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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Calgary Folk Club: Riders In The Sky & Steve Pineo

Calgary Folk Club
April 11, 2014
Riders In The Sky
with the Steve Pineo Trio

The Saturday Morning "Before-Noon" Review: 

Calgary Folk Club


Riders In The Sky 
and The Steve Pineo Trio

What a way to end the 42nd season of the Calgary Folk Club - a local blues/country institution, and a world-class group of cowboy serenaders - all-in-all a great example of the diversity of the folk music world.

Talking about diversity, singer songwriter Steve Pineo has been entertaining Calgarians for over 25 years with a wide variety of styles. I've seen him fronting an R & B swing band and a blues band while opening for Linda Ronstadt and The Neville Brothers respectively several years ago. I've caught him solo at an event for The Calgary Public Library. 

Regardless of what genre he's chosen for any of his performances, the end result is memorable for both the songs and the stories he shares.

 Onstage last night with guitarist Tim Leacock and bassist Kit Johnson, his set was a blend of blues, country, swing as well as fun, self-depracating humour. 

"Too Bad For Me", "Get Back On That Horse", the tongue-in-cheek "Boogie Man", plus the top-drawer jazz ballad "Nothing Much Is New" were all great examples of his skill in crafting solid songs. Not to mention his hit for Paul Brandt, "Canadian Man". 

If you're not familiar with this musician's musician, check out his website for starters, or search for his blues album in iTunes and MySpace - you'll be hooked soon enough. 

If you've seen Toy Story 2 or Monsters Inc., you've heard the Grammy-winning music of Riders In The Sky. The only things missing onstage last night were a couple of Palominos and a campfire. Otherwise, these guardians of Old West music recreated some of the biggest hits of the past 60 years in mighty fine style.

Sinatra has Buble, The Beatles have Rain, and Elvis has...well, tens of thousands of artists keeping his sound alive. For Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, The Sons Of The Pioneers, and others of that style, Riders In The Sky do a remarkable job with music that was ultimately folk, country and pop all at the same time back in the 1940's, and later. 

Ranger Doug

All four are vocalists you could easily spend the entire evening listening to, but together, those harmonies on iconic Americana songs like "Cool Water", "Happy Trails", or "Jingle Jangle Jingle" elevate these gentlemen way above a tribute act. You are hard pressed to imagine these aren't all their own songs, as every nuance is as authentic as the originals.

Joey, The CowPolka King
Not to mention the camaraderie and humour - oh, the humour. From corny to classic, with lines like "May The Horse Be With You", or the sight gags of a musical duel not involving instruments (see them live, you will not regret it). 

Woody Paul

If you were looking for yodellers, these four singers could keep up with the likes of legends like Hank Snow, Wilf Carter, or Jimmie Rodgers. I also liked that all the instruments were acoustic, yet filled the room as easily as did their vocals. 

Too Slim

With well over 6000 live performances under their collective belts, it's no surprise these gentlemen know how to engage their audiences, but it's not really a hard sell when you have a relentless wagon train of enduring memories like "Rawhide", "Back In The Saddle", or "The Yellow Rose Of Texas".   

There really were too many highlights to try and squeeze into this review. Given the intimate venue, the stellar sound production and their musicianship, plus a sincere, immersive presentation of some of the best music of any era, this season ended with more than enough reason to look forward to what is yet to come.

Find out more about Riders In The Sky at their own website, and The Calgary Folk Club by clicking here



Mrs That Dan Guy said...

Indeed. Man. I felt like I was transported back to a time in my parent's living room, watching a show on TV, never imagining I could hear and feel it, live, decades later. This was an incredible evening. I sure can't wait to see what season 43 at the Calgary Folk Club will hold. Sigh. I didn't want last night to end.

Happy Trails to You!

ThatDanGuy said...

Amazing, and listening to their live CD with the Nashville Symphony last night was just like re-living it all over again!!