Rockin’ the Lobster, all weekend long

Arts & Entertainment Community Featured Online First

Are you ready to rock the lobster with Jimmy Rankin? How about with the Barra MacNeils? How about with Charlie A’Court and Garrett Mason?

Unfortunately, due to a family emergency Matt Minglewood, who was originally scheduled for tonight, will not be able to perform so A’Court and Mason will fill that role.

The Good news, we were able to secure suitable replacements, Charlie A’Court & Garrett Mason!

The list of entertainment for the 85th anniversary of the Pictou Lobster Carnival is definitely one for the ages!

Each year, dedicated carnival committee volunteers work hard to bring in entertainment that will appeal to all ages. And this year promises to be one of the best.

Some special events are planned for, like the Terry Kelly Pub Night and Lobster Supper at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre on Thursday, July 4 with a 7 p.m. dinner and 7:30 p.m. show.

Last year’s Downtown Jam was so successful in showcasing local talent that the committee is bringing it back again. This year, the event will be taking place on the outdoor patio at Fat Tony’s Bar and Grill on Saturday, July 6 from 11 a.m. until to 5:45 p.m. One lucky artist will get  to perform on the carnival main stage on Sunday, July 7 at 1 p.m.

As in past years, Hincheys Rides and Amusements will be set up providing thrills to all ages and games of chance to those who dare to play.

Other returning events are the always popular children’s parade, dog show, derby races, Mardi Gras street parade, antique car show,  Queen of the Sea Pageant, Little Mermaid/Prince Neptune Pageant and more.

The main stage entertainment will kick off this year on opening night   with southern country rock band Witchitaw based out of the Annapolis Valley.

Witchitaw has recorded three full length albums in Nashville and released their latest album, The Ride, in 2018. More than 30 radio stations across the nation programmed Witchitaw’s single, Posse, including satellite giant Sirius XM Canada. Their followup single, Moonshine, corresponded with their performances at 2018 Cavendish Beach Music Festival in PEI. They also shot a video exclusively in Cavendish for Moonshine which featured clips from their performances on four different stages over two days.

Sensational vocalist Makayla Lynn is up next. This powerhouse singer/songwriter was last in Pictou several months ago at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre as a member of Bruce Guthro’s Songwriters Circle.  

Named “One to Watch” by Rolling Stone Magazine, Lynn is a fresh face in the industry with the vocals, songwriting ability and stage presence that is virtually unprecedented for her age. The 2019 East Coast Music Awards Fan’s Choice Video of the Year Winner, 2018 Country Album winner AND the 2018 Music Nova Scotia Awards Entertainer of the Year, she began piling up prestigious award nominations at just 12 years old and was recently named the youngest ECMA winner in the award’s 30-year history.   

 With the 2017 release of her Nashville recorded and produced album, On a Dare and a Prayer, the artist not only co-wrote 11 of the songs but also tried her hand in the production chair, sitting alongside of co-producer Smith Curry (musician for Taylor Swift, Kid Rock, Randy Travis and many others). The FACTOR funded album was recorded at Reba McEntire’s Starstruck Studios and featured award winning A-list studio musicians. It was a follow up album to Lynn’s first Nashville album, Daydream, that she wrote and recorded at just 12 years old. 

Lynn has been performing at major music festivals at just 8 years old and has been fronting her own band since she was 12. The past decade has found her performing alongside of many of country music’s biggest icons like Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, Kenny Chesney and countless others in front of crowds as large as 30,000. From large country music festivals to intimate venues such as the Bluebird Cafe, she has been become a regular in songwriter’s circles around Nashville with the likes of Gordie Sampson (Jesus Take the Wheel, Storm Warning, God Your Mama and Me), Deric Ruttan (Mine Would Be You), Jim “Moose” Brown (5 O’Clock Somewhere), Lance Carpenter (Love Me Like You Mean It) and many others who have taken the young artist under their wings.  

Matt Minglewood is certainly no stranger to the Lobster Carnival stage. He and his band are like a well-oiled machine. Their constant touring and high octane live show has earned them the well-deserved reputation of ‘down to earth bearers of good will and good times’. Their diversity and broad audience appeal has made them a fave on the Canadian touring circuit.

Minglewood grew up in North Sydney, Cape Breton. At an early age he remembers sitting on grandfather’s knee listening to him, completely enthralled by his fiddle playing. At the tender age of four he sang in front of his first audience, singing a couple of Gaelic songs – and the writing was on the wall. He started fiddle lessons at age six, moved on to the piano at eight and by his teens was in love with the guitar.

He joined his first band, the Rockin’ Saints’ in his late teens playing organ and rhythm guitar. By his early 20s he went on to join a band entitled Sam Moon, Matt Minglewood & the Universal Power which soon evolved into the Moon Minglewood Band. They toured the country and became known as one of the hardest working bands in the country. By the mid 70s they morphed into the Minglewood Band & recorded their first album, affectionately known as The Red Album in 76; a  recording contract with RCA Records soon followed.

