The Lynne Chwyl Band

Lynne Chwyl at The 2017 Beaumont BluesLead Vocals: Lynne Chwyl

Lynne began performing professionally with live blues bands only 6 years ago. She was a member of local Edmonton bands Bluesface, Insomnia, Forty Below, and The Collective R&B, as well as a member of the Calgary band, Gunn. She enjoyed rapid local success, performing at both the Beaumont Blues Festival and at the Calgary International Blues Festival and by personal invitation in Calgary at the Kelly Jay (Crowbar) benefit and the Amos Garrett 2013 flood relief benefit. She has also enjoyed performing as a guest with notables such as Bruce Conte (Tower of Power), MonkeyJunk, Studebaker John, Russell Jackson, Rusty Reed, Arsen Shomakhov, Dave Babcock, Tim Williams, and Mike Clark, as well as gigging in many venues throughout Alberta. She is a popular returning performer at the annual Edmonton Women of Song breast cancer benefit, and has recorded a track on the 2016 Edmonton Women of Song compilation CD. Her film credits include a small role as the legion singer in the Corkscrew Production of the CBC special “Balletlujah” featuring kd Lang. Lynne’s national anthem credits include the first ever anthem singer for not only the Beaumont Chiefs Junior B Hockey club, but also as the Capital Junior Hockey League’s first league anthem singer, and she has performed the national anthem at the Winspear to open the Alberta Body Building Championships, and repeat performances for the Alberta Saskatchewan Toastmasters Convention in Edmonton. Lynne is currently co-writing material for her own debut CD with plans to eventually record.

Ben Sures in the Lynne Chwyl Band at Beaumont Blues 2017

Lead/Rhythm Guitar: Ben Sures

Ben Sures has been playing guitar with people since the early 90s. He has played and or recorded with Paul Reddick, Harpdog Brown, Rita Chiarelli, Tim Williams, Rusty Reed, Backalley John, Corin Raymond, Maggie Mae, Big Dave McLean, Dave Mowat and many more. His electric guitar style can best be described as sloppy and old fashioned with a traditional raw tube style guitar tone.

Drums: Dean PiernoDean Pierno with The Lynne Chwyl Band at Beaumont Blues 2017

Dean Pierno, drummer, percussionist, bandleader, has been making his living in music for over 30 years. Having recently moved back to Edmonton, Dean’s musical journey has included gigs and performances with Tommy Banks, Gary Guthman (Harry James Tribute),The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Don Rickles Orchestra, The Louie Armstrong Tribute, Ekos (Edmonton Kiwanis) Singers, Ian Stewart, Ashley MacIsaac, The Legendary Platters, Andrew Glover, Tyler Hamilton, Edmonton Musical Theater, Bjorn Thoroddsen (Iceland guitarist) and Rollanda Lee, just to name a few. Fluent in all styles of music, Dean is passionate about providing the perfect groove for any song.

Jeff Bartlett with The Lynne Chwyl Band at Beaumont Blues 2017Bass: Jeff Bartlett

Jeff started playing at 19 years old and toured professionally from 1982-1993 playing in country bands, rock bands, dance bands, and top 40 bands. He has played with Vancouver recording act “Juan Trak”, and has toured and recorded on his first album with Bobby Cameron. Jeff has also played with blues legend “Studebaker John”. Jeff is a working member of several local Edmonton bands, including the Joint Chiefs.

Keyboards: Dennis MeneelyDennis Meneely with The Lynne Chwyl Band at Beaumont Blues 2017

Since Dennis Meneely’s first band ‘Why Us’ in 1965, his musical journey has included numerous bands, musicians, recordings, and tours. Dennis recorded his first single at 18 in Clovis, New Mexico, with producer Norman Petty (Buddy Holly, The Fireballs). Since then he has played with some of Canada’s most respected bands and alongside some of the world’s more recognized artists, opening in the early days for ‘The Tom Northcott Trio’ , The Guess Who, The Youngbloods, Witness Inc., The Fireballs, Lighthouse, Crowbar, Whisky Howl, and King Biscuit Boy. In the following decades, Dennis was a member of ‘The Kenny Shields Band (Streethart) ‘, ‘Toronto with Holly Woods’ and Tacoy Ryde/Jato doing shows with artists as varied as Joan Jett, The Third World Band, Steel Pulse, The Soweto Gospel Choir and Royal Southern Brotherhood, and performing at numerous Canadian festivals featuring Canada’s most revered acts (Chilliwack, Headpins, Trooper, The Tragically Hip, Monkey Junk, Big Sugar, and more.) Now as a veteran, Dennis freelances locally and regionally with a new generation of artists such as Angela Mackenzie, Paula Perro, and Lynne Chwyl. In addition, Dennis is looking forward to finishing his current recording project under his own banner.

