A little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll; vEGGfest brings the Party to the Pysanka
In its second year, vEGGfest will kick off Friday night with a concert featuring Canadian Hall of Fame and multi-award winning artist Tom Cochrane with Red Rider. Saturday’s performers will include the international chart-topping Canadian legend Charlie Major and Alberta born Corb Lund whose versatile sound has garnered him praise from critics all over North America.
Also joining the lineup will be Joint Chiefs and Captain Tractor on Friday night and Saturday will feature Off Ramp Boys, The Give ‘Em Hell Boys and Danielle Marie.
Cochrane was born in Lynn Lake, Manitoba to Violet and Tuck Cochrane, a bush pilot. The family relocated to Etobicoke, Ontario in the West Deane Park area when Tom was four years old. He purchased his first guitar at age 11 by selling a toy train set. He attended Martingrove Collegiate Institute in the 1960s. In the early 1970s, he was performing in coffee houses across Canada. He eventually made his way to Los Angeles where he found a job writing theme music for My Pleasure is My Business, a Xaviera Hollander movie. Unable to find steady income from music, Cochrane returned to Toronto where he drove a taxi cab and later took a job on a Caribbean cruise liner to help pay the bills. Cochrane went back to Los Angeles in 1976, trying to sell his songs to publishers but without success, and returned to Toronto in 1977. Cochrane walked into the El Mocambo club one night in Toronto and came across a band of locals calling themselves Red Rider. After an audition, they agreed to Cochrane joining the band as lead singer and songwriter, a decision that would change their musical careers.
After the Red Rider era, Cochrane set off on his soloist path again. In 1990, Cochrane took his family to West Africa where he helped to raise awareness and money for the World Vision famine relief organization. That experience shaped his next album Mad Mad World which contained the internationally acclaimed hit single "Life is a Highway".
In 1992, Tom sang the Canadian national anthem in the game 2 of the 1992 World Series of baseball. Unfortunately, he sang it incorrectly, missing the changes introduced in 1980; the section of the song which is to be sung as "...from far and wide, oh Canada, we stand on guard for thee..." was instead sung as follows: "...oh Canada, we stand on guard, we stand on guard for thee..."
The three-CD box set Ashes to Diamonds, including material by both Red Rider and Cochrane as a solo artist, was released in 1993.
In 1995, he released Ragged Ass Road and followed that with a Canadian tour in 1996. The tour resulted in Songs of a Circling Spirit, a live CD and multi-media package of previously released material.
In June 1999, Cochrane was involved in a light plane crash in Montreal, after his plane's engine stalled just after take-off. No one was injured.
At the 2003 Juno Awards, Tom Cochrane was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. The special award ceremony took place April 5, 2003 at Casino du Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec.
In December 2003 he was one of the musical guests on a CBC special called, Rick Mercer's Christmas in Kabul.
On July 2 2005, Cochrane took part in the Live 8 concert series.
Cochrane's new album "No Stranger" recorded in rural Ontario and was released October 31, 2006.
"Life Is A Highway" was covered in 2006 by the country band Rascal Flatts for the motion picture "Cars" and became a successful country single.
"Life Is A Highway" was also performed on "America's Got Talent" by a country singing performer in the Semi-Final round.
In 2007 he accepted the role of Honorary Colonel of the Air Force's 409 "Nighthawks" Tactical Fighter Squadron. As such, he acts as an intermediary between the unit, and the government and the public at large.
He currently lives with his family in Oakville, Ontario.
Corb Lund makes music which calls to mind traditional country standard singers like the old "singing cowboys". There are elements of classic Gene Autry, Tex Ritter, and Roy Rogers in what he does - all the old-school singers who predated Nashville and Music Row's influence over country he calls to mind traditional country standard singers like the old "singing cowboys". There are elements of classic Gene Autry, Tex Ritter, and Roy Rogers in what he does - all the old-school singers who predated Nashville and Music Row's influence over country and western music. But there are also elements of classic folk-country artists like Hank Williams, Sr., and even Woody Guthrie. Fans of contemporary Americana artists like Lucinda Williams, Victoria Williams, Buddy Miller, Hayes Carll, and Jim Lauderdale may also enjoy the vivacity and creativity with which Corb Lund approaches his craft.
