Singing with the angels
Lawn native Blaine Lambe’s love for music was apparent from his earliest days
It’s the early 1970s. People are smiling and laughing the afternoon away at the Royal Canadian Legion in Lawn. Smoke fills the air. Beer bottles clink. A small boy is singing for the crowd.
“Now, you’d be arrested for that these days, but you know,” Blaine Lambe’s sister, Beth Brockerville, says with a laugh.
It’s hard to say which came first for Blaine Lambe, talking or singing. If it was talking, singing came soon after, according to his brother, Thomas Lambe.
“He used to sneak out of the house and go out to the store very close to our house, and when we found him, he would have a pocket full of change from singing to people in the store,” Thomas wrote in a message to The Southern Gazette.
“One day we couldn’t find him, so we went to the store and the owner told us (to) check the Legion; sure enough, a friend of ours had taken him to the local Legion in Lawn and he was down there singing his heart out to all.”
Lambe and his nephew, Leigh Brockerville, Beth’s son, would become well known throughout Newfoundland and Labrador as the guitarists and frontmen for St. John’s-based Kilkenny Krew, an Irish/Newfoundland group they formed in 1998.
In the years leading up to that, however, Lambe was a drummer/singer in Voice Versa, a band that frequently played on the Burin Peninsula. That band also included Lawn natives Reg Edwards and Bob Tarrant, and Al Samms. Edwards, Samms and Kurt Bambury would join Lambe and Leigh Brockerville as the five original members of Kilkenny Krew.
Edwards, 54, said Lambe was a good, consistent drummer.
“Of course, he had a great voice and eventually it was obvious he was just kind of itching to get out front and sing and perform,” he said, adding Lambe’s ability to sing while playing drums – not an easy task – showed his musical talent.
Edwards says one word in particular comes to mind when he thinks of Lambe – “entertainer.” Leigh Brockerville, 39, says Lambe taught himself to play the guitar the same year they formed Kilkenny Krew.
Lambe was a good singer and an incredible rhythm guitar player, acknowledged Leigh, who said “West Country Lady” by Dermot O’Reilly was one of Lambe’s favourite songs.
“He was an amazing strummer. He had a strum similar to Alan Doyle (of Great Big Sea), or someone like that, for rhythm guitar. It really filled out the sound in the band.”
Leigh said he and Lambe always talked about music and often joked about who was better. They had a healthy, competitive love for one another, he said.
“I learned from him and he learned from me, and as a result we both made each other better,” he said.
In the immediate years after Kilkenny Krew was formed, Leigh remembers music as a constant in Lambe’s life.
“Everywhere he went, he always had a guitar with him, always singing … always learning new songs,” he said.
Lambe’s voice was silenced forever when he died suddenly on Oct. 4. He was 49.
He sings and plays no more, but the music and memories live on in others with whom he shared his passion.
“To me, music don’t ever seem the same no more to know that I’ll never hear his voice, backing me up, accompanying me doing harmonies … and me accompanying him as well,” Leigh Brockerville said.
Lawn native Blaine Lambe was known throughout Newfoundland and Labrador as the singer/guitarist for Kilkenny Krew. He died suddenly on Oct. 4 at the age 49.
Kilkenny Krew was formed in St. John’s in the fall of 1998. The five original members of the band were (from left) Reg Edwards, Al Samms, Blaine Lambe, Leigh Brockerville and Kurt Bambury.