The McDades

Punching through the walls of tradition, The McDades’ Celtic-Rooted music fuses the spontaneity of jazz improvisation with infectious global rhythms. The group’s award-winning, cutting edge sound is the perfect complement to their fiery performances.

At the heart of the group are siblings Shannon, Solon & Jeremiah who grew up playing Canadian folk music alongside their parents and musicians from around the world. It was a unique upbringing that led to a love and respect of music from every part of our world. Rounding out the band are former Mad Pudding guitarist Andy Hillhouse and percussionist Eric Breton. Their ground-breaking compositions and innovative arrangements are characterized by stunning virtuosity and near-telepathic interaction on stage. Combining original tunes and unique interpretations of traditional songs, their performances feature energetic instrumentals and moving vocals performed in both English and French.

The McDades are winners of a Juno Award for Best Roots Album (Group) for the album Bloom, two Canadian Folk Music Awards (World Group of the Year and Instrumental of the Year). Their latest album “The Empress” continues to highlight the group’s “one-of-a-kind” sound and their irresistible grooves.


Harry Manx

“Mysticssippi” blues man Harry Manx has been called an “essential link” between the music of East and West, creating musical short stories that wed the tradition of the Blues with the depth of classical Indian ragas. He has created a unique sound that is hard to forget and deliciously addictive to listen to. Harry forged his distinctive style by studying at the feet of the masters, first as a sound man in the blues clubs of Toronto during his formative years and then under a rigorous tutelage with Vishwa Mohan Bhatt in India. Bhatt is the inventor of the 20-stringed Mohan Veena, which has become Harry’s signature instrument. Harry played slide guitar for many years before meeting Bhatt in Rajasthan, in fact he had been living in another part of India for many years already, but he started at the beginning under Bhatt’s tutelage, unlearning most of what he knew about playing a slide instrument. He learned Eastern scales and eventually ragas, deceptively complex and regimented musical patterns that form the basis of Indian composition. Learning the voicings of Indian music is a subtle art that comes with time. Harry spent most of twelve years in India learning that. “Indian music moves a person inward,” he explains, “it’s traditionally used in religious ceremonies and meditations because it puts you into this whole other place (now, here). But western music has the ability to move you outward, into celebration and dance. There are some ragas that sound bluesy and there are ways to bend strings while playing blues that sound Indian. I may be forcing the relationship between the two musical cultures, but I keep thinking they were made for each other.”

A prolific artist, Manx has released over a dozen albums, the two latest being Faith Lift which finds him in settings with a string quartet and a duo album (Hell Bound for Heaven) with harp master, singer and multi-instrumentalist Steve Marriner, of MonkeyJunk. He has received 7 Maples Blues Awards, 6 Juno nominations, a Canadian Folk Music Award and CBC Radio’s Great Canadian Blues Award.

Joe Craven

Joe Craven is a Freestyle folk, world and roots music multi-instrumentalist, singer and award-winning educator. He plays fiddle, mandolin, ukulele, tres, cavaquinio, balalaika, as well as a world of percussion. Craven is a well-known sight at acoustic music festivals and, for many years, was violinist and percussionist for the Jerry Garcia/David Grisman Band and the David Grisman Quintet, and he recorded extensively with both groups.

Joe was also a member of the acoustic super-group Psychograss with other Grisman alumni, Todd Phillips, Darol Anger and Mike Marshall. He’s played and recorded with many other greats including, Stephane Grappelli, Alison Brown, Rob Ickes and David Lindley and his discography includes such critically acclaimed titles as Camptown, Django Latino and The Garcia Songbook which has been called, “the best Grateful Dead / Garcia cover album yet.”

David Gans

David Gans: is a musician, songwriter and journalist. He is a guitarist known for incisive, literate song-writing. He is also noted for his music loop work, often creating spontaneous compositions in performance. David has also co-written songs with Robert Hunter, Peter Rowan and Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth, while members of RatDog, Phil Lesh & Friends, as well as David Grisman, and Darol Anger have played on David’s solo albums. He is the co-author and author of many books including Playing in the Band: An Oral and Visual Portrait of the Grateful Dead, and Conversations With The Dead. He’s host of the weekly syndicated radio show The Grateful Dead Hour and co-hosts Sirius XM’s Tales from the Golden Road, a call-in show about the Grateful Dead.

David’s been involved in many facets of Dead compilations and re-issues, too many to name here, but he was one of the producers of the brilliant So Many Roads (1965-1995) Grateful Dead box set and the Jerry Garcia box, All Good Things.

