Wednesday, 27 January 2016 13:43

John Wort Hannam’s Songs for Ken concert brings artists together

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After a successful first-time event last year, not only did Fort Macleod singer-songwriter John Wort Hannam decide to hold an ALS fundraiser again in memory of a late friend, he also expanded the event to a second concert in Calgary.

Called Songs for Ken, the fundraising concert featuring Wort Hannam and four other Alberta artists, takes place at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
“It seemed logical since I grew up in Calgary and Ken’s family is all in Calgary to do an event there as well,” says Wort Hannam.
Wort Hannam’s life-long friend Ken Rouleau died from ALS in April 2012. In memory of Rouleau, Wort Hannam held a fundraising concert in Fort Macleod in 2015. He ended up raising just over $10,000 for ALS.
“Last year, for some reason I had ten grand in my head and I stressed over it right up until the concert,” says Wort Hannam.
When all was said and done, he realized that even if only $2,000 had been raised, it would still be $2,000 more than the ALS Society of Alberta had before the concert was held.
“I’m a lot more Zen with it this year,” he adds. “Whatever we make every year, it’s more than the ALS (Society of Alberta) had before.”
Wort Hannam is a well-known roots musician and singer-songwriter, having released five albums, as well as earning a Juno nomination for Best Traditional/Roots album and a Canadian Folk Music Award for Album of the Year.
Artists joining Wort Hannam on stage for the Songs for Ken concerts will be Maria Dunn, who is also a Juno-nominated songwriter. She is a guitar and accordion player who produces music that blends Celtic folk with bluegrass and country influences.
Dave McCann has produced five albums and often tours with his band The Firehearts, playing roots, rock and blues tunes. Performer Amy Bishop is known for delivering soulful versions of ballads and folk-based acoustic numbers, along with some rock and roll road songs.
John Rutherford is a guitarist, vocalist, ukulele player, songwriter and producer and has a solo album with a roots/blues/folk/rock sound.
In addition to the music, visual artist Randall Wiebe, who hails from Rosebud, Alta., will be on hand lending his talents to the cause.
One of the many great components of this fundraising concert is that the artists only perform for 15 minutes each and they don’t bring a full band with them.
“(The songs) are presented in the spirit in which they were written,” points out Wort Hannam. “Most of these artists are sitting at a table in their homes with just a guitar and writing. They will be stripped down, sort of raw versions (of their music).”
For Wort Hannam, the concert becomes a personal thing and a chance for him to honour and remember his friend.
“To say Ken was a great friend is an understatement. We met when we were eight years old and were inseparable growing up,” he adds. “Ken was a compassionate, smart, thoughtful and loving person and he was a huge influence on the person I strive to be.
“I’m keeping the memory of my friend alive once a year.”
Last year, the Fort Macleod concert did sell out, so those interested in attending should get their tickets as soon as possible. Those tickets are $25 and available online at or by phoning 403-553-4404 (toll-free at 1-800-540-9229).
The Calgary Songs for Ken concert will take place Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Southwood United Church (10690 Elbow Drive S.W.) Tickets are also $25. They can be purchased at Saks Music (21, 11440 Braeside Dr. S.W. in Calgary) or online at:

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

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