Wide Cut Country: December 16 2017

Well, with next Saturday being my Christmas show, I figured I’d offer up a gift suggestion for ya.
Now I know that Bob isn’t everyone’s thing, but if you have a loved one in your life who IS a Dylan fan, well I can definitely help you out.
Sony recently gifted me with the ultimate Deluxe 8CD / 1DVD version of Bob Dylan‘s most recent volume of Bootleg Recordings; volume 13 in case you missed the previous twelve! 102 tracks + the DVD!!
Now, even for some fans, the three albums that this box is built around are almost as controversial as when Bob first plugged in! “Slow Train Coming”, “Saved” and “Shot of Love” were his Christian period. Fans evidently booed him at shows and sold their tickets outside venues for way less that face value. That’s all in the past & Bob is still out there touring & filling halls & arenas everywhere. I caught him this year at the Southern Alberta Jubilee in Calgary and it was a great show!

This box is definitely something you need to hunker down with over a decent break from work, so Christmas is really the ideal time to crack this puppy. Heck, just get it for yourself if nobody else thinks you’re worth it!

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So there ya go! Just a very brief glimpse into “Trouble No More”, Volume 13 of Bob’s ongoing bootleg series. It almost needs a whole show (or two) to itself, but that ain’t happening. Let me know what you think.
Find more on this set and everything else Bob HERE

Apart from Bob, there are a few other recent releases on the show this morning. Darrell Scott, Travis Meadows, Peter Case, Edmonton’s Wildwood, Shovels & Rope; featuring with John Fullbright on Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man” and a track from the upcoming Jim Cuddy.

Next Wide Cut Country is on December 23 and I’ll be spinning all Christmas tunes, just in case you’re still not in the mood at that point. You can find my playlist, along with label listings here.

Wide Cut Country: December 9 2017

I’ve been mentioning faves of 2017 in the last couple of posts and how some great albums are released a bit too late in the year to even get a mention. Well, a couple of prime examples are on the show today.
Willie Nelson‘s latest album was released in late October as “Willie & The Boys: Willie’s Stash Vol. 2”. A great record of mostly classics; many written by Hank Williams Sr.
Chris Stapleton‘s “From A Room Volume 2” just hit the racks on December 1st! He gets yet another WCC spin today. Chris is once again nominated for a few Grammy Awards, but you can “go fish” for those nominations yourself! I hate the Grammy site and hate the way that contemporary country has claimed Chris. Good for him I guess, but…
The Mavericks also have a couple of nominations and they also get a spin on the show today.

Vancouver’s Cousin Harley just released a great album too. “Blue Smoke: The Music Of Merle Travis” was released on November 25th. Band mainman Paul Pigat has long-touted the groundbreaking playing of Travis and has now finally laid down his versions for us all to hear. There’s a great piece on Paul and this particular passion of his, along with several great videos, in this Georgia Straight article. Definitely worth taking some time to check out when you have a chance.



Tom Wilson! Beautiful Scars! Wordfest!

A midweek post isn’t the norm for me, but I figured this one is worth doing.
My good buddy Tom Wilson AKA LeE HARVeY OsMOND is currently on his very first book tour and Shelley Youngblut from Wordfest asked me to host an evening of Q&A with Tom when he came through Calgary to promote the launch of “Beautiful Scars”. I was honoured… and it was also a great excuse to have a catch-up with Tom.

Tom is kinda one of those “wind him up and let him go” interviews. The audience of 150 or so were kept well entertained by his amazing, sometimes heart-wrenching, though mostly funny stories. Trust me, just go buy the book from your favourite local bookstore or online seller. You can also find out more about Tom (should you need to) and read a snippet from the book on the publisher’s site.

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Strangely enough, the very next night on CBC TV the documentary “Dreaming Of A Jewish Christmas” aired. It was actually a pretty good and captivating Canadian production that focused on just how many great Christmas songs were actually composed by Jewish writers. Take a look at the trailer…

Suddenly, there was Tom singing “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”! Tom appears around the one minute mark. My friend Tom Wilson. A true renaissance man!

Wide Cut Country: December 2 2017

Well, it looks as if the next few Wide Cut Country shows will be featuring some “Best Of 2017” contenders. Two of them get spins in the the first thirty minutes of the show this morning. Alberta’s own Matt Patershuk released “Same As I Ever Have Been” in October and Chris Stapleton just released the second volume of his “From A Room” series on December 1st. Volume 1 was released back in May, so Chris might just have two albums in my list. Of course there have also been 2017 releases from Whitney Rose, Tom Phillips, Allison Moorer & Shelby Lynne, Radney Foster, Tin And The Toad and… well, the next few weeks will tell. All of these get spins on the show this morning. You can check out the full playlist here.

