For the first time in their 20-year history, Vancouver Island MusicFest has partnered with the Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River to present Back To The Garden – West Coast Roots Review, a fantastic night of music, and story telling.
“We’ve stretched our wings a little,” says Doug Cox, MusicFest Artistic Director, “partnering with the Tidemark for this show is a way of recognizing the importance of our Campbell River audience. We have a lot of folks who volunteer for the festival from this area and many more who buy tickets. They’re an important part of the festival’s success.”
“I’m also really excited to be part of this show and to be working with these great musicians,” continued Cox. “Most of us are old musical friends who have shared festival stages, shared open mikes, and worked on each other’s CDs. It’s going to be unique and a fantastic show.”
This lineup of 11 stars was put together by legendary fiddle champ Daniel Lapp, who is known as much for his educational work via the BC Fiddle Orchestra and for a remarkable, globetrotting career that has seen him play with Maria Muldaur, Lou Reed, and Elvis Costello.
“My role was to select around a dozen or so iconic folk and roots musicians/singer-songwriters,” Lapp says. “And this has been a fun thing for me, to be able to pick up the phone and call some of my friends and bring them on board for this unique gig.”
Early on, Lapp realized that this roots showcase deserved its own mini-tour.
“It seemed like such a shame to assemble all these incredible musicians and not put them in front of appreciative audiences all over the Island,” he says.
After a few phone calls, the shows were booked including one at Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre this Thursday.
So, who did Lapp end up picking for his stage full of stars? Let’s start with Neil Osborne, lead singer and chief songwriter of 54-40.
Although he’ll always be best remembered as the frontman for Tsawwassen’s most acclaimed rock band, Osborne is currently involved in an alt-country trio named Never Shiver.
There was never any doubt that Cox would be part of this show. Over 20 years ago, Lapp and Cox used to play together and the always – impressive bottleneck guitarist is widely recognized as one of the world’s best Dobro players.
One of the West Coast’s most beloved and high‐profile performers is Mae Moore is also part of the show. A bohemian Gulf Islander Moore balances running an organic farm and heritage orchard with pursuing a long‐time music career.
Another beloved fixture on the Island’s music scene is vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Carolyn Mark, who offers an ongoing mash-up of surf-twang, alt-country, and anything else that catches her fancy. From her own CDs to collaborations with Neko Case, Mark continually lives up to her 2000 release, Party Girl. Just as exuberant, at least musically, is fiddle champ Ivonne Hernandez, the reigning five-time Grand North American Fiddle Champion.
Equally virtuosic is Adam Dobres, an acoustic guitarist whose technical skill and intuitive musicality has earned him tours with Outlaw Social, Toni Jackson, and Ruth Moody. And then there’s Oliver Swain, who stands as tall as anyone in the Island’s acoustic music scene. From his recent success with Big Machine to his ongoing enthusiasm for the folk-noir traditions of Appalachia, this bassist and banjo picker has forged an award-winning combination of passion and musicality.
A longtime Victorian with a global reach as a musician, Rick May a talented bassist and keyboardist, May has a truly impressive musical career, one that has seen him record, perform, and tour with a record store’s worth of stars ranging from Andy Summers and Rickie Lee Jones to Taj Mahal and Depeche Mode. Another internationally recognized performer and composer is Danuel Tate, a keyboardist and composer of electronic music.
That’s certainly a dream lineup for anyone interested in roots and acoustic music and Lapp insists on presenting an actual band, and not just a mini-fest of separate cameo performances. Most of the musicians will be on stage most of the time.
Back To The Garden – West Coast Roots Review takes place at the Tidemark Theatre on Thursday, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $32, available at the box office or at www.islandmusicfest.com