Blenders Mu­sic an­nounces lineup for 2019-20 con­cert se­ries

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - NEWS - By Matthew Lieben­berg mlieben­[email protected]­

Blenders Mu­sic will bring a wide range of live mu­sic to the Lyric Theatre stage in Swift Cur­rent dur­ing the 2019-20 con­cert se­ries.

The lineup for the new sea­son and con­test de­tails to win var­i­ous ticket pack­ages were an­nounced on Aug. 6.

Cul­tural Festivals Act­ing Direc­tor Shann Gowan is ex­cited about the mix of es­tab­lished mu­si­cians and ris­ing stars from across the Cana­dian mu­sic scene that will be part of the new sea­son, which starts in Septem­ber.

“There’s lot in there that I’m re­ally pumped about,” she said. “There’s some new names on there that should ex­cite peo­ple and some com­ing back that’s worth hav­ing back. So it’s a re­ally nice, well bal­anced sea­son.”

Blenders has been bring­ing live mu­sic in a wide range of gen­res, in­clud­ing folk, blues, rock, world, roots and jazz, to Swift Cur­rent since 2002. It is well re­garded on the mu­sic scene and the Blenders con­cert se­ries at the Lyric Theatre was nom­i­nated in the cat­e­gory of venue of the year for the 2018 Saskatchew­an Mu­sic awards.

“In Canada we have a re­ally good rep­u­ta­tion,” she said. “We get ap­proached by a lot of mu­si­cians and a lot of agents that we work with all the time. … We have a good rep­u­ta­tion as a real nice room to play at, where the mu­si­cians get treated re­ally well, where the au­di­ences are lis­ten­ing au­di­ences. It’s not a bar at­mos­phere. So we ac­tu­ally get a lot of re­quests and we work closely with the big agen­cies across Canada.”

The lineup for the sea­son is put to­gether by the Blenders en­ter­tain­ment com­mit­tee, and they will use their knowl­edge of the mu­sic scene to iden­tify mu­si­cians for the con­cert se­ries.

“Amongst all of us, a lot of in­dus­try mu­si­cal events,” she said.

“Then as the sea­son comes closer we put for­ward the ones we think are on the top of the list and then you just start go­ing out there and find­ing them. Other ones kind of fall into your lap, be­cause they’re go­ing across Canada and the agents reach out and the rout­ing is good, and if it’s some­body that fits into your sea­son, then you go with that too.”

There are 12 con­certs in the reg­u­lar sea­son for 2019-20, and there will also be a special con­cert. The reg­u­lar sea­son kicks off at the Lyric Theatre on Sept. 20 with a per­for­mance by singer and gui­tarist Steve Hill, who won a Juno in 2015 for blues al­bum of the year. He per­formed a few years ago at the Long Day’s Night mu­sic fes­ti­val in Swift Cur­rent. He re­leased a new al­bum, The One Man Blues Rock Band, in 2018, and his one-man band style live per­for­mance show­cases his tal­ent as a mu­si­cian.

Three-time Juno nom­i­nated singer­song­writer Jill Bar­ber also makes a re­turn to the Blenders stage on Oct. 4. This con­cert will take place at Walker Place. Her per­for­mance in Swift Cur­rent will be part of her Cana­dian fall tour. She re­leased a new al­bum Me­taphora in 2018 with the hit song Girls Gotta Do. Her en­dur­ing pop­u­lar­ity as a singer was high­lighted in March 2019 when her 2008 al­bum Chances achieved gold record sta­tus for sell­ing 40,000 copies in Canada.

Aus­tralian singer, song­writer and gui­tar vir­tu­oso Daniel Cham­pagne will per­form on Oct. 19. The con­cert will take place at the Art Gallery of Swift Cur­rent. This tal­ented mu­si­cian started writ­ing songs at the age of 12 and he be­came a pro­fes­sional mu­si­cian af­ter fin­ish­ing school. He has es­tab­lished a solid rep­u­ta­tion as an acous­tic mu­si­cian who writes poignant lyrics. His ap­pear­ance in Swift Cur­rent will be part of an ex­ten­sive North Amer­i­can tour.

Blenders will re­turn to the Lyric Theatre for the rest of the con­cert se­ries on Oct. 26 with a per­for­mance by Nova Sco­tia singer-song­writer Jimmy Rankin. His lat­est al­bum, Mov­ing East, was re­leased in Septem­ber 2018 and is a clas­sic East Coast folk-rock record.

Hawk­sley Work­man makes a re­turn to the Blenders stage on Nov. 27. The two-time Juno award-win­ning singer­song­writer and multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist has re­leased his lat­est al­bum Me­dian Age Waste­land only a few months ago.

“He is com­ing with a band this time, and he puts on an amaz­ing show,” Gowan said. “He’s quite a per­former.”

The ac­claimed Regina gui­tarist and singer Jack Sem­ple, who is both a Juno and Western Cana­dian Mu­sic award win­ner, will con­clude the first half of the 2019-20 Blenders sea­son on Dec. 6. His lat­est al­bum Can’t Stop this Love was re­leased in Septem­ber 2018.

Blenders will re­sume with two shows in Fe­bru­ary 2020. The Ed­mon­ton rock ‘n roll band Al­tameda will make their Blenders de­but on Feb. 22. The four-piece band has a sound that com­bines coun­try with a tinge of Amer­i­cana and clas­sic rock.

