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Empress Theatre to host John Reischman and the Jaybirds

The final show in the Empress Theatre’s 2023-’24 Centre Stage Concert Series is bluegrass virtuoso John Reischman and the Jaybirds on Friday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Like the powerful mandolinist and composer at its helm, John Reischman and the Jaybirds fashion a stylish take on bluegrass that seamlessly blends original songs and instrumentals with Appalachian old- time music for a truly unique band sound.

Now in their 20th year, with seven acclaimed albums and two Juno nominations, the Jaybirds are simultaneously innovative and unadorned, sophisticated and stripped-down, happily old-fashioned and 21st-century contemporary.

Bluegrass Unlimited calls John Reischman “one of the world’s undisputed masters” of the mandolin, famed for outstanding tone and taste.

Many of Reischman’s dozens of original instrumentals have become popular favourites for sessions and covers.

Reischman has three critically acclaimed solo instrumental albums and has recorded on many other projects, including the Grammy-winning True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe.

Reischman also plays Latin-based jazz and choro music with highly regarded finger-style acoustic guitarist and composer John Miller; the duo has released three superb albums.

Reischman began his career in the San Francisco Bay area in the early 1980s with the eclectic Good Ol’ Persons bluegrass band.

He was an original member of the legendary “new acoustic” quartet, the jazz-influenced Tony Rice Unit, renowned for highly skilled instrumentals.

Reischman moved to Vancouver in the early 1990s and formed the Jaybirds in 1999.

Of their latest album, Folk Radio UK said, “On That Other Green Shore showcases an accomplished, experienced band at the peak of their powers, with musicianship of the very highest order.”

The Jaybirds consist of Los Angeles-based guitarist Patrick Sauber; Chilliwack, B.C.-based Trisha Gagnon on vocals; Nanaimo, B.C.-based Nick Hornbuckle on the five-string banjo, and Spokane-based Greg Spatz on bluegrass fiddle.

Tickets to see John Reischman and the Jaybirds are at, by calling 403-553-4404 or at the Box Office on Main Street.

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