Hillbilly Highway – Holiday Hoedowns Abound

by Sheldon Birnie

Well, friends, it’s that time of year again — holidays albums are coming out of the woodwork, family get togethers spill into boozy bar nights, and the lucky ones have time off of work to get wild. If you’re in Winnipeg this holiday season, there’s plenty of holiday hoedowns abound to keep you rocking into the New Year.

This time last year I gave you a run down of my favourite country Christmas albums. I can’t really say much has changed since that time. In fact, I gave Emmylou’s Light of the Stable. So, in lieu of another tired Christmas album run-down, and given the fact that we’ll be taking a week off posting here at the Stylus Interweb Warehouse, I figured it might be good to share some shows going down around town from your favourite fellow travellers here on the Hillbilly Highway.

Starting this Friday at the Times Change(d), the gals from Sweet Alibi and Scott Nolan will be getting your holiday weekend going strong. The place will fill up, so get down there quick if you’re gettin’ there at all. The same night, over at the Regal Begal, Byrne Fiddler will be holding court. Stylus and CKUW favs the Crooked Brothers hold court at the Times on Saturday. Meanwhile, over at the Rose N Bee, Andrew Neville, Chris Dunn, and Vince Andrusko will be mixing it up with Twisty on bass and Joanna Miller on the skins.

After you’ve had plenty of time to get sick of your inlaws, the New Lightweights are releasing their new EP What Keeps Us Together at the Times, with one of our favourites Keri Latimer opening. Might as well just camp out at the Times this weekend, because the D-Rangers are playing a very rare show on Friday, and the JD Edwards Band will be rocking the house on Saturday.

New Years’ Eve is always a testy day to venture out from your warm shack. It’s cold, invariably, and snowy, and you can’t get a cab to save your life. If you’re feeling brave, though, I’d head to the Bella Vista over in West Broadway, to see Scott Nolan and Joanna Miller rock the house. If I’m heading anywhere with my gimp leg this December 31st, it’s the Bella Vista. If you haven’t had enough Times Change(d) yet, the Perpetrators will be holding court, while over at the Rose N Bee or the Toad or the Cavern there’s plenty of other live music to see.

So venture out if ye dare. Pack a flask of strong spirits in case the transit bus stalls, or the cabs don’t come when you call, or you get distracted on some sort of wild misadventure that songs are written about, after the fact. Happy holidays, friends. I’ll see you in the future. If we make it that far…

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