Lindsay May Solo concert

Date and Venue 6 August 2010 @ 6:00pm | Millennium Park

Performer Lindsay May solo , vocals/guitar/mandolin

Reviewer John Jane

What could be more idyllic than sitting around West Vancouver's Millennium Park on a balmy August evening sipping a glass of wine supplied by 16th Street Liquor Store and a light snack supplied by Saltaire restaurant? Perhaps one of most delightful concerts going on during this year’s Harmony Arts Festival wasn’t even advertised in the published programme.

I joined a small but responsive crowd at the Pacific Arbour Garden Stage for the Lindsay May concert on Friday evening and was glad I stuck around. Coincidentally, Stick Around is the title of a bluesy, self deprecating song the singer performed mid-way through her early evening gig. Recorded in collaboration with Babe Gurr, she has generously made it available as a free download.

May is hardly an innovator, nor is she a prosaic song stylist. She is both an artist and entertainer with a similar personable delivery as British Columbia’s Bria Skonberg (though less jazzy) and a bittersweet song-writing style reminiscent of Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Most of the material she performed was from her own catalogue of well crafted songs like the country-tinged Lie to You and the easy-going tuneful Hang Around on which she accompanied herself on the mandolin. However, the song that prompted the most audience reaction was the Fleetwood Mac cover Landslide.

An admirable musician who possesses an appealingly pure voice, May can certainly command the small venues and outdoor festivals, but I would like to see her step up to at least a mid-sized auditorium.

The previously mentioned song, Stick Around contains the lyrics “I’m living with the feeling I’ll only be second best.” Ms May shouldn’t feel like she’s second best to anyone.

© 2010 John Jane

Paul Pigat Boxcar Campfire

Date and Venue 5 August 2010 @ 7:30pm | John Lawson Park

Performer Paul Pigat, vocals/guitar; special guest Jesse Zubot, mandolin/violin

Reviewer Melanie Ewan

Thursday night I was lucky enough to find myself in John Lawson Park listening to the talented singer/songwriter Paul Pigat. I arrived with no expectations, and was immediately impressed by the energy created by him and his accompanying band. It was sort of a traditional bluegrass/roots energy with a modern twist, infused with humour and fantastic hats. Next thing I knew, people of ages were gathering, tapping their feet, whistling and moving to the music.

For the majority of the set, Pigat performed with an upright bassist, drummer and special guest Jesse Zubot on mandolin/violin. In addition to this, he of course had his own eclectic collection of guitars – my favourite being his cigar box guitar. The artists playing with him were extremely talented, and fun to listen to. The bassist in particular impressed me, playing with incredible speed and accuracy.

One of my favourite songs of the concert, however, was his ‘dirgy rendition’ of Ring of Fire, a song written by Merle Kilgore and June Carter Cash which he played as part of his solo portion of the night. This was followed up by more of those acoustic roots genre songs that suit him so well.

Aside from classic covers, most of the songs gave spotlight to Canadian material and British Columbian song writers, and really showed how much our corner of the world has to offer. Each song felt unique, creating images of everything from lonely nights spent sitting by the water (guitar in hand) to wild nights you can’t seem to remember.

With songs such as Sweet Tooth, Corn Liquor (based on a true, and very amusing, story), and John Henry, this was truly a unique show not to be missed. The concert was recorded for future broadcast on CBC Radio 2's Canada Live 105.7 FM and CBC Radio One's Saturday Night Blues 88.1 FM/690 AM, and I definitely encourage anyone who enjoys bluegrass/blues/roots/rockabilly to check it out.

© 2010 Melanie Ewan