs and CDs after the shows and everyone is so happy that we are still continuing after 50 years,” he noted with gratitude. “They will tell us stories about how we played at their high school graduation, or how we played at a company Christmas party – so we’ve really got a great, great fan base and it’s always wonderful to see everyone.”

As for Jackson, that vocal ability started to surface when he was just a kid – singing in church choirs.

There were the jams and just getting together with like-minded folks to play and sing and pass the time. “People entertained themselves – we didn’t have 120 stations on the TV.

Lots of families had instruments and would sit around and play. People would come over and dance, so it was quite different then compared to what it’s like nowadays.”

Jackson was raised by his grandparents, pointing out that his grandpa played the spoons and was also a square dance caller. So music was in the blood, and those early influences left an indelible mark on a young Jackson.

It wasn’t long before he was honing his own skills as both a vocalist and a harmonica player, too. “That was my introduction to music. When I was in Grade 9, of course we were all wanting to be the next Beatles,” he added with a laugh. He started his first band with a few high school buddies, and it was around the time he was 16 that he discovered the blues.

A new path was struck.

I had to check into it, so I started buying old blues albums,” he said.

These days, Jackson couldn’t imagine a better road to have traveled, what with the explosive shows, the joy of collaboration, the life-changing friendships and opening for legendary artists from B.B. King to the Bee Gees to Joe Cocker.

They also kicked off this year’s anniversary shows with a performance at the Toronto Jazz Festival in front of thousands that also included none other than Aykroyd and Paul Shaffer.

It’s everything. It just keeps you going. People tell us what we add to their lives, and you just can’t replace that wonderful feeling. Sure, we have our days when we spend the whole day on a bus and we are dead tired. But as soon as you get onstage, you see the audience and you just light up.

Being able to play the music I love and entertain the wonderful people across Canada and around the world is certainly a dream come true and one I will continue to follow.

We are just going to keep going until we can’t anymore.”

Click to buy tickets now

For more information, click here.

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The Lone Ranger and the Riders of Justice, Finale!

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Chapter Fifteen:

 

Celebration

 

The Masked Man and Tonto

Miles away Tom Gillis boarded the stage bound for Kievers Creek.   Dust followed the loaded coach as Tom opened his portfolio.  He glanced over the papers and closed the case, satisfied with the contents.   Occupying himself with the passing scenery, he gazed out the window, visualizing  railroad tracks running east to west.  A small herd of buffalo in the distance rumbled along.

A smallish man sat in the corner of the coach.  Holding a pad of paper he wrote as he looked up with a blank look in his eyes.

Tom looked over at the man.

“What brings you out this way?”  he asked.

He looked up, and put his pen down.

“Adventure.  Stories.  Real people.  Not the city type of struggles, real struggles.  Man against nature, man against outlaw.  Stories.”  he replied.

Tom looked around, the scenery flew past the stagecoach window

“I know what you mean.  The railroad brings me here.  My name is Tom Gillis, and yours is?”

“Paul Newman, writer.  Pleased to meet you.”

At the Kievers Creek Full Gospel Church (doubling as the Town hall)  pastor Pat Buttram  walked around the hall.  Gaily decorated banners filled the walls, and the front stage was filled with bright flowers and  musical instruments the Sons of the Pioneers had left there earlier in the day.  The ladies auxiliary was busy preparing a pot luck, and  the Sons of the Pioneers munched a light snack between practicing.

Pat looked at the wide array of good before him.  He reached out to sample one of the cakes.

“Pat, put that back.”  Doc Mix warned.  “Caught you Pastor Pat.  Remember your diet.  No sweets, and lots of exercise.”

“Ahh Doc, just one.  I’ve been doing my exercise like you told me”  Pat implored.

Doc Mix walked over to the pudgy pastor.

“Now Pat, I told you  it’ll be hard in the beginning, and easier later.”

Pat looked down longingly at the smorgasbord of sweets.

