The Legendary Leon Redbone Comes To Kingston on Tues., Nov. 29th!

Another music legend comes to Kingston!  The rumours you may have heard recently are true – Leon Redbone, the reclusive and enigmatic musical icon will be coming to Kingston on Tues., Nov. 29th.  His origins may be a mystery but there is no doubt that his talent and musicianship are of the highest calibre.  This will be an evening not to be missed!

Tuesday, Nov. 29th, 2011 – 8 pm
Chalmers United Church, Barrie St. at Clergy, Kingston
Tickets: $25 + HST, available at Grand Theatre box office (613-530-2050), online at www.kingstongrand.ca and at Brian’s Record Option.

LEON REDBONE

Over the course of his legendary 35 year – 15 album career, Leon Redbone has continued his love affair with tunes from the turn-of-the-twentieth century.  He is a master guitarist, dry comedian and warm and witty singer whose concerts include forgotten old pop songs, classic ragtime, flapper-era radio ditties, blues from the likes of Lonnie Johnson or Blind Blake, and jazz standards by Fats Waller.

Redbone’s career first gained momentum in the early ’70s when Bob Dylan came to Toronto Island’s Mariposa Folk Festival specifically to see him.  Most folks were introduced to the man during his network debut on Saturday Night Live in 1976, where he showcased his indelible version of Walkin’ Stick.  In a year typified by amplified arena rock, Redbone’s intimate, low-key delivery proved to be a jolting and welcome contrast.  Since then the opportunities for this unlikely figure to impose himself on pop culture have been plentiful.  He appeared as a wise, animated snowman opposite Will Ferrell in the hugely popular family comedy Elf.  His duet with star Zooey Deschanel on the seasonal standard Baby, It’s Cold Outside served as the picture’s theme song.  Over the years, Redbone has also provided TV title tunes to Mr. Belvedere and Harry and the Hendersons, and had a memorable guest role as a quixotic, guitar-wielding guardian to the character Corky on ABC’s critically acclaimed series Life Goes On.  New York choreographer Eliot Feld recently created the ballets Mr. XYZ (featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov) and Paper Tiger, which were woven around Redbone’s signature songs.

If there is one common element to Redbone’s diverse music it’s his mastery of his acoustic guitar.  It is easy to get lost in his stage exploits (which often gravitate between vaudeville and performance art) and overlook what a truly fine player he is – fingerpicking with a ragtime bounce or jumping between chords with the effortless grace of a hurdler.

No description of Redbone omits the fact that he has been a singular force in bringing a style and period of music to many people who may not have heard it otherwise.  While critics may argue about the emphasis placed on his persona, his reverence for the music has never been questioned.  With a desire to remain true to himself – whoever he is – and Blind Blake, Jelly Roll Morton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and the rest of his idols, Redbone is as much an educator as a performer, a professor of one of the richest periods in American music.  And although he told Rolling Stone’s Weitzman, that regarding himself, “I don’t want them to know anything that they don’t know already,” he’d like more people to know about this music.

For information please contact:

Al Rankin
613-353-6650
alrankin@xplornet.ca

From Teacher to Concert Promoter: Al Rankin Brings in the Big Names

As I help Al Rankin to spread the word about his Live Wire Music Series and Rankin Productions shows and I administer the Live Wire Facebook page, I thought I’d post this article originally published in Kingston This Week for my readers.

Reprinted from Kingston This Week

His love for Canadian roots music has opened up a second career for retired-teacher-turned-music-promoter Al Rankin of Inverary.

Rankin retired as a high school teacher six years ago, but continues to promote emerging new talent as owner of the Rankin Gallery in Inverary and as a longtime volunteer with the Live Wire Music Series. He also brings in established award-winning artists through his company, Rankin Productions.

On April 22, Rankin Productions presented [sic] An Evening with Judy Collins at Sydenham Street United Church. In February, Rankin brought The Arrogant Worms to Kingston, and last year he presented Mickey Rooney at the Grand Theatre.

