The Bassment is one of Saskatoon’s busiest venues, bringing in a wide variety of musical acts from home and away that touch on numerous genres. Over the next few weeks, the calendar is jam-packed, as the local music scene gets into full swing for spring.
Here’s a look at five of the upcoming shows on offer at The Bassment, which is located in the city’s downtown at 202 Fourth Ave. North. For more information, or to purchase tickets, go online to thebassment.ca.
MADELEINE ROGER & LOGAN
A Manitoba songwriting duo is heading to Saskatoon for a double bill at The Bassment on April 17. Madeleine Roger is a folk/roots singer-songwriter from Winnipeg whose voice has been compared to “a young Joni Mitchell.” Her debut solo album, Cottonwood, released in October 2018, was co-produced and co-engineered with Lloyd Peterson (The Wailin’ Jennys, The Weakerthans, James Keelaghan) in Winnipeg.
Joining Roger will be her partner Logan McKillop, a folk/roots singer-songwriter and storyteller from Onanole, Man. A guitarist and a wordsmith, McKillop just released his sophomore album, Anchorless, on March 29.
Local folk-music favourite Eileen Laverty will return to the stage at The Bassment after taking a break to expand her horizons in theatre and television and with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra (SSO).
An English teacher by day and a musician by night, Laverty is known for her skill in telling stories through music. Last year, for example, she created the soundtrack for the premiere of Daniel Macdonald’s play Blow Wind. The show, which was produced as part of Dancing Sky Theatre’s 20th anniversary season, touched on themes of mental health, aging, change and family.
Also in 2018, Laverty joined the SSO to celebrate the Christmas season with original songs she wrote for the holiday concert. As well, her song Close to Home helped families share their palliative care stories for the St. Paul’s Hospital campaign aimed at building a hospice.
Before heading back to the studio to work on a new album, Laverty has decided to return to the stage to perform some new music as well as some of her old favourites. She will be embarking on a double bill of shows, the first with a full band in Regina at The Artesian on April 25. Laverty and her band will then perform on April 27 at The Bassment in Saskatoon.
Saskatoon-based classical guitarist and music educator Ben Schenstead is coming to The Bassment — and he’s bringing two other musicians with him. His trio, which includes slide bassist Allan Parson and Melanie Schenstead on hand percussion, will perform world music from Spain, Greece, England, Russia, Germany, France and Latin America, along with light classics, jazz and some pop tunes as well.
Ben Schenstead is a Prairie Music Award nominee who has also been a guest performer with the Amati Quartet, which performs on 17th-century instruments crafted by the Amati family of Cremona, Italy. Schenstead said his show at The Bassment will be “somewhat unusual in that it features nylon string finger-style guitar throughout.”
Toronto-based singer-songwriter Melissa Lauren will stop in Saskatoon as she embarks on a tour of Western Canada that will see her rotate two very different stage shows. When she performs in Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C., half of her shows will be labelled as jazz, done in a quartet or quintet format, while the other half will feature a guitar and voice duo and showcase Lauren’s brand of folk, pop, country and doo-wop.
For the show at The Bassment, expect to hear singer Lauren joined by jazz guitarist Nathan Hiltz, with whom she has been recording for about a decade. Together, they will bring old-school jazz, doo-wop and the blues — with some indie pop thrown into the mix — to downtown Saskatoon.
U.K.-based medieval and Spanish blues guitarist and singer Claude Bourbon will soon bring his unique sound to town. The May 6 show — his fifth at The Bassment — is being billed as “a sort of sensory experience like no other.”
As Bourbon’s website notes, “it is very hard to describe the almost endless amalgam of different influences in Claude’s playing, all melting into each other, as he moves from classical openings, across a whole continent of cultural roots, from the Balearics to the Balkans, and then across to the Mississippi Delta, and shoehorned into all that is music that would not have been out of place in the courts of emperors and kings.
“Claude’s inimitable style incorporates all five digits on each hand dancing independently but in unison, plucking, picking and strumming at such speed and precision that his fingers often seem to melt into a blur,” the website states.
“Thousands of people in the U.K., Europe and the USA have enjoyed listening to this virtuoso and for the majority of his audience it is an experience that compels them to return again and again to hear and watch him play, as his fingers lightly dance over the strings of his guitar and create a unique sound that is ’Claude.’”