No Simple Blue: Guitarist Jack Semple’s sound informed by an eclectic mix of influences


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Highlight: Jack Semple will play on Sept. 3 as a part of BlueZha PalooZha on the Calgary Shrine Centre. Study extra at

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It might appear a wierd admission from Jack Semple.

Whereas the veteran guitarist is famend for his masterful and fiery blues and rock riffs, he admits he was not a fan of taking part in the electrical guitar early in his profession. In his teenagers, he had studied classical and flamenco types. He solely reluctantly picked up an electrical afterward and it was strictly for sensible causes.

“I bought into a marriage band once I was 18 years outdated and I began taking part in weekends, simply doing that type of music,” says the Regina-based singer-songwriter and guitarist in an interview with Postmedia. “I needed to play an electrical guitar, which I actually hated at first. It’s a extremely totally different animal than an acoustic guitar.”

Nonetheless, like many modern-blues guitarists earlier than him, B.B. King acted as an introduction and gateway to the blues and electrical guitar basically. He started listening to King when he was nonetheless a toddler rising up on a farm north of Regina.

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“Once I first heard B.B. King, whilst a younger child, I assumed ‘Wow, this man is talking a language,’” he says. “I wished to study that language. I bought into electrical guitar after which I bought into taking part in in lots of nation bands. Within the late ’70s and early ’80s, all of the gigs in my space had been nation gigs. You might play six nights per week, endlessly. These days are gone, however again once I was in my 20s, I might get on the highway and play six nights per week for months and months and months. That’s a good way to study your chops.”

All of which explains why Semple’s recordings provide a wholesome combine that springs from the blues and its varied cousin genres. That features 2018’s Can’t Cease This Love, which featured every little thing from the soulful R&B of the title monitor, to the funky leanings of Dance of the Undivided, acoustic-folk of Walkin’, and charging blues-rock of Workin’ Time beyond regulation.

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Followers can anticipate an all-electric set on Saturday, Sept. 3 when Semple headlines BlueZha PalooZha on the Calgary Shrine Centre backed by a three-piece band. Nonetheless, even his most raucous work will probably provide hints of a few of his quieter musical actions. In 2021, Semple joined the Regina Symphony Orchestra for a present that included a number of orchestrated classic-rock chestnuts from Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix.

He’s additionally engaged on an album of acoustic instrumentals – a throwback to his days as a classical guitarist.

“I really like instrumental guitar music, significantly solo,” he says. “I don’t use a decide. I’ve a classical-flamenco right-hand approach. I play the bass line and the melody on the identical time and plenty of open-turning stuff. Plenty of that music is admittedly impressed by the place I reside. I grew up on the Prairies proper subsequent to the Qu’Appelle Valley, which is a really lovely, fertile space in Saskatchewan. It’s the place I spent my boyhood. I am going on the market with my guitar and recollect the great outdated days and strum away and write music that manner.”

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Semple has been a travelling musician ever since these early years taking part in six nights per week at native honky-tonks. Impressed by the Eighties blues revival, and significantly the work of Texas grasp Stevie Ray Vaughan, Semple started dedicating extra time to blues in his mid to late 20s. He ultimately moved to Toronto the place he performed within the progressive R&B band The Lincolns for just a few years. However it wasn’t lengthy earlier than he moved again to his hometown and commenced spreading his skills to soundtrack work in TV and movie. The Nineteen Nineties had been a fertile interval for the artist. The solo work received acclaim and in addition earned him a Juno Award and two Western Canadian Music Awards. He earned two Gemini Award nominations for his soundtrack work.

His well-rounded musical background got here in helpful these previous few years when the pandemic threw a wrench into his touring schedule.  However necessity is the mom of invention for musicians and Semple expanded his soundtrack work and on-line showcases whereas taking up an even bigger roster of scholars for Zoom classes.

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“That turned out to be very attention-grabbing,” he says. “I’ve college students from far and wide, throughout North America: Los Angeles, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto. However I actually missed performing. Now that I’m again performing once more, it’s a lot enjoyable as a result of the audiences are so enthusiastic as a result of they haven’t been out for 2 years. So they’re very pleased.”

The acoustic instrumental album is simply one of many recording initiatives Semple has within the works. He’s additionally planning on a follow-up to Can’t Cease This Love.

“It’s going to be rhythmic and comparable, but it surely’s exhausting to say,” he says. “As an artist, you at all times need to broaden the envelope and attempt to stretch out and do new issues. As of proper now, I’m pondering it’s going to be slightly extra guitar pushed. Can’t Cease This Love was very song-driven, which is necessary too. Songs are the foreign money of the music enterprise. When you’ve got good songs, that’s actually the premise. However they’ll be slightly bit extra aggressive guitar taking part in on this one.”

Jack Semple will play Sept. 3 as a part of BlueZha PalooZha on the Calgary Shrine Centre, 5225 101 Road N.W. Calgary. BlueZha PalooZha runs Sept. 3 and 4 with music from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Different acts on Saturday embrace JC Smith, Ron Burke & A Little Voodoo, Billy Joe Inexperienced, Deicha & The VuDudes, The John Rutherford Trio and Guitarface with Ethan Askey. On Sunday, Sept. 4, will probably be The Downchild Blues Band, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne with Donald Ray Johnson, Casey Hensley, the Mike Clark Band, The Lovebullies, Jay Coda Walker and Marcus Trummer.

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