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Italian tune leads to new Ethno-Roots sound for Gurr

Babe Gurr's most recent album is a quick detour from her regular acoustic Roots sound. She thinks.

Babe Gurr's most recent album is a quick detour from her regular acoustic Roots sound.

She thinks.

The Vancouver-based singer/songwriter, who performs on Saturday in the last show of the Music on the Grill summer series at Coquitlam's Evergreen Cultural Centre, is known for her soulful melodies and lovely instrumentation, similar to Bonnie Raitt and Lucinda Williams' music.

But SideDish presents a new twist for Gurr's audience, a genre that she dubs "world-beat fusion" or, more interestingly, "Ethno-Roots."

And the departure into the realm is one that, so far, has won her rave reviews.

The diversion began a couple of years back when she searched online for an Italian song to play.

Gurr loves the European country - having travelled to it many times - and studies the language, and she decided it was time to spice up her repertoire.At a folk festival last year, as part of her regular set, Gurr threw in Colpa di Coda for fun and "people were coming up to the CD table afterwards, saying, 'Where can I get that Italian song?'" she remembered. "I thought, 'Umm, this is interesting. Maybe, I should record it."

That she did - and another Italian tune - but she also wanted to incorporate a Spanish guitar "and pretty soon, I had this whole side project going, so I thought I would go off my path for a bit and do this Latin world beat-based music," she said.

But Gurr has always evolved as an artist.

At the start of her career, she was in cover bands, a jazz trio and a Celtic group, to name a few. About a decade in, she switched gears again, enrolling in the Vancouver Community College jazz commercial program, and she started to pen jazz songs. Soon, she figured out, they were "a little too heady for the general nightclub scene... so I wrote more simple and found the connection," Gurr said.

After a while, the acoustic Roots mix she's known for today solidified and she garnered a following. Currently, Gurr has six albums to her credit though SideDish won't officially be unveiled until Sept. 24 at Studio 16 in Vancouver.

She will sing many songs from it at her Coquitlam show, which includes a six-piece band, as well as from her last work, called Chocolate Lilly. And, for the first time, she'll have SideDish for sale.

As for her next project, Gurr already has her sights set on more Ethno-Roots music. "I've got some ideas kicking around, which is crazy because I haven't even released SideDish yet," she said. "But who knows? Maybe this is my new niche after all."

To hear Babe Gurr's music, visit