Category Archives: Songs

“When I Was A Boy” by David Hawkins

Here is a song by Owen Sound based singer-songwriter Dave Hawkins called “When I Was A Boy”.  It evokes those halcyon days of innocence when boys spend their days in the sunshine and their nights “out under the stars” giving their imaginations free range, the days when the entire future is full of promise.

Dave has been a musician since he was very young.  When his older brother was given a guitar for Christmas he played it as well and when the family was given a piano he took lessons from his aunt, getting as far as Grade 5 Conservatory.

“My brother and I used to play and sing harmonies on songs by The Eagles, Bob Dylan, Neil Young,” he says, “I found that it was a way to let out all that teen angst.  It’s been a constant friend to me for forty-five years, a wonderful way to learn what’s going on in your heart.”

He came to songwriting from the same motivation.  Although he did some songwriting in his twenties, it is just in the past few years he has begun to take it more seriously.

“Just about three or four years before I retired I started writing again,” he says, “I started writing because I want to get some perspective on who I am now.”  It’s important to him that a song has meaning.  “If I start writing a song I won’t finish it unless it has a deeper meaning – an emotion, an angst, a comment on a life situation.”

His songs do that.  With a relaxed and amiable stage presence, a resonant baritone voice and a sense of humour (that sometimes cuts deeper than it seems if you’re not paying attention), he is a seasoned performer.  He started as part of a folk duo/trio which morphed into a blues band, then a jazz band, usually built around singing with his wife Trish.  “Now I’m back into country with Trish and The Tractors,” he says.  This popular band specializes in classic country dance music and they play regularly around the area.

His interest in music has dominated his working life, leading him to become a music-related retailer.  First he started a used record store called Record Trade, which still exists in Owen Sound, re-named Randy’s Records by its current owner (still a great place for vinyl lovers).  Then he bought Fromager Music and ran it for thirty years before retiring just a few years ago, selling the business to Long & McQuade.

Through the years he has been a constant and important part of Georgian Shores Songwriters, a loose collective of songwriters that meets every few weeks to exchange song ideas and feedback in a relaxed setting.

With a growing interest in songwriting he is starting to perform his original songs more.  He was part of a Songwriters’ Showcase that happened at The Red Door in Meaford a few weeks ago, sharing the evening with songwriters Bill Monahan and John Brownlow.  It went over well and the three of them enjoyed it enough that they are going to do it again, this time at the Garafraxa Café in Durham on a Sunday afternoon, June 25th.

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Five Meaford Songs of 2016

As one year moves aside to let another begin take fifteen minutes to enjoy five original voices from Meaford. Here are five songs written by Meaford performers who found their way to a live stage in 2016.

 

Subject To Change by Greg Smith

Greg Smith returned from Hungary with a new confidence and his own unique way of creating song cycles that tell a tale individually and in context of each other. This song is a turning point in the tale.

Cold Fish by Zoe Young

Zoe Young made up a good song called Cold Fish and she sang it one day at The Barn’s open stage, urged on by her mother Diana, who sings there and her sister Eden Young who is the lead singer of Cry For Ophelia. It was a hit.

Visceral by James McLaughlin

James McLaughlin has a unique songwriting approach and the voice and guitar chops to pull it off.  This is one of his songs from 2016 before he began moving in more of a country direction.

Diving In by Jayden Grahlman

Jayden Grahlman brightens up whatever room he’s in.  He’s found a groove with this song that makes you want to sing along on the chorus

Minute To Minute by Bill Monahan

Bill Monahan writes this blog every day and writes songs in between.  You can catch him at open stages or concerts at the harbour.  Here he’s counting down the minutes to 2017

Stay tuned for 2017

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October’s Top 5 Videos

Here we go again, remembering local music from the past month by offering an arbitrary Top 5 of the videos shown on these pages. They are all simple performance videos, so it’s the performance rather than the videography that makes them special.  They are all original songs, written by the performer.  If you listen through the five of them you’ll not only get a recap of some great performances that happened here locally, but you’ll hear some exceptional original songwriting.

#5 – “Galician Night” and “I Want You More” by Searson   This lively family band has performed all over the world and they came to Meaford Hall the last weekend of October.

#4 – “Folksinger” by Steve Poltz.  He is known for his storytelling in front of an audience, and in this video he is on home turf, performing at Java Joe’s in San Diego.  He stopped at Meaford Hall at the end of October in the middle of a tour of Southern Ontario.

#3 – “Lily Of The Valley” by James McLaughlin  He plays occasionally at open stages, works in Collingwood, and writes songs.  This is, he says, his first song with a country feel, recorded specifically for this website.

#2 – “Who She Was” by Greg Smith.  This is another video made for this website, an original song by a recent GBSS graduate who is launching his career with a five song CD that features original songs linked in a “song cycle”.

#1 – “Dirt Poor Blues” by Sean Pinchin.  This is a show that never happened.  He called at the last minute to cancel because of a personal emergency.  But his performance in this video is so impressive we all hope there is a make-up date not too far in the future.

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“Who She Was” by Greg Smith

Greg Smith at Heartwood Hall

Greg Smith’s approach to songwriting is unique, with a literary slant to it.  He conceives of “song-cycles” in which a series of songs, while standing on their own as compositions, relate to each other to tell a larger story.  He says that when he finishes a song he immediately thinks of what he can come up with as a sequel.  He has created a five-song EP called Iris, just recently released. Iris is the first recording of a song cycle and now he’s working on its sequel, following characters he developed in the first cycle.  “Who She Was” is one of the vignettes from Iris.

When Greg was in GBSS Idol a couple of years ago, music teacher Patrick Delaney introduced him by saying that when he was asked what career he would like to pursue he answered that he wants to be a working musician, specifically a singer-songwriter.  When asked the inevitable question about a back-up plan, he said he didn’t have one.  For years he had been coming up with an answer to that question but he finally realized that he intended to be a musician and that’s that.  That kind of do-or-die attitude is the first step to success.

After GBSS, Greg spent a year in Budapest, Hungary as an exchange student.  His intention was to leave music alone for a year before diving into it full time but fate had other plans.  He made friends with Tim Atkins, lead singer of a Budapest based blues and rock band called The Luckies and soon found himself immersed in the local music scene.  He played a couple of festivals and was soon gigging locally a few times a month.  He met the principals of local indie label, Lone Waltz Records and spent some time recording in their studio.

"Iris" - 5 song EP from Greg Smith

To check out “Iris”, Greg’s EP, click on this image

The experience he gained in Budapest turned him into a more focused and dynamic performer and he returned home ready to get something done.  Before long he was able to work with local songwriter/producer John Brownlow and “Iris” is the result of an afternoon’s work, just recently released and available for sale at his gigs.

While working on his compositions, Greg is also playing when he can here locally, although ironically he finds it more challenging to get gigs than it was in Budapest.  He attributes that to the fact that there are more bands and musicians here competing for slots in fewer venues than in the lively but relatively small music scene that has blossomed in Budapest since the fall of Communism in that country.

This coming Sunday, October 30th, he’ll be opening for Lauren Mann at Heartwood Hall.

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