Fri, Sep 13, 2013.
Whatever you do, don't assume that the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival is only a night-time event. There is plenty to through the days, right through until Sunday. That's when the big, free finale concert happens at Officer's Square, featuring The Music of Ray Charles, plus great acoustic blues from three of the best working today, Corey Harris, Alvin Youngblood Hart and Guy Davis. If you read this in time, there's the Galaxie Rising Star Showcase happening Friday at 2 PM in the Barracks Tent, as judges and fans vote to find the next hot players from New Brunswick. Stick around right after for the supper time show featuring Buck 65.
Saturday sees lots more events through the day, official showcases, and in the local clubs, which have been bringing in great music all week long to compliment the festival. One such show I'll check out is from local group Sissy & the Hobos, as it's a special party. The group is celebrating the release of their new debut album, called Sissy & the Hobos, at Wilser's. The group has been entertaining club audiences the past few years with some good old, down home, old-time music, captured in fun, acoustic sets. Led by two singers and instrumentalists, Jaunita Bourque and Sylvia Reentovich, and featuring three more guys in the group, Tony Scott and Shane and Jamie Guitar, the highlight is the front-porch vocals and harmonies by the two women, plus the occassional turn from Scott. As well, there's that great acoustic sound, with banjo, mandolin, fiddle, upright bass, and several guitars, depending on the tune.
The new disc features several originals, from the pens of both Scott and Bourque. As well, there are some older covers, such as the classic murder ballad, Frankie and Johnny. All the new numbers have that authentic sound of a century ago, the casual ease that puts you right at home, up close like you were at a house party with your closest friends and family. There's a joy that runs through the whole disc, and you can tell these are folks getting together to play for the sheer love of it. If you wanted to join in, they'd be happy. When they're not picking and grinning, there's a tender side too. The co-write from Bourque and Scott, Far From Home, looks back at time past, 20 years and many miles from young love along the river. The vocals here are especially fine, Bourque harmonizing with Reentovich on the verses, and then Scott joining to take some lines solo on the choruses.
Now's your chance to grab a copy of the new disc, and enjoy the album launch show. It's Saturday afternoon, 4:30 to 6:30 at Wilser's Room, with some southern BBQ being served up as well.
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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).