Rockin out in White Rock at Blue Frog!

Wow. Didn’t know that little ol’ Whiterock B.C. had a premier music venue!   Last night I was privileged to catch my dapper sax player pal Graham Howell (who’s played with the likes of The Powder Blues and Lee Aaron) playing in a David Bowie tribute band.

blue frog gray gray 2            Bowie 2

Yes, that’s right, a tribute band.  Now typically I’m not big on tribute bands, unless they rock the house down with ear massaging musical feats of wonder.  And that’s exactly A Night of Bowie did.  Syl Thompson (Bowie) was fabulous and his entire backing band was drum tight!  Ground control to Major Tom baby…

Bowie 1

People, if you want to see and listen to great music in a world class music venue that understands the importance of sound and ambience you can look no further.  A state of the art studio awaits you with the latest gear and a beautiful decor and lighting.  An intimate amount of seating (100) guarantees a great view and sound. Not to mention the owners of the studio answer calls for tickets personally and remember talking to you when you show up.  How cool is that?

Bowie Blue Frog    blue frog 3

Last but not least, hanging out in beautiful White Rock prior to the show at the Washington Avenue Grill drinking great wine and staring out at the sea and the beach wasn’t exactly onerous either (and WAG supports live music too!).

Check out Blue Frog here for their upcoming shows:  Blue Frog

Check out A  Night of Bowie - here (playing next in Nanaimo B.C. September 13)

Build it and..

They will come!  I’ve long had a yearning to put on a concert and so I will be doing just that at the quaint and intimate 100_ year old Anne MacDonald Studio in North Vancouver on July 5th.

Anne MacDonald image

Anne MacDonald Studio

And, I’m very excited to be working with some of Vancouver’s hottest musical talent.

First and foremost guitarist Jon Roper – currently busting his musical buns writing arrangements for the show - is an extremely versatile (and funny) musician who, when he’s not rocking out with his indie-funk and hard rock bands, can be found alongside some of Vancouver’s elite of the jazz music scene including cats like trumpeter Al Matheson, bassist Lawrence Mollerup and singer Alita Dupray.

Kickin' Guitarist

Jon Roper

Next, on drums, my fellow VCC alumni Joel Fountain (who is also a terrific singer, songwriter).  It’s been a while since we played together but Joel has been tearing up the musical scene here since returning from the U of North Texas.  He’s performed worldwide at such notable venues as the Blue Note in New York, Riles in Boston, Ronnie Scotts in London, and Jazz Alley in Seattle, and has performed concerts with The Brecker Brothers, Terry Gibbs, Byron Stripling, Diane Schuur & Slide Hampton to name a few.

Joel Fountain

Joel Fountain

Last, but definitely not least, major up and coming Vancouver bassist, James Meger, a grad of Cap U and Montreal’s McGill U, will be rounding out the group.  He’s played alongside the likes of pianist Bruno Hubert, vocalist Jaclyn Guillou and has his own jazz Trio Braveheart.  Although we haven’t yet played together, my sources assure me this young fellow could make a ‘cry in your beer’ country tune turn into a mean groove and soul city – i.e. – anything funky and he’s on it.

James Meger

James Meger

We’re going to do some ‘genre’ bending as it’s sometimes called. Mixing up jazz, blues and pop standards with a little funk and soul thrown in for good measure and creating and performing unique arrangement of some of the world’s best singers and songwriters including Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, Roberta Flack, Peggy Lee, Eva Cassidy and more.

We really hope you’ll join us – please click here for the details.

And now for my next trick…

Even with one hand tied behind his back (a skiing accident he told me as we arrived), Keith Bennett is still one of Canada’s most gifted harmonica players and an expert on the topic. I had the pleasure of taking the first level of Keith’s in-home courses on playing harp this past weekend with four other newbie players and it was a total treat!

In the photo Keith stands beside a partial collection of harmonicas he’s obtained over the years including a Chinese Sheng – the granddaddy of the harmonica! In his hand is a chordal harmonica (big sucker – it’s heavy!) and in the mouth rack a standard harmonica.

IMG_1398

Over the course of three hours I learned about different types of harmonicas, draw vs blow, where the notes and chords are on a C harmonica and how to write them, how to play rhythm over a full blues chorus and solo, how to clean and maintain my new instrument and even how to bend a note – success!

IMG_1395

But the highlight? Meeting Boris, a fellow student, who at 80 years young is convinced he can improve his skills – alright Boris! (watch out ladies!)

IMG_1388

I love the challenge of learning something new musically and working with a pro like Keith is probably the best way to get a leg up on this instrument. I’m looking forward sitting in on a gig soon with my new mad harp skills.

Contact Keith here if you are interested to find out more about his playing or courses.

IMG_1405

New Video – Original Song with E Avila

A while ago I received a call from a talented music pal of mine, Erick Avila, asking whether I’d consider singing a demo of an original tune he wrote called, It’s Not Enough.  He sent me an Mp3 with a scratch vocal.  He wanted me to take a run at it which I was happy to do as I loved the song and was just getting my new home studio up and running.  We sent files back and forth (Canada to Mexico – or really who knows where the heck they got routed via the net) and eventually Erick was able to use the vocal tracks from my studio to complete the song.  Erick played all the instruments and mixed it himself.  AMAZING.  I’ve been around long enough to remember using DOS and fax machines which used that horrible white shiny paper.  You know what I’m talking about people.  WAAAAY before Iphones and Youtube.  Then Erick suggested we do a video – long distance – and, well, I got out my handy dandy macbook and again files were transferred.  Anyway, click here for the result.  It’s incredible what’s happening these days technology and creativity wise. (Thanks Erick – you’re awesome!!) :) Not Enough – LJ Mounteney, Vox, Erick Avila, composer, musicians

‘Tis the Season… for carolling!

photo-7

Wow – another year gone by so fast.  And every year for the past several years, I’ve carolled with the Angelus Singers – headed up by the wonderful Melissa Howell – an amazing and skilled trained Opera vocalist.  We’ve got some of the sweetest gigs in Vancouver including the lovely Century Plaza Hotel.  Come down and enjoy some lovely 3 part harmonies of your favourite traditional and popular Christmas tunes!  (And the Century Plaza has the most amazing lunch buffet!)  Check out the shows page for days and locations.

New Website!

website

Finally a new website!  Looking forward to posting on musical adventures and inspirations – stay tuned! :) LJ