Central Music Festival Society is featuring a very special show this month with the reuniting of members of a popular Red Deer band from the 1990s.
Shaky Ground is performing at the Elks Lodge on June 16th with showtime at 7 p.m. Also featured that evening is the Charlie Jacobson Band as well.
“Shaky Ground started in late 1988,” recalled Teresa Neuman, who served as lead singer for the group. “My husband Bruce Jacobson along with Bob Kochan and Trevor Payne were all working at Red Deer College in the Arts Centre as theatre techs.
“They started jamming together at the old 49th Street Blues Bar,” she said, adding it was a really happening spot featuring local blues bands at that time. “They met Andy Hamilton who became the bass player, and the four of them started jamming together.
“I then joined as a singer in 1989, and we put Shaky Ground together.”
The very first gig they played was for Mike Bradford, who back then was with the River City Blues Society and today runs the Central Music Festival Society.
“We opened for a zydeco band from Louisiana,” recalled Neuman with a chuckle. “For the next couple of years we played mostly around Red Deer, but we played North Country Fair and South Country Fair and around the province a bit,” she said, adding that the band’s last gig was at the North Country Fair in 1992.
At the time, Neuman was expecting her and Jacobson’s second child, who, incidentally, is the incredibly talented Charlie Jacobson who as mentioned, is also performing June 16th with his own band.
So ultimately, the evening is also something of a highly-anticipated family affair as Neuman and Bruce will also be joined by their daughter Elly Jacobson during Shaky Ground’s stint onstage, too.
Meanwhile, the band members all moved on, but Kochan, Payne and Hamilton did keep up with playing on different projects over the years.
“All of those guys have been active within music in a variety of projects throughout the years. And then, at the Edmonton Blues Festival last August, I ran into Carol Weatherall who is the artistic director for the North Country Fair. She said, ‘Were you in that Shaky Ground band?’
“I said yes, and she said, ‘We’re having our 40th anniversary this summer – do you think you’d put the band back together and come play?’
“I laughed, thinking she didn’t really mean it and she was there to see Charlie’,” she laughed.
“And then in January, she called and said she was serious. Would Shaky Ground come and play in June for the 40th anniversary?”
Neuman ran the idea past the guys in the band, and everyone was promptly – and enthusiastically – onboard.
“Charlie is going to play drums for us because we always laughed and said, we had to grow our own drummer because we can’t keep a drummer. And Elly is a beautiful singer, so she’s going to sing back-up. So that’s the story,” she added with a smile.
“Shaky Ground was also a family – all of our families raised our kids together and we stayed friends after we stopped playing together. Andy played with us in the Bull Simple Band which was after that as well,” she said.
”Andy plays bass with Charlie now regularly in his band. It’s always been sort of a family. So to be able to be playing with these guys again is terrifying and exciting at the same time,” she said, laughing.
The band has been rehearsing since about February.
“In many ways, it was like no time had gone by,” she said. In other ways, it seemed like something a bit new particularly for Neuman as out of them all, she probably has been performing the least regularly, she explained.
“Music has never gone out of my life, but I’m the one who has been doing the least (in terms of) performing. We were all kind of nervous, also because North Country Fair is a big deal – and always has been one of our favourite festivals.
“Also, once we started rehearsing, we thought we should also really play for our hometown crowd. So it made perfect sense to contact Mike, because he gave us our first show,” she added.
“Charlie had also been talking to him about doing a show this spring anyways, so a double bill with the Charlie Jacobson Band sounded like too much fun to pass up.”
Neuman also pointed out that Kent Cadman, who had played with Shaky Ground as a drummer, is joining the show that night on drums with Charlie’s band.
“So that is another piece of the reunion to have Kent playing the show, too.
“We are doing all material that we did back then. I’m an archivist, so I actually had our set lists from 1991 and 1992 for the North Country Fair. We pulled those out, and selected a set of tunes from what we used to play.
“It’s always fun to play for our hometown crowd – the response from our friends and families has been really exciting as well. It will be really fun.”
Advance tickets can be purchased online at centralmusicfest.com. They will also be available at the door.