Saturday, November 23, 2013
Calgary Folk Club 11 22 13 - Lunch At Allen's, with Ashley Condon
Calgary Folk Club
Lunch At Allen's
Featuring Murray McLauchlan, Cindy Church, Marc Jordan & Ian Thomas
with opener Ashley Condon
The Saturday Morning "Before-Noon Entertainment Review": The Calgary Folk Club,
featuring Lunch At Allen's, and Ashley Condon
A gathering of icons...
A flock of fantastic folkies...
For the final night of the 2013 portion of the Calgary Folk Club's current season, the members and guests attending were invited into an intimate evening with four of Canada's most enduring and successful artists - there were moments over the expanse of their two sets that I felt like pinching myself to make sure I really was wide awake and less than 20 feet away from some of these greats. Two at least were a significant part of the soundtrack of my youth.
More on the collective that is Lunch At Allen's in a moment though. Let's start with the young lady that warmed up the crowd on a chilly fall evening.
PEI's Ashley Condon didn't take long to endear herself to the appreciative crowd, who sang along to the captivating stories and memories shared in her songs.
I had the good fortune recently to sit down and ask her a few questions while she was in Calgary two weekends ago for the 2013 Canadian Folk Music Awards (she was a nominee herself). I posted that last week - but you can still read it now by clicking here.
Having previewed her YouTube channel ahead of last night's performance, I was already sold on the title track of her latest album, "This Great Compromise". However, it was quickly apparent that with heartfelt songs like "Sea and Land", or "Betty's Song" (dedicated to and inspired by her mother), her nomination for this album was more than well-deserved.
With an easy-going charm and gentle humour to fill the moments between songs that ultimately linger with you, Condon 's folk music star is surely on the rise...
Check her out online for yourself!
Headliners Lunch At Allen's are a tour-de-force of enduring Canadian hit-makers. The foursome is comprised of Marc Jordan, who has penned hits for Cher, Josh Groban, Diana Ross, Rod Stewart ("Rhythm Of My Heart") and many more, to name but a handful - as well as enjoying commercial success on his own with " (Living In...) Marina del Ray"
Jordan is joined in this endeavour by Murray McLauchlan - who I am reluctant to admit I haven't seen live since the late 1970's. That was happily rectified last night...
With a wealth of chart singles himself, he showcased fine chops on piano, guitar and harmonica last night, and surprised me when he shared stories of songs I wasn't aware he had either written or co-wrote.
Ian Thomas sure brings humour to this combo, but he's not the only one - every member of Lunch At Allen's has a quick wit and that was as much a part of the enjoyment as the songs were last night.
He also brings decades of songwriting skills - alternately funny, but often poignant. His "Painted Ladies" took me right back to 1973, but his "Six Teams In The NHL" makes me wonder if I'll be thinking of THAT song in much the same way 30 years from now...
Cindy Church rounds out the foursome, an alumnus of Ian Tyson's band, Great Western Orchestra, and Quartette - in addition to racking up awards on her own along the way.
Some of the quietest moments in the hall last night were when Church was helming lead on the vocals - an amazing, sweet voice that combined wonderfully with the gentlemen surrounding her.
The evening was essentially a showcase for Lunch At Allen's Christmas album "Zuzu's Petals" ( I think they may have performed every track, or darned close), but no one was complaining. The songs were a reflection of the camaraderie between the four - warm, funny and on occasion poignant.
No surprise these folks can fill a room all these years later, never mind evoking fond memories or winning over the crowd to their new music. It was a walk down Memory Lane is some instances, but more than anything, it was a time to be proud of what Canadian music has done, and continues to do for audiences - combining the two acts las tnight, there's clearly no end in sight on that note...
You can find out more by clicking on:
(Google him, there's more sites to choose from...)
and, as always - remember to check out The Calgary Folk Club, or become a member and support live music!!