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Living Room Live returning to Thompson with classical guitar duo

Thompson residents who crave smaller, more intimate settings for their live music are in luck, since the Living Room Live house concert series is coming back to the Hub of the North May 24.
Duo Dez preview profile (May 2019)
Nolan Powell (left) and Scott Butler (right) are performing together in Thompson May 24 as a part of Living Room Live’s 2019 spring tour. The 24-year-old Winnipeg-based guitarists have been playing music for over a decade.

Thompson residents who crave smaller, more intimate settings for their live music are in luck, since the Living Room Live house concert series is coming back to the Hub of the North May 24.

This time around a pair of classical guitarists from Winnipeg, performing under the name Duo Déz, will be the headlining the show and aim to play a little bit of everything.

“We are kind of covering a large variety of classical repertoire,” said Scott Butler, who represents one half of Duo Déz. “So we’re playing some pretty early works from the 18th century and 19th century and we’re also peppering in some more modern stuff.”

While Butler and fellow guitarist Nolan Powell have only been performing together as a duo for the last six months, they’ve been good friends since their early years of university, when the two bonded over their mutual love of music.

“We just hit it off, became buddies and played in rock bands together,” said Powell. “We really clicked, especially in that setting and then we decided it was fun for us and worth doing.”

Even when the pair were part of a trio with another guitarist, they still managed to turn some heads with their renditions of old Spanish and South American tunes.

During a Winnipeg music festival in 2016, the group caught the attention of Living Room Live associate director Lisa Rumpel, who was struck by how intently focused Powell and Butler were during their performances.

“They hold nothing back and are super expressive,” Rumpel told the Thompson Citizen. “Scott and Nolan are also able to connect with the audience in a casual, interesting and approachable way which I think is really appealing, particularly in a house concert setting.”

Rumpel and her business partner Nicola Davies would eventually sign the two up for Living Room Live’s spring 2019 circuit, which includes 11 stops in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

While the pair are excited about going on their first travelling tour as Duo Déz, Powell also sees it as an opportunity to try and carve out a bigger space for guitars in Canada’s classical music scene. 

“Because a guitar is a tough sell sometimes, especially when we’re trying to battle pianos or any kind of string instrument, cellos and violins,” he said. “They’re the juggernauts.”      

Luckily, Butler said these house shows are the perfect setting to fully appreciate classical guitar and classical music in general.

“When going into a classical music environment, a lot of people see it as very uptight and old-fashioned,” he said. “So the Living Room Live concerts are a really good way to introduce people to the music and, like I said before, we try to incorporate a huge variety of music so that there’s something for everybody.”

Even if you’re not a fan of their music, Powell encourages local residents to drop by their Thompson show and hang out regardless. 

“We’re not really high-maintenance guys. We’re just there to have fun and share everything that we’ve been working on,” he said. “If they don’t like the music, hopefully they’ll remember seeing us banter or chat with us after the show.” 

Anyone who wants to buy tickets for Friday’s performance can email hosts Larry and Leigh Hall at or visit Living Room Live’s website.

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