By Brian Dueck
Local bluegrass, folk country trio The Hard Ramblers made a hometown pit stop during their two week tour August 16th at the Lyric Theatre in Swift Current.
The band is comprised of local artists Paula McGuigan, Eliza Doyle and Jody Weger, a Manitoba import who makes a home with Doyle in Swift Current, where they recorded the Dahl Street Records debut CD.
Dahl Street records also recorded a CD for Kacy and Clayton, a young duo that has been touring and opening for The Hard Ramblers on their tour of festivals all over western Canada.
Kacy Anderson, 14, and and Clayton Lithicum, 16, have the stage chemistry of an old country duo born on stage. Anderson's voice is far more senior than her actual years, and she covered some classic country tunes with ease and precision. Backed occassionally on vocals by Lithicum, who proved to be a stringed instrument virtuoso, the pair of Wood Mountain area artists were a great warm up to the main event.
As The Hard Ramblers took to the stage, folks were already snapping up copies of Kacy and Clayton's debut recording.
McGuigan is no stranger to the recording and touring life of the musician. Formerly of Barley Wik, McGuigan met up with her future band-mates Doyle and Weger when she moved home to Cabri from BC two years ago.
As a Rambler, she plays the up-right bass, performs vocals and harmonies and tells a good story. Even as a member of her former band she was a little bit of comic entertainment behind the mic.
Doyle, also a charmer and a story teller, released recordings under the name the Heartstrings. Doyle is a claw hammer style banjo player who also takes the vocal lead on several numbers.
Doyle met Wegers, from Brandon, as a fellow musician. Wegers plays lead guitar and handles some strong vocals for the trio as well.
The fact that these three have a beautiful three part harmony is only complimented by their abilities as musicians, and puntuated by all three players' ability to take on lead vocals. McGuigan's "The Bells Did Ring" was a powerful gospel number this reveiwer has heard and enjoyed her sing before, but backed up with Doyle and Weger, the song took on a new life.
Weger has a strong voice and plays a very polished lead guitar. He had some great moments with some original songs, backed up by some interesting back stories.
The Hard Ramblers are a lively group that entertained a very appreciative crowd.