 Guitar: Percy Marshall

Playing since age 9, first gig at age 11, Percy is a recipient of 2 ARIA (Alberta Recording Industry Association) awards. He has played in over 20 Alberta bands and duos throughout Western Canada since the early 70’s and been a judge for many local battle of the bands. He was a member of The Classics (formerly the Nomads), Celtic Fusion Illusion, Cold Feet and the Original KitKats and the last rendition of Mel Degen and the Lordz. Some noted bands I have been a part of- AnyWonder (1990- released a CD and video – some play on Much Music), Out of the Blue (80’s), original guitarist of Rusty Reed & the SouthSide Shuffle (1986),  The Hootenannies, Hidden Agenda (with Gord Steinke of Global TV) – released a CD. Percy was an adjudicator for 4 years for the local leg of the Memphis International Blues Competition. He is currently playing and recording as part of Barry Allen and the New Rebels as well as “Persons of Interest” band and Celtic Fusion Illusion.

Special guest Rick MacLeod

Rick MacLeod has been part of the Alberta music scene for over 40 years. He’s played many styles of music in many different bands over the years. His favorite genre by far is R&B/Blues. He started the Rick MacLeod Band 15 years ago and been performing this style of music with the band ever since.

Edmonton’s Women of Song 2016

Edmonton's Women of Song

Edmonton musicians band together for annual breast cancer fundraiser

By Andrea Wong

Breast cancer awareness month is quickly approaching, which means that a certain group of female artists will be returning to the stage on Oct. 2. Mics in hand, instruments at the ready, and strong looks of determination on their faces, these united Women of Song stand for a cause resonating close to their hearts.

Fifteen years ago, Edmonton musician Sophie Hunter was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. What followed was a series of treatments so intense, Hunter wasn’t sure which would kill her first. But the spirited blues singer refused to lay down without a fight. After a long and hard battle, Hunter prevailed as a breast cancer survivor. Ignited with a sharper focus on life, she sought to do something about breast cancer that could couple her passion for music.

“What I wanted to do is make it easier for other people that have to go through what I went through,” Hunter says. “What better way to give back than with something you do naturally?”

With that in mind, Hunter formed the idea for a benefit concert to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research. She was quickly joined by six of her friends, all local musicians ranging from blues to old-school rock to everything in between. At the heart of this seasoned music collective is a deep-seated desire to contribute to a worthy cause.

“The moment the event ended, we said we’ll be back next year,” says 40-year blues veteran Rita McDade. “Our hearts are enfolded in this whole thing, because it’s important to us. We’re there for Sophie and for all of the other people that we know.”

Now as Women of Song comes upon its fourth year, the women could not be more pleased with the growing support the fundraiser has received. Last year they raised more than six thousand dollars, and this time they are hoping to give their largest donation yet.

“Every dotted penny goes back to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation”, says McDade.

The event has no budget, so it is entirely run by the women and anyone willing to help. From the supportive venue of The Gas Pump to the donated turkey dinners for the evening, the event’s success is powered by people believing in the cause.

“I don’t think any of us don’t know somebody who hasn’t been affected by cancer,” says soulful singer Lynne Chwyl, who is dedicating an emotion-filled song to the loved ones left behind. “It’s just a coming together of like-minded people to do whatever they can to support this.”

For Paula Perro, her personal connection to those with cancer made it a “no-brainer” to take part in the event each year. Her sultry blend of R&B, Soul and Funk are guaranteed to deliver “food for the soul”.

Another familiar face is Dale Ladouceur, an international musician whose contemporary style is as unique as the Chapman Stick she plays. With an eye for the human condition, Ladouceur’s original songs on strength, survival, and love bring a fresh perspective to the event.

Award-winning musician Angela Mackenzie will also be lending songs from her recent album, focussing particularly on encouraging openness and support. Mary Thomas will similarly tie her music back to the meaning of the event. The classic-rock power house uses her voice to raise breast cancer awareness not just for women, but men as well.

As preparations are underway and everyone pulls together, you can sense the anticipation, especially from Hunter, who is “over the moon” with excitement.

