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Whistler's Got Talent crowns a winner



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But some lady behind me says, "She's amazing. How can I live in Whistler and never have heard them play before?" So clearly not everyone is in agreement on this issue and this judge is exactly what I had always feared: a snooty know-nothing know-it-all.


Contestant #4: Laurelle (a.k.a. Laurel) Robichaud

Weapon of choice: Acoustic guitar

She's playing solo this time around, having been accompanied by a gangly fellow named Ben who, she says, is traveling the world at this particular moment. Silly fool. Has he no idea how important the critiques of these four judges could have been for his career? We're one step removed from Canadian Idol and Breakfast Television on CityTV. He could have been moderately famous for a while! ( Editor's note : none of these claims are accurate.)

Anyway, the place has emptied out considerably now that Jenny Mac has finished her set but the noise of the crowd is still overwhelming. Laurelle's vocals are awash in white noise crackling through the speakers. A great voice, reminiscent of Jewel's and arguably the prettiest of the bunch tonight, is now deformed by static.

But she's a gem to watch anyway, all alone with the guitar slung around her neck, all sensuality and perfect pitch. The underdog to Rachel's mastiff abilities. She's a true Whistler gem, seemingly sprung from tree roots and with a little more focus, more refined songwriting and maybe a year or two down in the city, she could make something of herself.


Contestant #5: Jake Newton

Weapon of choice: Acoustic guitar

He is by far and away the most talented musician in the room. His fingers manipulate the fret board like Tera Patrick all over that guy from Biohazard. It's love baby. True, rained-from-the-heavens, soaking-down-to-the-toes Love .

But there's hardly anyone here to see it, which is sad, and Jake's a little grumpy about it. "I don't care if you're bored," he says, "I'm playing it anyway!" The judges give him extra points for his nihilistic spirit.

He plays all original tunes that were intended for the electric guitar as hardcore heavy metal, but instead end up sounding like flamenco played at your parent's favourite Mexican resort. It's the coolest performance of the evening.

Dr. Dave, meanwhile, is handing out free swag from the sponsor, Kokanee, to the table behind us, ransacking the box, vultures with human forms, picking the box clean.

"Never pass on free clothes or food, my momma used to say," Dr. Dave says.