It was in the Spring of ’79 that an eclectic group of Oxbow-area musicians gathered at the Mellom farm near Northgate to begin a journey that has lasted for thirty-eight years. That summer the original line-up of Downwind played a handful of their favourite songs at local events and began building their repertoire of 60’s-70’s rock, soul, jazz and blues, with a sprinkling of reggae and just a little bit of country. They quickly built up a following of die-hard fans and a reputation for playing every song on the list, no matter what the hour.
There have been a few changes to the line-up over the years as drummers, guitarists and horn players came and went and came back again. At one time there were two guitarists (not so unusual) two keyboard players (a little more so) and two drummers! This behemoth, dubbed by original drummer, the late Dana Lehman, “Downwind – BFB”, had its share of confusion as on more than one occasion the players on the left and right halves of the stage launched with gusto into two completely different songs!
Those beside Dana who have passed through the ranks include dynamic drummers Mike Gunderman, Hal Nielsen, and Corey Mazurek, stellar guitarists Jim Galloway, Anthony Bzdell and Brian Grundeen, smooth sax player and keyboardist Gerry Stewart, and numerous horn players and back-up singers.
Founding members Earl Mellom (piano), Ken Green (guitar), Terry Fraser (bass), Paul Twietmeyer (sax and percussion) and Dianne Twietmeyer (vocals) have been pleased to perform at the Bow Valley Jamboree in recent years, and Downwind once again kicks off the festival with the guarantee of good times and good music.
Val Halla is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Regina, Saskatchewan. She has been featured in both “Guitar World” and “Guitar Player” magazines, and is currently an endorsing artist with Canadian companies Mack Amps and Carparelli Guitars, and Battle Creek, Michigan-based GHS Strings.
The daughter of two motorcycle-riding parents (a fiddle-playing father and a visual-artist mother), she first began writing folk songs on her acoustic guitar at the age of 11, influenced by such Canadian artists as Amanda Marshall, Tegan and Sara, Chantal Kreviazuk, Jann Arden, Hawksley Workman, and Blue Rodeo. She was also inspired by folk artists like Jewel, Simon & Garfunkel, and Lead Belly, and the classic rock-n-roll of her parent’s generation like Led Zeppelin and Meatloaf. However the first songs Val Halla learned on the guitar were the grunge and post-grunge rock songs of the 1990’s, from artists like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Weezer, and No Doubt.
Sounds that seep into her diverse writing style blend folk and grunge rock, and create a unique “gruntry” sound (grunge rock meets country and roots), that some liken to the ever fluid artistic style of Neil Young.
Val Halla has toured all across the United States & Canada, playing hundreds of shows including opening many shows for music icons such as Eric Burdon of The Animals, Burton Cummings of The Guess Who, Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, and Saskatchewan road-veterans Streetheart.
Val Halla will be touring Canada & the U.S. again this summer/fall, followed by a return to Europe in spring of 2019.
The Oral Fuentes Band
The Oral Fuentes Reggae Band is a mixture of Reggae with a Latin/Afro fusion. The band consists of members from Belize, St. Lucia, Ghana, Nigeria, Seattle, Victoria, and Saskatoon.
Oral Fuentes’ musical experience started in his home country of Belize, where he was involved with a multicultural band, Caribbean Jam, playing for many local and countrywide events. Since then Oral has traveled intensively to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Surinam, Guyana, USA, and the Caribbean.
Commencing his studies at the Academy of Performing Arts in Cambridge, Ontario in 1989, Oral traveled and wrote songs with The Warriors rock band and Soul’d Out, a soul/blues band, both from the Academy. Their route took them many times to New York and Nashville.
Moving to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1992, Oral teamed up with musicians from Saskatoon, playing the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, Calgary Reggae Festival, Ness Creek Music Festival and many other festivals and cultural shows. Oral has shared the stage with Maceo Parker from James Brown Band, Divine Brown, Ivana Santilli, Jason Wilson, and the African Guitar Summit, to name a few.
Oral’s musical styles include Reggae, Soca, Punta-Rock and Brukdown (both musical styles from Belize) with other Caribbean and Latin Rhythms. Oral writes and performs his own songs.
Call Me Mildy
Combining blues/rock, slide and harmonica blues, and peppering songs with reggae-laden melodies, Regina-based Call Me Mildy lays down grooves and harmonies that defy a single music genre. The band is the result of singer/songwriter Greg Mildenberger (Mildy) looking to satisfy his desire for performing and recording his own music. It’s distinctive and fresh, and easily sways into blues, reggae, or rock, without rules or limits, and smacks of influences including Ben Harper, the Black Keys, and Big Sugar.
Call Me Mildy’s debut CD, It’s About Time, was released in 2016 via CD Baby, and has been sold across Europe, North and South America, and as far away as India, Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.
Coal Creek Station
Coal Creek Station plays bluegrass music. The group comprises Mel Flahr (mandolin, guitar), Paul Johnson (guitar), Terri Johnson, John Andrus (banjo), and Harv Bassler (bass). All members of the group are vocalists.
Mel has played bluegrass music for 15 years. What Mel most appreciates about bluegrass music is the sound all comes from acoustic instruments. He and John played with the Moose Creek Symphony at the first Bow Valley Jamboree in 2010.
At the end of our set, we hope we have created new bluegrass fans…
The New Montagues
The New Montagues are one of the hottest party bands goin’ these days in Regina. With the “rippingest” four-piece horn section in town to really get things stirred up, the band cooks a deadly mix of rock/funk/r&b that’ll get you on the dance floor before you realize what’s happening.
Method 2 Madness
As the Revival Music Room says:
Method 2 Madness, also known as M2M (not to be confused with the female singing duo – these boys had the name first, plus they’re much cuter) have been raising eyebrows in clubs and cabaret halls since 1990. Yes, they’re over two decades old, and there is something to be said for that in this day of here-today-gone-tomorrow musical groups. Why has this band persevered? Some say it’s the inseparable bond they share with each other. Still others insist that they are just too stupid to quit.
Over the years and countless gigs, whether a cabaret, dance, corporate event or a good old fashioned party, M2M has honed their craft and song list to something unique in this day of look-alike sound-alike cover bands. You will hear material that will surprise you in a good way. Songs that unite music lovers across the widest genres are performed in a flawless yet.