Tri-Continental headed to Red Deer in September

Tri-Continental headed to Red Deer in September

Central Alberta native Bill Bourne enjoying the sonic journey

By Mark Weber

For the Independent

Bill Bourne isn’t just an amazingly gifted musician – he’s a visionary with an utterly unique perspective on the power and influence that music can wield.

Bourne, along with Lester Quitzau, Madagascar Slim and Michael Treadway, make up Tri-Continental. And after a few years’ hiatus, the guys are back together and heading to the Elks Lodge in Red Deer on Sept. 27th in a highly-anticipate show hosted by the Central Music Festival Society.

Bourne recalls the “coalescence” of circumstances” that unexpectedly brought the men together back in the late 1990s.

“We all had a common friend by the name of Hugo Rampen,” he explained.

“He was a good friend and a big fan of Madagascar Slim and also a big fan of Lester’s music, and as it turned out, he was a fan of my music, too.”

It was Rampart that helped to connect Bourne with Slim on a Toronto stage one fateful evening. It was during this show, at the Bamboo Club, that the guys first played together.

“I met him backstage and he tried out one of my guitars – I thought, wow, this guy can really play so I asked him to come and join me onstage,” he said. “He played totally impromptu, but man, but he just nailed everything and it was a great moment.”

From there, Rampen suggested the Bourne and Slim team up with Quitzau.

‘Lester and I were living in Edmonton at the time, and Hugo booked a few gigs for us in the west in September of 1999. He flew Slim to Edmonton and we sat around for two or three days rehearsing.”

The guys then headed down to Red Deer where they hit the stage for the opening week at The Vat. It proved both a remarkable pivotal evening.

“The place was packed, and we just had a blast,” he added with a laugh.

Something truly clicked, and the chemistry was absolutely unmistakable.

“It was very exciting because I had been playing mostly solo for quite a long time in those days. Suddenly I had all of these guitar players around! There was a sense that yes, maybe we should pay attention to this thing and see what happens.”

They headed to the studio at the end of 1999 and tracked their debut disc, which was released in the spring of 2000. That summer, the guys headed over to Europe for a few dates, too. And to top it off, they landed a Juno Award that year for the album as well.

“All of a sudden you get this real chemistry that has maybe never been heard before. I think that had a lot to do with propelling it into the realm of (getting) that Juno Award.”

Fast forward to today, and as with Slim and Quitzau, Bourne can’t say enough about newcomer Treadway brings to the heart of Tri-Continental.

“We’ve all just tuned into him and man, there’s a real centre to the groove – it’s fantastic. I love Michael – he’s an energetic guy; a sunny character who a fabulous addition to this band. He’a virtuoso.”

Bourne also describes Treadway as having a real understanding – as with the group as a whole – of the connection between music and spirituality.

“He’s a fantastic fit.”

These days, Bourne is excited about getting back together with the guys after a few years of follow their own creative paths.

The collaborative nature of Tri-Continental is a joy, and offers a continual experience of learning about the wonders and mysteries of making music.

“I’ve met musicians who feel that they’ve already learned everything that they need to know about music, and that’s it,” he explained. “To me, that’s kind of a dangerous perspective. I’m still learning about music – to me, it’s an absolutely fascinating subject. It’s also an internal expansion, really. It’s not just about timing, melody or songs – it’s a whole picture.

“I’ve realized that a musician’s responsibility is to the energy of the music that is occurring with the audience and the musicians as a whole. My responsibility is to really tune into that energy and roll with it. And it takes a certain amount of humility to really be a servant to that energy.

“It’s such a journey – it’s incredible. You really have to try and get into that attitude of serving it as best you can. And the more you learn about it, the more obvious it becomes. That’s what really keeps me interested in music – all of these various things that you learn that contribute to the expansion of your knowledge, the expansion of your spirit – of everything.

“It’s a joyful thing.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province still hopes to bring the hospitalization number down before relaxing restrictions. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
14 new deaths, 366 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta

Province nearing 100K COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Art Kempf, originally from the Stettler area but now living in Lacombe, is pictured here with his late wife Lillian. Art’s 100th birthday is coming up on Feb. 22nd.
photo submitted
Former Stettler area resident Art Kempf will be celebrating a very special day next month

Kempf, now a Lacombe resident, marks his 100th birthday on Feb. 22nd

photo courtesy of Lara Angus
Kate Syson, Sharon Fischer and Allan King pose with the Zamboni on Stettler’s newest skating spot.
photo courtesy of Lara Angus
Stettler Elementary leadership take the Zamboni for a spin

Sharon Fischer and Kate Syson lend a hand for Stettler’s new skating spot

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

(Photo submitted)
Central Alberta researchers recognized for studies in agricultural sciences

Jessica Sperber of Ponoka and David MacTaggart of Lacombe awarded prestigious scholarship

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

A ground worker wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 unloads lobsters from a WestJet Airlines flight at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Trudeau teases stricter travel measures; Canadians flying to U.S. now need COVID test

Prime minister says measures need to not hurt imports and essential trade

(Photo submitted)
Ponoka RCMP receives new police puppy trainee

Detachment says goodbye to ‘Maja’ and welcomes ‘Neutron’

'The Coronavirus Isn't Scary' by Kristy Walker.
Sylvan Lake author pens first children’s book about COVID-19

“The Coronavirus Isn’t Scary” by Kristy Walker teaches children to take care of themselves

Whistle Stop Cafe owner Christopher Scott and his sister Melodie are serving sit-down customers in their Mirror diner to protest health restrictions that they say are unfair to restaurants and other small businesses. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
Central Alberta restaurant owner defies health restrictions by serving diners

Whistle Stop Cafe owner says pandemic restrictions unfair to restaurants and small businesses

The Northwest Territories flag flies on a flagpole in Ottawa on July 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Alberta man charged with threatening Northwest Territories public health officer

Police did reveal the nature of the threats, but said it was concerning

A healthy volunteer receives an injection in this undated handout image provided by Providence Therapeutics. Human clinical trials have begun in Toronto for a proposed COVID-19 vaccine by a Canadian company. Providence Therapeutics of Calgary says 60 subjects will be monitored for 13 months, with the first results expected next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Providence Therapeutics
Calgary company begins human clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate

If successful, the vaccine could be released by the end of the year

Most Read