Submitted by Mike Redfern
Often a well-known artist’s reputation precedes them and attracts an enthusiastic and expectant audience. Such seemed to be the case last Saturday night when the Amos Garrett – Julian Kerr Duo played Studio 64 before a sell-out crowd. Live at Studio 64 audiences have gained a reputation over the past six years for being welcoming, respectful, and enthusiastic and Saturday night was no exception. The applause was loud the moment MC Keith Nicholas introduced the duo, before a note had been played.
Not to belittle Julian Kerr’s reputation as a musician of high calibre, it was Amos Garrett’s name that drew the crowds. After all, Garrett has been performing for close on 50 years around the USA and Canada and has been a significant name on 150 albums by top blues, jazz, R & B, and country rock artists, such as Ian & Sylvia and The Great Speckled Bird, Maria Muldaur, Paul Butterfield, Bonnie Raitt, Jesse Winchester, Emmy Lou Harris and many others. Now 76 and slowing down, he still performs frequently in and around Calgary, playing mainly jazz and blues.
Garrett had a big presence on stage. Seated before his microphone, he mumbled and grumbled his way, in his deep baritone voice, into humorous asides about some of his experiences, from the five hours it took them to drive through a snow storm from Calgary to play this concert, to reflections on musicians and songwriters with whom he performed and recorded. His stories were slow, as were many of the pieces he and Kerr chose to play. It was a night of laid back music, mainly blues and jazz, showcasing Garrett’s guitar picking and rumbling bass vocals and Kerr’s fluid brilliance on keyboard and Hammond organ. It was, perhaps, less dynamic a performance than many at Studio 64, but clearly appreciated by the blues aficionados who regularly attend Live at Studio 65 concerts, who demanded and got an encore.
Next up in the Live at Studio 64 series is the blue grass/folk band, Slocan Ramblers, from Toronto on May 9, followed by The Gin Joints, an old style R & B, shuffle swing and blues band out of Seattle on May 19. Before that, on April 28, is a one-off concert in the Theatre at Centre 64 by Sean McCann, formerly of Great Big Sea. Tickets for Live at Studio 64 concerts are $22 for KAC-C64 members, $24 for non-members, and $26 at the door. Tickets for Sean McCann are $30. All are available at Centre 64 (250-427-4919 or email@example.com) or online at eastkootenay.snapd.com.