Rankin never set out to be a music promoter. As a theatre arts teacher and founder of the Theatre Complete program at Queen Elizabeth Collegiate and Vocational Institute in Kingston, Rankin often brought in theatre and musical performers. In the 1990s, he served five years as artistic director of the Blue Skies Music Festival north of Sharbot Lake, where artists such as Serena Ryder, Kathleen Edwards and David Francey made their festival debuts.

At around the same time, he built at addition on his 150-year-old house near Inverary, that was originally intended as an art gallery, but that instead became an intimate concert hall featuring up to a dozen concerts a year.

His skill?

He catches the acts on the road.

Rankin invites touring musicians travelling to or from gigs in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa to fill a mid-week spot in their schedule at his place. Since opening, the Rankin Gallery has hosted artists such from across Canada and around the world, including Valdy, The Wailin’ Jennys, Bill Bourne, Coco Love Alcorn, Kate Reid, Rick Fines, Lynn Miles, The Marigolds, Dala, Fruit from Australia, The Pacific Curls from New Zealand, Jez Lowe from the UK, Maeve Mackinnon from Scotland, The Carolina Chocolate Drops and, most recently, Amelia Curran and the Good Lovelies. Next up is Oh My Darling on May 15.

“People bring something to drink, maybe a snack, and a donation for the musicians. The audience loves the intimacy of the space and getting to talk to the artists. The musicians love it too, as it allows them to connect in a way that is different than a large concert hall. It is open to anyone on my mailing list and works on a first come first served reservation-only basis. I have 50 spots and room for about 10 more standing and it usually fills up very quickly.”

Rankin has become well known to agents through his work with the Live Wire Music Series and Blue Skies and the Rankin Gallery is so popular that he has to turn down most of the requests he gets to play there. Musicians, particularly solo musicians, like it because they are guaranteed an audience of 60 people and they can spend the night in the Rankins’ limestone house, enjoy breakfast with Al and his wife and then be on their way.

Rankin Productions is the name he uses for bigger, riskier shows that are beyond the scope of Live Wire.

Arlo Guthrie was the very first big show I did,” Rankin recalls. “I found out he was playing at Massey Hall and I saw he had a Thursday night available en route to Montreal. He had never been to Kingston.”

That was in 2006. A couple of years later, Rankin brought Pete Seeger to Kingston.

“Now the agents know we’re here and we get far more requests than I can handle.”

Ever the teacher, Rankin still brings young performers such as Ariana Gillis, The Good Lovelies and Welsh guitar phenom Gareth Pearson into schools with the support of the Limestone District School Board and Live Wire.

“They are such role models for these kids,” Rankin says. “And they are spectacularly talented.”

Pearson, whom Rankin describes as one of the best guitarists in the world, spent two weeks at Rankin’s house. Each day they would load up his sound equipment in Rankin’s car and visit different high schools.

“A lot of artists are uncomfortable going into schools,” Rankin admits. “They don’t just perform, they talk about what music has done for them. They play a few songs and the kids ask questions and they always love it. Gareth, for example, was dyslexic and barely passed high school. So he talked about struggling and finding his passion and turning his life around.”

Rankin says he has no “dream list” of artists he would like to bring to Kingston. “I’m happy with the quality of the musicians we do get and the performances are always so great.

“Pete Seeger was 89 when he was here – I love that – and he and his grandson put on a great show. I love the brand new acts too; I get a kick out of introducing people like Serena Ryder, Kathleen Edwards and Ariana Gillis. It’s fun to do both ends of the spectrum.

“I guess retirement gave me the opportunity to get more involved in music. I hadn’t anticipated that.”

Copyright © 2011 Kingston This Week

Last Live Wire Music Event of the Season: The Good Lovelies with Wendell Ferguson on Fri. Apr. 1st!

Al Rankin is finishing off the Live Wire season with a very big bang. This will be a wonderful double-bill featuring the reigning Juno Award champs plus one of the greatest guitar pickers you’re going to see anywhere. Here’s the scoop!

The Live Wire Music Series finishes off the season with another great double-bill featuring the sweet harmonies of 2010 Juno Award winners The Good Lovelies together with one of the funniest and talented musicians in Canada – the one and only Wendell Ferguson. The Good Lovelies have been together for only a few years but have rocketed to the top based on their highly entertaining live shows which blend swing, blues and a bit of country. Their concerts are upbeat and a whole lot of fun.

