Cantana offers up a musical smorgasbord of country, classic rock at Ridge Cafe
Aug 26, 2019 09:26AM
● By Katherine Weinstein
The members of Cantana take a break from rehearsing. Pictured from left to right are Jim Corpuz, Dan Webber, Robyn Price, Mark Dahl and Mike Webber. (Katherine Weinstein/City Journals)
By Katherine Weinstein | [email protected]
An old photograph of a group of young musicians hangs in the Lehi home recording studio of guitarist Mike Webber. From the band’s hairstyles, skinny ties and guitars, one might think at first glance it is a photo of a certain famous band from Liverpool. But it’s not.
“That’s us!” said Webber with a smile. In the 1960s, Mike and his brother Dan Webber toured Utah, Idaho and other western states as members of The Mods and later in The Bassment Walls. Although only in their teens, “We were on all the radio stations,” Mike said. “It was kind of neat.”
Today Mike and Dan play lead guitar and bass, respectively, as members of a cover band newly christened Cantana. Formerly the Rocky Mountain Rockers, the name change comes from the fact that four members grew up in Montana while keyboardist Mark Dahl hails from Canada. Draper resident Robyn Price sings lead vocals and Jim Corpuz, who moved to Draper 10 years ago, plays saxophone.
Each member of Cantana brings decades of musical experience and a real enjoyment of performing to the group. They play at The Ridge Café in Draper most months and have also performed at Draper Amphitheater and Deer Valley as well as private events.
“We play rockabilly, classic rock, country and big band,” said Price, describing the variety of musical styles in Cantana’s repertoire.
“It’s a lot of fun just in the variety of genres we play,” Mike Webber said. “I’ve never been in a band that plays so many different genres.”
Mike worked as a session guitarist in the late sixties at Capitol Records in Hollywood where he played with Bobbie Gentry, among many artists. He also worked with Linda Ronstadt and plays some of the songs with Cantana she made famous. Mike’s musical career was interrupted when he was drafted into the army. When he returned home from overseas, Mike and Dan started a new band, the Classic Reunion, and enjoyed playing throughout Utah for a number of years.
Dan Webber also played music for most of his life and gravitated to the bass while in his teens. “It’s always been part of me,” Dan said. “We grew up on classical music.”
Mike remembers his dad playing popular songs like “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Mr. Sandman” at home. “There was an instrument in every corner,” he said.
Dahl started playing the piano at an early age. “My mom started me on the piano when I was 4. I took up guitar when I was about 14 or 15 and have been playing ever since,” he said. Dahl, who is from Alberta, Canada, began playing in bands in high school. A versatile musician, Dahl plays keyboard, guitar, banjo and pedal steel guitar in addition to contributing vocals to Cantana.
Dahl joined up with Mike and Dan to form a country cover band called the Wasatch Country Pickers. Later, the three became the core members of the Rocky Mountain Rockers. Price joined the band as the lead singer two years ago.
Price also grew up in a musical family. Both of her grandfathers and her mother were musically inclined. “My mom and two of her sisters performed all over Utah in the 1950s,” Price said. Price started singing with her family members and in church. In high school, she sang in three different choirs and joined her first rock band. She performed at Draper Days about 20 years ago with Rocky Mountain Thunder and has been a member of four different bands.
“I think I’ve always gotten this adrenaline rush from being in front of a crowd,” said Price. “I like to involve the audience — it is so fun!” In her shows with Cantana, Price enjoys getting audiences to sing along to crowd-pleasing favorites like “Sweet Caroline” and “Crocodile Rock.” “Sharing my talent with people and watching them get into the music is really rewarding,” she said.
Price knew Jim Corpuz from her childhood in Montana. Corpuz is the most recent addition to Cantana. He too has a multifaceted musical background and plays many instruments including rhythm guitar. Corpuz has performed in nine bands over the years including the Dovells. Years ago he toured the western US performing in bands that opened for well-known acts such as Tom Jones, Nancy Wilson and Paul Revere and the Raiders.
Corpuz said of Cantana that he enjoys “the versatility of the group. They’re nice people.” The style of music they play is “wide open,” he said.
Audiences at a Cantana show might hear anything from Johnny Burnette’s “Tear It Up” to Alan Jackson’s “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” to songs by Elton John, the Beatles and more. Their next performance is at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 28 at the Ridge Café, 14886 Traverse Ridge Road in Draper. To reach Cantana for a booking, call or text Robyn Price at 801-599-6958.