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6 shows for April at the Rogue Folk Club! Betcha can’t pick just one

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The Rogue Folk Club is once again spoiling us with great concerts in April, and the only challenge is deciding which ones to go see. Do we see Juno-winning ex Wailin’ Jenny and current Small Glory Cara Life with BC Entertainment Hall of Famer Shari Ulrich or women’s music legend Holly Near? Do we see Welsh singer-songwriter Martyn Joseph — one of the greatest entertainers of all time — or the Hornby Blues Showcase, which packs so much talent onto one stage, it’s a wonder people don’t start falling off?

They’re questions I never get tired of trying to answer each time the concert line-up appears.

Here are this months offerings. For more information, visit roguefolk.bc.ca or call 604.736.3022.

Cara Luft and Shari Ulrich – April 5 at Mel Lehan Hall at St. James

To mark her long career and her 50th birthday, Cara Luft (The Small Glories, The Wailin’ Jennys) is launching 50 for 50 — 50 curated shows that will see her travel across Canada, the US and Europe. She will be joined by a cast of friends and special guest artists who share her sense of adventure and joyful music-making, as well as her passion to explore, collaborate and celebrate. No two shows will be the same.

For this show, Cara will be joined by west coast songbird and close friend Shari Ulrich. Beloved by both fans and musicians alike, Shari has a way of drawing people close to her heart. She holds space for many in the music community, offering support and wisdom gained from her decades of performing. A musician’s musician and a songwriter’s writer, Shari sets the bar for any artist wanting to expand their skill and vision.

Singer in the Storm: an intimate evening with Holly Near – April 12 at Mel Lehan Hall at St. James

Songs and stories about her life and work: Farm to Hollywood – Broadway to Activism – Cancer to Still Here!

For over 50 years, Holly Near has been “Singing For Our Lives.” Now she weaves illuminating stories about her travels, mistakes, lessons learned and life changing choices into a glorious monologue. Holly shares her commitment to being willing to learn, to fail, to get up and try again. And then there is that remarkable voice – still strong – singing wisdom and perspective into a mini musical.

Holly Near is a singer—about that there is no doubt—and yet her remarkable career steered her course to become one of the most articulate and responsive social change artists of our time. The legacy of work she has created, unsurpassed in its depth, breadth, and scope, stretches far beyond the mainstream music business. At the center of social change movements for the last 50 years, Holly Near has inspired generations of artists and world citizens to commit their hearts and talents to peace and justice.

Ryan McMahon and Jeff Plankenhorn – April 13 at Mel Lehan Hall at St. James

Ryan McMahon likes to tell people he’s a late bloomer. But when looking at the body of work the 43-year-old from Ladysmith, British Columbia has amassed since 2006, he certainly has made up for lost time. With six releases under his name and two with his side project Lion Bear Fox, Ryan has established himself as one of western Canada’s most prolific singer-songwriters, leading to multiple Vancouver Island Music Awards and supporting slots for Burton Cummings, Tom Cochrane, Mother Mother, Lee Harvey Osmond and others.

Jeff Plankenhorn, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist—guitar, lap steel, mandolin, piano, upright bass—began his career as a boy soprano in Ohio. After studying music theory and composition at University of Michigan, Texas beckoned when Ray Wylie Hubbard enticed Jeff to join his band. Jeff spent his early career backing the likes of Hubbard and Joe Ely. His patented lap slide guitar, “the Plank,” with a distinctive sound derived from the instrument’s square neck and electric guitar body, netted him an Austin Music Award in 2017. Now a potent solo artist, his larger-than-life presence on stage binds together a host of talents into a powerful whole.

Martyn Joseph – April 18 at Mel Lehan Hall at St. James

Martyn Joseph is a completely unique and mind blowing artist. Take everything you think you know about singer songwriters….and rip it up. For one man and a guitar he creates a performance with a huge far-reaching sound that is energetic, compelling and passionate. Be it to 200 people or 20,000, he blows the crowd away night after night.

Compared to Bruce Springsteen, John Mayer, Bruce Cockburn and Dave Matthews, he has created his own style and reputation as a mesmerizing live performer who stands in his own right, building a reputation for giving what thousands have described as the best live music experience of their lives. A unique talent driven by passion, social awareness and love for his trade, he’s a jaw dropping guitar player who has developed a unique percussive style, teamed up with a powerful show stopping voice, and has been called “The Welsh Springsteen”

Steve Dawson and the Hooded Mergansers – April 19 at Mel Lehan Hall at St. James

Steve Dawson is an award-winning Canadian guitarist, originally from Vancouver. He is a solo artist, songwriter, pedal steel player, multi-instrumentalist, producer and engineer now living and working in Nashville, TN. Over the past two decades, Steve has become such an indelible fixture on the Canadian musical landscape that it’s tempting to take him for granted. The music that flows out of him is so natural and authentic that it’s possible to forget all of the toil that went into producing it. During the pandemic, Steve recorded enough material for 3 solo albums, all of which were released in 2022 and early 2023 as he continues to produce albums and tour with his band, or whoever else asks him along for the ride.

The 6th Annual Hornby Blues festival showcase: Rick Fines, Samantha Martin, Paul Pigat and Tim Williams – April 26 at Mel Lehan Hall at St. James

The Hornby Island Blues Workshop takes place every spring on Hornby Island. Each year they invite a dozen or so of the finest Canadian blues and roots musicians around to share their knowledge and inspiration with some lucky students. We thought – why not catch some of these great players, singers and all-round entertainers, and get them to do a show for us on the way? One of Vancouver’s own teams up with three of the best from the rest of Canada. It’s a simple but foolproof formula! This is the SIXTH year that we have presented this delightful showcase.

Rick Fines crafts a unique blend of warm-hearted blues, juke joint folk, and dockside soul that both embraces and defies the genres that influence him. Bubbling up from the cauldron of roots Americana music, Samantha Martin is an artist of extraordinary power, gravitas and deep-seated emotion. Paul Pigat can play just about every style and technique imaginable, with a modern twist that is both fluid and precise, and is without fail exhilarating in its intensity. And imagine, if you can, a front porch where Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, Hula Hattie, Flaco Jimenez and Bob Marley meet often and discover just how much they have in common. Tim Williams’ music would fit right in.

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