WEYBURN – Blue Moon Marquee will perform their unique mix of swing, jazz and early blues for the Weyburn Concert Series on Tuesday, March 15 at the Cugnet Centre.
The group features guitarist and vocalist A.W. Cardinal, and harmonies by Jasmine Colette, who plays standup bass and foot drums, and they will be accompanied by pianist Darcy Phillips, who is part of Jann Arden’s band.
They are on a tour of Alberta and Saskatchewan currently, and are veterans of the road, having performed on tours in Europe and North America over the last nine years, prior to COVID shutting down most live performances.
“Both Al and I grew up in Alberta, and when we were teenagers we played punk and metal – but we both really loved the blues,” explained Jasmine in an interview on Saturday.
Al went on to play in groups in New York and Montana, where there are more opportunities for jazz bands to perform, and when they got together, “we realized we loved all that music,” she said, noting as a young girl she loved the music of Ray Charles.
“My first big love of music was Ray Charles. I was kind of obsessed with him as a young girl. My dad encouraged it and bought lots of his tapes,” said Jasmine.
As Blue Moon Marquee, they write and perform all original material, and occasionally will do a cover, but in their own style, she explained.
For those who have never heard their music, she said the audience will hear a variety of styles, including early blues, jazz and “some groovy rhythm and blues and western swing.”
Some of the other influences on their music range from Lonnie Johnson, Louis Armstrong and Howlin’ Wolf to Tom Waits, Memphis Minnie and Django Reinhardt, among others.
They have had a number of award nominations, including Blues Artist of the Year for the 2021 Western Canadian Music Awards, Indigenous Songwriter of the Year for the 2021 Canadian Folk Music Awards, and Indigenous Artist of the Year for the 2018 Western Canadian Music Awards.
Asked how the response has been so far on their tour, Jasmine said it’s been very positive, and noted reviews have also been very supportive.
The Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils (OSAC), the umbrella organization that set up their tour in the province, has collected surveys from their shows, and for the most part the reviews “have been outstanding.”
She noted one survey response was by a woman whose husband usually only likes old-time country, and she noted that he really liked their music.
After being shut down for concerts due to COVID, Jasmine said she finds that people are anxious to get out and hear some live music again.
Meantime, while it was difficult for them not being able to perform anywhere, they did songwriting and recording during that down time, and will be releasing their fourth album, entitled, Scream, Holler and Howl by this summer.
“This is our first time in Weyburn, and we’re very excited to play for a good audience. We’re looking forward to playing our hearts out for you guys,” said Jasmine.