Stan Roger Fes­ti­val rises again

Lyrics & Laugh­ter re­turn to Louis­bourg Play­house

Cape Breton Post - - ARTS / ENTERTAINMENT - Dan Mac­Don­ald

I couldn’t get to ev­ery­thing, but I tried!

Let’s start in Canso. Three days of ex­cel­lent weather and Stan­Fest rose again af­ter last year’s can­cel­la­tion, with larger crowds and top-notch en­ter­tain­ment that ranged from the blues of Guy Davis, to the tra­di­tional mu­sic of Còig, to the eclec­tic sounds of Steel­eye Span.

It’s hard to pick the best but a few acts re­ally caught my ear: Còig and On­tario’s Ev­ery­thing Fitz, jointly show­cas­ing dif­fer­ent ap­proaches to Celtic Mu­sic; Matt An­der­son. Pe­riod!; the For­tu­nate Ones del­i­cate har­monies; Mike Doyle’s stir­ring ver­sion of Harris & The Mare; Jen Miller singing any­thing, any­where; Liv­ingston Tay­lor and Tom Chapin, to­gether; John Curtis Samp­son do­ing his Hill­side Stage con­cert; and the Singing Stan show­case on Main Stage.

Alan Doyle had peo­ple hop­ping on Fri­day and Rita Coolidge re­ally im­pressed me on Sun­day. Two other peo­ple that had ev­ery­body talk­ing: New Brunswick’s Me­lanie Mor­gan and 10-year-old Ten­nessee prodigy EmiSunshine, both with mas­sive voices and in­cred­i­ble stage pres­ence. 2016 is Year 20! See you there!

••• I joined the large crowd at Syd­ney’s Went­worth Park Band- shell last week for the Makin’ Waves Con­cert Se­ries. Car­men Townsend’s dis­tinc­tive voice im­pressed me, but I was less im­pressed with Ron Hynes, a per­former I have of­ten en­joyed. A vic­tim of can­cer in his jaw and throat, I found his speech slurred and dif­fi­cult to fol­low. It’s a shame that an artist as great as this doesn’t know when to back away.

••• Last Satur­day evening I made my first trip of the year to the Louis­bourg Play­house, al­ways a good lo­ca­tion for mu­sic, where the Lyrics & Laugh­ter gang ap­peared for the thir­teenth con­sec­u­tive year. Their won­der­ful mu­sic se­lec­tion in­cluded songs by writ­ers as var­ied as Mark Knop­pler and Gordie Samp­son. They even did a David Francey num­ber: Fit­ting, con­sid­er­ing David will be on stage at the Play­house on July 16. Lyrics & Laugh­ter re­turns in mid-Septem­ber.

••• On Canada Day I ven­tured to Baddeck to catch the dress re­hearsal for the Bells of Baddeck, a new pro­duc­tion that takes place in the Bell Mu­seum. It’s mainly a lyri­cal pre­sen­ta­tion and some­times the vo­cals are dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand but luck­ily they are sup­ple­mented by the scrip on an ad­join­ing screen.

While the play is fast-paced and may be dif­fi­cult to fol­low if you aren’t al­ready fully fa­mil­iar with the story, it is a well-pro­duced and care­fully staged pro­duc­tion that in­volves both lo­cal and out­side ac­tors. The ma­jor­ity play a num­ber of roles, with only the gen­tle­man play­ing the part of Alexan­der Graham Bell keep­ing the same role through­out, ag­ing as the story pro­gresses.

It’s an in­ter­est­ing and en­ter­tain­ing evening that may peak your in­ter­est in a trip to Baddeck.

••• I hit RibFest twice to en­joy both the mu­sic and the ex­cel­lent food, catch­ing An­drew Doyle on Fri­day and Crowdis Bridge on Satur­day. I spoke to a few of the Bar-B-Qers and they were im­pressed at the large week­end crowd that clearly made the event a suc­cess. I cer­tainly hope that this is the just the first of many trips they make to Syd­ney.

••• Many mourn the un­ex­pected pass­ing of Stan Carew, CBC Ra­dio’s Week­end Morn­ing host and an en­ter­tainer who per­formed in Syd­ney just a few weeks ago. A lover of East Coast mu­sic, he was some­one who did more than his share to pro­mote in­de­pen­dent artists. Stan will cer­tainly be missed!


Com­ing up:

Makin’ Waves Con­cert Se­ries, Went­worth Park Band­shell, Syd­ney

July 16, 6 p.m. - Joe Waye Trio with Char­lotte Mac­Don­ald and Breagh Mackin­non Trio

July 23, 6 p.m. - The Di­vorcees with Margie and Dawn Beaton

Bell Na­tional His­toric Site, Baddeck

Run­ning regularly un­til Aug. 2 - The Bells of Baddeck: Savoy Theatre, Glace Bay July 20-21, 27-28 - The Re­union: 1970 - 1979 (Din­ner Theatre) Judique Com­mu­nity Cen­tre Thurs­day, July 23, 7:30 p.m. – Ash­ley MacIsaac and the Cape Bre­ton Fid­dlers Louis­bourg Play­house Mu­sic al­most ev­ery evening through­out the sum­mer. Rita’s Tea Room, Big Pond Sun­day’s through­out the sum­mer, 1 PM — en­ter­tain­ment fea­tur­ing dif­fer­ent artists High­land Arts Theatre, Syd­ney Thurs­day’s in July - Heart of Steel

Fri­day’s in July - Ma­ture Young Adults

Satur­day’s in July - No Great Mis­chief

Sun­day’s in July - The True Mean­ing of Cape Bre­ton

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