Wendell Ferguson is known as both a very funny man and a killer guitar player. He has been named CCMA Guitar Player of the Year so many times (7) that he’s no longer eligible! This will be a wonderful, high energy finish to this season’s Live Wire series.

Live Wire Music Series Presents:
The Good Lovelies and Wendell Ferguson
Fri. April 1st @ 7:30 pm
The Octave Theatre, 711 Dalton Avenue, Kingston, ON

Tickets: $20 in advance and $25 at the door (if not sold out!)

Brian’s Record Option – 381 Princess Street, Kingston – 613-542-2452
Tara Natural Foods – 81 Princess Street, Kingston – 613-546-4439
Renaissance Music – 1057 Midland Avenue, Kingston – 613-384-9225

Wendell Ferguson Quotes:

“Wendell Ferguson is recognized by his peers as one of the top pickers in the country and known best as having one of the quickest wits in the game. A talented and funny guy to say the least.” (Country Music News)

“The man writes sharp, witty and head-spinningly brilliant tunes. He’s a cross between Roger Miller and Ray Flack. He has more in common with Mark Twain than Shania.” (Twangzine)

“Not bad for a guy who hasn’t worked a day in his life.” (Wendell Ferguson)

Good Lovelies Quotes:

“Let the Rain Fall, the Good Lovelies third full-length album, is an ode to camaraderie. With equal parts city and country, highway and home, wistfulness and sass, the Good Lovelies good humour and self-assurance shines through from the toe-tapping start of “Made for Rain” to the sweet final notes in the French-flecked “Mrs. T.”

“Light-hearted songwriting and irresistibly buoyant dispositions have made them the darlings of the summer festival circuit.”

See you at the music!

www.livewiremusicseries.ca

Live Wire Music Series Presents The Breakmen & Dave Gunning on Sat. Nov. 13th!

“Hi folks!

Do you have your tickets for the last Live Wire show of the season yet? It’s going to be a great double-bill with East Coast Music Award winner Dave Gunning and the wonderful west coast bluegrass group The Breakmen.

Dave Gunning is a guy I’ve been waiting to book since I saw him at a festival about 5 years ago. He has a charismatic stage presence and beautiful tunes. Check out his great website www.davegunning.com. The Breakmen are getting rave reviews across Canada for their great live shows featuring superb musicianship and beautifully tight vocal arrangements. www.thebreakmen.com

Pick up your tickets as usual at Brian’s Record Option (613 542-2452), Tara Foods and Renaissance Music. Read on!

See you at the music
Al [Rankin]”

Attention Live Wire Supporters!!!

We hope you have your tickets for the fabulous concert coming to the Octave Theatre on Saturday, November 13thwhen The Live Wire Music Series presents our last show of 2010.

A double-bill featuring:

Nova Scotia’s multi-ECMA winner Dave Gunning
– and –
B.C.’s hottest bluegrass band The Breakmen

REVIEWS
Dave Gunning

“Dave Gunning delivers a winner….We’re All Leaving is a memorable almost thematic collection of songs, one that will undoubtedly see Gunning reap further Canadian folk music awards”. ~ UK Country Music People

“It is that sense of intimacy through his writing, and his performances that makes Gunning an absolutely intriguing performer to watch and listen to”. ~ The Newfoundland Herald

“The Galaxie Folk/Roots Channel’s most-played, high-rotation album releases for December 2009 – January 2010 “We’re All Leaving” ~ Galaxie, The Continuous Music Network

“Dave is one of Canada’s finest songwriter’s: the way his eye sees things upon the land, the way his ear hears the voices of his people, his respect for those who have gone before, and his love of life in the land he loves, is beautifully portrayed in gentle verse and rhyme. He is not a man you meet everyday, he cares, and it shows in his music, both poetic and pointed”. ~ CFCY, The Eric MacEwen Show

“It’s a star-studded affair, but at the centre of it all is Gunning with his sparse folk sound and crystal clear lyrics that have made him a popular name along the east coast and into the U.S. and Europe over the last few years”. ~ eastcoastnoise.com

