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Giving voice to the Ladies of Country

Stacey Lee Guse, Linda Murray and Susan Weber come together for a special Ladies of Country show Mar. 13 at the Commercial Tavern

The women are taking over the tavern. Well, three of them at least.

Susan Weber, Linda Murray and Stacey Lee Guse are combining their talents for an afternoon of music and fun for The Ladies of Country Music show at the Commercial Tavern in Maryhill later this month.

Weber’s the tavern owner Paul Weber’s sister, and she says this will be the third time for this event.

“Stacey and I do a little bit of singing, have in the past together and Paul just thought it would be nice. He represents the men singers but we represent the women singers. And that’s not been done before at the bar, other than our show,” Weber said.

All three of the women have been performing country music for decades. They’ll be joined on stage by Paul, Paul and Susan’s brother Mike Weber on pedal steel guitar, and Dan Howlett on fiddle.

The ladies each have their own particular brand of music, so they’ll play individually and as a group.

“We do some harmonies together, do some duets and it’s just a nice mix. Almost every female country artist can be represented by us in some way. We can do all of their work, so that’s what we like to give. And it’s just a fun day. The feel in the room is just so nice because we’re friends and we appreciate each other’s talent. It’s just a good day,” Weber said.

Some of the songs people can expect to hear include Keith Whitley’s ‘When You Say Nothing At All’ and the Dixie Chicks’ ‘Traveling Soldier.’

She says a true passion for country music is what makes the concert so special for her.

“When you get to perform with other talented people and mix your voices it’s just a joy of a love of what we do, and it’ll be passed on to the crowd,” Weber said.

She says they’ll be taking requests from the audience as well.

Born into a musical family, the Webers grew up with an appreciation for old-fashioned country.

“Our dad was Smoky Weber. We were raised with country music. I started when I was seven years old with my little lap guitar, just singing for my own enjoyment. When I was 11 years old I joined my dad’s family band, which was the Smoky Mountain Boys, but when I came along it became the Smoky Mountaineers. I’ve played right through the raising of my family. I was pregnant on stage four times and vowed to never do that again,” Weber says with a laugh.

She had retired from music because her dad was getting older, but then when her brother Paul bought the tavern they came out of retirement to play a few nights there. She notes that as one of her career highlights.

“I’ve had so many highlights because we just have had such good times. I’ve done weddings, I’ve done funerals. Life is a highlight,” Weber said,

She also got to perform on stage in Branson, Missouri this past November, while on a bus trip.

This Ladies of Country Music show is a perfect opportunity to showcase the dying art of traditional country music. She says it’s important for people to get a chance to see them perform this music, alive and well at the hotel.

It’s also worth noting that female country singers weren’t really valued as much as the men in the past, when in fact they’re a prominent factor in country music.

She says for those unfamiliar with the Sunday afternoon shows, they have a different atmosphere than other nights at the venue.

“It’s just a feeling that people want to experience. You can feel the energy in the room, you can feel the spirit in the room. It’s just you want to be there,” Weber said.

For Murray, this show is a great combination of female and male musical talent that she’s looking forward to being a part of again.

“Just playing with great people, it just makes it fun, there’s no pressure. It’s for the love of the music. I retired five years ago and I live for my music now,” Murray said.

As the youngest of six children, her whole family’s been musical at one time or another. There used to be three separate bands out of the six children. She says she always loved all music but her roots are in the old country.

“We call our kitchen table our magic table because there’s music, boy if it could only talk,” Murray said.

She’s a big Willie Nelson fan and says if it wasn’t for Patsy Cline and Linda Ronstadt she probably wouldn’t be a singer.

Her hope is simple: that the audience will love what they hear.

“I used to do gospel, they cried a lot. I guess that was a good sign. But I don’t want them to cry this time,” Murray said with a laugh.

“I just hope they enjoy themselves as much as we do because we do enjoy doing it for them.”

She notes they don’t rehearse for the concert, making it a true jam session.

Guse is no stranger to the Commercial’s stage. As the main singer in The Western Swing Authority she performs at the Maryhill venue a couple times a month.

“Anytime we play there with the band or with Paul it really does feel like we’re getting together in somebody’s living room and having a good time. It’s actually a really low-key situation. They actually bring another stage out and we all sit on stools and it really feels like almost a kitchen party or someone’s living room. It’s just a really neat opportunity to sing songs we don’t get a chance to sing together,” Guse said.

She’s also a session vocalist, singing backup vocals and radio jingles. She toured with Canadian country artists Jason McCoy and Jason Blaine.

She also was a part of the country band Lace, which she credits as her introduction to the music business.

“It was a really, really awesome experience. We were down in LA. We worked with David Foster. We did a whole whack of really just insanely cool things in a very short period of time,” Guse said.

Audiences can expect some traditional songs from her, but she’ll likely bring out a couple from some newer artists she enjoys like Kacey Musgraves and Leanne Wilburn.

“It’s going to be a really laid back afternoon full of music, lots of laughs, lots of joking, just a real intimate concert setting. It’s just really celebrating what women bring to country music,” Guse said.

The show runs Mar. 13, 3 p.m., at the Commercial Tavern. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door. For information, call 519-648-3644 or go online to www.commercialtavern.ca.

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