Wide Cut Country: November 25 2017

Well damn… the final Wide Cut Country show of November already. A sign that I have to start getting my year-end lists together; something that is WAY harder to do that you might think. Weaning out a Top 10 from a year of great releases is tough enough, but some folks want you to thin it down to Top 5!! The worst part is that some fantastic releases come out right at the end of the year. Do you add them? Hell yeah! Why? Because most of the entities that want you to list your favourite albums of the year mean just that; releases between January 1 and December 31. No wiggle room!

One album that will be in my top 10, maybe even my top 5, is the new Dori Freeman album: “Letters Never Read”. This is Dori’s sophomore album and is once again produced by Teddy Thompson. It seems to be a winning combination. Teddy’s Dad Richard even chips in some guitar this time around on his classic “I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight” that Dori bravely, and very ably, covers.
Margo Price‘s new “All American Made” is also a strong Top 10 or 5 contender. Both of these get a spin on the show today as well as a “local” contender. “Twenty One-Nighters” is the various artist album that Skinny Dyck put together featuring mostly Albertan acts. I’ve given this a lot of spins on the show. Not just because it is Canadian or Albertan, but because I really dig it!! In case you want to check it out further, or even buy some copies as Christmas presents, here it is.

Wide Cut Country: November 18 2017 – Happy 90th Birthday CKUA!

The brand new CKUA sign was installed just before the open-house this weekend

Definitely a banner day today as CKUA celebrates its 90th Birthday! Tuesday November 21st is actually THE day, but it made more sense to celebrate on a weekend and throwing open the Edmonton HQ doors to the public.
Special programming began right after Wide Cut Country wrapped up at noon today, so it was pretty much business as usual for me this morning.
While the rest of the afternoon was about looking back ninety years, I was able to give a little glimpse into the future with a track from the upcoming Sam Lewis release “Loversity”. The album isn’t actually due until March of 2018, but I have my sources & was able to spin “One And The Same” from the album this morning.
Another look to the not-so-distant future was in the form of “Midnight Train To Memphis”, the third track I’ve been able to spin from Chris Stapleton’s “From A Room Vol. 2” that hits racks on December 1. It’ll make a great stocking-stuffer for the Chris Stapleton fan in your life.
Joe Henry, Ana Egge, Barney Bentall and Tom Phillips rounded out the new release contingent this morning. Three Western Canadians keeping Joe company there.

News came this morning of another music icon leaving us. While Malcolm Young of AC/DC wasn’t someone who was on my radar, you have to give him, brother Angus and the band a lot of credit for keeping it real and rocking for decades. As the show was recorded, I didn’t mention his passing this morning, but I might have acknowledged it by spinning Lucinda Williams’ version of “It’s A Long Way To The Top”. RIP Mr. Young!
You can jump to todays’ playlist directly HERE.

Wide Cut Country: November 11 2017

A day for reflection of course, but I didn’t want to do a whole show of songs about Remembrance. A special break in the show today around 11am though, as CKUA programmed in several minutes to pay tribute and respect to the fallen ones and the ones who currently serve.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of the show, there are now some interviews uploaded to this site. A slow process, but clicking the Everybody’s Talkin’ tab will give you the complete list. The clickable ones are linked from there & loaded. If you choose the dropdown menu, the years with content are 2013, 2015 and 2016. Enjoy!

Another track this morning from the upcoming Chris Stapleton album, “From A Room”. That room being the renowned RCA Studio A in Nashville. The album drops December 1st & is once again produced by Dave Cobb. Last week I played the lead track from the album; Chris’s version of Kevin Welch’s classic “Millionaire”. Well. talk about being timely! I happened to see a facebook post that Eliza Gilkyson shared earlier this week. It contained a link to a 25 year old (scary) article about Kevin. It was kinda prophetic & worth reading.

Speaking of Kevin, he will be back as Artistic Director for the second Singer Songwriter Residency, March 5-24 at The Banff Centre For Arts And Creativity. Deadline for applications is this Wednesday, so don’t be dilly-dallying! Time’s-a-wastin’ so get your application in now.

More new tracks this week from Margo Price, Dori Freeman, Derek Hoke and Calgary’s own Tom Phillips. “Plastic Machine” was once again produced by Lorrie Matheson and it’s a winning album from a winning team! Who knows, Tom MAY even have it for sale on his website by the time you read this.

Another track today too from the new compilation put together by Lethbridge resident, Ryan, Danny, “Skinny” Dyck. He supposedly responds to all of those names, as well as accurately thrown twenty dollar bills. I’ve played several tracks from Twenty One-Nighters already on Wide Cut Country in the past month or so; five to be exact, so kinda fitting that George Arsene (another Lethbridge resident) gets a spin today with his contribution: “Ol’ #6”. Skinny and some friends are currently doing some release shows. Here is the tour info & ways to buy the album.

