The MusicNerd Files Edition #33

The Strumbellas perform at The Caveau on May 13. Photo by Heather Pollock.
The Strumbellas perform at The Caveau on May 13. Photo by Heather Pollock.

There are many musical highlights to be found in the music venues of Metro Moncton this May.

Casino New Brunswick is hosting Gordon Lightfoot (May 2), Serena Ryder (May 10), George Thorogood & The Destroyers (May 23) and country stars The Eli Young Band on May 31.

An ardent supporter of Canadian music, Plan b Lounge will see Stephen Lewis (May 6), Dennis Ellsworth (May 8) and The Town Heroes (May 16) among dozens of others pass through their doors this month.

Downtown Moncton, the Tide & Boar Gastropub (700 Main St.) plays host to Adam Baldwin (May 3), electro-duo Scientists Of Sound (May 10) and Prince Edward Island band The Meds on May 15.

Here are a few show highlights that I feel are worth checking out:

Julie Doiron, Shotgun Jimmie, Jon McKiel and Purple Knight perform at Moncton’s Plan b Lounge (212 St. George St.) on Saturday May 9 to celebrate the release of SappyForever.

Over the course of the last eight years, Sackville’s SappyFest has become a highly anticipated music and arts event, attracting high profile headliners such as Arcade Fire, The Sadies, Sloan and more.

After encountering a financial shortfall following last year’s festival, the organizers of SappyFest put together a commemorative book offering a visual history of the first eight years of SappyFest. Organizers pre-sold copies of the book via a successful crowd-sourcing campaign.

It is only somewhat fitting then that SappyFest mainstays including Moncton native Julie Doiron, Purple Knight, Shotgun Jimmie and Nova Scotia’s Jon McKiel would be on hand to perform at the release party of SappyForever at Plan b on May 9.

Toronto roots act The Strumbellas perform at The Caveau (located in the basement of Aura Nightclub at 700 Main St., Moncton) on Tuesday May 13. Doors open at 9:00 p.m.

In late March, Strumbellas vocalist-guitarist Simon Ward went on stage in Winnipeg to accept the group’s Juno Award for Roots and Traditional Album of the Year for their latest record We Still Move On Dance Floors. And then the unexpected happened, in more than one way:

“Right before our award was presented, the live feed of the show cut out,” Simon says. “When we were announced as the winners, we got ready to go up on stage and say something. I got up on stage and just started crying like a baby. It is almost certainly the most embarrassing thing I have ever done but it’s also a weird thing because I’m not really a crier.  I don’t know what happened. I still can’t figure out why I did.”

Winning the award might have surprised Simon and his band mates in the Strumbellas but it shows that their hard work and tenacity over the last five years have paid off. We Still Move On Dance Floors has been a critically acclaimed album for the roots group, affording them the opportunity to tour with the likes of Corb Lund and more.

Their Juno Award might have some company on the mantle before long: The Strumbellas snagged a nomination for Folk/Roots Artist Group/Duo Of The Year at this month’s Sirius XM Indie Awards. The band is also scheduled to perform during the May 10 award show.

Head of the Herd will be performing at Moncton’s Tide & Boar Gastropub on Saturday May 17. Their special guests are Toronto rock band The Balconies. Advance tickets are $15, available online at

Modern blues-rock band Head of the Herd are getting set to kick-off an ambitious 22-city headline tour of Canada.

Considered to be one of the hardest working bands in the country, 2013 was a banner year for the group. They released two hit singles, a full-length album and toured relentlessly, opening for the likes of Alice In Chains, The Sheepdogs and Guns n Roses.

Last week, the group released a deluxe digital edition of their sophomore record By This Time Tomorrow. Produced by GGGarth Richardson with help from Finger Eleven members Rick Jackett and James Black, the band is gearing up for what should be a busy summer:

The group is booked to play Toronto’s Edgefest on Canada Day while later in the summer, they will perform alongside the likes of City & Colour, Rise Against, Buddy Guy and more.