“That’s easy for you to say.  You’re not the one being stared down by these home made goodies.  Could I have one now, and a couple later?”  he asked,.

Doc eyed the pastor up.

“Do what you want today, for tomorrow, back on the diet!”

Pastor Buttram smiled and quickly gobbled an apple square.

“Thanks Doc.  Thanks, this is my last day of treats.  I promise.”

Doc Mix grinned and turned back to putting up the last banner.

“For this week”   he said under his breath.  “Pastor, keeping you on a diet is more work than keeping  the whole town healthy.”

Pat smiled and laughed.

“I take that as a compliment Doc.  Now, let me help you finish putting up the banner.  Now I need the exercise.  Besides, people will start coming in about half an hour.”

The sun carried on its trek,  lighting up the sky with florescent glory.  Blue turned to orange, and orange to red.  Soon, before long, the stars would light the heavens, and the moon would again rise to cast its eerie light upon the earth beneath.

As the sun began its final arc to the horizon, the people filtered in.  The hall filled up quickly as word spread like wildfire that the outlaw gang was captured!  Freedom was again present in Kievers Creek and area, it was time to celebrate.  From as far away as Laramie, people came, to say thanks.

Beaming faces filled the crowd, smiling families overflowed the dance floor, children zoomed in and out, and squirted between legs.  Young adults talked amongst themselves, and the adults, those who had their dreams stilled,  now felt their passion for the future renewed.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto mingled uneasily with the crowd.  Grateful ranchers  offered  their thanks and in one case, a daughter in marriage.  The Ranger politely refused.  Soon they found Gene Autry in conversation with with Reverend Buttram, apple pie in hand.

Pat finished the last bite of pie.

“Thanks Gene, and thanks Lone Ranger and Tonto.  If it weren’t for your help, shucks, you know what I’m saying.  Thanks Tonto” he said shaking Tonto’s hand enthusiastically.  “ Thanks Ranger.”

“You’re welcome Reverend Buttram.  We did what anyone else would have done in the same circumstance”  the Ranger replied.

At the end of the hall, the Sons of the Pioneers stepped on stage.    Nearby sheriff Roy and Dale stood beside them.   Bob Nolan put his hands up in the air.

“Ladies and gentlemen”  he started to say.   “The town council has asked me to welcome Roy Rogers officially, even though it’s a little late. “

Cheering came from the crowd.

“We’d also like to officially nominate him as Sheriff, if he’d accept it”  he continued.

Roy stepped up to the front.  He spoke.

“I accept your nomination for the job of sheriff of Kievers Creek!”   he exclaimed.

The people of Kievers Creek cheered again.  They laughed,  yelled, and hollered their appreciation.

Gabby yelled.

“All those in favor of Roy being sheriff, say aye!”   he said.

Every hand in the hall went up.

Bob Nolan turned to Roy.  He offered his hand to him.  They shook.

“Welcome, Sheriff Roy Rogers, to Kievers Creek!  Yee Ha!”

“Speech” Gabby yelled.

The crowd chanted.

“Speech!  Speech!  Speech!”

Dale pushed Roy closer to the edge.  She whispered to him.

“Well, thanks for your support.  It’s been a busy couple of days.  Haven’t really  settled in yet.  I’ve been shot at more times than I’ve eaten here”  he stated.

The crowd laughed.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto waited in the back of the hall.    Tom Gillis, and  Paul Newman walked into the back door.

“Where can I find the Sheriff Bill Stockton?” he asked briefcase in hand.

Tonto pointed to the front of the hall.

“Him there, beside woman.”

Tom Gillis took a step ahead, then turned back.

“Do you own land around here?”  he asked.  “I’m with the railroad.”

“No sir, we don’t.  But the good people of Kievers Creek do.  And they’re ready for you.”  the Ranger said.

Tom Gillis looked at the pair of men.

“Do you ride a silver stallion?”  he asked.

“Yes, I do.”  the Ranger replied.

