Newman playing concert for ‘Community Chest’

Duane Hicks

Brent Newman and Rough Cut Pine will play a fundraiser concert for the Fort Frances Community Chest next Wednesday (Aug. 19) at the Little Beaver Cultural Centre.
Slated to start at 7 p.m., admission will be a free-will offering, with all proceeds going to the Community Chest, which aids local families with medical expenses.
The show will mark Newman’s last performance here—and his final one with Rough Cut Pine—before he returns to England.
Newman said he’s looking forward to playing one more time with Rough Cut Pine, which features his uncle, Jim Newman (bass, vocals), Robroy Donaldson (guitar, vocals), and Bill Shine (drums, vocals).
“We’ve been playing some shows this summer,” he noted.
“We played at the Cornell Barn in June and then in July we played the ‘Harmony of Nations’ festival in town, which was great.
“This is kind of our last Fort Frances show before I head back to England,” added Newman.
“Jim, the bass player, was kind of joking,” he said. “They’re called Rough Cut Pine and this is the last show before big ‘plane.’”
Newman said next Wednesday’s show will be mix of his own material and roots rock covers such as Neil Young and The Band.
“Chest” volunteer Linda Hamilton is thrilled about the fundraiser.
“It’s really nice,” she enthused. “I love it when people do these third-party things for us.
“We are involved but we don’t have to put on the whole thing,” she noted.
The concert Newman and Rough Cut Pine played at Cornell Farms in June raised $5,800 for the Community Chest—an “amazing” total for one night, Hamilton said.
There will be food for sale at the Aug. 19 show, as well as perhaps some draws for prizes to help raise a few extra dollars for the cause.
Artistic inspiration
Newman, who was born in Saskatchewan and then moved to Fort Frances as a child (living here until age eight), has been writing and recording music for nearly 20 years.
He has lived in London, England for the past 15 years—having success with indie rock band, The Koreans, before venturing forth as a solo artist.
He’s released three albums to date; the last two with his band, The Broken Arrows.
Newman came back to Fort Frances last year with his family, and has been writing material in anticipation of cutting a new album next year.
He noted his early childhood here “seeded” a love for Fort Frances and Rainy Lake within him, so he’s always enjoys coming back here.
The idea behind him being here for the past year with his family was to retreat from the city life and focus on his music.
“I don’t really want to go back,” Newman chuckled, adding his time here has proven inspirational.
“I think you hear it a lot in my material; the rootsy kind of stuff you get over here,” he remarked.
“And lyrically, I’ve got a song on my new record [2014’s Hot Blood] which is kind of an ode to Rainy Lake and this part of the world called ‘Fallen Leaves,’” he added.
Newman said Rainy River District has a wealth a musical talent and he’s lucky to have played with Rough Cut Pine.
“The thing I really noticed here is the level of musicianship—the average level is so high here, I think,” he remarked.
“It’s in people’s blood.”
It doesn’t whether you go to the Mud Lake City festival or to a bonfire party, Newman said many people can sing, play fiddle, and more.
“To put a backing band together of local guys who are great players has been brilliant for me,” he noted.
“And they’re great singers—we can do some really nice Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young-type harmonies, you know?”
While his newest material isn’t ready to record yet, Newman plans to return to North America in 2016 to record the album in Chicago with noteworthy producer Steve Albini, with whom he’s recorded his last two.
“The idea is I’ll probably come here, rehearse the new material with these guys [Rough Cut Pine], and then go to Chicago and record it,” he explained.
“Then, hopefully, I’ll be back in the summer next year and we’ll do some more shows,” he added.
“But certainly until then, this is the last one.”
For more information on Newman and his music, visit or follow “Brent Newman & The Broken Arrows” on Facebook.
His albums are available on iTunes.