A confluence of events meant that I could only take in bits and pieces of a bunch of the day concerts/sessions during Saturday of Regina Folk Festival. I did manage to check out a couple in their entirety, though, over at Sunlit Stage 1: Shotgun Jimmie and the “Indie Queens Are Waiting”.
Shotgun Jimmie was what Jimmie always is: great. You can see him performing in the pic above, along with RFF artistic director Sandra Butel enjoying the show. Later in the night, I shook his hand and told him Transistor Sister was at least one of the top three records of the year, and I completely meant it. (Although immediately after, I got self-conscious, thinking, “Is he now just wondering why he isn’t number one?”)
He was playing a bunch of songs off that record, along with some new material and a few selections from his back catalog, all featuring his customary ragged rock ‘n’ roll brilliance. Jimmie’s got the capacity for small insights that really resonate and hit their mark with an audience, in his songs and in his banter.
One of the cooler things about his live show is how willing he is to follow an idea or urge that he gets. His performances are very fluid, in that he’s willing to break into one of his pop gems with a comedic aside then roll right back into the song. And his comedic asides aren’t just good for a musician. He’s a really, really funny and charming man. The perfect choice to host the main stage festivities last night, I’d like to note.
“The Indie Queens Are Waiting” had the subtitle “Indie Mixer”. So you get the idea here. This thing was indie. Dan Mangan, who wrote the song that the session took its title from, had the hosting duties, introducing Hey Ocean!, Coeur de pirate and Rah Rah’s Erin Passmore. The organize principle here — Mangan and then a coterie of ladies from Canada’s independent music scene — is one I was down with. (It also seems to be the idea behind a Sunday session called “For Him and the Girls”, where Hawksley Workman is grouped with Hey Ocean! and Coeur de pirate plus Cris Derksen.)
A bit of collaboration happened: Beatrice Martin (Coeur de pirate’s birth name) would go away at her piano occasionally and Dan Mangan’s band were never never afraid to jump in.
Passmore, on acoustic with no accompaniment, had to follow Mangan, who wasn’t shying away from playing some of the more explosive songs off his upcoming Arts and Crafts album, Oh Fortune. It’s a tough thing to follow, as she mentioned. No need for worry: she did a great job, playing tracks off a solo album she recorded out in Montreal. When that disc drops, it’ll no doubt be a highlight of Regina’s year in recorded music.