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Life & Times: Country-blues sideman was a mainstay of Edmonton music scene — Fred LaRose (1954-2013)

Screen shot 2013-09-18 at 8.48.11 PMPublished in the Edmonton Journal September 8, 2013.


EDMONTON – Fred LaRose was the rhythm, the heartbeat and the lifeblood of many Edmonton bands.

A pillar in the music scene for 40 years, LaRose jammed and toured with nearly every local act. Onstage, he was the bassist in the background. Offstage, the funky country-blues virtuoso was a front-and-centre father, mentor and best friend.

During his final days, friends and family carried guitars, fiddles, drums and mandolins to his bedside, filling the quiet hallways of the Grey Nuns Hospital with song and laughter in honour of a man who gave, taught and inspired hundreds.

LaRose wore his favourite black bandana printed with little white music notes up until his death. When he could no longer lift his bass, he picked up the ukulele. And throughout hours of impromptu jam sessions that blossomed in his hospital room, he continued to find strength to unleash his infamous “bass face” — a squinty, squishy-faced expression of bliss.

“That’s how he felt the music,” said Cathy, his wife of 33 years. “It was such raw emotion. What you saw on his face was what he was feeling. (Music) was his life.”

LaRose died July 30 following a long battle with cancer. He was 59.

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