Tom Wilson Shares a Stirring Story of Family Secrets Mixed With Songs
H2O Quenches Headbanger Thirst
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Tom Wilson Shares a Stirring Story of Family Secrets Mixed With Songs

by Bill Monahan
Feature Photo by Donna Harper

On Tuesday, Feb. 20th, CROW Bar and Variety in Collingwood is presenting the first of “The Crow Sessions” dinner shows, where they bring an artist who combines story with song and encourage the audience to, as Steven Vipond puts it, “Shut up and listen.”  These shows are special enough for the audience to set aside their chatter and do just that.

And the kickoff in the series is very special by any measure.  Tom Wilson of Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, will talk about his memoir, “Beautiful Scars” and sing songs related to the story.

“I’m kind of out for the next year-and-a-half or so concentrating on doing  what I call literary recitals, consisting of either what I’ll be doing in Collingwood which is piano accompaniment and myself, all the way up to a 21-piece orchestra which I did last month in Hamilton and will be doing in Ottawa and Calgary, etc.  This is me being able to combine the story of my book along with the music that I’ve been writing for the last year around the book.”

And what a compelling story that book contains.  Since its release last year by Doubleday, “Beautiful Scars” (the book, not to be confused with the song or the album of the same name that Tom has recorded) has impressed critics.

H2O Quenches Headbanger Thirst

There’s a new music spot in downtown Owen Sound that will feature hard rock, metal and grunge, bringing in bands in those genres while they provide a platform for local bands of the same ilk.

The H2O Lounge is located on 2nd Avenue East, just down the block from Heartwood Hall and The Bleeding Carrot.  I’ve seen it sitting there for a while and wondered water they doing in there (pun intended).  I heard about some bands playing there and then what really got my attention was a Riot Grrrl night headlined by Pantychrist.  It struck me as an unusual offering in downtown Owen Sound, surely filling a niche.  I noticed it was an event created by Banding Together Promotions.

It turns out that Banding Together is mainly one guy, Raymond King. His band, Killing Clarence will be headlining a big anti-Valentine metal grunge show at H2O on the 14th.

“Originally my idea for Banding Together started in 2014 when I lived in North Bay,” says Ray, “My friend’s uncle was diagnosed with bladder cancer and he was given three months to live.  They didn’t have any money and they weren’t prepared for it so we set up a fund raiser and we just called it Banding Together.  From there the idea kind of stuck because it was a huge success.  We were able to help them out a lot.  We made $12,000 for them.”

February’s Range of Great Music at Meaford Hall

by Bill Monahan

There’s something for everyone’s taste this coming month at Meaford Hall, from Canada’s Queen of R & B, Jully Black, to Grey County’s famous step-dancing fiddlers, The Beckett Family.

There is still one show left in January but it’s been sold out for quite a while.

Country star Gord Bamford, promoting his new record “Neon Smoke”, is on a grueling tour that has him playing every night in a different Ontario location through the first week of February, then heading coast to coast for the rest of the month.  After a show in Kelowna he’s heading straight out Australia where he’ll be spending the month of March on tour.  So far in this vast itinerary, the Meaford show is the only one sold out.



The Opera House will be filled with fun on Feb. 16th when the audience gets to Sing Along With Grease, that most sing-able of musicals.  Before the movie they put you through a vocal warm up, hand out props to use, and judge costumes of anyone who chooses to dress up.  You end up singing through the show with the whole crowd.  I got chills, they’re multiplying, and I’m losing control just thinking about it.



Classic Albums Live is bringing a note-for-note reproduction of the first Led Zeppelin album.  This album was completely recorded by the band before they approached a record label with it.  Jimmy Page and their manager paid for it, in order to have complete artistic control.  Atlantic Records signed them for the largest advance ever paid, for the first time straying from their focus on American R&B to take on a British band.  The record was on every turntable within my earshot all year in 1969 when it came out, with Robert Plant’s keening voice unlike anything we’d ever heard.

The Classic Albums Live company, created by Craig Martin, is comprised of world class musicians, many of whom augment their solo careers with these demanding reproductions.  They regularly fill Meaford Hall with their note-perfect re-creation of albums, taking on the most challenging of records, from Sgt. Pepper to Rumours.

The album will take up the first half of the show and greatest hits from the Led Zeppelin catalogue will fill the second half.



Promising Fugitives Show Sold Out

by Bill Monahan

The Fugitives, coming February 1st to Steven Vipond’s Bruce Street Social Club (house concert), are a genre-busting acoustic band that has been tagged “slam folk, folk hop, and spoken word cabaret” in various efforts find a suitable entertainment category for this loose assemblage.  Comparing themselves to Broken Social Scene, “but acoustic, and way less famous” in that members come and go freely, the core duo of Adrian Glynn and Brendan McLeod bring experience that helps them take great leaps of style without losing who they are and a musicality that makes it all work.

Adrian Glynn (McMorran)earned a BA in Theatre from the University of British Columbia and studied acting at New York’s Atlantic Theatre School before launching a career in movies and television.  He toured the country with “Chelsea Hotel” a musical play based on the songs of Leonard Cohen.

Brendan McLeod was a Canadian SLAM poetry champ and runner up in an international competition.  He’s been selected as Poet of Honour at more than one spoken word festival.  He writes novels, plays, monologues and songs.

These two came together in Vancouver on 2007, released their first album and began to tour almost immediately. Their musicality came to the fore, leading to multiple Canadian Folk Music Awards and a Western Canadian Music Award for Best Roots Album.  They opened for Buffy Sainte-Marie across western Canada, and played UK’s Glastonbury Festival.

This video from 2013 gives you an idea why they caught on so quickly:

They mix up lap steel, balalaika, banjo, beatbox, accordion, fiddle, depending on who’s playing with them and spoken word is bound to invade the folk strumming from time to time.

The Fugitives show is sold out but they are a group to watch for when they return to our area.

Steven Vipond follows his heart when bringing in shows either at CROW or at his house concerts, and you can trust his taste.  He has a very special event coming to CROW which will also sell out quickly, so you should make dinner reservations soon.

It’s an intimate evening with Tom Wilson, of Blackie and The Rodeo Kings fame (& Lee Harvey Osmond & Junkhouse).  He’s published a memoir called “Beautiful Scars” and he’s a fine story teller.

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