from the vault

Jack Semple at Minstrel Cafe in 2009

brilliant display of virtuosity

by Miles Overn - 2009

Uncovering gems from the eiKelowna Music Vault

Jack Semple brought his trio to Kelowna and delivered another brilliant display of virtuosity wrapped in an absolute love of performing to a sold out Minstrel Cafe & Bar.

This was the first time I had seen him perform live, but many of my musician friends told me that he was incredible, even comparing him to my personal guitar hero, Robben Ford. I was more than a little bit sceptical going to this show.

One show was all it took, though. The man is massively talented and the trio epitomized the whole blues trio vibe. I have seen him many times since, and he never disappoints.

Read the review below. See if it brings back some memories for you if you were there, or if it makes you wish you had been. Semple played with the fire and abandon that he is known for, and the band grooved all the way into the next week.

For a list of more recent reviews, check out our Music Reviews page.

NOTE - The COVID-19 pandemic and the provincial state of emergency delcaration have put a hold on live music performances in Kelowna and across BC. As restrictions loosen and live events start getting booked again, the other pages in our music section will begin to fill up again.



Another Brilliant Display of Virtuosity in Kelowna

Comprising equal parts sophisticated harmony, serious groove, reckless abandon, raw energy and stunning improvisation, Semple avoided evoking images of other great guitarists while still musically employing virtually ever guitar technique known to man. The key word here is musically. At no point did the listener feel like they were enduring someone’s need to show their stuff. Instead they were gifted with a highly entertaining mix of Jack’s originals and standards from the blues repertoire, offered up by a band that clearly enjoys what they are doing.

The highlight for this reviewer was Semple’s rendition of “Rainy Night in Georgia”. Semple opened the tune with a guitaristic nod to the original. His vocals were soulful, heartfelt, and piercing. The extended guitar solo in the middle, though, was the kind of thing that legends are made of. Combining both upper and lower register fretwork, the full palette of the dynamic spectrum, expressive bends and releases, and jaw dropping sweep picking way up the neck, references to the original were interspersed with enough frequency that if you ever forgot what song you were listening to, you didn’t forget for long. It was a classic example of a true artist taking you somewhere, stealing your breathe away, suspending you in time, extracting you from the very realm of space, and then delivering you safely home again.

Semple truly belongs to a very exclusive group of guitarists, many of them virtual unknowns outside of the music world. The late Danny Gatton (The Ultimate Unknown Guitarist), John Jorgensen of the Hellecasters, the more well known Robben Ford; it is not much of a stretch to place Semple in their midst.

Rounding out the trio were bassist Dave Chobot and Martin Blonski on the drums. Blonski did a masterful job of supporting Semple and Chobot, providing understated patterns but never lacking groove. Chobot outlined Jack’s choice of extended harmonies while simultaneously creating a pocket more than deep enough for the car keys and anything else you want to throw in there.

Jack Semple in Kelowna

Jack Semple at Kelowna Yacht Club in Kelowna

Jack Semple in Salmon Arm

Jack Semple at Roots & Blues in Salmon Arm

Dave Chobot in Salmon Arm

Dave Chobot at Roots & Blues in Salmon Arm

All images copyright (c) 2019 Miles Overn

Unfortunately I have not been able to put my hands on the photos from the original show at Minstrel Cafe. These shots are from Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival in 2019.

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