Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gord Bamford hits all the right notes

Chris Davis and Toni Lucas, Pincher Creek Voice

Justin Schoening, guitarist Matty McKay, Taylor Deley, and Gord Bamford
at the Pincher Creek Community Hall

C. Davis photo
Rising country music sensation Gord Bamford brought his Country Christmas 2011 tour to Pincher Creek's Community Centre last night, December 14 in front of an audience of about 300 people.  Bamford is known for such songs as "My Daughter's Father", "Day Job", “Life Is Good’, “Heroes”, “All About Her”,  “I Would For You”, “Blame it On That Red Dress”, “Went For One, Stayed Till Two”, and a bevy of others.  Some of those hits made it into the set list on this night, but the bulk of this show was to be devoted to his renditions of classic and soon-to-be classic Christmas songs from his "Christmas in Canada" CD.

Marilyn Bamford and
Manager Kelly Resler

C. Davis photo
Bamford also got some exciting news this week, signing a deal with Sony.  His mom, Marilyn Bamford, who was running the merchandise booth at the show, was thrilled about this development.  "It is wonderful that he has signed with Sony.  It is what he had to do to jump to the next level."

Prior to the show Bamford attended a meet-and-greet with some local fans and staff of the local ATB Financial. ATB sponsored this tour, in at least eight communities, with partnering from 4-H.

Tina Wilhelm (third from left), winner of Mountain
Radio's "Meet Gord Bamford" contest

C. Davis photo

Gord Bamford with Little Miss Rodeo
Pincher Creek Chelsea Stokke

C. Davis photo
Tina Wilhelm of Hillcrest was one lucky fan who got to meet Gord before the show.  She was the  winner of Mountain Radio's "Meet and Greet Gord Bamford" contest.  "It was my mom's birthday on Monday, and this was a nice present I couldn't buy her," she said.  Wilhelm and her guests had the chance to visit with Bamford for about 10 minutes before the show started.  Wilhelm has recently retired, after spending most of her adult life working in the Canadian Armed Forces.  "I will be retired for one year, as of Saturday."  Wilhelm served for 25 years in the Air Force.  "I have served in Ottawa, Penhold, Winnipeg and spent 6 months in Dubai," she said.  Whilhelm and her guests were genuinely delighted to have the one-on-one time with Bamford.

Mountain Radio Station Manager Barb Kelly was very pleased to be involved with the event.  "This is Canadian country radio, supporting Canadian country music.  It's what we're all about."  Bamford has been a staple of their playlist for some time.

ATB Financial sponsored the concert in partnership with 4-H
C. Davis photo

Local chanteuse Alyssa Barbero was once again asked to open for Bamford, having opened for him with Christina Folsom of Hillspring as part of a 'Why 4-H is Great Event" in Killam back in November.  "I love working with Gord," said Barbero.  "It was short notice, I had one week to prepare three songs, but I was excited."  One of those songs didn't work with the program, so "I chose a different song."  Barbero performed "The Angels Cried" "Do You Hear What I Hear", and "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music for an appreciative audience.  Barbero is looking forward to relaxing over the Christmas season.

Opening act Alyssa Barbero
C. Davis photo

After a brief intermission, Bamford and his crack band took to the stage.  The audience was treated to his rich baritone vocals, the smooth professionalism of his band and stage crew, and above all else, the songs.  "New Baseball Glove", "Daddy's Beer", "My Daughters Father", "This Crazy Day Job", the hits just kept coming, delivered with an abundance of warmth and personality that demonstrated why the biggest entertainment company in the world saw fit to sign him.

Gord Bamford and band
C. Davis photo

Matty McKay
We may never see him in a venue this size again.  A standout was his delivery of "O Holy Night," which soared through the hall with a powerful passion, ending with a dramatic demonstration of Bamford's vocal power.  The guitar work of  Matty McKay and Kerae Hendrix was sublime, Steve Farrel was unobtrusively rock-solid on the bass guitar, and Mark Branconnier's drumming provided the backbone to the show, often underpinning Bamford's story-telling intros to songs.

Kerae Hendrix and Mark Branconnier

Gord Bamford tells the crowd a story
C. Davis photo

Justin Schoening and Taylor Deley
went home the happy owners of two
new signed guitars

C. Davis photo
At one point he had a couple of local kids, Taylor Deley and Justin Schoening, join him on stage, sitting at his feet while he sang to them.  When it was over they were given signed guitars from Bamford as a special Christmas gift.  "He gave me a guitar, I am so happy!" said Delay.  Schoening was glowing.  "This is awesome!  Now I have two guitars!"

Bamford invited the kids in the audience to join him in a rendition of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", which they did, somewhat nervously.  It was appreciated that this Christmas concert included the kids in such a manner, and it's likely none of them will forget the experience.

The "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" gang
C. Davis photo

As a side note, the sound for this show was impeccable, and the lighting was brilliant.

At the conclusion of the concert, Bamford invited ATB's Wendy Sinclair and "The Gathering" mastermind Eileen McGlynn up to the stage, where McGlynn was presented with two cheques, one from the Gord Bamford Charitable Foundation for $1000.00 and one from ATB Financial for $500.00, to go towards the 2012 Gathering in Pincher Creek.

The Gathering gets two big donations
Gord Bamford, Wendy Sinclair, and Eileen McGlynn
C. Davis photo

The concession for the show was run by the Pincher Creek and District Ag Society, with the proceeds going towards The Gathering.

Bamford's Christmas tour concludes with one more show scheduled in Hussar, Alberta.  That does not mean that he is slowing down.  His new single "Is it Friday Yet?" will be released to radio on Tuesday, January 10.  It's the title track of his new CD, which will be released in March at the beginning of Bamfords cross Canada tour, which will start in the east and head west.

Bamford is planning on going home for his Christmas holidays.  "We have a big Christmas, with a big feast, and an annual hockey game. The whole family plays. Aunts, uncles, nephews, and nieces, and now, our kids,"  he said, showing his paternal pride.  "We play on the pond, we have done it there for years.  He has a lot to go home to, and a lot to celebrate this Christmas.  "It will be good to be home and get a break, it has been a busy year."

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