James Gang swoons with blues and country

Music at the Lakes begins with sombre homage to '60s classics

James Gang band members Steve, left, and Prairie James brought a solid mix of classic blues and catchy country tunes to their Music at the Lakes performance on July 2. This was the first concert in a series running every Saturday at the Interlakes Service Centre until the end of August.

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Music at the Lakes is underway after The James Gang kicked off the event series on July 2.

The band brought a great mix of classic blues and catchy country tunes in a sombre Saturday night performance.

Due to strong winds and looming rain clouds, the band played for a crowd of 25 people.

However, they certainly enjoyed the concert whether it was from under one of the canopies or inside a vehicle.

Car horns were added with each applause.

The band has been playing in the Cariboo region for more than 10 years. Bandmates, Steve and Prairie James, and drummer John Jones played for two hours.

Unfortunately, the band was one man short as lead guitarist Ed Salos was sick. That didn’t stop the band from bringing in a surprise.

Prairie’s daughter, Misty River, formerly of the Misty River’s Band, was the special guest performer for the evening.

After several blues covers, River’s first song of the night, Stand by Me by Ben E King, was a great homage.

River’s smooth delivery of the lyrics hit all the right notes as the rest of the band added a deeper blues element to the harmony. Steve supplied some great freestyle, which he would continue to do throughout the show.

The band continued to play great covers, including Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin, When I Hear the Train a Coming by Johnny Cash, and Ride Sally Ride by Lou Reed.

The James Gang was able to combine blues and country elements to the notes of each song they played.

One of the most entertaining aspects of each performance was how Steve would lead the band into each song. What began as simple string plucking on the guitar would always smoothly transform into the main chord of each song.

As the wind began to pick up later into the evening, the James Gang continued on and just played a little louder.

Near the end of the performance, the band played a song that was personal to Prairie.

Written by her friend, Canadian aboriginal songwriter Jess Lee, Fly Sparrow Fly, was one of the most unique songs lyrically that the band played that night.

The song spoke of a sparrow morphing into an eagle.

It spoke about breaking into the world and becoming your own.

The evening was brought to a close with a final cover of Sleep Walk by Santo & Johnny.

All told, the performance was a relaxing blend of blues and country classics and a great way to end a Saturday night.

The next Music at the Lakes performer will be Jeremy Willis at the Interlakes Service Centre on July 23 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

100 Mile House Free Press

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