Recorded with his long time band The Hurtin’ Albertans (Grant Siemens on electric guitar and lap steel, Kurt Ciesla on bass and Brady Valgardson on drums), Corb's latest album Things That Can’t Be Undone is a self-assured and mature set of songs that pairs Lund’s characteristically sharp songcraft with a bevy of new sounds, thrusting his mix of earnest Americana, rollicking honky tonk and rousing alt-country to new heights. “I would like to think it’s a healthy balance of pushing our stylistic boundaries and pushing our audience’s ears, but keeping it familiar enough so that they’re not totally alienated,” explains Lund. “I think I’ve trained them by now to expect different things.”
Whereas in the past, Lund and band brought fully formed songs to the producer and knocked out an album in a few days, they took a different approach this time. Over a two-week period this past April they holed up with Cobb in his studio and collaborated with him on each of the arrangements. Together they constructed the songs, broke them down, and often rebuilt them. “Dave has a very organic, and somewhat retro, way of working,” reveals Lund. “He’s into old school sounds, and less processing. It’s a real natural sort of sound, which I’m also very into. He’s very spontaneous and he wasn’t afraid to tear apart my arrangements and start over. It was good for us.”
The end result is a lively and loose record influenced heavily by ‘60s and ‘70s rock and country and steeped in the kind of narratives Lund is beloved for. The cautionary tale “Talk Too Much” swaggers like a Stones song as Siemens exhibits some searing guitar chops. On “Washed-Up Rock Star Factory Blues,” written with Evan Felker of the Turnpike Troubadours, Lund offers an uproarious response to Johnny Paycheck’s classic “Take This Job and Shove It”: “Here's your backstage pass to the warehouse boiler room/That's what he said as he handed me my broom/Don't be sittin’ down now son, it ain't your break time yet/I guess you’re used to them seventy-five minute sets.” In the powerful “Sadr City” an Eastern influenced psychedelic guitar riff sets that scene for a tragic tale about the Siege of Sadr City, the first big flare-up of sectarian violence in Iraq after Mission Accomplished. The track continues Lund’s tradition of military songs that he began in with his 2007 album Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier!
He’s more Mellencamp then Merle. His lyrics champion the ‘Blue Collar Hero’ in a manner that resonates of Springsteen and other roots rock legends, but it is in the country music format that Charlie Major finds his home.
Rising to the forefront of the Canadian Music scene in the early to mid-nineties, Charlie had a heyday at radio as he became the first Canadian artist in history to score six BDS #1 hits off of his debut album. Nine more chart topping hits would follow, and Charlie would crisscross the world headlining tours and connecting with his fans at fairs and festivals.
But as the old saying goes “fame comes with a cost” and it wasn’t long before a major US label signed Charlie, moved him and his family to Nashville. The head of the label told Charlie his sound needed to change and become “more country.” The marketing department thought his records might sell better in the US if he appeared on the album cover in a Stetson, and added more fiddles and steel guitars to his edgy songs. What the label did not know was that even though Major might sell out concerts, he was not the type of guy who ‘sells out’ his career. Charlie’s integrity to remain true to his fans, himself and his music was immovable and so he relinquished the dream of the big US record deal and returned to his homeland where he continues to be embraced.
Over a decade later Charlie is as successful as ever, he headlines his own tours and pairs up with the likes of ZZ Top to rock arenas full of fans from coast to coast. He has sold nearly half a million records in Canada alone and won 3 Juno Awards and 7 CCMA’s, but you wouldn’t know it to meet him, and he would not tell you. He wears the cloak of humility, just like the hardworking folks that he represents in his music.
Truly a Canadian legend and one of the accomplished ‘nice guys’ in the game, Charlie would not have it any other way.
A familiar face to the Vegreville area, 2015 was a breakout year for this young Alberta grown artist. Danielle Marie won the Canada wide CCMA Spotlight Performance and performed at the Canadian Country Music Fan favourite Legends Show in Halifax, she received four BC Country Music Award Nominations and was awarded the 2015 BCCMA Ray McAuley Horizon Award as well as completing a successful radio tour throughout three provinces. To top it off, Danielle’s sophomore album ‘Here Right Now’ broke the Top 25 iTunes Country Album Chart within 24 hours of release! Her current single at radio, ‘Drive Away’, co-written with award winning Nashville writer Byron Hill, is proving to be her biggest yet with charting on the Canadian Country Top 100 played Trax report for 10 weeks since the first week of release!
