Juno-nominated Annie Lou performs next week

Singer and band perform old time mountain, traditional country music

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got the strings.

Lillooet Music presents the homespun, heart-warming string band music of Annie Lou in a Jan. 24 concert at the Masonic Hall.

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The four-piece band's music is built around the original songwriting of Annie Lou Genest, who spent 20 years living in the Yukon woods. Now relocated to Vancouver Island, Genest still carries the spirit of a rural storyteller. Her homegrown songs depict bygone days and the challenges and joys of life here and now.

The other members of the Annie Lou band are Kim Barlow on vocals and banjo, Andrew Collins on fiddle and mandolin and Max Heineman on vocals and upright bass.

Genest founded the band after she became drawn to traditional mountain and country music.

"This music has a profound edge to it - in the voices and in the playing is the lament we all carry as people trying to get by in this beautiful, terrible world," she says. "Joy and grief are two sides of the same coin. The older music expresses that tension so perfectly."

Annie Lou has been nominated for Juno, WCMA and Galaxie Rising Star awards. Her self-titled debut CD was recorded at Old Crow Recording in Whitehorse.

Her second CD, "Grandma's Rules for Drinking," is now available. According to her website, the CD's songs "map a homescape of hard-drinking grandmas, husbands away in the wilderness, rural dancehalls, blue-collar fashions and the deep snows and silences of a Canadian winter."

A review in the magazine Penguin Eggs says there's an "intoxicating quality" to Annie Lou's second CD. "It makes you feel warm and fuzzy, and transports you back to simpler times, at the barn dance, sipping from a flask and twirling around the dance floor with your beloved. Each song is sung and played with skill, humour and gusto with fine talent and craftsmanship throughout, just what you'd expect from a genre rooted in traditional values."

Show time is 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24.

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