by Pearl Mowbray, Entertainment Reporter, Borget Observer
It was a cold trip from Borget to Regina to hear Wolf Willow perform at The Exchange on December 15, but worth every ounce of diesel.
Navigating the grid roads and wreckage of paved provincial highways winding through the RM of Slippery Butte has its moments. A brilliant full moon compensated for the loss of one headlight, thanks to a passing unwashed Dodge Ram – licence plate concealed, truck nuts polished. Clearly, the RM’s threats of tougher speed limit enforcement are lost on some people.
Turning onto the TransCanada, Wolf Willow’s hit Long, Gone Highway came to mind.
The triple bill had Wolf Willow’s performance bookended by Kevin Roy’s five-piece band from Winnipeg and Regina troubadours The Dead South, who were celebrating a sold-out, three-night CD release party.
Wolf Willow took command of the stage at 10 p.m. Actually, it was Moose who made a bold opening statement that suggested the audience was in for a wild ride. In an uncharacteristic move, he stepped from behind the pedal steel guitar to take centre stage for a harpoon solo that screamed rebel. New, bad boy hair and sideburns suggests someone might be cheating on his stylist. Looks like that simply aren’t on the menu of salons in Borget, Darston or any neighbouring towns.
Host of the Wolf Willow Radio Hour and soon-to-be-new-mom Mitsy Mueller lit up the stage with a maternal glow that outshone the moon outside. Without a doubt, this new chapter about to unfold for Mitsy will influence her song writing. It may even take her advice column in a new direction.
Fans of Annie Dimple were overjoyed by her guest appearance. Not even an uncooperative microphone could throw off the songstress, who delivered a string of hits that kept toes tapping and audience members on their feet.
For a seven-piece band, plus guest artist, a large stage is ideal but uncommon at most nightclubs. The band managed the close quarters without missing a beat and venue’s acoustics were especially complimentary to Wolf Willow’s horn section, featuring Herb L’Flic and Ms. Delilah. A talented instrumentalist and singer, Ms. Delilah delivered a haunting rendition of Honk, if You Like Herefords. “A voice as smooth as molasses” were Mitsy’s words to describe her bandmate.
What seems to be a bit of an onstage rivalry between guitarist Stone-faced Stanley and bassist Marv Ptlosky may have backstory rooted in local politics. Marv is reported to carry some resentment over the results of municipal elections last October, while Stan stays mum on his support of any particular candidate running for RM council. Famous bands have split over less complicated matters. Let’s hope they can work things out.
Drummer Sleek Steve seemed to be taking some of his own frustrations out on his kit. Rumour has it that a backstage rift between Steve and the pedal steel guitar player in Kevin Roy’s band nearly brought the night to a halt.
Was it the power of the full moon or the spirit of the season that kept tensions from boiling over? Or can Mitsy can take credit for keeping the show on track? Her due date quickly approaching, Mitsy had no time to waste on clashing personalities. It seemed her mission to see that Wolf Willow’s final performance in 2016 would end on a positive, resounding note.
Mitzy welcomed baby Minnie into the world on January 10, 2017. The RM of Slippery Butte made a commitment to posting more speed limit signs and enforcing fines and surveillance. Moose’s rockabilly look sparked a craze among teenagers in the area and two new salons opened. The spike in business has eased any feelings of betrayal.