Josh Greschner, Staff Reporter / Battlefords News-Optimist
SEPTEMBER 7, 2018 09:46 AM
Tickets are available for a new Dekker Centre season, and like every year it promises to bring variety to the Battlefords. The Claire Lynch Band is the first act in the main stage season, whom Dekker Centre General Manager Kali Weber calls a “seasoned musician and an excellent person to kick off the season with.” Lynch has sung backup and duets with Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Patty Loveless, and the Claire Lynch Band is known for its bluegrass music. The Claire Lynch Band takes the stage Friday, Sept. 28.
Heather Rankin is the next main stage performer on Friday, Oct. 12. Rankin, a member of the Rankin family, is performing a combination of the songs she did with the family and original material by her and others. The Rankin Family’s Celtic-inspired music was a folk festival mainstay whose family members branched off to their own careers, although they still collaborate.
Whitehorse gallops into town six days later on Oct. 18, bringing their folk/roots/rock blend. The two faces of the band, Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland, who hail from Hamilton, Ont., established themselves as singer/songwriters before joining together. The couple is married.
Weber said she’s excited for Whitehorse and expects it to “bring in a younger crowd.” There is already interest in the show, Weber said, “and could be an easy sell and a fun night out.”
Former general manager Moe McGuinty had a finger on the pulse of Maple Blues Award winners, and three are performing this year.
David Vest and Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne perform Friday, Nov. 16 and Saskatchewan’s own Suzie Vinnick (who has won 10 Maple Blues Awards) is coming Feb. 23 in the new year. Blues piano maestros Vest and Wayne promise a boogie-woogie night along with some words about their years of experience.
Vinnick is currently on a tour hitting many places in Ontario featuring dates in big cities (Toronto, Hamilton) along with shows in smaller areas. She has been described as one of the most important artists on the Canadian roots and blues scene.
Tribute shows this year include Forever Country, “a rowdy, rocking musical tribute to Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, Shania Twain and Alan Jackson” on Oct. 26, and The Legend of George Jones featuring Duane Steele on Nov. 22.
The time around Christmas and New Year’s features spectacles such as Candlelight Processional on Nov. 24 and 25, the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra’s The Nutcracker Meets Duke Ellington, and the U of S Music Faculty Orchestra on Jan. 18.
Valentine’s Day will bring in someone special, as Matt Dusk will make everyone fall in love again. The Toronto-based Dusk has made a living performing vocal jazz music and has recorded live in Las Vegas.
Two acts promise female-led acoustic music from out east. Esteemed fiddler/dancer/vocalist April Verch is performing Friday, Jan. 25 and Newfoundland’s the Ennis Sisters perform the evening before St. Patrick’s Day.
Springtime will see more performers whose music is at the intersection between roots, rock and pop. William Prince, who hails from Peguis First Nation, Man. was the Aboriginal Artist of the Year at the 2016 Western Canadian Music Awards. According to his biography, Prince is inspired by Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson.
Prince has a notably deep voice and Weber said she’s excited to see him perform. Prince is sharing the date with Bebe Buckskin.
Joey Landreth will also be back this year. Landreth performed with the group the Landreth Brothers last year at the Dekker Centre.
Michael Buble collaborator Diane Lines is performing in May, bringing her brand of swing, boogie and jump blues to North Battleford after stints in Switzerland, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and good ol’ Las Vegas.
Special to this year is the Woman of Note series. Patrons can attend six shows featuring female leads for a total of $200. The package includes performances by Lynch, Rankin, Verch, Vinnick, the Ennis Sisters and Diane Lines.
Weber also said she’d like to expand some of the Dekker Centre’s performance offerings, including using Lawrence Hall as a space for cabaret style dance parties. Another distinctive feature of the Dekker Centre that could be taken advantage of, Weber said, is the large lobby, which could be used for decoration during Christmas.
Regarding outgoing manager McGuinty, Weber said he’s “done a very good job” bringing a diversity of music to North Battleford.