Lastly, I don’t care where your politics lie. I have to share this picture and event with you.
The Sadlier-Brown Band are playing this fundraiser for Calgary Fort NDP and there’s a fantastic poster for it on the facebook page. A brewery tour & dance! Guess you could call it a Neo Dance Party.

Now this is COOL!

Neither Alberta Premiere Rachel Notley or Alberta’s Finance Minister Joe Ceci make any secret of the fact that they are big live music fans. You’ll often catch them and many of their colleagues at various shows and festivals around Alberta. It has been pretty cool for me personally to have seen them at various venues during Wide Cut Weekend over the last three years.

The NDP have encouraged the growth of micro-breweries and micro-distillers in the province and Alberta recently passed the landmark of 100 liquor manufacturers! Congratulations all round and happy BUT SENSIBLE consumption!
Speaking of rounds, I think it’s yours.
If you just want to buy tickets to this event, they’re online HERE


Wide Cut Country: November 4 2017

Well, winter sure came into Alberta fast and furious this past week. Lots of the province got a foot or more of the white stuff and temperatures dropped pretty drastically to what we’ve been used to.

Warming things up this morning on Wide Cut Country by spinning a bunch of leftover donor requests from the CKUA Fall Fundraiser. It’s always interesting to see what donors ask to hear when they pledge. Some folks have no request at all. Some may be a bit too top 40ish for me to spin. Some are too long to play while the fundraiser is in session.

I had several requests come in last week for Chris Stapleton. I had already spun a track from the first Steeldrivers album with Chris on vocals, so I held off spinning more. This weekend however, it all came together! Chris’ new album “From A Room Vol. 2” hits the racks on December 1st and the lead-off “single” is his version of the Kevin Welch penned, “Millionaire”. I’m thinking that might just be what Kevin will become after the amount of plays the song has already had on YouTube, let alone when the album is actually released. Here it is. Check it out! #YEEFREAKINHAW

Wide Cut Country: October 28 2017 – CKUA Fall Fundraiser 2nd Weekend

The second and final weekend of any CKUA fundraiser is a crazy ride, and this Fall 2017 one was no exception.

As per usual my running-buddy Terry David Mulligan was along for the ride, and as per usual the Wide Cut Country listening audience came through big-time. THANK YOU ALL!

Here’s a pic of us both with our operator Brendan Cross waving at ya.

For those who are wondering what an operator is, well, Brendan doesn’t answer the phones. Not that kind of operator! He is actually the one keeping the train on the rails. Mully and I are frantically reading donor names and requests, deciding which tunes to play and discussing what is gonna happen next. Bren finds the tracks we need, whether on a disc, vinyl or in the CKUA digital archive; he turns up our mics before the music ends and when we point at him, Bren hits PLAY! Yep, there’s a lot goin’ on behind the radio scenes, especially during fundraisers.

In case you’re wondering why TDM and I often bicker like siblings, it’s probably because we have known each other for a LONG time! We rarely see each other between fundraisers, but our mutual love, respect and chemistry is totally real. No rehearsals required!

Speaking of family, here’s another CKUA family member who we love to have opping for us. That’s Whitney Fox giving the thumbs up in the background. Like Bren, Whitney keeps everything tight and smooth for us; finding &/or changing tracks for us on a whim. She rocks!!

Before I get out of fundraiser mode here, I do need to mention one other crucial part of the team (especially during Mulligan Stew & the closing show), that is the Library Runner! This volunteer (sometimes my husband Martyn) heads up and down to the vast CKUA library pulling CDs and vinyl for us. We usually end up with a pretty good stack of tunes that we don’t even use “in the moment”, and it all has to be re-filed; played or not.    As you can see by this pic, Mully has a basket full of faves set to go and ready to spin (maybe) on “The Stew”. Wonder if Home Depot is still looking for that basket…

Anyway, there’s a quick behind-the-fundraising-scenes blurb for ya, as it relates to me & Terry anyway. There are a helluva lot more folks who make this little station run from day to day, especially when we break 20 days a year to raise the bucks to keep it all going for another six months. Thanks to them all… & thanks to YOU too if you are a donor. You are the heart and soul of this station!

Wide Cut Country: October 21 2017 – CKUA Fall Fundraiser 1st Weekend

Yep, it’s a sure sign that October is REALLY here folks. The Fall Fundraising campaign started on Thursday and this Saturday we had an open-house at the Calgary Foundation CKUA Studio.
My side-saddle-seated buddy Terry David Mulligan swooped in to pitch with me AND my full-frontal-seated buddy David Ward was operating the board for us. It was great for me to have both of them on board and on-side.

