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Lots of laughs and loud music happening this week

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It’s a slightly slower week this week, but still plenty of excellent shows especially if you like punk rock and blues music.

B.A Johnston returns to the owl Acoustic Lounge on April 23.Photo by Richard Amery

 But first, get ready to laugh with Theatre Outré and  ImPromptu, who are hosting drop in improv at Good Times  on April 16 .  They also bring back Gommorrah backstage: Canadian Theatre start up   at 7 p.m.

 As usual, there are plenty of open mics.


 Local Celtic rock band Clover Overboard returns to the Slice to host the open mic on Wednesday, April 17.


 Rory Gardiner brings the ha ha to Good Times on Friday at 8 p.m., Friday April 19.. And Good Times has a special 4-20 comedy show, Saturday, April 20. Tickets are $19.95.


 Gabe Thaine hosts the weekly Jam For hunger at Theoretically Brewing on Thursday and the Old man River Ramblers host Honkers Pub’s Friday night open mic.

 If you have the blues, Australian born, Chicago based blues musician Michael Charles  returns to the Slice on Thursday to blow the roof off the room with a marathon session of blues music beginning at 8:30 p.m.

 Jenn and Paul Kype will also be providing a dose of the blues and much more during their Saturday, April 20 show at Honkers Pub.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 18 April 2024 06:53 ) Read more...

Bluesman Michael Charles celebrating 40 years as a solo artist with touring and revisiting first album

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Australian born, Chicago based blues musician and Chicago Blues Hall of fame member Michael Charles is excited to celebrate 40 years as a solo musician with a tour that includes a return visit to the Slice, Thursday, April 18.

“Forty years as Michael Charles as a solo artist. I had a career before that because I played in a bunch of bands in my early years. But it’s been 40 years when I decided to say I’m just gonna do the Michael Charles Thing,” said Charles, taking a break  from recording new material in his  from his  Chicago based recording studio.

“I just can’t believe how the years fly by. It’s just rock and roll for me. I’ve done this my whole life I can’t remember not doing it . And I’m still enjoying it  like it’s 40 years ago, ” he said, Adding his love for performing has  and the feeb feedback from audiences is what keeps him going.

“It’s a passion, just love for playing music.


Michael Charles returns to the Slice, April 18. Photo by Richard Amery

 I just find my job so rewarding just meeting people and you get off the stage and people come up to you and complementing you on what they’ve heard and what you’ve done for them. One of the biggest buzzes I get out of it if you want to call it a buzz is the certain people  will come up to me and say that particular song that saved my live because it pulled me through a rough time or rough period in my life. And just knowing that you can write material and affect people in that way is quite rewarding. And Ithink that‘s another reason I keep doing this,” he continued.

He has fond memories of the Slice and Lethbridge.


“The Slice to me was one of the first places that I played when I toured Chicago many years ago. The last three or four years I’ve been returning to the Slice and its so cool to  return to places that have asked you back. Again, just that feeling knowing that you must have done something right if they keep asking you back . And you start getting a relationship with the venue owners and you get a relationship with the regulars who come in. It’s just very rewarding to know  that people know you and want to hear you and see you. And for me it’s the ultimate compliment. So as long as they ask me back I will return,” he said.

 Charles has been releasing a series of tour videos called Driven.

 There is a shot of The Slice in “Driven 4, Forward,” which showcases some of the venues, festivals and television and radio spots Charles played  last year 

“We actually put a Driven little movie thing together every year going through  what  happened every year. I think we’re up to number 5. It’s great to be able to review  the year and people  that were at your shows,  and have come out, that we’ve come to know  and that I get to know who I am. They get an opportunity to look at something it and remember ‘Oh, I remember that. I was there. It’s just one of those things. It’s a bit of a promotional thing for me but it’s also out there for the venue owners, like a little thank you to let them know that I appreciate being a invited to their venues.


Michael Charles is originally from Melbourne , Australia and moved to Chicago 33 years ago after been invited to the Windy city by Blues legend Buddy Guy himself.

“ I’ve been living in Chicago 33 years now and I was invited to come to Chicago 33  years ago by the legendary Buddy Guy and his management. And I still recall when my manager  in Australia said to me that ‘we’ve just been invited to come and play Chicago by the legendary Buddy Guy and his management to play at Legends, Buddy Guy’s club and I got asked what do you think. There was nothing to think about. Once you get an invitation like that, let’s go,” he said.

“ So I got to Chicago and something clicked just kind of they picked me up at O’ Hare Airport in Chicago and the first stop was at Buddy Guy’s Legends and it was just this pure magic about the city there Chicago  as we were driving into  Chicago, it was a beautiful evening, it was a beautiful clear night, just looking at the skyline and then i get to the club and everybody was so warm and welcoming to me . There was just something about the vibe about  Chicago so I thought I’d just come and hang out a little bit. I was there for two weeks and kept extending my visas until the United States said you can’t be  extending anymore. So I started working towards green cards and becoming a citizen and things like that. And it all worked out for me. And it’s one of those deals  where I think go with the flow and let life take you where you belong and things will work out. It felt like a natural progression and I’m still here, 33 years now,” he said.


Last Updated ( Saturday, 13 April 2024 15:52 ) Read more...

Plenty of blues and guitar virtuosity coming up

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It’s a good month to sing the blues.

 Colin James kicked off a blues  heavy week with a sold out show in Sunday, April 7.

 The Slice hosts a blues jam on Tuesday April 9.