Gary Vogensen

The 60s were exciting times musically in the San Francisco Bay Area at the celebrated Fillmore Auditorium, Avalon Ballroom, and Keystone Corner. Gary Vogensen had front row access to it all. Learning to play guitar and he began hanging out at rehearsal halls where he rubbed shoulders with the musicians of the time. “There was so much excitement around live music at that time… and so many talented musicians around the Bay Area… it was infectious.” Vogensen met guitarist Mike Bloomfield at a jam session and the legend became Gary’s mentor which led to gigs, recording sessions with Elvin Bishop, Mark Naftalin, Nick Gravenites, Norton Buffalo, and Maria Muldaur.

Forty years on Gary has toured the world and/or recorded with the likes of Maria Muldaur, Commander Cody, Boz Scaggs, Steve Miller, Etta James, Rick Danko, and Carlene Carter. For Dead Ends Live, Gary brings all this experience to our event, plus his long run with the John Dawson-fronted New Riders of the Purple Sage with whom he recorded two terrific albums, Live In Japan and Midnight Moonlight. Gary last appeared in Edmonton at the Blues Festival with Angela Strehli.

Mark Hummel

Mark Hummel started playing harmonica in 1970 and is considered one of the premier blues players of his generation. He’s also released thirty plus recordings since 1985, including Blowout, started in 1991 and has featured a number of major legends including John Mayall, Charlie Musselwhite, and James Cotton.

Mark has been playing Edmonton regularly since 1987 and his most recent appearances have been at the Edmonton Blues Festival. What Edmonton audiences may not know, is that Mark, who has long called the Bay Area home, is a big fan of the San Fran psychedelic sixties scene and of course the great blues that found a home at the Fillmore auditorium. Mark and San Francisco guitarist Gary Vogensen, and company will be rocking the Chateau Ballroom during Dead Ends Live.

Farhad Khosravi & Daniel Stadnicki

The earliest version of the santur dates back to as far as Babylonian stone carvings (669 B.C.) Now, audiences have the opportunity to hear the evocative sound of this ancient Persian instrument performed in contemporary style that traverses time. The long resonating tones of Farhad Khosravi’s santur weave naturally with the earthy sounds of Daniel Stadnicki’s percussion, creating a seamless musical journey. Their second collaborative album, Mosàfer, was released in August 2020 to critical acclaim.

Farhad and Daniel have performed in multiple venues and festivals in Edmonton including Royal Alberta Museum, Winspear Centre, Alberta Culture Days, Mile Zero Dance, and the Yardbird Suite.

Front Porch Roots Revue

Up On Cripple Creek, “The Songbook of The Band”: this all-star troupe has been popping up at festivals, theatres and cabarets since 2012 and is a heartfelt tribute to the one of the greatest and most influential ensembles of the twentieth century. Fans of The Band will hear tunes from Cahoots, Stage Fright, Music From Big Pink, Jericho, The Band, and Moondog Matinee, plus material from Levon Helm solo albums. The Calgary Herald named Up On Cripple Creek “one of the best 15 shows of 2012”, and Alison Brock, of CKUA’s Wide Cut Country said, “it’s as if the boys in Front Porch are channeling The Band, it’s an incredible night”.

Up On Cripple Creek has played numerous festivals and concert halls including The Vancouver Island Music Festival, Capital Theatre in Nelson, Blue Frog Studios in White Rock, the Butchart Gardens Concert Series, North Country Fair, Salmon Arm Roots & Blues, Wild Mountain Music Festival, Festival Place, and Big Valley Jamboree.

Up On Cripple Creek boasts five strong singers, led by Calgary’s J.R. Shore and Doug Andrew from Vancouver’s Circus In Flames. Rounding out the group are harmonica player “Crawdad” Cantera, bassist Ron Rault, drummer Thom Moon, keyboard ace Garth Kennedy, and the great Gord Matthews on guitars.

Mbira Renaissance Band

The Mbira Renaissance Band will have any audience on its feet and dancing! Based in Edmonton, this band delivers an afro-fusion sound inspired by artists like Thomas Mapfumo, Andy Brown and Bhundu Boys. The music pays homage to the rich, ancient, musical genre of mbira music which has its roots in Zimbabwe. The members make up an eclectic group: drawing on their musical backgrounds in jazz, rock, traditional Zimbabwean music and reggae.

James Stuart, Mbira’s bass player, feels that, “there’s a variety of musical backgrounds both stylistically and as far as levels of formal training with the group. That coupled with how well we all get along and how we’re open to collaboration results in, I think, something pretty unique that is super fun!”