Gowan is look­ing for­ward to the re­turn of vo­cal­ist Reuben Bul­lock on Feb. 25, who will be part of the Cal­gary band Reuben and the Dark. Their mu­sic fea­tures stripped-down tales and rich har­monies.

“It’s been quite a few years since we had him, and since he was here last his star has re­ally gone up there,” she said. “I’m a huge Reuben and the Dark fan. He’s mu­sic is dif­fer­ent and chal­leng­ing and beau­ti­ful to be in. It’s just a fan­tas­tic show.

Toronto singer Tanika Charles will per­form her mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of clas­sic soul on March 7. Her 2016 de­but al­bum re­ceived Po­laris Mu­sic Prize and Juno award nom­i­na­tions for best R&B/ soul record­ing of the year. She re­leased her sopho­more al­bum The Gump­tion in May 2019.

There will be two Blenders con­certs in April, start­ing with the re­turn of singer­song­writer Ryan McMa­hon on April 4. He pre­vi­ously per­form­ing at Blenders with The Lion The Bear and The Fox, but this will be a solo ap­pear­ance that crosses dif­fer­ent mu­si­cal gen­res. His sixth full-length al­bum In Line for a Smile was re­leased in Fe­bru­ary 2019.

Af­ter many years the Montreal mu­si­cian Rox­anne Potvin is re­turn­ing to the Blenders stage on April 25. She is a Juno nom­i­nated singer-song­writer with an evolv­ing sound that is de­scribed as south­ern soul, breezy pop, and bit­ter­sweet bal­ladry. She re­leased her lat­est EP, All It Was, in 2018.

The reg­u­lar Blenders sea­son will con­clude on May 2 with a per­for­mance by old-time banjo player and soul singer Kaia Kater. The Toronto based mu­si­cian has won Cana­dian Folk Mu­sic and St­ingray Ris­ing Star awards. Her third al­bum, Gre­nades, was re­leased in Oc­to­ber 2018 and was nom­i­nated for a 2019 Juno award for con­tem­po­rary roots al­bum of the year.

The 2019-20 Blenders sea­son in­cludes a special con­cert on Nov. 12 that will fea­ture the leg­endary Down­child Blues Band dur­ing their 50th an­niver­sary tour. The band has re­leased 18 al­bums and re­ceived nu­mer­ous awards over the years. They cre­ated a new show for their 50th an­niver­sary tour that in­cludes fan favourites and hid­den mu­si­cal gems from their ca­reer.

“I’m re­ally pumped to see the Down­child Blues Band,” Gowan said. “It’s been years since I’ve seen them. They’re sup­posed to have a killer show and we’re pretty hon­oured to have them com­ing for their 50th an­niver­sary.”

Blenders will have a se­ries of con­tests to cre­ate ad­di­tional ex­cite­ment in the run-up to the start of the new con­cert sea­son. The weekly con­tests will in­volve spon­sors and it will there­fore be a way for Blenders to also give back to their very sup­port­ive spon­sors.

“We could not put on th­ese per­for­mances with­out the sup­port of the busi­ness com­mu­nity in Swift Cur­rent and our spon­sors are re­ally good for us,” she said. “They’re con­sis­tent and they’re great to deal with. So this was an­other way to give back to them.”

The weekly con­tests start on Aug. 12 and will con­tinue for five weeks. The Aug. 12-17 draw will re­quire con­tes­tants to find the Blenders gui­tar case at lo­cal events and busi­nesses to be el­i­gi­ble for the draw of ticket pack­ages.

For the Aug. 19-23 con­test the par­tic­i­pants will have to snap a selfie with the Blenders VIP poster out­side the Lyric Theatre and post it on the Blenders so­cial me­dia ac­counts on Face­book and In­sta­gram.

Con­tes­tants will have to col­lect bingo cards at dif­fer­ent busi­nesses for the Aug. 26-30 con­test, there will be a trea­sure hunt for the Sept. 2-6 con­test, and they will have to col­lect eight spon­sor sig­na­tures dur­ing the Sept. 9-13 con­test.

Con­test prizes are three VIP ticket pack­ages to dif­fer­ent Blenders con­certs with re­served seats, snacks and a bot­tle of wine for the ta­ble.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the up­com­ing Blenders con­cert se­ries as well as the VIP ticket pack­ages and con­tests, go to the Blenders Mu­sic web­site at www. blender­smu­

In­di­vid­ual con­cert tick­ets and sea­son passes are now avail­able at Phar­masave in Swift Cur­rent. The prize of in­di­vid­ual tick­ets ranges from $25 to $45, de­pend­ing on the show, and a sea­son pass is $325.

“It’s like get­ting three of the con­certs for free,” Gowan said about the sea­son pass.

“So it’s a re­ally good bar­gain, and if they buy that and want to add on, they get a 25 per cent dis­count off the Down­child Blues Band. … I en­cour­age peo­ple to do that. The tick­ets, al­though they’re not re­fund­able, are trans­fer­able. So you can buy them with some­body else and they can use half and you can use the other half. A com­pany can buy them and spread them amongst their staff. So it’s a good deal.”

Photo con­trib­uted

Blenders will host a special con­cert on Nov. 12 fea­tur­ing a 50th an­niver­sary con­cert by the leg­endary Down­child Blues Band.

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