dawn pemberton

CBC Outdoor Plaza – Vancouver

Coming off the back of a successful appearance at last weekend’s Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Dawn Pemberton was in fine form at the CBC Plaza in Vancouver this lunchtime.  The vocal dynamo was keeping her musical strength up in the run up to performing at the Surrey Fusion Festival this coming Saturday evening.

Back by her equally talented band, Pemberton ran through a set which covered the gamut from jazz to gospel, with a whole bunch of funk and soul thrown in for fun.

After kicking things off with the sultry Deeper from her CD Say Somethin’, which really showcased her range, we were treated to a set that showcased covers from the likes of Curtis Mayfield, Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder, along with many of Pemberton’s own compositions. Everything was performed flawlessly, and was a wonderful demonstration of why she is one of the most sought-after vocalists across western Canada.

Strange as it may seem, Pemberton did not always have confident in her abilities as a singer, and despite growing up in a musical family it wasn’t until high school that she realized that she just might have something special to share. Thankfully for us all she did, and she is more than willing to share her talents.  In addition to singing in her own right, she is also director of the Roots ‘n’ Wings Women’s choir, and contributes to high school choir programs across the lower mainland.

If you are in the mood for more of her soulful voice you can catch her at Guilt and Co tomorrow, the Fusion Festival on Sunday and the Vancity Roots and Culture experience on Sunday, before she heads out of town on a short tour with The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer.

You can follow Dawn at http://dawnpemberton.ca/

Photos: Stewart Johnstone


jack garton and the deMon squadron


CBC Outdoor Plaza – Vancouver

Whilst General Jack Garton did not bring the full army of the Demon Squadron on his invasion of Vancouver today, he certainly did bring all the energy and excitement that comes with his unique type of military operation.

Renowned for his unconventional playing style, he can often be seen playing the accordion and the trumpet at the same time, Garton had the lunchtime crowd surrendering to his friendly fire in no time at all. (No more military references, I promise 😊).

Garton’s songs cover a broad spectrum, but most appear to draw from his own experiences, and are often viewed through the lens of his active sense of humour.  Before launching into the aptly titled “Sucks At Sports “, Garton reminisced about always on in right outfield in t-ball, somewhere where he would not have to touch the ball. The track was one of a number from Garton’s latest album Love You Over Time, which was released in June.

You can catch Jack Garton and the Demon Squadron later in the summer at the Bella Coola Music Festival, and the ArtsWells festival.

To keep up to date with his music and touring schedule check out https://jackgarton.com/

In the meantime, stand to attention, and eyes-right to our gallery of shots from today’s outing.

Photos: Stewart Johnstone




Winsome Kind


CBC Outdoor Plaza – Vancouver

Vancouver natives Scott Perrie and Leora Joy met in 2012 while performing in Saskatchewan, and very quickly realized they were right for each other. Putting this new-found love to the test, they embarked on tour of Canada by rail, performing in venues as diverse as railways stations, people’s homes, as well as more traditional venues. This potentially stressful adventure turned out well, and led to the release of their first album, the self-titled Winsome Kind in the fall of 2014.

Fast forward a few years, and the duo have become regulars on the festival circuit in BC and have a second album, We Call It Home, coming out on August 24th

The band performed a very laid-back set at the CBC Outdoor Plaza on Monday as part of the regular CBC Nooners summer concert series. Playing songs from both albums, the set showcased a distinctly upbeat country vibe, with a couple of rocker, such as Feelin Low (Shake It off) thrown in for good measure. Some highlights for me included the track Above the Clouds, as well as the closing track from their first album, Sunrise.

Scott’s harmonica playing on many of the tracks reminded me of one my favourite artists, Mike Peters from The Alarm, and Leora’s melodica also gave the band some additional uniqueness.

The duo will be appearing at the St. James Hall on September 8th, with the Rogue Folk Club hoisting them for a CD Launch party. I highly recommend heading out there if you can, and picking up the new CD once it is available.

Check out more from the band at https://www.winsomekind.com/

Photos: Stewart Johnstone


vancouver folk music festival 2018


VFMF 2018 – Jericho Beach Park

The 41st Annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival took place this weekend at the beautiful Jericho Beach Park in Vancouver. The weather was absolutely fantastic for the whole three days of the festival, and as always, the event had a solid line up of high quality acts from around the world.

With three days of music and 50 artists on 6 stages there was something for everyone. Although we only made it out to the Saturday, it proved to be a wonderful day with awesome, food, drink, vendors and a friendly crowd, in addition to the awesome music.

Check out our gallery below for some of our favourite shots from the festival, as well as links to more extensive galleries for some of the artists.

VFMF – Bands of BC

VFMF – Rest of Canada

VFMF – Overseas guests

VFMF – DakhaBrakha

Photos: Stewart Johnstone





One of the stand out acts of the second day of this year’s Vancouver Folk Music Festival was the Ukrainian quartet DakhaBrakha. The Kiev based ensemble are almost impossible to pigeonhole, and certainly are impossible to miss in their stunning traditional garb.

The band’s songs are based on the collected folksongs from Ukrainian villages, however, they have then taken this and applied rhythms from across the world and across many musical genres.

The result is an intoxicating blend for the ears, and a visual masterpiece.