Her delight is especially credited to the limited edition CD’s donated by DanLyn Studios. The CD contains songs performed by each artist and is available at the event for a minimum donation of 20 dollars.

Though Hunter is currently undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, her hopeful dedication is stronger than ever as she foresees the event carrying on for many years.

“I want to do this,” Hunter says. “I want to make life easier for men and women affected by breast cancer. I don’t want anybody to go through what I went through 15 years ago. That is the reason I’m doing it today.”

Tickets for the event are available for $25 each at The Gas Pump, Picture This Framing and Gallery in Sherwood Park, or from Lynne through her Facebook page or the other performing artists.

 

Episode II

Hi! Welcome back and thanks for sticking with me! Xo

I hope you enjoy this next episode — Episode II — of Lynnie Sings!

25 years after high school….

I was that person. You know, that one you pull up beside at a red light and look over at to find them singing to themselves with exuberant, animated, and often quite comical enthusiasm in their car, completely oblivious to anyone around them. This was where I practiced, where for years I secretly developed my craft. This was my private concert hall. My car. This was where I healed my emotional wounds and where I came for self-therapy. This was my safe place – where I was free to be me, where my heart would sing and my soul could soar. This… this is where I would sing, soaring down the highway or on the back roads.

Then came the separation from my husband.

Whether it was the Muses, Fate, Destiny, God, or sheer brain malfunction, I still don’t know what propelled me towards that stage in Millwoods Town Center Mall one particular day. Being newly separated from my husband, with shared custody of the kids, I was struggling with who I was when I wasn’t a full-time mom or stay-at-home wife anymore. That had been my identity for 25 years and I was at a sudden loss as to what to do with myself when the kids were away on ‘Dad’s week’.

It started out as a simple time-killer that day, just something to do to fill the void hours until my kids came home. I had decided I would walk over to the mall across the street from my house to window-shop! Somehow, from there, it concluded with me standing on a stage in the center court of the mall with a mic in my hand, legs shaking so bad you could visibly see my pants fluttering. My dry tongue stuck in the back of my throat so bad I thought I was swallowing it, and my hands shook so bad I almost chipped a tooth. I remember staring like a deer caught in the headlights, out into the gathering crowd and thinking, “Oh shit. This ain’t no orange crate and those aint no cows!”

Ha ha – needless to say, my heartfelt, but highly nervous rendition of “Go Rest High on That Mountain” did not garner me a place as one of the top 5 finalists in that particular karaoke contest. I would not be advancing. However, it did draw quite a crowd around the center court, and it did draw the attention of the karaoke host MC-ing the contest (let’s call him Kent).

Kent came up to me after the contest and said, “You know, you’ve got something there. You just haven’t learned how to handle it yet”.

Being the smartass I can be sometimes (I know – hard to believe, right?), I replied, “Hmph! Gimme an orange crate and 20 head of cattle and I’ll knock your socks off.”

Ha! Just kidding! I didn’t say that. (I’m pretty sure my tongue was still stuck in the back of my throat for days after that contest. Ha ha)

Anyway, Kent offered to tutor me in technique and all manner-of-things-vocal-contest. I followed him around to his various shows over the next six months and he taught me mic control, crowd engagement, stage movement…all kinds of things. The more I sang, the more my confidence grew. The next contest I entered, (6 months later) I won!

I had found a piece of me that had been lost for years, part of who Lynne was, and still is—Lynne, the singer. Over the next few years I was a finalist many times, singing numerous times at Big Valley in Camrose, the Ponoka Stampede, West Edmonton Mall, festivals, vocal competitions in Calgary, and at town picnics, mayor’s breakfasts, fundraisers galore, and many pub contests. One of the pinnacles of those days was becoming a semi-finalist on a national reality television show – CMT Karaoke Star!

So when did I stop doing music-track vocal competitions and become a live musician performer?

Well, one day about a half decade ago, I read somewhere that Beaumont was hosting its first annual blues festival. I immediately volunteered and requested a position in the musician’s hospitality tent. It was there I met several people from the local blues scene who remain my highly respected colleagues and friend to this day—an Edmonton area musician and jam host, and a bass player and Edmonton Blues Association executive member. Meeting these two gentlemen would change the course of not just my career, but my life.

What happened next …well … come back soon and find out in Episode 3! *wink*

See you back here in a few weeks for the next episode of Lynnie Sings!

