The Empress Theatre is pleased to host a new collection of fantastic Canadian talent during its Centre Stage Concert Series this season. Comprised of six concerts running September through April, the Centre Stage Series offers a mix of musical styles and genres. 

“It may be cliché to say this series has a little bit of something for everyone, but it actually does,” says John Wort Hannam, programming director for the Empress. “There’s new, original music combined with some well-known classics. We’re showcasing blues, old-timey Americana, folk, noir-pop, ragtime/gypsy music, singer-songwriter, country, and good old early rock n' roll.” 

The Empress is making a few changes to the series this year. Two of the shows are established Alberta musicians paying homage to other great artists: Steve Pineo’s Elvis Show and Colleen Brown's Joni Mitchell Songbook. 

“These are not typical tribute shows where an imitator dresses up and learns to move and speak like the artist they admire,” explains John. “These shows are artists paying their respects to the vast catalogues of some of the greatest musicians in modern music.” 

Another unique change is the two double bill shows at the end of the series. “I wanted to introduce some great artists audiences may not yet know about, like Leaf Rapids and Blue Moon Marquee. Also, we’re excited to pair Braden Gates, an ‘up and comer’, with Russell DeCarle, who’s a veteran of the Canadian music scene. Presenting double bills allows us to feature eight artists in the series instead of six,” says John. 

Centre Stage 2019/2020 concert subscriptions are on sale until Aug. 16 and cost $180 for all six shows (only $30 per show). Individual show tickets are $37.50 and will become available Aug. 19, 2019. 

About the artists 

STEVE PINEO’S ELVIS SHOW featuring THE HEEBEE-JEEBEES, Sat. Sept. 21, 2019 

This show is a tribute to Elvis Presley’s ground-breaking and history-changing music. While Calgarian Steve Pineo is not an Elvis impersonator, he recreates Elvis’s best music from the 1950s through to the 1970s with his crack band laying down the groove and The Heebee-Jeebees doing note-perfect back-up vocals. 

THE SMALL GLORIES, Thurs. Oct 3, 2019 

This musical union between Winnipeg folk artists Cara Luft and JD Edwards has created international buzz. Their abilities as both strong lead and harmony singers, combined with their songwriting prowess and musical chops, contribute to the uniqueness of this partnership. The Small Glories perform country, blues, R&B with a healthy dose of good ol’ rock and roll, old-time, Americana and original tunes. 

SUZIE VINNICK, Sat, Nov. 2, 2019 

A one-woman blues powerhouse, Suzie Vinnick takes the stage and owns it, from footlights to rafters. This Saskatoon native has 10 Canadian Maple Blues wins and 22 nominations, along with three Juno nominations. While Vinnick can belt out a blues tune or croon a ballad with equal deftness, her guitar work is also effortlessly commanding. This lady is a force of nature with a six-string guitar. 

COLLEEN BROWN sings THE JONI MITCHELL SONGBOOK, Sat. Jan. 25, 2020 

Edmonton’s Colleen Brown and her band have been winning over audiences nationwide with her groove-filled and melodically mature pop-influenced songs. She is a musical chameleon, at home behind both her piano and guitar. Joni Mitchell remains one of Brown’s biggest influences, and she interprets Mitchell’s vast body of work with intensity and confidence. 

DOUBLE BILL: LEAF RAPIDS & BLUE MOON MARQUEE, Thurs, Feb. 20, 2020

Leaf Rapids is a Winnipeg-based duo performing their own brand of alternative-folk. A husband-and- wife team, Keri and Devin Latimer are multi-talented musicians who won a Juno for their alt-country band, Nathan. Keri’s sweet, pure vocals and crazy skills on the theremin combine with Devin’s wicked bass to create songs so perfect you’d swear they were traditional. 

Blue Moon Marquee is a gypsy blues band influenced by swing, jazz, old delta blues, and ragtime. Guitarist and vocalist A.W. Cardinal and multi-instrumentalist Jasmine Colette (vocals, bass, drums) write and perform original compositions that merge contemporary sounds with old Native soul. 

DOUBLE BILL: BRADEN GATES & RUSSELL DECARLE, Sat, April 18, 2020

Braden Gates is an Edmonton folk singer and masterful storyteller. His warm and slightly gravelly voice relays stories that are funny and heartbreaking, and full of wit and wisdom, folksy charm and sharp observations. Gates’ compositions are rooted in the present, even if he plays the fiddle and picks a guitar like an artist three times his age. 

Russell deCarle has launched a successful solo career after years as lead vocalist and bassist of the iconic country roots band, Prairie Oyster. His “Oyster years” were rewarded with six Juno Awards, more than a dozen Canadian Country Music Awards and enough gold and platinum records and number one singles to fill a living room wall. 

Centre Stage tickets and subscriptions are available by calling 403-553-4404 (toll-free at 1-800-540- 9229) or by dropping by the Box Office on Main Street. 

For more information about the series, please contact: 

John Wort Hannam, Programming Director, Empress Theatre 403-553-4404 or john@empresstheatre.ab.ca

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