Bison and Bluegrass mix over the festival weekend

Musicians perform on the Smith Music stage during Eat, Drink and Be Irish, the last Champion Regional Series event. – Morinville News File Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

Canadian Fiddle Legend Alfie Myhre and Fiddle Champion son Byron Myhre are two of the musicians hitting the stage at Smith Music during Festival Weekend for Bison and Bluegrass, the latest in the Champion Regional Series of food and music events.

The evening of music and regional food takes place June 17 with cocktails at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. and the live show at 8 p.m.

Organizer Paul Smith realizes bluegrass is a genre that may not be familiar to everyone.

“It’s got the harmonies of gospel mixed with the chord progressions of country, and some of the technical feel of rock-a-billy,” he said. “Bluegrass from the musicians perspective is actually one of the ultimate forms of music to play. It’s very technically challenging from a harmony perspective and the fast playing. When you see that sense of awe in a really killer bluegrass player, there is nothing on earth that does that.”

Smith said if people enjoy traditional county music, they will enjoy the bluegrass show.

The last two Champion Regional Series events – Dinner Time in the Maritimes and Eat, Drink, and Be Irish were sold-out events.

Smith attributes the success of the first two shows to providing entertainment in a smaller venue.
“People like the intimate atmosphere,” he said of his venue that holds about 100. “It’s a more personal, intimate event. It has a speakeasy feel to it.”

Adding to the speakeasy feel is the fact that one has to join the Morinville For Musicians group – a no-cost club that gets concert goers the opportunity to buy tickets to the closed event.

“It’s a smaller, friendly, quality night out,” Smith said. “The acoustically tuned environment lets people listen to the music and have a conversation at the same time.”

Joining Bluegrass on the evening’s menu is bison, a main ingredient of the catered dinner ahead of the show.
“Bison is about getting back to your roots, and bluegrass is also about getting back to your roots,” Smith said.

Tickets are $40 and available at Smith Music.

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