More music this week

Art Of The Guitar.
Martin Sexton.


Calling all guitar heroes and six-string poets: if you want an up close look at some of Manitoba’s finest guitar makers, you won’t want to miss the Art Of The Guitar taking place at the West End Cultural Centre Jan. 28-29.

The two-day exhibition and concert series will showcase made-in-Manitoba instruments by local luthiers – builders of stringed instruments – some of them renowned around the world for the quality and craftsmanship of their instruments.

The event will transform the WECC’s Assiniboine Hall into an art and trade showcase, where local luthiers will tell the story from start to finish of how instruments get made.

The two-day event will also feature two concerts from notable guitar-slingers.

On Jan. 28, Canadian folk legend Loudon Wainwright III – father of Rufus and Martha Wainwright – will perform.

On Jan. 29, Henry Kaiser (pictured), a frequent collaborator with Nels Cline of Wilco, will perform. Kaiser will also lead an Art of the Stompbox (electric guitar pedal) workshop on Jan. 29 with demo and discussion to follow.  Tickets are $10.

Tickets for Loudon Wainwright III are $25 in advance or $28 at the door. Show starts at 8 p.m.

The art and showcase will be open free to the public from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 29.

Tickets for Henry Kaiser are $17 advance or $20 at the door. Show starts at 8 p.m.

For more info, visit

– Staff


Named after a main character of the Vietnam War movie Platoon – one of the good guys who is betrayed – Elias are looking to be the good guys in Canada’s music scene without getting screwed over in the end.

“It’s similar to what we thought about the music business back in the day,” guitarist Rob Tornroos said of their cinematic label in a recent interview with Cadence Canada.

“Sometimes, some of the great music doesn’t get out because there’s too much garbage clogging up the airwaves.”

Fortunately for the band from Vancouver (rounded out by Brian Healy on lead vocals/piano and drummer Stefan Tavares), it looks like their career isn’t going the way of their namesake. 

Currently on tour with Finger Eleven, the boys are also up for Verge Music’s Emerging Artist of the Year award, while their single All We Want, off their 2009 debut Lasting Distractions, continues to garner airtime on stations across Canada.

With a heavy sound and emotionally charged vocals, Tornroos is “honoured and embarrassed” by frequent comparisons to legendary alt-rockers Radiohead, whom he cites as a founding influence.

“We had a lot of Coldplay, U2 and Muse about five or six years ago,” said Tornroos. “Recently, it’s changing ... You start liking a brand new thing and you go, ‘Oh, this is great. I want to do something like this.’”

With a few demos in the works and plans to return to writing and recording once the tour is over, look for Elias’s second album with a sound all their own later this year.

Elias open for Finger Eleven on Monday, Jan. 31 at the Burton Cummings Theatre. Tickets start at $19.50. Visit

– Alex Krosney


On Tuesday, Feb. 1, the blowing snow will bring Martin Sexton to Winnipeg again.

The cold has never held his fans back from this invigorated troubadour, and it has never dampened his mighty spirit. His folk/blues/gospel inspired tunes are what made Winnipeg fall in love with him.

“I come in the winter because I know that Manitobans as well as myself are not afraid of a little snow or cold,” Sexton said, via e-mail.

The beauty of a live Sexton show is his repertoire of fan favourites such as The Diner (popularized on the TV show Scrubs), Black Sheep, Gypsy Woman and Cherie. However, Sexton is not content to merely recreate his albums on stage. You will rarely hear a song performed the same way twice.

“I use songs like a set of monkey bars that I can play on differently every night,” he said.

He usually plays Winnipeg solo. In fact, he is his own backup band. Sexton sings into a special microphone that transforms his crooning and scat into an electric guitar solo.

“The solo show which this will be does tend to have (a) bit more spontaneity, intensity and audience participation,” he said.

This is a man dedicated to his fans, and an obvious fan of Winnipeg. He played four out of five years at the Winnipeg Folk Festival between 1996-2000.

In 2004 he played the West End Cultural Centre and on the way out the door, fans could buy a recording of the show they were just at.

He is touring in support of his 2010 album Sugarcoating, so expect a selection of new songs along with the classics when he plays at the Burton Cummings Theatre.


– Andrew McMonagle

Published in Volume 65, Number 17 of The Uniter (January 27, 2011)

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