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A little taste of blues

Adam Johnson
Northern News Services
Friday, May 11, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - What is it about the North? As Saskatchewan roots music performer Little Miss Higgins prepares for an upcoming show at the Top Knight, she can't help but reflect on previous visits.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Nokomis, Sask., artist Little Miss Higgins will show off her roots sounds onstage at the Top Knight May 19 and 20, accompanied by Yellowknifer Sandy Pringle. - photo courtesy of Little Miss Higgins

Last year, she performed at Folk on the Rocks, shucking and jiving through a charming mix of old-time country and blues with her musical cohort Foy Taylor.

But that wasn't her first time to town.

"I lived in Yellowknife for a short time," she said, working at then music hub the Cave in the late 90s."It was one of those 'went to visit a friend and didn't leave' things."

"I was there for about nine months and I loved it."

She said the upcoming show at the Top Knight is a celebration, in part, of her second CD Junction City. The album takes its name from her adopted home of Nokomis, Sask. (population: 436), which was once slated to be the junction between the CN and CP railway lines.

As in Yellowknife, she said she followed a friend there, taking over a country home that she has since made her own - an inspirational setting for composing her rootsy tunes.

As she lists off her inspirations and contemporaries - the Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir, Big Dave McLean, Tim Williams and Corb Lund, to name a few - you can't help but notice one thing. It's a list of blues and roots musicians, of course, but it's also a who's who of recent performers North of 60.

So, what brings these musicians back for more?

"I think that style of music comes out of some kind of isolation," she said. "There is a sense of that when you're (in Yellowknife). It's quite the drive to get there and you never know if you're going to get across the river."

Of course, being at the end of the road isn't always such a bad thing.

"There's a sense of isolation in Yellowknife , but it's a great place to party."

Higgins said she tries to connect with her audiences on a conversational level, bringing them into the shows.

"I have a background in theatre. I love making jokes and telling stories. There's always some sort of conversation with the audience at some point."

Musically speaking, she said the performance will consist of her, Taylor and their brand new "stomp box."

"It's just a wooden box and we mic it," she said. "Foy does most of the stompin'.

"It's cheaper than a drummer."

Little Miss Higgins will show off her roots sounds onstage at the Top Knight May 19 and 20 at 8 p.m., accompanied by Yellowknifer Sandy Pringle.