Blackie and the Rodeo Kings coming to the Side

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings are the main attraction for a Nov. 26 performance at the Sid Williams Theatre.

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings are the main attraction for a Nov. 26 performance at the Sid Williams Theatre.

Stephen Fearing, Colin Linden and Tom Wilson have performed as Blackie for years, and developed a reputation as one of Canada’s premier roots music groups.

Their guest performers at the Sid promise to make this a special concert.

Matt Andersen

The best performing songwriters, the ones who sound like they really mean what they’re singing about, tend to come from areas known for hard times and hard work. Like say, Perth-Andover, a rural blue-collar village in New Brunswick — the home of this acclaimed singer-songwriter and guitarist, a favourite at Vancouver Island MusicFest.

“Perth-Andover’s a really small, family-oriented community,” says Matt. “Everybody knows everybody. My dad’s worked as a logger pretty much his whole life.

“But there’s always been music around: My grandfather played fiddle, my mom plays piano in church. Most of my cousins have had bands at some point. Whenever there’s a get-together there’s always about nine or 10 fiddles or guitars in the room.”

Matt’s musical household got him interested playing early on and by junior high he was in the school band, first on tuba and later on trumpet. He took up guitar at 14, and before long was playing classic rock and Top 40 covers in pub bands while he studied studio engineering. Things changed dramatically, however, when he discovered the blues.

“Through Eric Clapton I got into B.B. King, which led me to the Chicago electric stuff and eventually back to the Mississippi Delta guys,” says the 30-year-old singer. “What really hit me most about the blues was its total honesty.”

As Matt Andersen continues to do what he was born to do — play his exhilarating music — fans can look forward to many great nights, indeed.

Amy Helm

Her deep musical roots were enriched by a lifetime of exposure to the finest expressions of American musical tradition. Combined with her stunning vocal and other creative gifts, those roots have grown up to reveal a spellbinding artist who moves easily through a broad range of musical styles.

The daughter of music legend Levon Helm and singer/songwriter Libby Titus Fagen, Helm wields a powerful voice that can both stir and soothe, whether she is singing traditional gospel, blues standards or her own heartfelt compositions.

She is a gifted musician on both mandolin and drums, and has clearly absorbed the lessons of the many other accomplished artists with whom she has shared stages, including Mavis Staples, Emmylou Harris, and Joan Osborne as well as other uniquely American performers like Dr. John and Hubert Sumlin.

Her lengthy resume is highlighted by many years of singing and playing alongside her father, with whom she conceived, launched and perfected the Midnight Rambles, intimate performances held since 2004 at his home and studio in Woodstock, N.Y. The musical chemistry, affectionate humor and family pride that Amy shared on stage with her father helped shape the Midnight Ramble as it evolved into a musical event that still attracts fans and musicians from around the world.

She co-produced Levon Helm’s 2007 CD Dirt Farmer, which won the Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album, and she is prominently featured on the Levon Helm Band’s Electric Dirt and Ramble at the Ryman Grammy-winning albums.


Wil is a Calgarian at heart. Born in Quebec, his father moved his family to Calgary when Wil was 10. He immediately began playing guitar and earned his vocal chops by performing obscure covers in Calgary bars in the late ’90s.

Releasing his first album of original songs in 2003, Wil has since become one of Canada’s most gifted and hard-working touring songwriters. Four albums in and a fifth on the horizon, Wil does not plan on slowing down. His star continues to rise as a celebrated songwriter and composer.

Last spring, Wil was commissioned to write the theme song Ride for the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede. His song Roam became 2012’s flagship anthem for Travel Alberta’s wildly popular Remember to Breathe ad campaign.

Live, Wil is a force of nature. One review says, “The man works a guitar so hard, it inches toward igniting during a set. Oftentimes, it relents to the strain of such fierce play by popping off a string or two, as if to wave a white flag of surrender if only for a moment…” Wil is renowned for his famously intense and thrilling live performance, earning him a nod for WCMA’s “entertainer of the year.”

Wil loves to play live solo or with “just a drummer,” who’s Kevin Haughton of Cumberland these days.

Harlan Pepper

Formed in 2008, these four young men from Hamilton play music with an old soul. Channeling the ghosts of long-gone AM car radios and haunting the dusty aisles of small-town vinyl record bins, Jimmy Hayes (guitar, pedal steel, harmonica), Dan Edmonds (banjo, keys, vocals), Thompson Wilson (bass, vocals), and Marlon Nicolle (drums, vocals) are barely out of high school.

Recorded at Hamilton’s Vibewrangler Studio with Aaron Goldstein (Huron, Espanola), Young And Old conjures up a session where Gram Parsons, Buck Owens and Hank Williams pay a Basement Tapes visit to sit in with contemporaries like Joel Plaskett and Jeff Tweedy.

Moving from the wind-in-your-hair banjo-led opener Great Lakes, to the road-ready, hook and head nod of Little Miss Sunshine, to the singalong crowd favourite of Reefer, this is a set of nine songs that roll along with the top down.

Tickets are available or by phone at 250-338-2430. For more, see

— Sid Williams Theatre