Acoustic Love
soul shine

Allen Dobb Horses and Hills

Released: 1998

Label: Resource Records/Ragged Pup
Producers: Daniel Ross and Allen Dobb

Horses and Hills, Allen Dobb's debut solo CD, takes us into a rich musical heartland, spanning folk, country/rock and soul. From the first raw, swollen bars of "Mirage", to the liberating pop refrain of "Magnolia", Dobb’s textured and expressive voice carries the listener over an earthy, but varied musical terrain. The acoustic guitar based arrangements are salted with mandolin, banjo, electric slide guitar, piano and haunting percussion.

These songs reveal Dobb’s highly detailed and often poetic sensibility: "Horses are standing all bunched in the corner/Steam riding their backs like ghosts in the morning," he sings in the moving "Forty-Five Years". Horses and Hills is a landscape of broken farms, wild west shows, travelling salesmen and backwater spirits. These are honest songs about living, loving and leaving.

The Kingston Whig Standard's Greg Burliuk wrote, "His exceptional songwriting skills make Dobb's CD, Horses and Hills extraordinary." The Georgia Straight's Tony Montague wrote, "Dobb skirts deftly past the temptation of cliché to create a highly individual album."

Amoral Minority
Swordfish Cafe







This Rock Band has a 10 year history and evolved into 3 bands, comprising of some of Nanaimo's best musicians.

Andrew Oye
& The Wankin' Family

Andrew Schmidt Movin' On

Ann Mortifee Serenade At The Doorway







Ann Mortifee's music of exquisite beauty for those wrestling with issues of life and death, as well as anyone in a profound life transition.

The songs on this CD/tape, were created to be a loving support for anyone facing a major transition in life, whether it be the death of a loved one, the death of self, the death of a relationship, a dream, or a way of being. Serenade At The Doorway takes us on a journey that supports us in accepting the emotions that we experience as human beings and at the same time reminds us of the larger vision that brings wisdom, comfort and inspiration. The beauty of Ann Mortifee's voice, coupled with the passion and poetry of her music and words makes this a rare and uplifting recording.

Serenade At The Doorway is being widely appreciated as a powerful resource in the area of hospice care. Hospice and medical personnel have found that the music opens up a depth and poignancy of communication when it is shared by a grieving family or a family dealing with the life-threatening illness of one of its members.

The tape/CD proceeds as a dialogue, with songs alternating between the voice of the personal self, dealing with matters of loss and mortality, and a voice calling to the eternal wisdom that dwells in each of us. This ageless voice provides guidance for working through the core issues stirred by the fact that even though we are mortal, we love, and are wounded. Healing is possible, and occurs, when we are able to see and understand our crises from a larger context.

"We are forever at a doorway, going through endings and beginnings, always being born or dying to a relationship, a dream, a way of being, or to life itself. Those who have gone before us through the doorway must yearn to send word to those of us who linger awhile." Ann Mortifee

Becky Bernson Sagebrush and Lilies

When Becky Bernson died of cancer in February of 2000, the community and the world lost a great musician and creative spirit. Becky wrote songs that celebrated the natural world and our relationship with it, and with each other.

Becky's music is being preserved in "Ramblin' Woman", a book that includes all her songs and fiddle music. All this music will also be in a soon-to-be-released CD, which was recorded March 4, 2001 at the Victoria Folk Music Society Coffeehouse.

Songs included in both the songbook and CD are: Sagebrush and Lilies, Tree-Planting Song, Save a Piece of the World for Me, Willamette River Song, Munchkie Rag, Give Yourself Love, Reign of Love, Ramblin' Woman (Backpacking Shanty), Moss on the Ground, This Wild Land, Environmentalist's Shanty, Everything Gonna Be OK, Cowichan River Song, Lady of Light, Violet Jean Waltz, Song For Gordon, and Gaia's Grace.

Becky's original fiddle tunes included are: Denis Donnelly's Favourite, Gene's Rocky Mountain Hornpipe, Buttle Lake Paddle, Over the Glacier, The High Rocky Peaks, Genna's Jig, Wolf Island Waltz, Winter's Turning, and Dance of the Big Trees.

Bremen Town Musicians
The Tales Thus Far

very rare







The Bremen Town Musicians are:
Steve Parton - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Kathy Stacey - Cello, Vocals
Ron Wills - Bass Guitar
Aaron Grant - Drums, Vocals

article by Barry Newman-Cosmic Debris Feb 1999

Nanaimo was treated to a wonderful (and historically-unique) concert, which melded original "celtic folk/rock" with the formidable impact and lush embellishments of a fifty-piece symphonic orchestra.

