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"It was a pretty celestial Feeling" South West debuts at the Rawlinson

Updated: May 15, 2023

by Scott Roos

pics by Scott and Deanna Roos

This past Friday, Nov. 19th, Prince Albert’s E.A. Rawlinson Centre for the Arts played host to alt-country new kids on the block South West. Stephen Williams, who is a much beloved local musician known for playing in literally everyone’s else’s band, was making his debut as a frontman for South West which is his own solo project. Williams had been sitting on some songs for quite some time before recording them as South West at Tri Sonic Sound in Prince Albert. The concert, in part, served as a bit of a CD release show.

Williams said he ran the full gambit of emotions whilst performing on stage: nervous, excited, anxious. In the end being the seasoned performer that he is, Williams was able to relax and just enjoy himself.

“Being out in front of the band was new for me,” said Williams, “but once I got used to it, it was just like every other gig I played before. It was a pretty celestial feeling. I loved it”

The level of comfort evident in his performance was likely due to the fact that Williams was backed up by the familiar faces of Ian Dickson on drums, Jordy Balicki on keys and guitar and Joel Rohs on bass.

“Jordy, Joel, and Ian are all incredibly talented musicians and great friends. They helped calm me through with words of support and encouragement. It also helped that I could trust that I had top shelf musicianship on the stage with me," explained Williams

The songs in general by South West stood up well and the crowd was very appreciative of Williams's talent. The hooks of “Always on the Run”, the debut single by South West, ended the groups set on a high note.

Once South West packed up, Orillia, Ontario’s Zachary Lucky served as the headliner for the evening. It was Lucky’s second show back since the COVID lockdown but there was no rust evident. Lucky was jovial, telling lots of stories and entertaining the crowd with his smooth Gordon Lightfoot-esque vocals. Dobro player Miles Zurawell served as a capable back-up to Lucky. It was an intimate environment with Lucky’s songwriting skill fully evident as the two men cycled through their set. Lucky, originally from Saskatoon, was in his element to be sure.

*Lucky and Zurawell doing what they do best

At the end of the day, the Rawlinson continues to support local acts like South West, giving them a first rate venue for them to cut their teeth, whilst at the same time bringing in interesting and artistically relevant artists like Lucky.

The next show of the Rawlinson’s 21/22 season will feature Chantal Kreviazuk on Thursday, November 25th.

*Zachary Lucky: Luge Enthusiast (this is a huge inside joke)

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