This installment features two performers, Ukulele Russ from Fairbanks, Alaska and Hank Karr from Whitehorse Yukon.
What do you do when you live in the wilds of Alaska in a cabin with no running water, and temperatures can dive to 50 below zero on those long, long nights?
You learn to play a mean ukulele…
The first of two performers featured in this episode is Mr. Russ Copelin from Fairbanks, Alaska – better known as Ukulele Russ.
Russ visited Haines Junction on February 12, 2014 for a house concert.
With a stage name like Ukulele Russ, one might imagine Hawaiian shirts and inoffensive luau music kid-friendly songs. But that’s about as far away from reality as possible. He entertained the crowd with a mix of songs and stories spiced up with a good dose of satirical undertone and a kick-butt Ukulele.
Russ and his wife moved to Alaska from New England, calling a small cabin just outside of the Fairbanks their home. His experience living in the Alaskan bush inspires his song writing and enables him to deliver uniquely improvisational performances. He does not shy away to serve his own take on the Alaskan way of life, geopolitical issues or popular songs.
Thank you Elsabe for hosting this concert in your living room.
Hank Karr, our next performer, has being part of the Yukon music landscape for more than half a century.
Back in the 60’s, Hank performed in the Northern CBC Radio series “Northern Jamboree”. From then, and during Canada’s centennial year (1967) when he represented the Yukon at Expo in Montreal, until today, Hank Karr has been a great ambassador for the Territory. Hank’s love for the Yukon is reflected in his songs about the Yukon’s Gold Rush history and culture, and the natural beauty of the land.
With his deep, expressive voice, he delivers songs in a classic country style that brings to mind Johnny Cash and Johnny Horton. But Hank’s repertoire is not limited to country, he also covers ballads, pop, swing, rock n roll – you name it, Hank handles them all.
Hank has released three CDs and two DVDs.
On June 13th, 2014 we recorded Hank and his band at a dance event at the St. Elias Centre in Haines Junction.
Hank – lead vocal and rhythm guitar – is joined by:
Chuck Charlebois – Lead guitar and back up vocals
Tom Barnaby – bass and lead and back up vocals
Wayne Smyth – drums