The first set... a blend of traditional Irish and Celtic tunes and works by Hardiman, Arture Lange and Malcolm Arnold... was performed by The Vancouver Island Symphony.

Conductor & Artistic Director Marlin Wolfe has previously directed the Calgary Philharmonic, the Edmonton Symphony, CBC Vancouver & Canadian Chamber Orchestras, the Edmonton Chamber Players Orchestra and the Alberta Pops Orchestra. Wolfe also teaches violin at the Nanaimo Conservatory.

It was Wolfe's idea, after hearing The Bremen Town Musicians perform on Gabriola Island, to approach the band with regard to being guest artists for the Symphony's Pops series, which have recently included Valdy, Gary Fjellgaard, Gary Guthman and P.J. Perry. It took Steve Parton almost six months to complete the score.

Included among the symphony's 50 musicians were percussionist Richard Lang (from Victoria's Perils of Pauline), Nanaimo's standup bassist John Forrest and trumpeter Bryn Badel (a familiar player in Victoria's jazz scene).

The second half of the concert featured The Bremen Town Musicians performing their original material with the Symphony.
Ron Wills (electric bass) and drummer Vince Ditrich (from Spirit of The West) opened with Bremen Town's "Overture". Kathy Stacey, who shares much of the vocals was seated right up front, with her cello and a mic headset.

Shortly into the fanfare, guitarist / vocalist & composer Steve Parton dashed up onto the stage with his acoustic guitar... and big hair... like a latter-day Jethro Tull. Taking a moment to catch his breath at the end of the overture, Parton welcomed the audience, adding, "I'll get a little chatty later in the show!"

This was followed by "If I Did" and "The Man and His Hands" with six young dancers from Pacific Youth Ballet's Harbour Dancentre weaving their way around and with Steve while he performed.

Vince's drum roll opened for Kathy Stacey's "Jordan's Fall"... with climbing tempo changes inspired by her young son's misadventures.

"The Smoke" included some lush orchestral background (Parton wrote all the scores, with the exception of "Drowsy Maggie" by Stacey).

Opening with Stacey's plucking on her cello strings, the intense "Thugs and Perpetrators" brought back memories of "Conquistador", as performed by Procol Harum and The Edmonton Symphony back in the '70s (I've since learned that Marlin Wolfe was that show's artistic director and that Delores Vann (concertmaster / principle 1st violinist) performed with the Edmonton Symphony at the Procol Harum recording).

The fabulous concert ended all too soon with an encore, "Answer The Silence", introduced by a whispering Parton.

Overall, the production was a refreshing foray into the magic of fusion and an generation-bridging blend of tradition with innovation. Hats off to Bremen Town, The Symphony and the show's sponsor, Nanaimo Credit Union!

A lot of behind-the-scenes input and support from the huge talent pool in and around the Hub City contributed to the success of this remarkable production. This included Jim Kent for the house sound - an awesome job which utilized 40 microphones; and recording by Scott Littlejohn from Bastion City (Parton is hoping to eventually produce a CD of the concert).

The main players would have to be guitarist / singer / composer extraordinaire Steve Parton, who maintained a hands-on approach to many aspects of the production; and the vibrant Kathy Stacey, whose cello work, vocal harmonies and composition skills so nicely complimented Parton's performance.

Steve, originally from Montreal, has studied guitar with Don Ross.

Kathy studied cello at the Royal College of Music and performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. She has performed in concerts with John Williams and Placido Domingo and for Prince Charles & Princess Diana. Kathy is also the assistant principle cellist with the Vancouver Island Symphony.

(According to Salt Spring's bluegrass band, The Barley Brothers, "Kathy is the only classically-trained musician we know who can rock without a gun held to her head"...!!)

Together, Steve and Kathy also perform as a duo called Ten Strings & A Bow (recently performing for Bill Gates' birthday party).

The Bremen Town Musicians have performed with Valdy, Spirit Of The West, The Irish Descendants, The Barra MacNeills, Leo Kottke, Ken Hamm, Don Ross, Bob Snider, Paul Hyde and Robbie Steininger, The McDades, The Mahones, Thomas Handy Trio, Hugh Fraser and Joe Charron.

Their next shows will be at Legends on Mar 17 and at The Queens on Mar 25 (with Ostera opening). The band is currently negotiating with various orchestras (some as far east as New York) to do a North American tour.

Barry Newman-Cosmic Debris Feb 1999

Brent and Woofy Homemade Re-Made

Brent's first CD featuring 13 songs. 13 original songs about growing, rainy days, flying unicorns and more! Plus 'Thank You Mr. D' a tribute to Mr. Dressup.

Cathy Miller Living For The Stars

acoustic swing with a whole lot of fun!