If you missed the soldout Parkland Summerfest gig in Calgary on June 22 but are willing to travel to or within Alberta, there are two more dates this summer to catch Wide Mouth Mason live and hear some of the new tracks coming to a new Wide Mouth Mason album near you! Joining the previously announced Rock Festival date this August in Edmonton is a Canada Day performance at Medicine Hat’s Sandfly Festival. Check out the city’s event page for further details!
Big Sugar and Wide Mouth Mason headline Rainmaker Rodeo
On the second last weekend of every May, the Rainmaker Rodeo blasts off for three days to remember.
The action starts on Friday, May 23 with a much anticipated rock concert featuring headline rockers Big Sugar and Wide Mouth Mason.
Pat Dower, the rodeo concert chair of the sponsoring St. Albert Kinsmen, is the man behind the scenes who spends hours emailing agents, negotiating contracts and gauging a budget.
And he is pumped for this year’s rock line-up.
Big Sugar just released Yardstyle on April 15 and it’s a slight departure from past albums. The 13-track of percussion-heavy acoustic reggae definitely rocks, but the band shows a different side of their sound.
The collection blends new material with overhauled versions of past cuts in a stripped down acoustic form. Many of the arrangements were inspired by spontaneous jam sessions held on tour buses and backstage.
As vocalist Gordie Johnson said, “This is what we sound like when people aren’t watching. We never rehearse our songs the way they’ll sound at a show. Instead we’ll grab a banjo, a guitar, and just play. This is how we get our groove on.”
Dower, who was privileged to see them perform at an Ontario festival noted, “They’re a pretty active band and they put on a great show. You want to get up off your seat and dance. They’re great to hear and easy to listen to.”
In contrast the Canadian blues-rock band Wide Mouth Mason is in the process of producing their eighth CD. The last one was No Bad Days released in 2011.
Going strong since the 1990s, the rock-blues-soul power trio has opened for heavyweights such as The Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, AC/DC and The Guess Who.
“I’ve never seen them play, but some of our senior members recommended them. They’re a very energetic bunch of guys and we’re excited to have them.”
On the local front, the Morinville-based Canyon Rose Outfit is all fired up to perform their full-throttle combo of rock and roll, psychedelic and blues.
The concert is an 18-plus show. Gates open at 6 p.m. Advance ticket prices are $39.99 plus GST. Gate admission is $59.99 plus GST.
Tickets are available on line at ticketmaster.ca. Fans can save the cost of service fees (about $12) by buying tickets at St. Albert’s Crown & Tower Pub or The Beer Hunter locations.
For additional information visit http://stalbertkinsmen.ca
Big Sugar brings sweet sounds to Rainmaker
Organizers of this year’s Rainmaker Rodeo and Exhibition to hear some sweet sounds from their rock lineup.
The St. Albert Kinsmen announced earlier this week that the annual festival’s rock concert will be headlined by Canadian reggae-blues-rock veterans Big Sugar on Friday, May 23, under the big tent at their rodeo grounds on Riel Drive.
They’ll be joined on the bill by fellow Canadian rockers Wide Mouth Mason.
Big Sugar has had a number of members rotate through their lineup since they released their first album in 1991, but the core of the band has remained lead singer/guitarist Gordie Johnson, bassist Garry Lowe and harmonica/saxophone player Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe. Together, they have gained a reputation for being an outstanding live band.
Their breakthrough came in 1995 when they released their album Hemi-Vision, which included such hits as “Diggin’ A Hole,” “Open Up Baby,” and “If I Had My Way.” They followed that up with 1996’s Heated, which included “Better Get Used to It,” “The Scene,” and “Turn the Lights On.”
In 2001, the band released Brothers and Sisters, Are You Ready?, which included “Nicotina,” “All Hell for a Basement,” and a blistering guitar version of “O Canada.” The band also recorded a track-for-track French version of the album for sale in Quebec.
Big Sugar decided to split up and played their last show at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton on New Year’s Eve 2003. But they reunited in 2010, and released a new studio album, Revolution Per Minute, in 2011. Currently, they are promoting an acoustic album, YardStyle.
Meanwhile, Wide Mouth Mason is a blues-rock band that started in Saskatoon, Sask., in 1995. They are best known for sings like “Midnight Rain,” “Sugarcane,” and “Smile.” Big Sugar’s Johnson started pulling double duty as Wide Mouth Mason’s full-time bassist in March 2011, and also produced their last album, No Bad Days, which was released in July 2011.
The Kinsmen also announced about a week ago that the country concert on Saturday, May 24, will feature Tim Hicks and Michelle Wright.
Tickets for the 18-plus rock show are $39.99 each plus fees and taxes, and are available through Ticketmaster.