Old-time music beats the February Blues

February 24 – Folkus presents Sussex with s/g Ali McCormick

by Sandy Irvin

Music evolves over time. And much as I enjoy listening to the latest thing with my kid in the car, sometimes going back in time is a great pleasure too.

For February, Folkus is taking you back in time — way back. Back before blues and country had picked separate roads. Old-timey times, when music was just what people played, and the latest hits came from a place called Tin Pan Alley. When recordings were made without amps and turning up the volume meant playing it harder.

For Sussex, this time is a rich source of inspiration. Drawing on those Tin Pan Alley sounds, and also on the sounds of Django Reinhardt, old folk songs, and Delta Blues, they have created an exciting, vibrant, sound. We think they’ll be a great fit at the Almonte Old Town hall, which really lends itself to this kind of music.

Sussex is a band put together by Montreal bluesman Rob Lutes (2 Maple Blues award nominations this year) and his childhood buddy, vibraphonist Michael Emmenau. Rob and Michael played together 25 or so years ago as high school students in New Brunswick and began collaborating again in Montreal around 2014. They will be joined on our stage by Ivanhoe Jolicoeur (trumpet/flugelhorn), Bruno Lamarche (clarinet/sax), and Mark Nelson (drums). It is delightful to hear experienced players, at the top of their musical game, working together and having fun.

Parade Day, the first Sussex album, includes five songs written or co-written by Rob, one by Michael, and five of their songwriting collaborations. They also include a charming cover of Randy Newman’s “Dayton, Ohio – 1903.”

The Lioness of Lanark, Ali McCormick, will be opening for Sussex. She grew up in Lanark County, and has been singing ever since she can remember. McCormick has been honing her skills the last few years with a lot of hard touring — and it shows. She’ll be landing on our stage after a trip to Folk Alliance International, the world’s biggest folk music conference. We are so pleased to welcome Ali to our stage.

As always, Folkus shows happen at the Almonte Old Town Hall, in the fabulous Ron Caron Auditorium. Our doors open at 7:30 pm and seating is first-come, first-served. Folkus offers a cash bar with local beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages.(Please drink responsibly.)

Details and tickets at www.folkusalmonte.com; you can find hard-copy tickets at Mill Street Books. Questions? <hello@folkusalmonte.com>.