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UP ON CRIPPLE CREEK: THE SONGBOOK OF THE BAND

Contributor
By Contributor
September 5th, 2013

On Friday October 11, a seven- member edition of the Alberta-based Front Porch Roots Revue will take to the Capitol Theatre stage in Nelson and rock the house with over two- dozen cherry picked selections from the amazing songbook of The Band.

It has been mroet than 35 years since The Band’s legendary Last Waltz concert and the albums that gave us such amazing tunes as The Weight, Stage Fright, Across The Great Divide, Shape I’m In, Ophelia, When I Paint My Masterpiece, and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down still stand as some of the greatest works in the history of American music.

“It was a pretty big undertaking when it comes to tackling this songbook, but we all love this music. Everybody was really pumped about biting off a big chunk of the best this legendary group gave us,” says bassist/singer Ron Rault, who is a veteran of the western Canadian roots music scene and cornerstone member of the Front Porch Roots Revue.

This particular Front Porch project was slated for only 4 performances in early 2012 but sold-out houses and rave reviews at Calgary’s Ironwood Stage and Grill and Festival Place Theatre in Edmonton had festival bookers, theatre programmers and club proprietors instantly making requests for the show.

Less than 12 months later the Calgary Herald named Up On Cripple Creek “one of the best 15 shows of 2012” alongside concerts from Neil Young, Coldplay, and Tegan and Sarah. Alison Brock, host of CKUA’s popular roots radio show Widecut Country said, “it’s as if the boys in Front Porch are channeling The Band, it’s an incredible night”.

“The timing to revisit this songbook seemed perfect. Sadly Levon Helm passed away only a couple of months after we mounted this show but fans, young and longtime, wanted to immerse themselves in this music, “ says Front Porch producer Peter North. North is also producer/host of two of CKUA Radio’s Dead Ends and Detours.

So in the past 18 plus months Up On Cripple Creek has played numerous festivals including The North Country Fair, The Wild Mountain Music Festival, and Canada’s biggest country-roots fest The Big Valley Jamboree, sold-out four more shows weeks in advance at the Ironwood in Calgary, two more 500 seat houses at Festival Place, and are set to play for audiences in north central Alberta and the interior of B.C. this fall.

“We’ve got five strong singers, two of Calgary’s best vocalists JR Shore and Ron Casat, plus Doug Andrew from Vancouver’s Circus In Flames.

They join  “Crawdad” Cantera and myself on the vocal end of this project. Rounding out the troupe is longtime Ian Tyson drummer Thom Moon and we’re thrilled to have the great Gord Matthews on guitar.

Gord has proven that with his years recording and touring with k.d lang and Ian Tyson,” adds Rault of the Front Porch cast that boasts an incredible collective resume.

Along with tunes from The Band catalogue, Front Porch also leans into blues offerings that Levon Helm participated in, outside of the confines of The Band.

“Crawdad covers Let The Good Times Roll which is heard on the Muddy Waters Woodstock album that Levon, Garth Hudson and their friend Paul Butterfield played on. We plucked Born In Chicago off Levon Helm’s RCO All-Stars live disc and another tune from Helm’s Midnight Ramble shows that he produced in his studio barn space in Woodstock New York.”

Up On Cripple Creek also includes a stunning solo version of the Robbie Robertson penned Twilight from pianist J.R. Shore who has twice won the Calgary Folk Fest Songwriting Contest, those years being 2010 and 2012. Andrew turns in a show stopping take of It Makes No Difference punctuated by Matthews’ note perfect take of Robertson’s slow burning guitar solo, while Casat, a longtime members of the Amos Garrett Band and keyboard ace in the Edmonton Folk Music Festival House Band, puts a swirling spin on Chest Fever.

“Fans of The Band will hear tunes from Cahoots, Stage Fright, Music From Big Pink, Jericho, The Band, Moondog Matinee, Before The Flood and Northern Lights and Southern Cross,” says Rault, who also worked with Thom Moon and Doug Andrew on the critically acclaimed Front Porch production The Gift: The Words and Music of Ian Tyson.

Tickets for the Nelson performance of UP ON CRIPPLE CREEK: THE SONGBOOK OF “THE BAND” as presented by Front Porch Roots Revue are now on sale at the Capitol Theatre box-office at 250-352-6363

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