Episode 1

Welcome to Episode I of Lynnie Sings! Got that comfy chair? A nice warm beverage? (Or cold…lol)

OK…here goes…

I grew up with my older and younger brother on a small hobby farm, east of Edmonton, in the rural district of Ardrossan, Alberta. It was at an early age—around five years old— that my love for performing began.

I would stand on an old, upside-down, wooden orange crate out in the middle of our cow pasture and pretend that it was my stage, and the cows (conditioned to think any human in their midst came bearing hay or oats) would gather round me in a nice, tight huddle. Of course, to me, they were screaming hordes of adoring fans! To them, I was just an empty-handed curiosity.

Under the stars (or more precisely, the cover of darkness), I performed many a grand concert for those cows….er….fans, singing at the top of my lungs out in that cow pasture, with big hand gestures and profound facial expressions. Night after night, I poured out the deepest darkest agonies of my soul—bled them out with flamboyant, dramatic flair to a very indifferent herd of cattle. Afterward, I would jump off the crate and air-sign thousands of imaginary autographs before I would retire to our tiny, pink-stuccoed farmhouse. Then I would crawl into bed underneath a generations-old patchwork quilt and dream of stardom, while the only sounds—the croaking of frogs and distant train whistles, sang me to sleep.

It makes me laugh now, to a degree; however, they say every success story begins with a vision. Ha ha! There was never any lack of “vision” in my earlier child’s mind.

I took a few voice lessons when I was around ten, but they only lasted a few months until my grandmother (who raised me) ran out of money. My voice teacher was the incomparable, Mrs. Jean Ward (rest her soul). She taught me the breathing techniques that would prove invaluable to me later on.

I really wanted a piano when I was young – I was mesmerized by the piano – or a harp (the instrument of angels), but the piano seemed more attainable. Instead, I got a tiny, toy accordion. Red plastic. It was all my Granny could afford. But I would not be daunted; I laid that beautiful, red, plastic, toy accordion on its back and had my baby brother pump the bellows for me so I could play it like a real piano. Granny saw this as a real aptitude for music, so for my birthday a few years later, my family chipped in and bought me a full 120-bass accordion (so much for the way-more-impressive piano I had been dreaming of). My baby brother had to dig his heels into the ground and pull the bellows in a rowing-like motion on this much larger, heavier, version. Eventually I gave up and just learned to play the accordion in the traditional position, but sadly, I abandoned the desire to play as I merged into my adult years.

Singing, however, was something I never (fully) abandoned. I sang throughout my school years in various school concerts and festivals. I remember the Strathfort Festival in grade six, in which I won second place, and the adjudicator wrote on my feedback form, “Lynne has a very mature voice for such a young performer. She shows great promise”. I clung to that positive reinforcement and soldiered on. I sang “Early One Morning”, a traditional English folk song sung to a melody that some of you might recognize as the theme song from The Friendly Giant

“Early one morning,
Just as the sun was rising,
I heard a young maiden,
In the valley below.
CHORUS:
Oh, don’t deceive me,
Oh, never leave me,
How could you use
A poor maiden so?”

In high school, I performed at the school concert with a fellow student who played acoustic guitar. We were a hit! We performed Elvis’s version of “In the Ghetto”, which, to me, had the depth of tragedy that any of Shakespeare’s greatest works did. I thought I was being so deep and profound at the time, but I realize now, that then, and to this day, it was simply the experience of really connecting to a song. For me it usually is deep and profound.

Once out of high school, I sang for a few months with various local bands, and then I met my first serious boyfriend. I moved from the farm to the city into a one-bedroom apartment with a few roommates, and eventually I moved in with my boyfriend. Life went on and eventually I gave birth to the cutest dang twin boys that ever lived. The relationship did not last with him, however, and I became a single mom. Ten years and one husband later, I had two more, beautiful children. From the time I left high school to the end of my marriage, a span of 25 years had passed, during which I did not sing, except in secret (alone in my car or at home when the kids were in school and my husband was at work). No one knew that I was still singing…albeit to myself.

And that’s where the “Lynnie Sings” story really begins…

Stay tuned for the next episode of Lynnie Sings

Well hello, there! So nice of you to drop by. Im so excited to be launching my very first website! Thank you for sharing this milestone with me.

It’s been quite a journey- from that very first vocal competition I entered a few years ago – to my own website and a CD in my somewhat near future! I’ve gathered many stories in my arsenal of adventures along the way! And I cant wait to share some of them with you. So grab yourself a beverage, a comfy chair, and let’s settle in….

Stay tuned! I’ll be back soon with the first episode of Lynnie Sings!