2012: The year in music

The year just passing has been one of the best for musical events in Cranbrook.

The 2012 just passed has been a fraught year, charged with happenings. If you’ve been reading our year  in review features in the Bulletin and Townsman, you can see there have been few dull moments.

It’s possible that a year filled with news both good and bad always mirrors our personal and interior lives. If we’re all feeling topsy turvy, no wonder the world around us, at home and abroad, seems filled with upheaval.

In any case, so long, 2012. I would hope 2013 will be a peace and love year, but somehow I think it will be cut from the same cloth as its predecessor.

But enough of that talk. If 2013 is going to be throwing the same stuff at us as 2012, then it won’t be all bad. For me, the year just passing has been a year full of great music, one of the best in a long time.

The breadth and depth of musical talent in the Cranbrook and Kimberley area never ceases to amaze me. What seems to be perennially lacking are the venues for these musicians to express themselves properly in front of audiences. But we manage to make do as best we can. For example, there have been some stellar evenings at the Homegrown and Locals coffeehouses this year, with newcomers and familiar faces giving remarkable and varied performances.

Perhaps the new year will bring about another renaissance like the advent of the Kootenay Association of Musical Performers (KAMP) of a couple of years ago (maybe I should put my money where my mouth is and get involved in helping organize. What? Me put my money where my mouth is? What?).

2012 brought us some great musical events that must be noted. In March, the Nelson-produced opera Khaos, a retelling of the Persephone myth, was premiered in Nelson and Cranbrook, with the accompaniment by the Symphony of the Kootenays. Live opera in Cranbrook — yes, please!

The Symphony of the Kootenays itself came close to the brink of dissolution, but brave citizens stepped forward to help save this unique local institution. The Symphony is taking a year off, but will be back in late 2013 with a new, interesting direction. Jeff Faraghar will be taking over as music director — get your season tickets now.

April was busy. Country Music sensation Johnny Reid packed them in at the Rec Plex, and two other Canadian acts of great talent (whose acclaim should be way greater than it is) played smaller venues — Cara Luft at St. Eugene Mission and Blackie and the Rodeo Kings (Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson) played the Key City Theatre.

The legendary Steve Earle graced us with his presence at the Key City Theatre at the end of May. Bob Dylan’s appearance at the Rec Plex in August was certainly historic (as far as we’re concerned anyway).

His concert also started a bit of trend for lining up all night outside the box office for tickets, which is a fine and healthy thing to do.

Sloan, one of Canada’s greatest alternative rock bands, hit the stage of the KCT in September, and old friend Michelle Wright followed in October, on a tour celebrating her induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The Key City Theatre also hosted Alison Brown, a virtuoso, jazz-inflected banjo player and her quartet, and the very next night “Hip Hop” violinist Lindsey Stirling instilled the musical fire in hundreds of kids and adults. I bet the interest in playing the violin skyrocketed in Cranbrook. And here’s a shout-out to another unique local institution, the Cranbrook Violin Club, started by Kim Lutz. In a decade’s time, Cranbrook is going to be renowned as a hotbed of violin players, mark my words.

Speaking of shout-outs, I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention my friends in the West Kootenay, particularly the Royal Hotel in Nelson, which has been converted to superb live music venue. I saw two fantastic performances there this year, David Lindley and Maria Muldaur, and each time I went to the Royal I thought how that style of venue could benefit Cranbrook. Perhaps that day is near.

I’ve neglected to mention a lot: The advent of the Good Ol’ Goats, the great work coming out of the schools and EKMTA, the coffeehouses, the jam sessions. Watch these pages in 2013. We’ll do our best to keep you up to date.

If 2013 is going present us with challenges, it’s also promising us more musical highlights, and right off the bat too.

The Beannick concert series starts January 12, at the Studio Stage Door, with  Cahalen Morrison and Eli West. This subscription concert series, now entering its fourth season, sells out every year.

The Tragically Hip kick off a Canadian tour at the Rec Plex January 19. I can’t wait for the next mega act to come so I can line up all night for tickets. I wonder who it will be! That show, sorry to say, is sold out.

Dean Brody, formerly of Jaffray, who was the big winner at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards in 2012,  will be helping set the right tone to 2013 with two shows at the Key City Theatre, January 27 and 28. Sorry to say, sold out. Must be a hunger for music in Cranbrook. Must be a hunger for music. Must be a hunger for venues.

If 2013 turns out to be anything at all like 2012 was musically, I think we can survive whatever else it throws at us.