Minglewood is loved for his storytelling. His tunes always reflect his life around him and what he is feeling at the time. Many major artists (Jeff Healy, Jimmie Rankin, Duck Dunn, (bassist for Eric Clapton, Neil Young and the Blues Brothers), Colin James, Downchild Blues Band, Kenny Neal, and Grammy-award winning blues harp player Charlie Musselwhite) have joined Minglewood on stage and CD.  
In a climate ripe with ever-changing musical styles, this artist’s character has been defined by his simply remaining true to himself.  
Pictou County’s own False Pretence will close out the musical entertainment. This rock n’ roll party band from Pictou County first appeared on the scene in 2008. Since then, the boys in the band have mastered a wide variety of classic and modern hits from the 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond. Their non-stop high-energy sets are jam-packed with all your favourites – Bon Jovi, Fleetwood Mac, Journey, Loverboy, Van Halen, U2 and more.
Fronted by charismatic lead singer Tommy Chapman and backed up by a rock-solid rhythm section – drummer Daniel Marshall and bassist Brad “Bucwheat” MacNeil – and topped off with a generous helping of rhythm guitar and keyboard from Phil Brannon and lead guitar from Jody McNeill – False Pretence delivers professional-grade sights and sounds in a live show that is absolutely second-to-none.
On Saturday, the main stage will be busy from 12:30 p.m. onwards as children’s performer Shelley Bean and the Duckety Muds will entertain  the younger generation. Expect to be entertained by sweet songs, silly dance moves and laughter.

Ontario’s Jacob Moon will be hosting the carnival’s first street party on the main stage at 3:30 p.m. Moon is a guitarist, singer, and writer of award-winning pop and folk songs. He’s best known as a master of the art of ‘live looping’ – recording his performances in real time and adding layer upon layer to make one man with one guitar ring like an orchestra, and his innovative approach to beloved guitar songs and his original music have helped him build a following that includes the likes of Rush, Ron Sexsmith, and Gordon Lightfoot, for the past two decades.

The stage will be rocking again at 8 p.m. with the local talents of the Rabbit Town Blues Band, a frequent performer at Pictou’s Highlander Pub. They will get the audience all fired up for the next performer, ECMA winner Jimmy Rankin.

Rankin is a renowned Canadian songwriter with a long string of hits for The Rankin Family and from his solo albums. He joined the family group as a teen, and soon became co-lead singer and songwriter of such classics as North Country, You Feel The Same Way Too, and Movin’ On. His name is synonymous with the East Coast sound, and was one of the very first writers to bring it to a national and international audience. His 1994 Juno-winning single, Fare Thee Well Love, has taken on a life of its own having been sung by choirs around the globe and in 2013, voted the #1 East Coast song of all time by CBC listeners across Canada.

As a solo artist, he’s been ruling the charts since his 2001 debut Song Dog, with such hits as Followed Her Around, Here in My Heart, and Cool Car. His overcrowded mantle includes five Juno Awards, seven Canadian Country Music Awards, and a whopping 27 East Coast Music Awards … and counting.

His music has taken him around the world, and led to writing partnerships with some of the world’s best in Nashville and elsewhere. But after years spent down South, he knew it was time to pack up the family and head home. He did that and recorded the album Moving East, a homecoming album featuring true stories, tall tales and bittersweet ballads, and the classic folk-rock sound that Rankin helped pioneer.

Saturday night will come to a rockin’ close with Dirty Rokkin Scoundrels.   DRS are five guys known to each other from a few different bands on the scene around their hometown. They play songs from the 60s to present that get the crowd involved with fun fist pumping rock n roll that keeps all ages on the dance floor all night. They get your adrenaline flowing and want you to be a part of the show with tamborines, shakers etc. Their philosophy is that music is about getting out and having fun with friends and family, forgetting the daily grind, letting loose on your inhibitions.

Sunday morning will feature gospel music from Brian, Brenda and Floyd and the afternoon will begin with the Downtown Artist Jam. The music will continue on the main stage with some of Pictou County’s great local bands such as Kitchen Criminals, Mike & the MacPhersons, and the Collective.

Also featured Sunday night will be Rum Ragged, a traditional band from Newfoundland. From spirited instrumentals to heartfelt ballads, they pay homage to the greats that came before them while carving out a fresh, unique sound of their own. While their pub shows have transformed into festival headlining gigs in a short span of time, they are comfortable performing in any venue.

Rum Ragged released their debut album in the summer of 2016; it received widespread attention and acclaim with a MusicNL nomination  for “Album of the Year” and a Music NL win for “Folk Roots Recording of the Year” in 2016. The album was also nominated for 2017 ECMA “Roots/Traditional Album of the Year”, the group was awarded MusicNL Celtic/Traditional Artist of the Year” in that same year.  With their acclaimed debut album, a best-selling holiday album and their flying off shelves recent sophomore effort, Rum Ragged continues to be the group to keep your eyes and ears on.

Closing out the event will be the Barra MacNeils, hailing from Sydney Mines.

The MacNeil siblings began performing together in 1980 while still teenagers (Lucy MacNeil being only 10 years old). Consequently, they were only able to perform on weekends, and toured during school holidays. The siblings are classically trained musicians and alumni of Mount Allison University.

In 1986, they released their first eponymous album on their own independent label. The Barras won their first East Coast Music Award in 1991, and have won four more since, including an Album of the Year award for TimeFrame in 1992, and a Group of the Year award in 2001. They signed with PolyGram, and their first two albums were re-released while their 1993 album Closer To Paradise earned a gold record. They have been an opening act for Céline Dion and have toured regularly across North America and Europe.

All entertainment will be happening under the tent so that all can enjoy, rain or shine.

After enjoying the Friday and Saturday night beer garden and entertainment, you can receive a free ride home on a CHAD bus. The Safe Ride Home program, sponsored by NSLC, is open to anyone needing a ride home as the evening’s entertainment comes to an end. Pre-register to secure a seat by calling CHAD Transit, or remaining seats will be offered on a first-come-first-served basis. This program enables everyone to have fun and get home safely.