Pictorial Biography

Marv Machura in his first promo “solo” picture taken by his dad, Walter Machura, in the family living room. This was used (along with a cassette tape of songs) to get Machura a spot with Banks Music in Edmonton. Ida Banks and her agents kept Machura busy with gigs in and around Edmonton and across Northern Alberta for many years–especially as Machura completed his undergrad University of Alberta degrees.
This is picture of the other members of the first professional band that Marv Machura joined and performed in as the guitar player: He was 15 years old at the time just finishing grade 9. The band was called “Mountain Ash”. Also missing in the photo is Walter Zacharuk, the band leader. The band was very popular and busy throughout Machura’s high school years, playing in one year over 100 gigs (dances and weddings in and around Edmonton).
This is another of Machura’s first promo pictures; this time with his Yamaha guitar that had been Machura’s faithful companion since since he started guitar lessons in grade 3 at age 7.
Marv Machura joined Steven Chwok (cymbala) in the band Prairie Pride when about 18 and continued with this band for about four years. The band is performing here at one of the greatest North Edmonton Dance Halls: The Red Barn.
When Machura started teaching in Alix, Alberta (1984) he left the Edmonton-based band Prairie Pride and started playing solo in and around Red Deer for about three years. Machura had altered his stage name to “Marvyn George” (“George” is Marv’s middle name and also the name of his maternal grandfather) and booked many gigs in central and southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. This was somewhat new territory for Machura who had been used to playing the more northern Alberta circuits.
During this time, Machura was engaged in starting a band program and teaching in the town of Alix. He loved his time there, and his book that he is working on is based on those experiences.
A promo shot of Machura during those early years in Central Alberta. In those days an entertainer like Machura only needed an 8×10 glossy, a cassette demo, a PA system, and a car to promote him/herself!
Here’s a picture of Machura in the Alberta Touring Catalogue: in those days, you would apply and audition to make the touring alliance that put this together. Talent buyers thus had a nice catalogue from which to book their acts! The Internet had not been dreamt of yet!
During these years, Machura had started to write songs seriously and play them in his sets. He was encouraged to keep going. He loved this music scene in and around Red Deer at that time. He remembers seeing kd Lang for the first time as her career had not kicked off yet and Bill Bourne who was from the area and was starting his brilliant writing career as well. There was vital and interesting live music scene with live bands and lots of solo acoustic acts like Machura in each small bar and lounge. The big screen videos and all the rest had not really taken hold yet, and people went out for live music 6 nights a week.
As Machura left central Alberta to go back to his beloved University of Alberta for graduate school and later work with Alberta Vocational College, he continued playing solo and writing songs, having some success in Nashville, signing a publishing deal with Rosebud Records. That beautiful Ovation Legend guitar held in this promo shot continued to be his companion and main gigging guitar for many years.
During these years of living in the Wetaskawin area of Alberta, Machura started a band called King Cadillac. They were a country rock outfit that also did an Elvis Tribute Set. During this time, he bought a bar in Wetaskiwin that he renamed the Cadillac Saloon. As a saloon owner and band leader and teacher in those years, he was fairly busy but having the greatest times. His band would typically fill the bar each month on the “King Cadillac Weekend” and have so much fun! Machura says, “There is nothing quite like the feeling of sitting in “your” bar at the end of a successful (and crazy) night of music, friends, and good times.”
Machura continued to write and play his own songs during this period and again had much encouragement from the local scene in Leduc and Wetaskiwin. It still would take until the end of the 1990s before Machura was able to get his first professionally produced and recorded CD out there.
Machura started a couple of new bands as the 1990s passed too quickly, still performing what were called “back 3s” where bands were booked to play Thurs-Sat in some great venues in and around Edmonton, Alberta. The Getty Regime was a short-lived humorous band name that all Albertans who were living in the austerity of the early Klein era would have thought as very funny…but as all temporal humour, it was short lived, but especially in the trendy Whyte Ave area, it took off. (Don Getty was the Premier of Alberta 1985-1992; he gave his permission and blessing to use his name in Machura’s band.)
During the 1990s in and around Edmonton, the community was experiencing a kind of Celtic fever or renaissance with bands like Captain Tractor. Machura admits that he did not like this: it seemed strange and wrong for Alberta boys to be singing with Newfie accents. By the end of the 1990s Machura was nearly militant in his determination to play authentic Western Canadian Folk Roots Music, often performing with an Alberta Flag proudly displayed behind him.
The 2000s were to be transformative as Machura began releasing his own music on professionally recorded and produced CDs as well as continuing his performances in and around Edmonton–as mentioned above, often hanging Alberta Flags and buffalo heads at gigs, promoting Western Canadian authentic music and distancing himself from the popular Celtic music scene.
While Facebook had not quite took off yet, YouTube was the latest thing! And Machura released his first music video for his song “Badlands.” Earlier that year, Machura had written a theme song for the Let’s Go Outdoors radio and TV show. The producer of this show, Michael Short, filmed and produced this video that can be viewed on Machura’s YouTube Channel.
Machura released three CDs in the 2000s. These were busy and productive times with The Marv Machura Band hosting many CD and video release parties. The Marv Machura Band (which although experienced several personal changes over the decades) has always been a top band with such great players as Cal Mcmillan, Marty Siltanen, George Hauser, and others.
This picture is still one of Machura’s favourite promotional images. This comes from a type of “Postcard Promo” that was very popular for entertainers during those years to hand out to their audiences at live shows.
Marv Machura has always loved being on stage and entertaining the crowds–especially when singing his own music and promoting his vision of Western Canadian Roots Music.
Machura moved to Vernon, BC in the fall of 2013 and this is the first promo shot that he developed and used. The picture is set on Kin Beach on Lake Okanagan. When Machura moved to the Okanagan, no one knew him, and he had no band, but before the year’s end he was back to performing and promoting Western Canadian Roots music in his new Okanagan, BC home!
Here’s promo shot from a few years ago posing with the famous Ogopogo in Kelowna. Machura has loved becoming part of the Okanagan Music scene. Although Machura has been performing mostly as a solo, “Singing Guitarist” (returning to something he had done much of during the 1980s), he also formed a new version of the Marv Machura Band and they have performed at many events and clubs throughout the Okanagan and Thomspon Valleys. About a year ago, Machura decided to retire “The Marv Machura Band” name and start using the name “Kokanee Cowboys” for his band, not only because of his affection for Kokanee BC beer, but also to reflect his wonderful BC home–a great part of our Western Canadian Roots!