We had a great crowd of listeners and donors for the full two hours of Wide Cut Country. Thanks SO much to everyone who came out. Thanks also to Russell DeCarle & Steve Briggs who took time out of their day to swing by the studio around 11:30 and play a couple of songs for us all and have a brief chat.

Musicians like Russell and Steve know and appreciate the value of having this station in the province. It not only helps them sell some extra albums, but helps attendance at gigs too. the boys were on their way south to Fort MacLeod for a gig at The Empress Theatre on Saturday night.
It was actually pretty cool as we passed the $100,000 landmark during their performance. You’ll see that about halfway through the video when the audience goes wild!
In case you’re wondering, the songs were “Under The Big Big Sky”, the title track from Russell’s 2010 release and “Tanqueray” from his latest album “Alone In This Crowd” that came out this past summer.
They’re AVAILABLE HERE if you can’t find them in your local record store… IF you have one.

Wide Cut Country: October 14 2017 – “Wide Cut Weekend” feature broadcast

Well, the third annual “Wide Cut Weekend” kicked off on Thursday night (October 12) with an evening of music on the historic King Eddy site here in Calgary. The original bricks were used in the rebuilt building that is now part of the amazing National Music Centre!
Linda McRae opened the evening for us and the reformed iconic Winnipeg band, The D. Rangers took us all on a helluva manic Bluegrass (and more) ride, in their own unique way, for the rest of the night. It was a blast!

Friday night went pretty smoothly at the various venues and this morning was a very special two hour live “Wide Cut Weekend Wide Cut Country” broadcast from the CKUA Calgary studio. I think we gave the fence-sitting ticket buyers a very nice nudge this morning with a great cross-section of the acts who are showcasing at the festival.

Linda McRae opened the proceedings again this morning. She was joined by Calgary session fiddler extraordinaire, Scott Duncan. Here’s a LIVE Facebook video of her first song: “Why Can’t Waylon”?

Little Miss Higgins followed Linda, with a couple of tunes from her BRAND NEW release, “My Home, My Heart”. She had literally just received the disc a few days prior to heading out to the festival. Here’s here live version of “Drawn To You” from the album.

As he hadn’t made his getaway yet, Scott Duncan was also used (like the proverbial rented mule) by my next guests, The Wardens. These three guys are actually Park Wardens from the Banff area. Most of their songs are based on actual experiences that they & / or other Park Wardens have had over the years. Scott was an honourary fourth Warden for the morning & played some great western fiddle, especially on “Government Cowboy”, a track on the latest Wardens’ album, “Sleeping Buffalo”.

I’ve been a fan of Ottawa’s Lynne Hanson for several years, so it was great that she could schedule Wide Cut Weekend as part of an Alberta and BC tour. Lynne was my next in-studio guest this morning and blew everyone away. I wish I could have kept her around for another show and given her more live airtime. Here’s “Counting Heartbeats” from her latest release, “Uneven Ground”.

My good buddy Matt Patershuk closed out the parade of live studio guests with a couple of songs from HIS brand new album, “Same As I Ever Have Been”, released on Black Hen Records. Here’s “Gypsy”.
Thanks SO much to all of these great performers for getting up all-too-early on a Saturday morning to share themselves and their music with CKUA listeners.

Wide Cut Country: October 7 2017

RIP Tom Petty! That sure was sad news we had earlier this week. DAMN!
There are a couple of shows on CKUA this weekend that will pay in-depth homage to the life and music of Tom Petty. My own small nod comes just before the halfway point in the show today. It includes a track I have played a lot on Wide Cut Country over the years; “Walls (Circus)” from the movie soundtrack to “She’s The One” that Tom did all of the music for. There is also Johnny Cash’s version of “I Won’t Back Down” as well as a great cover of “Wildflowers” from The Wailin’ Jennys’ upcoming release “Fifteen”.

October is already here and there’s a ton of stuff happening in the coming weeks here in Alberta. I’m most excited about one event in particular. That would be the third annual Wide Cut Weekend! The Calgary-based, multi-venue festival runs October 12-14 and features some pretty damn fine Canadian performers; in my humble opinion anyway.
Stephen Fearing, Braden Gates, Tom Phillips, Shaye Zadravec, Lynne Hanson, Tim Hus, Linda McRae, Zachary Lucky and Scott Cook, PLUS new releases by Little Miss Higgins and Matt Patershuk! All get spins on the show this morning. Next Saturday the entire show will be live, with live performances by several of the acts too.

I did manage to include other new music this week from Eilen Jewell and The White Buffalo.