Little Miss Higgins – Harrison Hot Springs, Sept. 28, 2013
Quiet footsteps enter from stage left and Little Miss Higgins and her band headed down the stage steps to stand in front of the audience. With only a single acoustic guitar for accompaniment, Higgins and the Winnipeg Five opened their Harrison Hot Springs a quiet, subdued not-quite a cappella number. It’s a good way to start a show.
“I call them the Winnipeg Five,” Higgins said a bit later, “because there are five of them…and they’re from Winnipeg.” That dry funny wit ran an undercurrent through the full two hour show..
Higgins grew up in small prairie towns on both sides of the border and her musical sensibility shows it: she writes songs from life experiences. Dead Cow Hill was introduced as a place a neighbour took her too, I’m Glad Your Whiskey Fit Into My Purse paints a picture of a search for “…some Whiskey of a Tennessee sort…” for a fellow musician and Bargain Shop Panties was introduced with a story that only a prairie girl could have turned into an audience sing along (yes, there was an actual bargain shop and yes there were actually panties but you should really hear her tell the whole story.)
The band’s set featured a healthy collection of songs from the recently released Bison Ranch Recording Sessions but was filled in nicely with older material, songs that didn’t make the cut on the album and country blues covers of classic material by the likes of Fats Waller.
Standout moments of the night included a version of an older song, Radville, about a small town in Saskatchewan Higgins played while “…set up between the pool table and the nut machine” and the moments when Higgins let her backing band the F-Holes take the stage to play a couple of songs of fantastic material from their own album.
By the end Higgins and the Winnipeg Five played a bit longer than two hours and delivered a show that was part storytelling, one part old time country music review and wholly entertaining. Imagine a cross between A Prairie Home Companion and a miniature Grand Ole Opry and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect: an entertaining, fantastic night of classic sounding country that you really can’t miss.
Little Higgins plays Vancouver on October 4th at St. James Hall and a full tour schedule is available on her web site and the Bison Ranch Recording Sessions can be ordered on iTunes. The Winnipeg Five play as the F-Holes when not touring with Higgins and their tour information is on the band’s web site .