Mbira has played major dates in the B.C. interior for Kicking Horse Culture in Golden, the Blind Bay concert series, the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival and in our backyard, the North Country Fair, the Works Festival and major U of A events.


Chris Brzezicki

Chris Brzezicki
This superb bass player has built a solid reputation for being as reliable and steady as they come. His resume includes shows backing respected artists like Pinetop Perkins, Rick Holmstrom, Eddie Shaw, Billy Flynn and Teeny Tucker to name a few. He toured Europe and Canada with IBC Champion Sean Carney and is heard on Carney’s “Live Blues On Whyte” album, and he also spent years on the road with Little Mike and the Tornadoes. But, he’s a hometown hero and heard frequently working with Jimmy and the Sleepers and as a member of Kat Danser’s Tall Tales. Chris will be working with Gary Vogensen and Mark Hummel during Dead Ends Live.

Maddie Storvold

Maddie has dubbed her music as “tender flower folk –with a splash of piss and vinegar.” A stunning vocalist, strong songwriter, captivating performer Maddie Storvald also comes to Dead Ends Live with a twinkle in her eye and sense of humour that makes her a complete performer and unique artist. To quote her bio, “Storvold is quickly finding her sure-footing in the shifting landscape at the intersection of Singer-Songwriter and Psych-Folk. In 2019, she won CTV’s The Launch, receiving the opportunity to record the ballad, “Don’t Say You Love Me”, written and produced by Bryan Adams. The single shot to #1 on the country charts in less than 3 hours, and peaked at #3 on the overall charts. Her tenure on The Launch, and the impact of the single only supplemented her already-acclaimed catalogue of mature songs and dedicated fanbase in Western Canada.

Having a fascination with site-specific performance, Storvold has carved out a place for herself playing unique venues, including a 4-storey planetarium CD release, a mountain cave requiring the audience to spelunk into the show, a trampoline park, and a streetcar perched on a bridge above the North Saskatchewan River. She has also showcased her songcraft in more conventional venues, such as the Edmonton Folk Fest, Canmore Folk Fest, Tiny Lights, Bear Creek Folk Fest, North Country Fair, and Stampede City Sessions.”

Maddie will be emcee at MacDougall United Church on opening night, and she’ll be performing some originals and a Bob Weir tune or two with the McDeads on Saturday night in the same venue, before slipping into the finale jam in the Chateau Ballroom.

“Seasoned wit and sweetly forlorn wisdom, just sugar-coated enough to be addictive… Storvold’s songs live wonderfully in the messes, smells and snapshots of a troubadour’s tour brought to life for three or four honest minutes.”

Dave Babcock

Dave Babcock:
This saxophonist and vocalist has been an integral part of our scene for a few decades now. How many of us have caught Dave fronting his own outfits like The Nightkeepers or the Jump Orchestra or playing the consummate sideman as a long time member of the Edmonton Folk Fest House Band. He was also a member of the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival for the four years preceding the pandemic. His resume is second to none in this part of the world, period.

Throughout his long association with Edmonton roots label Stony Plain Records Dave has recorded with Long John Baldry, Amos Garrett, Jay McShann, Maria Muldaur, Duke Robillard, The Rockin’ Highliners, and Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne.

As a member of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival House Band for the past 25 years, Dave has backed up legendary artists like Solomon Burke, Floyd Dixon, Rosco Gordon, Wanda Jackson, Taj Mahal and Jimmy Witherspoon, as well as contemporary artists Mike Farris & The Roseland Rhythm Revue, Frazey Ford and Nick Waterhouse. We could go on but the Dead Ends Live team is pleased that Dave will be bringing his A game to the Chateau Lacombe Ballroom for some inspired jamming on Saturday night.

Bill Hobson, Dennis Meneely,
Barrie Nighswander & Al Brant

These four long time members of Edmonton-based roots-rock and jam band Tacoy Ryde have been at the foundation of the Edmonton scene for decades. In early incarnations the band dove into material from the likes of The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, the Marshall Tucker Band and a decade later these groove merchants were touring the country playing the A rooms and finding themselves on bills and tours with the reggae greats like Third World and Steel Pulse.

A strangely under-recorded unit, in all of the band’s many incarnations, these musicians will stir the pot with many of the other guests at Dead Ends Live, reminding us why the band ruled the club and dance hall scene in the days of The Hovel, The Sidetrack Café, The Ambassador, The Riv Rock Room, The Power Plant and Dinwoodie Lounge.