Tom held out his hand, and smiled.

“Then I guess you’re the Lone Ranger and Tonto, aren’t you?”  he said.

The Lone Ranger nodded.

“Yes, we are.”   he admitted.

“I’m mighty proud to meet you.  I’ve heard stories about you I found hard to believe.  Someday,    you’ll be a legend.  Excuse me Lone Ranger,  I’ve got some papers to deliver to the Sheriff.”

Paul Newman stopped beside the Lone ranger and Tonto.  He held out his hand.

“I’m Paul Newman, pleased to meet you two.  I’ve also heard many stories about you.  Would you mind if I wrote them. “

The Ranger and Tonto shook the writers hand.

“Mr Newman.  It’s a free country.  If the stories inspire men to do what’s right, please do so.”  he replied.

“Remember Mr Newman, we are a people with dignity”   Tonto added.

“Yes, I will Tonto.  Thanks thanks a lot”  he said excitedly.

Tom Gillis walked to the front, the people parted before him.

“Sheriff Bill Stockton?”  Tom asked.

“No, Sheriff Roy Rogers”  he replied smiling.

Tom Gillis looked confused.

“I’ll explain  it to you later.  Now, how can we help you?”  he asked.

“My name is Tom Gillis, and I represent the railroad”  he said matter of  factly.   “I have been charged to buy land for the coming railway.  By this time next year, the sound of train whistles will be a common sound in Kievers Creek.”

The crowd milled around Mr Gillis and yelled excitedly.  In a few minutes, they calmed down.

“Tomorrow, we’ll talk.  It seems that you’re celebrating.  And I think I’ll join you.”

Pat Buttram spoke up.

“You’re welcome to, as folks will be real happy to talk to you.  By the way,  do you like home baking?” Pat said.

Roy started to speak again.

“As a final thanks.  We’d like to ask the Lone Ranger and Tonto up to the front and thank them properly.  Can you come to the front men?”  Roy asked.

Gabby answered.

“They’re gone.  Left a couple of ….”

“Hi Yo Silver Away!”  the Ranger shouted.

Gene smiled.

“God bless’em  both.”  Pat Buttram said.

In the distance, the Lone Ranger and Tonto paused for a moment.  They both turned back and listened to the townspeople joining together in song.  A thoughtful moment passed between them.  Reining Silver and Scout around, they galloped off into the annals of the early western United States.

The Lone Ranger rides again!

 

Postlude:  Peace, then What?

When I was young

“Wow, that was some adventure Tom”  Eddie said breathless.

“I guess Gene, Roy, the Lone Ranger and Tonto could work together” Bill added.

And it was a grand adventure.   We,  in our alter egos, had triumphed over villainy and made the streets safe for women and children.  Life could go on again in Kievers Creek.  The Lone Ranger and Tonto rode off into the Western United States to take on the League of the Black Arrow, Roy Rogers got Dale, again.  Gene Autry stayed on as head of the Cattlemen’s Association.  The railroad successfully transformed another town.

My mother yelled out the back door.

“Gordon!  Supper!”

I jumped up with excitement.

“All right, guys.  I got to choose supper tonight.  Bye guys.  Don’t forget to close the door when you leave”  I said as I left the fort and ran in for supper.

Ed, Bill and Tom waited for a few minutes.  Their suppers were later.  Bill looked at Tom.

“Scissors, Stones, Paper”  Bill said.

They agreed.

The three boys played.  Bill lost.

“See you later Tonto, Gene”  he said as he left the fort.

Ed picked a number between zero and ten.

“Five”  Tom guessed.

Ed laughed.

“No, eight!  I win.  Your turn to leave.”

Tom left the fort.

“See you Gene.”

“Adios amigo”  Eddie replied.

He crawled out the door, and closed it.

The fort was empty now.  The pictures of their heroes yelled out.

“Thanks.  Adios.   Hi Yo Silver Away.   Until we meet again.”

