|Top Secret is a familt bluegrass band from Alberta.|
|By Annie Gallant, Observer reporter|
|Published in the Quesnel Cariboo Observer April 15, 2011|
With Spring slowly making its entrance, one of the first events to mark the occasion is Where the Rivers Meet Country Bluegrass Jamboree, April 21-24 at the Quesnel and District Seniors' Centre.
The entertainment lineup includes many popular local bands as well as several out-of-town groups. Altogether a stellar program.
This is the 14th annual Jamboree and the first of the season. Quesnel's event is one the few jamborees to be held indoors, but with plenty of on site parking for out of town RVs, a concession all four days, security, vendors and a dance floor, the downtown location is definately an attraction for many visitors.
Performances continue all day with a great mix of country and bluegrass music. Each day begins with an open mic "Circle of Friends" and each day closes with a band scramble.
One of the featured bands is Top Secret, originally from southern Ontario but now make their home in Okotoks, Alberta.
Formed in 2006, the family band play a mix of traditional tunes as well as other songs audiences will recognize with a bluegrass feel. On thythm and lead guitar is 14 year-old Morgan Caswell who also sings lead and harmony. 11 year-old Andrew who delights the crowd with his fiddle breaks and annoys his brother. Mom Jackie is a second generation 'bluegrasser' who plays the stand-up bass. Her lead and harmony vocals add a welcome ladies touch to the otherwise all-boy band. Dad Steve plays banjo, mandolin, guitar, sings and tries to keep the boys from fighting.
Top Secret Bulegrass Band is just one of more than a dozen scheduled entertainers to keep toes tapping, dancers twirling and hands clapping during the four day event.
Other bands include Old Time Fiddlers, Den and Friends, Joe and Dar, Old'n Coutry, Ellaine and Friends, Twin Rivers, Let'her Rip Country, Coutry Pickins, JJ and Kountry Kin, Greer Valley Blackbirds, Deni and Adam as well as cowboy poet Frank Gleeson.
Doors open at 1 p.m., April 21. Tickets are $30 for the four days, until April 20 and can be purchased from 250-992-6290 or from Circle 5 Western Wear. The Cost at the door is $35 for four days or $10 per day.
|Top Secret Bluegrass from Okotoks, Alberta is entertaining with some|
lively bluegrass music in Coombs this Friday.
|By Lissa Alexander - Parksville Qualicum Beach News|
|Published March 29, 2011 9:00 a.m.|
A talented family bluegrass band will make their way from Okotoks, Alberta to Coombs this weekend for some lively, old time music with a twist.
Top Secret Bluegrass Band is comprised of Jackie Caswell on bass, her husband Steve on either guitar, banjo or mandolin, 14-year-old son Morgan on guitar and 11-year-old-son Andrew, on fiddle.
The band plays traditional, old standards as well as covers by popular musicians like Neil Young or the Dixie Chicks, made into the bluegrass style. Jackie said the group likes to play fairly fast, so even the slower songs have a cheerful beat.
“With bluegrass even the most sad songs are always just a little bit perky and upbeat,” she said.
Jackie said both the kids like playing bluegrass music, but are also interested in other music genres, like Morgan’s interest in playing rock and heavy metal on his electric guitar. Andrew has been playing the fiddle for about four years, and Jackie said both kids’ talent improves greatly each year. This is why the group is looking at creating their second CD soon.
“The kids learn so much so fast, our sound doesn’t change but improves and we really want to show that,” she said.
The group played during open stage at the Coombs Bluegrass Festival last year and will be playing as a feature band at this year’s festival.
Top Secret Bluegrass Band plays at the Coombs Community Hall Fri., April 1. The concert starts at 7 p.m. with some open stage performances, including Island Blue Rose. The feature band will play at 8:15 and there will be a open jam to follow.
Tickets are $10 and snacks will be available. For more on Top Secret Bluegrass Band visit www.topsecretbluegrassband.com.
|By Jim Sinclair - Sooke News Mirror|
|Published: June 29, 2010 5:00 PM|
|Among the attractions not officially listed on the schedule for the Father’s Day Sooke River Bluegrass Fesitival was one of the worst-kept secrets in western Canadian acoustic music circles.|
The “Top Secret Bluegrass Band” was enjoying its first trip to Vancouver Island and festival-goers were more than glad to have them.
Right at home in the middle of after-hours jam sessions, the outfit made up of Steve and Jackie Caswell and sons Morgan (14) and Andrew (10) also made two appearances on stage over the course of the three-day event.
Steve says he’s played music of some sort most of his life, be it rock, metal, country or whatever.
Jackie has lifelong ties to bluegrass thanks to her history with the Taylor Family Band. She’s played or listened to bluegrass since before she was teething.
Not able to make the trip west,Taylor family alumnus, Jerry, joins in on mandolin and vocals whenever possible.
The family is from Hamilton, Ontario and currently calls Okotoks, Alberta home.
The progress made by the boys is impressive. It’s hard to believe Morgan and Andrew have only been playing for four, and three years, respectively.
The crew was having a good time assessing the West Coast bluegrass scene and was seriously considering coming back for the Coombes event between Parksville and Port Alberni in early August.
The family goes for every opportunity to perform and is actively promoting itself. They have a web presence which is easily located by googling their name.
As for the pros and cons of maintaining a family band, Steve says it’s good to know where everybody is when it’s time to practice. As for Andrew, getting busted while breaking the cotton candy ration on Saturday afternoon, is a bummer.