Elly on the Arts: Home Routes acts brilliant

More great performances are in store for Flin Flon, Creighton and Denare Beach audiences in March 2017. So what else is new?

Actually, the first of the shows we have the opportunity to see is very new. Home Routes/Chemin Chez Nous brings us Scott Nolan from Winnipeg (yes, that is somewhat unusual for us as we usually get performers from much further afield). But you really must hear this guy.

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Every year, the Home Routes organization sends six CDs in August to each of the host concert presenters – one from each of the acts that will be coming to their town during the upcoming Home Routes season.

I think most of you dear readers know that my husband Tim is one of the presenters here in Flin Flon. That means I get to hear the acts a little early. Something you may not have known is that I’m a bit judgemental when it comes to folk roots music.

I am not the music fanatic that Keith Reed is, nor am I the expert ear that Mark Kolt is. And truly, I love almost all music, at least enough to hear an album all the way through, even heavy metal, though I’m grateful my children no longer play that at ear-bleeding levels in the garage.

But I KNOW folk roots music. I have been listening to it my whole life, so I feel somewhat justified in my pronouncements about it at the end of each summer, when I hear the new crop of artists coming to our wonderful town.

We have had some absolutely brilliant folk singers come through the region. Back in 2008, we had John Wort Hannam from High River, Alberta. Only 26 people saw him here, but his album, Queens Hotel, is still one of the best Canadian albums ever. He has released many others, before and after, but that one, in my opinion, sets him apart as one of Canada’s great songwriters.

In 2013 we had Jaron Freeman Fox, a fiddle player from Smithers, BC. He has incorporated the music of cultures as diverse as classical Indian and Scandinavian folk, and has translated them into The Opposite of Everything, which is also the name of his band. We have had folk royalty like Sherri Ulrich and newcomers like The Good Lovelies who didn’t stay unknown for long.

This past August, the standout for me was Scott Nolan. Scott’s album, Silverhill, was recorded in 2015 in a famously “unknown” recording studio, the Admiral Bean Studio in Loxley, eight miles north of Silverhill, Alabama.

Scott wrote or co-wrote all the songs, mostly walking in his Winnipeg neighbourhood while trying to quit smoking. Guess we will discover the success (or not) of that venture when he arrives.

The songs sound fantastic. The backing band is brilliant Americana band Sugarcapps, whose members have backed the likes of Neil Young and Rodney Crowell.

This man is well worth the listen, so come see him Wednesday, March 8 at Doug and Ann’s, 183 Murton Blvd (email rossann53@hotmail.com to reserve a spot) for the home concert experience, or Thursday, March 9 at Johnny’s Social Club for the “show” experience. Tickets are available at Northern Rainbow’s End. 

The rest of the fare for March is homegrown, a clear preference for some of our great audience.

Ham Sandwich Theatre will present The Dixie Swim Club on March 16 and 17 at RH Channing Auditorium. I think that performance will push the Central Canada Film Group’s Films Up North presentation to the next week, March 23, but there will be much more info in my next column in two weeks.

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