Eddie closed the door of the fort, his spurs jangled.  He turned towards home, and ran.

Inside the fort, the pages of the comic books began to turn.  They stopped, and…

DEFINITELY NOT THE END!

 

Thanks for reading folks….if you want this whole story in print form, let me know at [email protected]!

Click here to read more of Tim’s stories, along with the rest of this book.

 

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Calgary

Hotels Live – History In The Making For Calgary Music Fans

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You read that right. When we talk about ‘disrupting the space’ from an innovation perspective, we think of new-to-market technology, products or software that in some way the consumer would benefit without that person first identifying the challenge or the solution. This is something different.

Hotels and live music have coincided for decades in various tourist destinations around the world, but never in history have they coincided for Calgarians.

Hotels Live, a welcomed new venture that combines the experience of a hotel stay with the live music industry here in Alberta. Founded by award-winning Canadian music industry veteran Rob Cyrynowski. In collaboration with the Ramada Plaza Calgary, Livestar Entertainment Canada and Canadian ticketing company Showpass, they have combined the experience to be a one-stop shop for music lovers of all genres. 

To offer a brief summary, Hotels Live is hosting live music in the pool deck area of the Ramada Plaza Calgary. These concerts can be viewed from your own hotel room balcony while you stay socially distant and mitigate any risk for entering large crowds. Rightly so, as we make the shift to mandatory mask-wearing inside public spaces.

This gives local artists an opportunity to entertain their fans through a unique new experience, Hotels Live will continue to promote artists and be the winds of change well needed in our community. 

We spoke with Marnie Crowe, Director of Sales and Revenue for the Ramada Plaza Calgary to get her thoughts on this new partnership. 

“There is the opportunity for this to be something in addition to the traditional viewing experience. We are learning that there are a lot of people who have not been able to go to a venue for a long time for a variety of reasons. We want this to be a long term additional experience for those who are looking for something new even when we as a community get back to traditional live shows.” 

 

 

Upcoming Shows

August 7th, 7:00 pm – CCMA nominated festival, Diesel Bird Hotel Music Festival 

“The world’s first hotel music festival featuring some of today’s most exciting Canadian country artists, nominee for the Country Festival, Fair or Exhibition of the Year Award by the CCMA” 

Ticket Information

 

August 15th, 7:00 pm – Rock Double-Bill BC/DC & Brokentoyz

“Double-Bill Rock Concert featuring both BC/DC (High Voltage Rock N’ Roll) & Broken Toyz – (80’s Hair Metal)”

Ticket Information

 

September 5th, 7:00 pm – A Celebration of Love Drag Show

“In celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Calgary Pride and presented by Plain Jane Events, guests will experience the very first Hotel Balcony Drag Show in history.”

Ticket Information

 

As we continue to support local businesses as a community, a major focus has been to promote local tourism in our own community. Marnie offers an additional perspective in line with this focus. 

“We will continue to support local artists and the live music industry here in Calgary. With it being a hotel experience, it does offer the opportunity to extend your stay for an entire weekend rather than just the night of the show, allowing you to explore other parts of the downtown core that you have yet to discover.”  

 

If you would like to learn more about Hotels Live, or to stay updated with the Ramada Plaza Calgary hosting future shows, or to discover the great work being done by all the parties involved, be sure to check out their websites for future updates or follow them on the social media via the links below.

 

Hotels Live

Ramada Plaza Calgary

Showpass

Livestar Entertainment Canada

 

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary

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august, 2020

fri07augAll Daymon17WALK TO BREATHE from Calgary to Edmonton(All Day)

thu27aug(aug 27)12:00 amsun30(aug 30)11:59 pmHUGE Garage Sale for Crime Prevention12:00 am - 11:59 pm (30) PIDHERNEY CURLING CENTRE, RED DEER, AB, 4725 43 St, Red Deer, AB T4N 6Z3 Event Organized By: The Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre

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