Scenic Route To Alaska Return to Lethbridge this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery

 The Slice welcomes back Australian  ex pat, Chicago based  award winning blues musician Michael Charles   on Thursday, April 18.

 Veronica Raine hosts the Slice‘s open mic on Wednesday,

But this week, The Slice welcomes back another Australian  guitar virtuoso , Daniel Champagne, April 12. The show is already sold out, as are most of the shows on Champagne’s latest tour.

 Local country star Brayden King and special guest El Mule rock the Slice stage country style on Saturday, April 13. tickets for that show are $20.

As usual, the owl Acoustic lounge also has a  some fun shows beginning with their open mic on Tuesday, April 9.

 On Friday , April 12,  get your ’70s on with the Decadent Phase joining Max Hopkins and the Minimums and on half of the Godamsels—  Treaty 6  Territory based, award winning singer, songwriter,  and producer  Mallory Chipman.

 Admission is by donation.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 07 April 2024 22:27 ) Read more...

Shaela Miller explores new sounds on latest album After the Masquerade

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Shaela Miller has been a familiar face in  the Southern  Alberta  country music scene for many years during which she  has explored a variety of styles of music  in including alternative rock and alternative country to traditional country music.

Shaela Miller is excited about her new sound on her latest album After the Masquerade. Photo by Richard Amery

 She won first prize in the 2022 Project Wild competition  and took home $100, 953, some of which she put towards her new album and new sound — synth  heavy ’80s dark Wave on her brand new album “ After The Masquerade.  which has been released on Neon Moon Records.

 In addition  to releasing new music and playing shows, she mentors young musicians through organizations like Lethbridge  Girls Rock Camp and through her other eneavours.

She is in the middle of  a tour for the new album which kicked off with two of three sold out  shows at the Owl Acoustic lounge and the Slice plus  a special all ages special matinee. She took some time to answer some questions over e-mail.

 I’ve followed your career basically since you’ve started and you have explored a variety of sounds from Neko Case alt country, traditional country for the past few albums and  now  a more ’80s pop for the new music. What made you decide to  explore this new sound for the new album? You’ve said on the Neon Moon Records website that you have been waiting to do this for a long time? Why now? 

I bought a synthesizer a few years ago with the desire to start a side project in the new wave/dark wave sonic realm. After writing a few songs and recording demos creating the new sound, I determined with my band and peers that it didn't make sense to have a side project. And I knew once we got started, I had no desire to record another full on country album. New wave music has always been the dearest to my heart and making a record like this has always been a goal of mine.

You’re with Neon Moon Records. How did that relationship develop? How’s it going? 

Neon Moon Records was co-founded by my manager Jessica Marsh, whom I've been working with for the last 5 years. Together, she and I explored multiple label options for the release of After The Masquerade, but the amount of creative control I wanted to have wasn't in the cards for the other labels we were looking at. The Neon Moon model of label agreement aligns with my wants and needs as an artist, and since I already have a strong and trusted relationship with Jessica as my manager, it was an easy decision for me to get further involved with her in this way.

Tell me about the songwriting and recording process for “After The Masquerade.” What inspired the lyrics?  How long did it take to write the songs and record the album? Who did you record it with?

I lost a very dear friend of mine in 2021. A lot of the songs on this record were written during my sorrow and grief surrounding that. Learning to build my life around it and pick myself up and soldier on. Some of the songs were written over a couple years even before this loss. For example, "Station" was written when I was 19. I had been wanting to re-record and release it for some time , and when we started to rework it for this record with the synths, it came together beautifully.

We recorded in Calgary at the National Music Centre - Studio Bell recording studio with Graham Lessard as the producer. It was my first time recording with a producer and I was a little nervous going into it, how much creative control he would want to have, but we talked for hours about our shared love of new wave music and I knew he understood my vision. I couldn't have been happier about how that pairing turned out.

Do you have any favourite tracks on the new album. You’ve played a lot of them live. Which ones are the most fun to play live?

Mourning Tonight is really fun to play live. It gets the dance floor grooving every time. But I honestly love playing them all. Even the slower songs like "I Can't Love" and "Sunglasses". Some of the songs make me choke up a bit and I have to work hard to not let that happen so I can sing. And as for favourite tracks -  “Of Roses”, “In My Dreams” are very dear to my heart, but I truly love every single one of them.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 07 April 2024 21:42 ) Read more...

Steve Foord at forefront of Allied Arts Council community engagement with free memberships this year

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Steve Foord is planning on creating synergy amongst Lethbridge’s arts community as the new Allied Arts Council Manager of community engagement.

“We want to create more connection in the community amongst arts and other artists and the Allied Arts Council,” Foord said.

Steve Foord is the new Allied Arts Council manager of Community engagement. Photo by Richard Amery


The first step towards that long term goal is promoting  Allied arts Council memberships, which are free this year.


Foord who is a well known local musician and  part owner of Owl Acoustic lounge observed Allied Arts Council memberships had a steep decline during Covid which the organization is still recovering  from.


He said it is more important to build connections between artists and arts supporters and arts organizations.


“ For example if a musician wants to know where to get merch made, we can help with that by  connecting them with someone who does that,” Foord said, adding the Allied Arts Council   offers professional development workshops such as a recent workshop about the grant application process which was part of the Allied Arts Council Art Works series.


“ We’re building our online connections,” Foord said.

“ Right now we‘re doing a membership blitz in April and into May,” he said, adding The Allied Arts Council will also be looking making this years  free membership policy permanent.

“We want t make it easier for people in the arts community to connect with each other,” Foord said.


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 02 April 2024 12:00 ) Read more...
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