By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
Even small towns have a treasure trove of musical gems to be discovered.
This year will be the first year the Town is hosting a Battle of the Bands since the rebranding of Coaldale’s main summer celebration event officially launched in 2022.
New in 2023, the Battle of the Bands competition is bringing together talented musicians from Coaldale and southern Alberta to compete for the chance to be named Summer Fest’s first Battle of the Band’s winning act. The winners will also receive a recording session and performance video sponsored by Cottonwood Records, and a chance to perform in front of the community and panel of esteemed judges. Battle of the Bands will begin at 2 p.m. at the ATCO stage on Aug. 12, along 18 Street just off of 20 Avenue.
The judging panel includes drummer and manager for the Chevelles, Don Plett, owner of Lethbridge Music Academy, James Zack, long-time musician Kelly Kimchuk, and the legendary, Juno-award winning Ron Sakomoto.
Sakamoto, who will also take on the role as Honourary Parade Marshal for the Town’s historic Candy Parade said he is excited to see what the Battle of the Bands musicians have rehearsed. Sakamoto told Sunny South News, “I am always looking (for new talent). We have one of the largest independent entertainment companies in Canada, so I need to find more great entertainers.”
“I agreed to be one of the judges because there are great talents in Alberta; hey, maybe we’ll find another star, you never know.”
Cody Hall Band:
The local Country act fronted by Lethbridge local Cody Hall has added Coaldale to their list of summer gigs.
Hall has been making music since around 2016. he said most members of the band have been playing together for several years.
“I’ve mostly worked with the same musicians. (I’m) going on seven years with my guitarist, Jacqueline, and about five with my bassist, Chris,” adding that the newest member Eric, has been onboard for a year.
Hall said prior to his current project, he was involved in music and played guitar more casually.
In 2016, Hall met guitarist Jacqueline Connelly, and decided to put out a four track EP of original music and said the process was a valuable practice for what was to come. The EP was recorded in a home-studio space in Lethbridge. Hall said, “I quickly realized how much work goes into it. It’s just gradually been taking little baby steps over the past seven years, it kind of has been like scaffolding and building off the last release and learning as I go, and finding out which things are working and how to do it better.”
In 2022, Hall’s song “The Dark” hit the #1 spot on the Canadian Indie Country Countdown’s list for the week of July 31. Recently his single “Firecracker” debuted at #18 for the week of July 24, 2023.
Hall said he is trying to keep up the momentum, his latest single “Firecracker” is making its rounds and is currently being featured on the Country Thunder Australia Top 30 tracks.
Hall’s latest music video for “Firecracker” went live on July 15, amassing nearly 10,000 views in the first 10 days. The setting of the video, which is familiar for many, is a dimly lit watering hole with lots of character, just like the ones you can find all over southern Alberta. The video, filmed in Stavely depicts the unexpected connections that are sparked in bars and pubs, and captures the carefree feeling of fleeting connections.
Hall said of the recent music milestones lately, “it’s been really cool,” and said he hopes the traction exposes more people to his music. Although “Firecracker” has been well-received and gaining traction, Hall said he’s a bit uncomfortable with the idea of shameless self promotion. “I have this weird feeling about how to promote myself and it is usually to watch quietly from a distance when I should be out there pounding pavement telling people to listen.”
Hall said of the recent momentum, “I think this is a step in the right direction of showing people in Lethbridge that I am serious about this and my band is serious about it and we think we have got something cool to offer.”
Hall said he jumped at the opportunity to play for Ron Sakamoto, who is attending the Summer Fest event in Coaldale as a Battle of the Bands judge, and will act as Summer Fest’s official parade marshal.
Hall said social media engagement goes a long way in supporting up and coming artists.
“It helps me out a lot when people interact with the platforms.”
To follow Hall’s music, check out his website codyhallmusic.com, and @codyhallmusic on Apple itunes and Spotify
Battle of the Bands will be getting some South American flavour as part of this Saturday’s Summer Fest event, with Latin music sure to get attendees dancing the salsa, or at the very least tapping their feet to the musical stylings of Latin Rev.
The band formed and began rehearsing together in early 2018. Marshal Weibe, who works with a non-profit organization in Uganda, said he was planning to organize a fundraiser. “My wife is from Colombia and she’s a musician and we thought well why don’t we, as part of the fundraiser, do a musical performance. So we got the band together through connections around here.”
After Latin Rev played for the fundraiser, they group decided to keep playing music together. The number of members, “depends on the day,” said Weibe, who plays tenor saxophone for Latin Rev.
“We thought about playing Coaldale’s summer event for a couple of years, and it’s always been an issue of availability with the band, but this year, it worked out that everybody was going to be here on that date.”
Weibe, who was born and raised in Coaldale, said, “everybody else in the band is either from South America or southern Alberta.”
Although the band primarily covers Latin music, Weibe explained, “we do cover a couple of North American songs as well, and we have one original that was written by my wife, Carolina.”
Carolina explained, the band performs a variety of sub-genres, all of which are classified broadly as Latin, but specifically fall into the categories of salsa, merengue, cumbia, and bachata.
“We’ve been around for a little while, but I don’t think people in Coaldale really know about us.”
Latin Rev’s vocal styling are performed by Ashley Thomson, Karen Pinto, Rafael Marmol Hernandez Eleazar.
Bassist, Andrea Carolina Diaz Romero also performs vocals, as does guitarist, Jason Dueck. Tavis Dueck, plays trombone, Maryanna Dueck plays flute, and Marshal Weibe plays the tenor saxophone. Victoria Nestorowicz also performs vocals for Latin Rev, but is unable to attend the upcoming event at Summer Fest.
