Eclectic Little Mountain Trio brings many flavours to Steveston

Rob McGregor has been playing mandolin since 1977. His fascination with the instrument led him to bluegrass  -
Rob McGregor has been playing mandolin since 1977. His fascination with the instrument led him to bluegrass
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Steveston Folk Guild is welcoming Little Mountain Trio to the Britannia Heritage Shipyard floorboards for a show this later this month.

Rob McGregor handles mandolin, Kitty King is on bass and Dave Lidstone takes care of guitar duties. All three are strong lead and harmony singers and each brings something a bit different to the band.

McGregor sings bluegrass and has a new interest in rhythm and blues, particularly the music of Ray Charles. King has just proven her versatility with a new CD of original songs from a wide variety of styles. Lidstone is comfortable singing classic swing, contemporary country and dusty old cowboy songs.

This is the first time the group has graced the guild, but at least one of the members is a recognizable face to regulars. Lidstone has appeared with the guild thrice previously with Andrea Smith in the duo Just Duets—which last performed here in November.

In store for the audience is a wide variety of music, including a mix of original compositions, blues, jazz and even some country flavour.

The Richmond Review spoke with Rob McGregor about the band’s beginnings three decades ago and the late Stompin’ Tom Connors.

Describe Little Mountain Trio?

“Little Mountain Trio plays music from all over the acoustic roots music map. From a background in folk and bluegrass music, Little Mountain Trio has expanded its repertoire in recent years to include jazz, rhythm and blues, country and a growing list of original music… The band’s eclectic sound is rounded out with a broad repertoire of folk, jazz and original instrumentals.”

How did the three of you come together?

“Little Mountain Trio started out back in 1983 as a bluegrass quartet called the Little Mountain Band. Joined in those days by banjo player Don Dirksen, the band emerged from the vibrant bluegrass scene that existed in Vancouver in the early 1980s.

“After a long break from performing, where the members raised families and pursued higher education, the band reunited in 2005. A few years later, the Little Mountain Trio was born when our banjo player Don Dirksen decided to leave the band. As a trio, we have developed a much more eclectic repertoire and sound than the original bluegrass quartet.”

What’s your own history in music?

“I have been playing mandolin since 1977. My fascination with mandolin music, particularly that of David Grisman, led me into bluegrass music. When I moved to Vancouver from Ontario in 1980, my timing could not have been better. With the establishment that year of the Pacific Bluegrass and Heritage Society, the amount of local activity in bluegrass and old-time music more or less exploded… Since then, I have performed with several bluegrass bands including Little Mountain Band, the Tone Twisters and Crescent Ranch and have also played for contra dances with Tempus Fugit.”

Have you ever joined music with your work at Douglas College?

“At Douglas College, I teach biology and direct the Institute of Urban Ecology. There are not a lot of opportunities for mixing music with my work at the college, but Little Mountain Trio has performed for the last three years at the Douglas College Fall Fair at our Coquitlam campus.”

Given Wednesday’s passing of Stompin’ Tom Connors, what do you remember of him?

“Stompin’ Tom Connors was a Canadian icon. He will be missed by legions of people across this country. His musical contribution was enormous, including such signature songs as ‘Bud the Spud’ and ‘The Hockey Song.’ Tom was also a relentless promoter of Canadian music and musicians. I grew up, as have generations of Canadians, listening to Stompin’ Tom’s music and loving its rootsy charm and sense of humour. His passing leaves a big gap in the Canadian music scene, but I’m sure his music will live on. There is already talk of Little Mountain Trio arranging a Stompin’ Tom song.”

Little Mountain Trio

•Thursday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Britannia Heritage Shipyard’s Chinese Bunkhouse, 5180 Westwater Dr.

•Tickets, $8, at the door.

•Presented by the Steveston Folk Guild

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