March 6, 1998 in Seven

Start With Rock, Add Some Celtic And End Up With Clumsy Lovers

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Well before Irish step dancing and all things Celtic became the in thing, there were The Clumsy Lovers.

A group of crazy Canadians, The Clumsy Lovers took rock music and infused it with heavy dose of the Celtic spirit.

Bagpipes. Fiddle. Whistle. Mandolin. The pluck of the Irish.

Lo and behold they had one heck of a thing going - feisty music that had people dancing and reeling and jigging like lunatics on a clover high.

“When we started out, there was nobody doing anything at all like that,” says Chris Jonat, bassist and singer for the Vancouver-based ensemble.

Nowadays - what with “Riverdance” and “Lord of the Dance” and their legions of faststepping step dancers - Celtic music has become ever so chic.

“I’ve actually found it, if anything, to be a bit of a disadvantage because we’re not as unique as we were five years ago,” Jonat says.

Nonsense.

The thing about The Clumsy Lovers is that they’re not traditionalist. This six-person group uses the best of several music styles to create an uncommon concoction they like to call “raging Celtic banshee rock.”

Raging is right. I’ve never seen the Inland Northwest boogie like it does at Clumsy shows.

Since their beginning in 1993, The Clumsy Lovers have been through a few adjustments.

For a time they switched names to the Six Million Dollar Band. A Minnesota band called The Clumsy Lovers had claimed rights to the moniker. And the name change seemed appropriate at the time since several original members had left and the band’s sound had altered.

“We were basically just a rock band that happened to have a fiddle player,” Jonat says.

Now, with several of the original members back, so is the old name. This time our Clumsy Lovers plan to let the lawyers duke it out over the rights to the name.

Jonat says the band has also moved back toward its original sound. He is joined by Kevin Ball (on bagpipes, whistles, mandolin, guitar and fiddle), Cam Jonat (on drums and percussion), Andrea Lewis (on fiddle) and Cameron Thomson (on vocals and guitar).

Tonight, the Clumsy ones return to Spokane (a favorite stomping ground) for some good Celtic lovin’. They’re also celebrating the release of their CD - “Picture This.”

The 13-song album is a splendid mixture of Clumsy-written work and traditional pieces that roll from merrily upbeat tunes to haunting reaches. Riddled with affecting bagpipe work and loping guitar, “Mist-Covered Mountains” and “Paddy’s Leather Breeches/Banjo Breakdown” are broiling instrumentals. “Don’t I Know” ends the CD with superbly done blend of rock and Celtic elements.

Although it’s a good CD, The Clumsy Lovers are a must-see live for the whole experience.

“We don’t really hold anything back,” Jonat says. “We just play as hard as we can and hope people like it. And they seem to.”

Delbert and Bombshell 99 open the show for The Clumsy Lovers at Outback Jack’s tonight. Cover charge is $5. Show starts at 9 p.m.

For more information about The Clumsy Lovers, check out their Web site at www.hungry.com/ clumsy.

Flying fingers

Tennessee guitarist Bill Mize’s fingers move like a whirlwind, and what follows is a cascade of acoustic sound both intricate and beautiful.

Mize, who blends his music with storytelling, will appear at Auntie’s Bookstore, Main and Washington, for a concert Saturday. An Auntie’s spokesperson says that, of the concerts last year, Mize was the most warmly received.

A guitar master in the tradition of Leo Kottke, Mize has won the national fingerstyle guitar competition and was featured on the Grammy-winning recording “Stella Luna.”

He was also a contributor to the Windham Hill guitar sampler and will be featured on the new Narada acoustic guitar sampler.

Tickets for the show are $10, available at Auntie’s or Dutch’s Music. The music starts at 7 p.m.

Kudos and other stuff

A big pat on the back goes out to The Inland Empire Blues Society and all those who helped the organization with their Blues Cats For Kids day. The Blues Society and bunch of area bands helped raise a thousand bucks during the all-day blues festival Feb. 21. The money will be used to pay for music instruments and instruction for underprivileged children in the Inland Northwest. Those who still want to donate money or instruments should call the Blues Society at 534-1081.

Spokane rock band Greg returns to the stage at Ichabod’s North tonight. We haven’t heard from them in a while, but that’s just because they’ve spent the last seven months working on their latest CD. The album is due out in early April. Tonight they’ll debut some of their new songs. Smash Velvet and Honest Puck open the show starting at 9:30 p.m. Cover is $4.

No short jokes please

Your Nightwatch leprechaun here. If there was ever a holiday meant for drinking and partying, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. Sounds like a story for the Weekend section doesn’t it? So in that spirit, this sprite is trying to lay her mitts on all the info she can regarding such Irish festivities. If I had three wishes, it would be, first, that club owners and managers would send their party plans to the below address/fax number; second, that they would get it here on time (by that I mean Monday); and third that I could then have three more wishes.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos

MEMO: Send nightclub news to Winda Benedetti at The Spokesman-Review, 999 W. Riverside, Spokane, WA 99201 or fax it to (509) 459-5098. She can be reached by phone at (509) 459-5089 or by e-mail at windab@spokesman.com. Deadline for Friday publication is the previous Friday.

Send nightclub news to Winda Benedetti at The Spokesman-Review, 999 W. Riverside, Spokane, WA 99201 or fax it to (509) 459-5098. She can be reached by phone at (509) 459-5089 or by e-mail at windab@spokesman.com. Deadline for Friday publication is the previous Friday.


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