Anyone who has devoured those Baton Rouge baby-back ribs or Creole jambalaya at Bourbon Street Bar and Grill on a Thursday night have most likely heard the smokin’ sounds of guitarist Les Copeland.
A regular entertainer at the Vernon Prestige Hotel establishment, Copeland is as well known to these parts as Satchmo and Dr. John are to The Big Easy.
He’s been a regular fixture on Vernon’s music scene for the past 20 or so years, with bands such as The Red Hot Ramblers, the Les Copeland Blues Band, and playing with various other musicians around town.
Copeland has also worked with some of the greats, including Grammy award winning Delta blues legend David “Honeyboy” Edwards, whom he toured with before Edwards died at the age of 96 in 2011. Then there are the countless musicians he has brought to town including Edwards, Sonny Rhodes, Jimmy D. Lane, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, the list goes on.
And it’s here in Vernon where Copeland continues to play and promote talent. He’s back at it Friday, April 11 when he presents a conccert featuring upcoming local talent at the Prestige Inn Banquet Room.
“I think the public is really going to enjoy this show,” he said. “It’s an excellent lineup.”
The special evening of music will feature singer-songwriter Jodi Pederson, flamenco guitarist Lance Carr, up-and-coming band Naked Ghosts and The Les Copeland Band, with special guest emcee Kevin Rothwell.
“This will be the first live performance of my new tunes, so don’t miss this one… Show some love for your local arts, folks,” said Pederson in a Facebook message from Toronto, where she is recording the new songs for her sophomore album.
A familiar face on local stages since she was a teenager, Pederson recorded her first album with Toronto’s Lenz Entertainment after being discovered by music producer Jack Lenz. An award winning songwriter, she is now based in Vancouver where she continues to record and write music.
Winner of the CFG Malaga, Spain, 2012 International Guitar Competition, Carr is also a familiar face to anyone who has dined out at Vernon’s Los Huesos Mexican Restaurant, where he regularly performs.
A graduate of classical guitar from Trinity Western University and jazz from Capilano University, Carr has toured nationally with Juno winner Greg Sczebel as well as internationally in North America, Europe and Asia.
His recent CFG (Classical Flamenco Guitar) win in Malaga earned him a grant for a 1945 Marcelo Barbero Spanish Flamenco guitar, and lessons with professor Ruben Diaz, a pupil of late legendary Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucia.
Known for fusing modern beats and grooves, played on guitar like a drum, with traditional Spanish flamenco, Carr has just released his new CD, El Gitano, which is also his nickname and means gypsy, and says he will have copies available at the show.
Originally hailing from Vernon and Olds, Alta., Naked Ghosts features Jesse Hubner (drums), Garnet Aronyk (lead guitar), Sage Aronyk (bass/backup vocals), and Austin Boylan (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), who are all under the age of 19.
Describing their sound as “very soulful… psychedelic garage sounds brewed from the heart of the Okanagan,” Naked Ghosts have just released their debut EP and have been busy playing gigs around the Okanagan, including the last ever show at the Talkin’ Donkey coffee house this past weekend.
Tickets for a Special Evening of Music are $20 and can be purchased in advance at Bourbon Street Bar and Grill, the Cracked Pot Coffee Emporium and East Side Liquor Company or at the door. The show is open to all ages. Appetizers and a cash bar will be available.