Singer/Songwriter Karen Romanchuk

Singer/Songwriter Karen Romanchuk

My mom and her husband Keith moved in next door to Karen and her family about five years ago. Until Gary and I did her interview for our blog, I had never met her or her family. She was singing in her backyard one summer and my ears caught the sound of this beautiful voice softly floating over the fence my family and her family share. I caught myself lingering on the front step as the melodic sound and the words of her song captured my attention; that was my first introduction to Karen although she never knew it.

When we met face to face and we talked awhile, I could tell Karen was a sweet and kind person. When she talked about her music and the experiences that were cultivated from it, she had this look in her eyes; it was a glint and a sparkle, the kind we often only see in children’s eyes.

Gary and I had the opportunity to see Karen and her band, which includes her husband Darwin on drums, at the Word on the Street festival in Lethbridge, Alberta. She’s a performer through and through; there is no doubt that how she makes people feel when she sings to them is very important to her. It was a pleasure to get to know the person behind the voice.

We welcome you to watch her interview and listen to the audio file of her song entitled Dance from her CD of the same title.

Listen to Karen’s song Dance with the player below:

Blues Musician Daryll Duus

Blues Musician Daryll Duus

Daryll Duus got his first electric guitar from his grandmother when he was 13 years old. It was red. Mostly self-taught, after only a couple of lessons Daryll “took it from there” and never looked back.

Now, after 20 years of playing professionally, Daryll and his Duus Blues Band entertain the appreciative audiences with a mix of his own bluesy songs and those of other artists.

Shy at first on stage, as Daryll’s skill level in his playing increased so did the confidence in his voice, soon belting out the lyrics and becoming the consummate entertainer, sometimes playing slide guitar with a beer bottle while standing on a patron’s table. Great fun!

Daryll’s music is also finding its way into film. The up and coming comedy web series Rust has credited Daryll’s song Skullectro to the opening and closing soundtrack to the barefoot running comedy series.

Enjoy our interview with Daryll and his performance of one of his “lovey dovey” songs If I Had A Dream

Boogie Blues Musician Papa King Cole

Boogie Blues Musician Papa King Cole

Gary and I went to visit King in his recording studio in downtown Lethbridge. When we arrived outside the building King gave us directions on where to find it. “Go through the metal door and dead bolt it behind you, go across the carpet, up the stairs, through another metal door and enter the first door on your left.” This maze of doors, hallways and stairs left me wondering what we were getting ourselves into. Although my imagination can be quite active at times, we found King in this wonderful oasis he calls home to Papa King Productions.

King gave us a tour of his studio “where it all happens;” with his music anyway. King has been helping musicians over the years record their music in a setting that was made with the purity of thought for musical and non musical types to feel comfortable the minute they set their first foot through the door. I was so comfortable I felt like I was ready to record something and I can’t even sing.

Gary and I talked with King for about an hour. He talked about his family and it was obvious to me that they have been a strong driving force to keep King so passionate for so long. At 63, he explained to us that he wants to “retire into the Blues.” Although most people would denote Blues music to be down and sorrowful, with his unique voice and musical style he prefers to sing the “happy, uplifting type of Blues.” King is 5 songs away from finishing his first CD. After all the years helping others do the same he says “it’s time.” Most people would start to wind down and “retire”and for King that just inspires him to play more and sing more. He’s happy to keep the music going.

Take a look at our video interview with King and listen to the music file of one of his songs titled ‘Come From Love’

Listen to King’s song ‘Come From Love’ with the player below:

Jonathan Wright — Making Beautiful Music on the Farm

Jonathan Wright — Making Beautiful Music on the Farm

Jon and his partner Andrea Thompson live just outside of Bergen, Alberta on Thompson Small Farm. It’s a tranquil place they call home. Most of their farm animals have names. There is Raven, the matriarch of the Clydesdale clan, Doncaster and Petunia who are more than just pigs, Mary Poppins their sweet and tender dispositioned Jersey cow and there are even a few chickens and turkeys who have garnered a name. If you have never been to a mixed farm before, at first it appears a bit chaotic; chickens hanging out with the pigs, cats sleeping in the chicken coop and yaks, chickens, and ducks sauntering among the horses. These animals and their people really know how to live in a harmonious community. Jon and Andrea’s compassion and love for their farm and the animals they share it with is testament to the wonderful people they are.

Jon’s interests and experiences run deep. He has an interest in and is actively engaged with both domestic and wild animals, our environment, concerns around our current food system, and of course, music. We first heard Jon sing and play his Simon and Patrick, 12 string, Canadian made guitar at a small saloon in Bearberry, Alberta. The saloon is a summertime stop over for many motorcycle mavericks out for a Sunday afternoon cruise and talented musicians playing for an appreciative audience. Sunday is “Open Mike” and when Jon got up to play, this soft spoken and unassuming man transformed himself, delivering passion and potency through his music and his songs. I listened intensely as Jon’s words danced to the strum of his guitar.

Later, I had questions. I found out from Andrea that when Jon was younger he won a national song writing competition and got an artist development deal with a subsidiary of Warner Chappell. The principals of which took him to Nashville to record a few of his songs that he felt weren’t his best work and his overall conclusion of the experience was it wasn’t the life he had in mind. Jon has since wrote enough songs he feels are worthy of 2 or 3 full length CD’s and anticipates in the near future to do just that. His songs reflect what he considers to be a uniquely Canadian sound that came about in the 70’s and he hopes through his own song writing and music to keep some of that alive.

We hope you enjoy Jon’s interview and one of his original songs he performed for us. Thanks Jon, it was a pleasure!