Weibe said the musicians are eager to showcase their talents at this weekend’s event and said, “the main reason we wanted to play Summer Fest is because we live in Coaldale – this is our home town!”
The band recently performed at the Heritage Days event in Lethbridge. To follow the band, check them out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LatinRevLethbridge/.
Coaldale’s upcoming Summer Fest is promising great live music, and Lethbridge-based Putrid Stain’s heavier sound is sure to fix things up at they take the stage this Saturday.
Frontman, Christopher Scott Elliott, founder and guitarist of Putrid Stain said the band is looking forward to getting out in front of the public again for a show. The band is also comprised of drummer Max Sassa, and guitarist Josef Eppert.
Elliott said of their upcoming Battle of the Bands set “unfortunately, Josef isn’t able to make Summer Fest, so we will be banging it out as a two piece.”
The band performs their original music, working collaboratively during the creative process, writing and composing. Elliott said although the band is still finding their footing, much of their music can be categorized as blackened death metal.
“I have been told we have kind of like a thrash, blackened death metal (sound); there is a bit of thrashiness as well,” said the frontman.
Elliott cited The Black Dahlia Murder, Lam of God, and Nile as a few of his influences sonically.
“When we write stuff, we usually like to bounce ideas off each other, it’s definitely a process between all the members for sure.”
The band played as an opening act for Berserker last month at The Slice in Lethbridge and are eager to play their set this weekend in Coaldale.
As the band grows their social media following, the best place to follow along is on Facebook at facebook.com/putridstain.
Coaldale’s own 21st Avenue is bringing their polished, alternative sound to the stage this weekend for the Summer Fest’s Battle of the Bands.
The band is a four piece, consisting of frontman, Oztin Bowden, Dayton Jans as lead guitarist, Tristan Smetana as the base player and Quinn Schmick on drums.
The band was started in 2017 by Dayton and Bowden and a former band member, playing music which fits into several genres.
Bowden explained, “the easiest way to describe our genre is to say we are alternative rock mostly with elements of hip hop, funk and blues.”
Bowden said as a four piece band, each member’s own diverse taste in music means the band has a robust list of influences, but cited The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alice in Chains, and other artists who were prevalent in the 90’s. Bowden said, “we have a very broad range of influences which I think helps people create their own voice,” as musicians.
Jans and Bowden both grew up in Coaldale, and said their band name is actually a nod to the small town.
“We first started jamming in Coaldale on 21st Avenue. That’s where I grew up.”
The band recently wrapped up a gig at the popular live music venue, The Slice in Lethbridge, and Bowden said the group is eager to perform at this weekend’s Battle of the Bands, and for the opportunity to have the ear of the internationally-renowned, and Juno Award winning Ron Sakamoto, who will be judging the competition and acting as parade marshal.
“Any kind of show that we can get in on our hometown is very exciting for us. And it’s a big opportunity. We saw that the judge was going to be Ron Sakamoto, got us excited as well. We’d like to show him what we can do,” added Bowden.
Check out more from 21st Avenue @21aveband on Instagram, and 21st Avenue on streaming platforms Spotify and Apple.
Tentatively joining the diverse roster of regional musicians for the upcoming Battle of the Bands event this weekend in Coaldale is Dave McCann.
The event is bringing together some of the best local and regional talents for the Summer Fest celebrations this weekend.
Raised near Peterborough, Ontario, McCann set down roots out west in the 1990’s, landing in Calgary and eventually heading south to Lethbridge in 2014, where he currently resides with his family.
Symbolic of southern Alberta’s rich musical offerings, McCann has refined his song-writing and performances over his career, rubbing elbows with Leeroy Stagger and John Wort Hannam. McCann has been referred to by some critics as one of the best unknown singer-songwriters in the contemporary roots music scene, with an impressive six album discography dating back to 2000.
Known for his exceptional performances and musicianship, McCann’s anticipated solo set at the upcoming Coaldale Summer Fest’s Battle of the Bands is sure to generate even more excitement.
Good Time Charlie:
Formed in 2015, Coaldale’s own Good Time Charlie is gearing up to hit the stage for the Battle of the Bands eventt this weekend.
The four-part combo includes band members: Cam Shaw, lead guitar and lead vocals, Byron Loeppky, bass guitar and vocals, Kris Mikado, rhythm guitar and band manager, and Anthony Malinowski on drums and vocals.
The band primarily performs rock n’ roll music, but the group said they don’t stick to one artist or era and stipulated energetic rock spanning the last five decades is certainly on the table.
“We started out as a cover band playing songs that you don’t usually hear. We don’t really have an era or specific artists that we stick to. We just like to play damn good energetic rock n’ roll generally spanning from the 70s to present. As time went on we have written a bunch of songs and we are now starting to mix our originals into our regular set lists.” Cam Shaw has taken on the role as the band’s main composer and lyricist of the group. In terms of their creative process, Mikado noted the group often works collaboratively by contributing riffs and feedback, and individual inputs into the final product.
The band said when it comes to who inspires them, there isn’t a finite list. “Pretty much everything from Pink Floyd to Metallica,” has been an influence; “We are all over the place. Anything that rocks.”
All of the members of Good Time Charlie have a connection to Coaldale, said Mikado. “We al l have lived, worked, grew up in, or currently live in Coaldale.” While the band has not announced any other shows in the immediate future, they are looking forward to performing this weekend at Summer Fest and hope to see lots of familiar faces.
“We hope to see a lot of people out and about ready to rock supporting live music and the Town of Coaldale!”
You can check out more from Good Time Charlie on Instagram @goodtimecharlieofficial2019, on youtube at http:// http://www.youtube.com/@goodtimecharlieofficial4101 or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/goodtimecharlieofficial