From left

From left

Loose Change: giving the people what they want

Concert marks end of summer series at West Stettler Park

After playing in Stettler for decades, the members of Loose Change have learned that it’s wise to mix it up for local crowds.

“When you play out there, you’d better have variety, or there’s going to be trouble,” said bassist David Carstairs, just prior to a show on the outdoor stage at West Stettler Park.

Loose Change delivered just that, performing a combination of blues, country and classic rock that entertained a large audience at the park last Wednesday evening.

It was the final night for Entertainment in the Park, a summer-long concert series that featured free weekly shows for 10 weeks beginning June 25, presented by the town’s parks and leisure department.

The concert fell on the same night as a fundraising barbecue and bake sale organized by the Kinettes, ensuring a good turnout for both events.

In addition to Carstairs and his brother Wayne, who plays lead guitar, Loose Change features drummer Scott McKnight and lead vocalist Jeff Lee.

After kicking off the show with an instrumental blues tune, the band moved into a set filled with classics, including songs by the Eagles, Neil Young, Queen, Willie Nelson and the Tragically Hip.

Altogether, Loose Change performed about a dozen songs before an impending storm forced the band to cut the set short.

McKnight said he and David Carstairs have been performing music together since the late 1970s, when both were still in high school. He recalled how their band was booked to play a nearby hotel, but had to wait to accept the booking until after McKnight turned 18.

Wayne Carstairs joined his brother a few years later; Lee has been playing with the group for about eight years. Lee and McKnight both live in Stettler, while the Carstairs brothers live in Erskine.

Loose Change performs an average of one show per month, including performances on the Alberta Prairie Railway that takes tourists from Stettler to Big Valley and back.

Some band members have written the occasional song, said McKnight, but “for the most part, it’s just strictly cover material.”

Lee said the band has a repertoire of about 500 tunes and is open to taking requests.

“We usually try to figure it out, even if we don’t know all the words,” he added