“This incredible album contains 11 songs, all of which he wrote with several co-writers. His ability to tell a story in his songs has resulted in six Music Nova Scotia awards and three East Coast Music Awards in the past, and now with this new CD, there will be no exceptions. A number of Canada’s finest composers helped Dave to write all the songs and include; Jamie Robinson, John Meir, James Keelaghan, David Francey, Rose Cousins and Karine Polwart.” ~ Atlantic Seabreeze

The Breakmen

“To the already long list of Canadians who bleed pure Americana please add The Breakmen. Like their countrymen in The Band before them, they have been known to inspire a bit of the old-time religion with their sublime vocal harmonies.” ~ Nathan Baker, San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Meticulous craftsmanship of the songwriting, the strength of the lead vocals, and the tightness of the harmonies distinguish the quartet from other Canadian outfits mining a similar vein… [an] excellent sophomore album.” ~ Tony Montague, Penguin Eggs

The quartet’s original songs twine elements of old-time, folk, and vintage country into a West Coast string-band belt. The members are all multi-instrumentalists, and their vocal harmonies are tighter than a moose’s ass in a Banff blizzard. ~ Georgia Straight

Stylistically, the Breakmen have been compared to bands like Old Crow Medicine Show, and with their second release, the group has become a significant force in the world of Americana music. ~ Les McIntyre, Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine

“Vancouver’s kings of harmony….” ~ Steve Edge, Rogue Folk Club

“This is workin’ man’s music and a little time spent with The Breakmen will surely do the soul some serious good.” ~ Eden Munro, The Vue Weekly, Edmonton

“The Breakmen back up solid songwriting and great song selection with high energy and a great band presence. They are rapidly developing a large following for their outstanding live performances.” ~ Bjorn Weeks, Bluegrass North Magazine

“With their new album The Breakmen have placed themselves ontop of the Americana Scene….” ~ Adolf Gorriup, Folkworld Magazine

Live Wire Music Series Presents Danny Michel At Chalmers United Church On Fri. Oct. 22, 2010

Al Rankin, of Live Wire Music Series has asked me to pass along this information to my readers and I do try to help promote local music as often as I can, so here you go!

“Hi everyone-
I hope you have your tickets for the wonderful Danny Michel, coming up next week! We’re moving into the lovely Chalmers United Church for this one – what a spectacular venue to see this Live Wire favourite!

Here are the details:

The Live Wire Music Series (www.livewiremusicseries.ca) is very happy to welcome back the multi-talented Danny Michel on Friday, October 22nd at 7:30 pm at Chalmers United Church (Barrie St. at Clergy in Kingston) for the second concert of our season. A few years ago, Michel completely charmed an enthusiastic sold-out Live Wire crowd and his many Kingston fans are eagerly awaiting his return. This time he will be debuting his new album Sunset Sea, a superbly crafted work that many critics are calling the best of his career.

“By this point, singer/songwriter Danny Michel must be a bit weary of being ranked as one of this country’s undiscovered musical treasures. But it’s true” – THE TORONTO STAR

“Every time we hear a new Danny Michel album, we end up asking the same question: Why isn’t he rich, famous and beloved by the masses?” – THE WINNIPEG SUN

Danny Michel has reached a point where his musical vocabulary is so broad, his songwriting/arranging chops so sharp, his guitar playing so distinctive and his taste for the right sonic touch so impeccable that he can do whatever he wants and make it compelling” – EYE MAGAZINE 5/5 STAR REVIEW

“Just fabulous. He’s kind of like Paul Simon in the Rhymin’ Simon days.” – STUART MCLEAN

www.dannymichel.com

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door (if available), and include all applicable taxes.

Advance tickets are available at:

Brian’s Record Option – 381 Princess Street, Kingston – 613-542-2452

Tara Natural Foods – 81 Princess Street, Kingston – 613-546-4439

Renaissance Music – 1057 Midland Avenue, Kingston – 613-384-9225

See you at the music!

Al

I’ll be there with bells on because Danny Michel is truly AWESOME!! Check out the official video for his song “Feather Fur and Fin” now on YouTube! ~ Christine