Wed, Aug 14, 2013.
Festival season continues at full pace this week, with music events around the province. Fundy National Park holds its 4th annual Rising Tide Festival on Saturday and Sunday, five acts each day, right in the beauty of one of the province's most-loved natural areas. Not only is the music great, you can take the time to enjoy the wonders of the park too, even take advantage of the camping and make a weekend out of it. Saturday sees Gordie MacKeeman and his Rhythm Boys, Paper Beat Scissors, Wanabi farmeur, John Campbelljohn and Vishtèn. Sunday's performances feature Keith Mullins, Christina Martin, La Virée, Molly Thomason and Grand Theft Bus. Fitting with the family-friendly theme of the park, this are daytime shows, running from 2:30 to 8:00 PM.
Molly Thomason, Gordie MacKeeman and Christina Martin are going to be busy this weekend, because they are also doing sets on the other side of the province, in Perth-Andover. It's time for the sixth annual Larlee Creek Hullabaloo. That festival has developed a reputation for presenting excellent East Coast music all weekend long, starting Friday night, and wrapping up Sunday afternoon. It too has camping, because the festival site is right beside a fully-equipped, great big campground, Baird's, and it sports an awesome view of the St. John River, and all the big hills in that part of the river valley. It's one of the best festival settings I've seen, and I'll see it again this year, because I'll be doing some more MC duties, getting to introduce those great acts. In addition to Thomason, Martin and McKeeman, you'll see Two Hours Traffic, Irish Mythen, Sleepy Driver, Christine Campbell, Dylan Guthro, Carlteton Stone, Olympic Symphonium, The Backyard Devils and more. There's been a last-minute change, just announced today. Unfortunately Newfoundland's Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case have had to pull out, but luckily, another fine band is able to make it, it's Moncton's The Motorleague, fresh off the release of their hot new album and national tour dates.
Oh ya, and then there's some local kid who's going to do a couple of sets. Now, that local kid just happens to be Matt Andersen, who is the spiritual leader of the Hullabaloo. Matt couldn't make it last year, the first time he'd ever missed one in his home town. Everybody is thrilled he's back, and of course he'll be leading the shows that many consider the best part of the weekend. That's the Little Hullabaloo and the Big Hullabaloo. The little one happens around supper time on Saturday, an on-stage songwriters' jam, Matt and many of the day's performers. Then, after Matt's closing set later that night, it's the Big Hullabaloo, an electric jam featuring even more of the day's players. You won't find a Hullabaloo at any other festival.
It seems I'm following one of the performers around the province this month. Last weekend, I was in Woodstock for the Dooryard Arts Festival, and introduced this next guy. Chatting with St. Andrews' Owen Steel, I found out he's also playing the Hullabaloo, and the next weekend, he's at the Summer's End Folk Festival in Grand Manan, another of my MC gigs. Owen's just back from festival shows way out west and north, in B.C. and the Yukon, and he's playing lots of tunes from his brand-new CD and LP, Time Machine Blues. I got a chance to hear a few of them live in Woodstock, and it's quite a fun-filled, adventurous set for Steel. He's really embraced the old-time, jug band sound on this disc, and his acoustic trio The Sad Turns does a fine job of them live. These feel straight out of the 20's and 30's, aside from some more modern lyrics. In addition to the guitar and doghouse bass, there's washboard, kazoo, banjo, tuba, little dings and toots from various percussion pieces, and it will transport you way back if you like a simpler time. The crowds sure do, singing along to tunes like Rooster Pie, Queen Of Poutine and Kook-ah-Walla that have already become live favourites. If you're at any of the festival dates, make sure to pick up a CD or vinyl copy of Time Machine Blues.
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).