Check out our images from their mainstage performance, and check out the links below for more information about this talented group.

Photos: Stewart Johnstone

Links: http://www.dakhabrakha.com.ua/

overseas acts


This year the Vancouver International Folk Music Festival featured many amazing acts from outside of the Canada. From the US we had the wonderful blues artists Jimmy “Duck “Holmes – the last of the Bentonia bluesmen (check out some images from his recent show at the CBC Plaza), as well as fellow countryman Guy Davis. The was solid representation from Europe with two phenomenal acts from Ireland – Wallis Bird and Mick Flannery. Also from Europe I managed to catch a couple of shows by Ilaria Graziano and Francesco Forni. Perhaps the most flamboyant act was Wazimbo and Banda Kakana from Mozambique, who had the crowd dancing wildly despite the heat.

Check out our photos below, as well as links for more information on these acts:

Photos: Stewart Johnstone


Guy Davis

Jimmy “Duck” Holmes

Mick Flannery

Wallis Bird

Ilaria Graziano and Francesco Forni

Canadian Talent


This year the Vancouver International Folk Music Festival featured many amazing acts from across Canada. Among others, this year the acts included Iskwé, Kacy and Clayton, The Small Glories and Steph Cameron.

Check out our photos below, as well as links for more information on these acts:

Photos: Stewart Johnstone



Kacy and Clayton

The Small Glories

Steph Cameron


bands of bc

VFMF 2018 – Jericho Beach Park

As always, the Vancouver International Folk Music Festival features a ton of talented artists from our home province. Among others, this year the acts included, Las Estrellas de Vancouver – Vancouver’s only all-female mariachi band; Murfitt and Main; Petunia and the Vipers, and Viper Central.

Check out our photos below, as well as links for more information on these acts:

Photos: Stewart Johnstone


Las Estrellas de Vancouver

Murfitt and Main

Petunia and the Vipers

Viper Central

Jimmy “Duck” Holmes

CBC Outdoor Plaza – Vancouver

The CBC Outdoor Plaza was a mini blues fest this lunchtime with performances from three of the great bluesmen who are going to be playing at this weekend’s Vancouver Folk Music Festival.

The last of the Bentonia bluesmen, Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, owner of the oldest juke joint in Mississippi, the Blue Front Café, was joined on stage by fellow Mississippi resident Robert Connely Farr and Minnesota’s Mike Munson.

Over the course of an hour the trio gave a small sample of what fans of the festival can expect to see over the weekend.

If you want to catch them on the weekend the current times are as follows:

Jimmy “Duck” Holmes – Friday 4pm Stage 4; Saturday 11:10am Stage 5; Sunday 10:15am Stage 4.

Robert Connely Farr – Sunday 10:15am Stage 4.

Mike Munson – Sunday 12:30pm Stage 1.

Photos: Stewart Johnstone


the modern day warriors


Fox Cabaret – Vancouver

The Modern Day Warriors are a talented Vancouver based four piece with a huge passion for playing and performing the music Canadian legends RUSH.  The band comprises Eliot Doyle on drums, and Bradan DeCicco on guitars, Tahnee Juryn on vocals and keyboards, and Karl Wallace-Deering on Bass.

The band have been steadily building a local following since playing the Roxy earlier in the year, when they showcased the whole of Moving Pictures, in addition to a number of other Rush classics

Tonight, the band put on their most ambitious show to date. The Untold Story of Tom.  Using one of Rush’s most successful characters as a background (Tom Sawyer), the show was a creative and engaging way to present a broad selection of songs from the Rush back catalog. 

The performance played out like a prog-rock album of the 70’s with the show broken into books and chapters, each outlining a step on our hero, Tom’s journey to find purpose and happiness. The use of a narrator, with a voice very much like the “Attention all planets of the solar federation” voice in 2112, was a nice touch, to help thread the story together.

The show opened with Working Man and Subdivisions, helping to define our protagonist as a regular guy living a somewhat meaningless life in the suburbs, before setting out on his quest, in, as any Rush would know, a Red Barchetta.

These opening songs were a fantastic showcase of the individual talents of the band, as well as how tightly they play together as a unit. Rush songs are not your standard fare of vocals and lead guitar, backed by drums and bass. In many cases, the bass or drums will be the key component of a song that sets the tone. TMDW certainly take this to heart, and there were certainly no passengers with each member of the group taking the lead and excelling when the songs called for it.

The set covered most of Rush’s 40-year history, with tracks ranging from 1974’s Fly By Night, from the album of the same name, to more modern offerings like Roll the Bones.  Some highlights of the night included the haunting Camera Eye, and Xanadu, as well as Juryn’s soaring vocals on Anthem.

Given the theme of the night, it is no surprise that the band closed out with perennial Rush favourites Tom Sawyer, and some inevitable audience participation on Closer to the Heart.

If you are missing your Rush fix since the band stopped touring, and you want to revel in nostalgia, with a band that clearly loves the music as much as you do, then keep an eye out for The Modern Day Warriors. As many happy fans at the Fox Cabaret will attest, this is probably as close as you are going to get to the real thing. This was the perfect start to the Canada Day weekend.

Modern Day Warriors Website

Photos: Stewart Johnstone