Herbert’s Steeplejack Festival features outstanding talent
There’s a South Wind musical forecast for Steeplejack’s Available Talent Cabaret in Herbert on Saturday Aug. 10.
Steeplejack Festival’s 2019 Available Talent Cabaret at St. Pat’s Church in Herbert, Sask. will feature a newly formed musical group called South Wind. Brought together by singer Laureen Kress and songwritermusician Mark Penner, the group includes bassist Ed Doyle and Gord Nodge, on banjo and mandolin.
The rest of the lineup will depend on who’s available and ready to perform that night. Admission to the cabaret is a $10 donation or a song (or poem or story).
Country singer and award-winning barrel racer Laureen Kress sold her racing horses a few years ago and replaced them with three mules.
She insists her mules aren’t stubborn, just cautious.
“They take care of themselves,” she said, “and that’s why they take care of you.”
Kress, who grew up in the far south of Saskatchewan, near a little town called Bracken, close to the Montana border. But she spent most of her adult life in the Saskatoon area and has recently moved to an acreage near Waldeck, Sask, with her husband, Joe, and their mules.
Since then she has been getting acquainted with the local music scene. And now she has co-founded a group called South Wind.
Kress comes from a large, musicloving family, she said, and first appeared on stage in a Christmas concert, at the age of 4, with her sister. She has three sisters, four brothers.
Now a grandmother of seven, Kress is determined to get her musical career on track. Thus far, she only has one CD, self-produced for her family.
When she appeared at the Lyric Theatre Open Stage about a year and a half ago, three local musicians provided the back up: Mark Penner, Gord Nodge and Ed Doyle.
“They didn’t know me from a hole in the ground then,” she said. “But we just kept getting together.”
Thus far, their most high-profile gig was performing in the 2019 Saskatchewan Telemiracle broadcast singing the heart-wrenching If I Needed You by Townes Van Zandt famously recorded by Don Williams and Emmylou Harris.
At the time they called themselves Laureen Kress and Friends. But she wasn’t happy with that, so she came up with South Wind. Her genres are Old Country and bluegrass. Penner, a singer/songwriter with six albums to his credit, leans more toward folk/roots and the blues.
Kress has begun writing her own songs and hopes to launch a new album, with the help of Penner who runs his own recording studio in Herbert. He has helped many fellow singers and songwriters, offering backup in one way or another.
With free admission for performers, surprises are par for the course at the Available Talent Cabaret. (Local actor and Herbert Town Councillor Iian Dunbar has already signed on.). There are door prizes, too.
*Steeplejack presents The Available Talent Cabaret with South Wind, Saturday Aug. 10 at St. Pat’s Church in Herbert Sask. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. For reservations or to sign up to perform call 306-784-2689 or email [email protected]
Herbert Steeplejack festival will feature country singer and award-winning barrel racer Laureen Kress.