The Vernon Jazz Club will be heading to the dog house as Poppa Dawg takes over the stage Saturday night.
This gritty band will be playing slinky grooves of New Orleans to the down and dirty grunge tunes of Chicago and all points in-between including Mannish Boy (Muddy Waters), Big Legged Woman (Freddie King), and Hit the Road Jack (Ray Charles).
Rick “Poppa Dawg” Halisheff’s guitar and vocals will be joined by Brian “Skip” Maguire on drums and vocals and Dwight Nelson on bass.
Halisheff touts his influences as extremely varied from Dr. John and Ray Charles to Freddie King and Howlin’ Wolf.
He has toured extensively throughout Western and Northern Canada with stints in La Paz, Mexico at The City of Peace Blues Festival and was recently a semi-finalist in the 29th International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
It was because of this performance that he was recommended by Powder Blues’ own Tom Lavin for a slot at the 2013 Calgary International Blues Festival, where he played before guitarist Jimmie Vaughan.
Halisheff has shared the stage as a side man with such artists as Sonny Rhodes, Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne and Harpdog Brown and as an opener for many years for John Mayall, Colin James, Jeff Healey, and Powder Blues.
When asked what initially drew him in to the world of blues and what ultimately keeps him there he replied: “A lifelong, although unknowing, love of the music.”
“I have played all kinds of stuff in my career such as punk, new wave, country, rock, etc. but the one form of music that speaks to my sense of expression has always been the blues, R&B and soul. This business can be real exasperating at times as most of us do everything on our own but the joy far exceeds the tasks even though 90 per cent of what you do is off the stage. (I) wouldn’t have it any other way.”
His love for the blues comes through, loud and clear.
Craig Ruskey from MN Blues says, “Halisheff’s voice is strong, with a whiskey-soaked edge, and as a songwriter, he tackles interesting subjects with a humorous, tongue-in-cheek style, while his guitar work is focused and to-the-point.”
Canadian blues guitarist, JW Jones exclaims, “Power, style, tone, feel, and energy are the ingredients that make Poppa Dawg a force to be reckoned with.”
Halisheff has released four critically acclaimed albums both with his former band Dogskin Suit and as Poppa Dawg. The latest CD, What You Got, is still gaining airplay around the world and has been featured on Saturday Night Blues on CBC, Galaxie and throughout the U.S. and Europe.
One of Halisheff’s tracks, Deepest Shade of Blue, is the title and story line of a local short musical film by Gary Potzkai.
Poppa Dawg has now teamed up with Mario Brox and Concept Entertainment and is gearing up to for another busy year with Europe and points south on the horizon.
Maguire has been playing with Poppa Dawg and his band Dogskin Suit for almost 16 years. He has shared the stage with artists such as James Cotton, John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells.
Born and raised in rural Saskatchewan, music has always been an interest for Nelson who played his first professional gig at 15. He is a founding member of the Regina Delta Blues Association, which is known for the Mid-Winter Blues Festival.
Poppa Dawg takes the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31st St.) this Saturday at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the Bean Scene,