Danielle Marie spent the month of January in Nashville writing for her next project with some of the best – Bruce Wallace, Patricia Conroy, Danick Dupelle, Michelle Wright, Phil Barton, Kim Tribble, Tenille, RyLee Madison and Byron Hill. Often called the “whole package”, Danielle’s wholesome personality and impeccable work ethic have industry eyes following her closely. Danielle is a great representation of women in country music, from her personable, in-your-face, and sassy stage persona, to her star-worthy vocal range – Danielle Marie knows how to command a crowd. She is known for her ability to "pack a house" and make the show feel like a familiar gathering of friends. Her comfort onstage comes to show that she was born to do this, carrying out a dream, one song after another. Stay tuned to see what this powerhouse has in store for us in 2016 including a new single release in June!
It’s been over six years since the last recorded effort from Captain Tractor; 2005’s North of the Yellowhead. During that time, Captain Tractor has continued to play shows in Western Canada, Toronto, and of course in their hometown of Edmonton where they continue to be leaders in the E-Town music and culture industry. Whether as a duo, trio, Power Trio, or the full six piece band, Captain Tractor is still rocking the waves, and why not? What else are they going to do?
Along the way, the band has brought a new member into the fold: their friend and colleague, award winning fiddler, Shannon Johnson. After a year-long recording process, Captain Tractor is about to release a new studio album, Famous Last Words. Recorded in Edmonton, mixed in Los Angeles, and mastered in Toronto, Famous Last Words is a tour de force from one of Canada’s best Celtic Rock Bands. Full of timeless stories, lush arrangements, soaring vocals, and searing musicality, Famous Last Words is truly Captain Tractor’s best album to date
An Alberta institution since 1991, Joint Chiefs wowed the crowd at Edmonton Rockfest 2015 opening for Triumph, Streetheart and Dennis DeYoung of Styx. On the strength of that appearance the guys packed the city’s Big Al’s House of Blues for 2 nights on Labour Day weekend, with many new fans they acquired at the Festival along for the ride! Known for playing the hits, but not the ones all the other bands play, the Chiefs continue to be a force on the live scene, playing corporate and party events and the occasional nightclub. We don’t know exactly what they’ll play, but it will indeed be the best from their extensive playlist of the Classics in Pop, Rock, R&B, Soul, and Blues.
When did country music lose it’s edge? Why are albums by Hank Williams and Johnny Cash considered classics to this day? The answer is simple. Albums by Johnny Cash and Hank Williams have soul. They’re timeless. They’re about hard-drinking and heartache and that will never go out of fashion.
The Give ‘Em Hell Boys share that fire. Not concerned with the pop-country that survives on the radio, The Give ‘Em Hell Boys takes their punk rock foundation and add genuine country soul, with a live show that is full energy from beginning to end.
Their album ‘Barn Burner’ was nominated for Country Recording Of The Year at the 2013 Edmonton Music Awards. The band has also had the pleasure of playing such events as the Taste Of Edmonton Festival, in Sir Winston Churchill Square, Old MacDonald’s Music Festival at Old MacDonald’s Resort, Buffalo Lake, AB, Sweetwater 905 Festival in Rolla, B.C., & opening for The Sadies at the Bailey Theater in Camrose, AB. Along with other festival appearances, they’ve also recently gone on tour in Western Canada, in the fall of 2015.
The Off Ramp Boys (ORB for short) began as three blokes (Randy Kereliuk, Rob Hughes, and Ralph Lange) from Vegreville, Alberta who tended to show up at the same musical events, like open mic nights at the Vegreville Train Station or at the many events put on by Perogies and Jam. None of us can really remember when or who first uttered the fateful words "Hey, let's form a band", but whenever that was, it was about the time that someone asked the name of that "guy who lives beside the off-ramp into Vegreville", meaning Randy. A short while later, we were casting about for a cooler handle than the über-geeky "The Three R's" (for Randy, Rob and Ralph), when someone remembered the question about the off-ramp, and the "Off Ramp Boys" were born. Shortly after that, Gordon Forbes followed us home and we decided to keep him. "Three R's and and a G" made no sense at all, "GRRR" sounds too aggressive, and "RRRG" sounds too much like "Urrrg"!