Singing with the an­gels

Lawn na­tive Blaine Lambe’s love for mu­sic was ap­par­ent from his ear­li­est days

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial - BY PAUL HERRIDGE MARYSTOWN, N.L. [email protected]­erngazette.ca

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.

CON­TRIB­UTED

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.

CON­TRIB­UTED

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.

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