By Lynn Stevenson
The Spirit of Rasputin’s 2010-11 Season got off to a “thrilling” start with a “Rasputin’s Beard” – our open stage for bands and the first event in our new location. (Check out the Photo Album!!)
Under the soft glow the Westboro Masonic Hall’s vintage chandeliers, The Cheapest Thrill’s Carol Black, in vintage dress, “bangs and spit curls” and electric stand-up bass, cast a magic spell of her own. Together with Karl White on a stunning resonator steel guitar, this very cool duo took the audience back to another era. Singing of lost love and travelling carnivals from days gone by, Black sighed “It’s only here for one night.” I am certain that will not be the case with this talented couple whose fabulous stage presence and “music for the contemporary speakeasy” would be right at home on the set of HBO’s new series Boardwalk Empire. Go to: http://www.myspace.com/cheapestthrill#ixzz0yNTgrrGs (http://www NULL.myspace NULL.com/cheapestthrill#ixzz0yNTgrrGs) to find out more.
The Overcasters were up next. This brand new band overcame a few stage jitters to put in solid performance highlighted by excellent guitar work and very fine banjo at the hands of leader David wood. Lost Colt, with Rick Fry, Conrad White, Dan Jette and Bruce Wozny got things moving with their great country sound spiced with shades of Roy Orbison.
I liked the smoky song “Ocean Wind” and “Dance Me” – their tribute to Ottawa’s The Hilotrons, but my favourite tune was “Mamma’s Not Been Well” – just made you smile (and tap you’re your feet!) Lost Colt are not just a fine country band, they’re also terrific contributors to the community, giving freely of their time and energy in support of many worthy local causes. Check out Lost Colt at: http://www.myspace.com/lostcolt#ixzz0yNVAqtPd (http://www NULL.myspace NULL.com/lostcolt#ixzz0yNVAqtPd)
But the highlight of the evening for me was Maple Hill – a resurrection of Pat Moore’s and Gary Greenland’s popular bluegrass band from the 80’s and 90’s. Gary has been described as being to “Canadian banjo picking what maple syrup is to Canadian pancakes”.
And Pat Moore, whose tremendous contributions to Ottawa’s music scene include The Vinyl Frontier as well as her charitable efforts such as Christmas Goose and the Ottawa Opry – can play one mean stand up bass! We need to see more of that Pat! Pat and Gary thanked Jonathan Ferrabee of Ottawa’s Concession 23 for putting away his own excellent bass and picking up the guitar to support Maple Hill for the evening – and he did a great job! As Gary said, bluegrass is a genre in which “the words are sad but the music is happy.” Hearing this band again definitely made me happy. The only sad thing was that more of Sunday’s audience didn’t stick around to hear them too. Maple Hill’s excellent set included: “Teardrops in my Eyes”; a fine version of Emmylou Harris’ “If I Needed You”; beautiful harmonies on “Making Plans (To Be Lonesome)”; and ending with a gorgeous rendition of “Golden Ring”. Hopefully Maple Hill is back to stay!