DeCroo, Mark and Penner team up for musical experience at Gallery 2

By Contributor
September 8th, 2010

Pretty much anything could happen with the triple-threat dynamic of Rodney DeCroo, Carolyn Mark and Cam Penner in the same room. These three musicians join forces in concert next week at Grand Forks Gallery 2.
Decroo, as one music writer put it, is a true original. DeCroo’s songs and performances are known for their authenticity – he has lived what he sings and writes about. He delivers his songs like a scrap metal freight train blasting through mountains and valleys or with the sensitivity of a mother lion lulling her cubs to sleep. There are few hearts he cannot touch. 

DeCroo established himself at the Railway Club in downtown Vancouver; running the stage once a month for three years hosting his Folk You shows. Ridley Bent, Carolyn Mark, The Brakemen, Ida Nilsen and Sam Parton are just a few of the artists who performed on his stage. He’s also shared stages across Canada with Elliot Brood, Cuff the Duke, Corb Lund, Herald Nix, Rae Spoon, Utah Phillips, Po’ Girl, Cam Penner, and many other artists.

DeCroo has just released his first record since 2008’s haunting Mockingbird Bible. Recorded in just five days, the new two-disc effort, entitled Queen Mary Trash, features 24 tracks that are said to capture “DeCroo and band at a feverish peak of creativity and ability,” according to the press release. To follow the breathtaking Mockingbird Bible, the prolific songwriter also widens his scope on this latest record by dabbling in a little bit of soul, among other things. 

Ever since first taking to the stage as Templeton the Rat in her elementary school’s musical version of Charlotte’s Web, show business has been the main driving force in Carolyn Mark’s life. In the early ’90s, after coming to the obvious conclusion that musicians were much more fun to hang around with than actors, Mark formed her first band; all-girl surfy twang popsters, The Vinaigrettes. This was the beginning of a long love affair with music, musicians and the road that, even after 15-plus years of crazy hard work, still puts the nitro in her funny car.

After the Vinaigrettes, Mark did brief stints in such bands as The Metronome Cowboys and The Fixin’s before, in 2000, making her first solo album, Party Girl. Since then, and with the help of a revolving cast of Can-Country super stars including, but not limited to, Tolan McNeil, Garth Johnson, Ford Pier, Nathan Tinkham, Corb Lund, NQ Arbuckle, Luke Doucet, Amy Honey, Greg MacDonald, Neko Case, and Carey Mercer, she has released many more highly acclaimed albums, as well as travelling thousands of miles entertaining crowds of four to 4000.

Looking at the world through a windshield – that’s been Cam Penner’s view for the last two years. In those two years he has toured five countries, six provinces, 12 states and performed over 300 shows. He has opened for Chip Taylor, Richard Thompson, Slaid Cleaves, Fred Eaglesmith, Greg Trooper, Carrie Rodiguez, Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, John Prine, Glen Campbell, Lyle Lovett, and the Flatlanders. With no label or booking representation Penner has found his own way into the bars, theatres, cafes, backyards, and honkytonks across this wide land. 

Penner describes his philosophical outlook and songwriting muse, “Sometimes I feel the thousands of souls I’ve listened to are people living inside of me, telling their tales.” When listening to Penner’s songs you can hear the struggle, the hope, the yearning to be better. “I’ve never really written topical songs. I usually write about the emotional struggle, the pull between what’s right and wrong.”

Tickets for this Wednesday, Sept. 15 triple-bill concert (limited to 60) are available at Gallery 2 (Grand Forks Art Gallery): $12 for Gallery 2 members or $15 for non-members. Show starts at: 7:00 p.m. To reserve your tickets, please call Gallery 2 at 442-2211. For more information about this concert, please call Kim or Zak at 442-3854.


Categories: Arts and Culture