Tag Archives: Blue Rodeo

Clap For The Sinners Choir

This Saturday, CROW Bar and Variety in Collingwood is bringing The Sinners’ Choir to town.

The best bands are always those that evolve naturally from a shared love of the music they play.  That’s the case with this trio, in which players from three generations have come together to blend their talents.  They also blend their voices, with an easy harmony that falls sweetly on your ear.

Working as a full-time musician, as with any job, can wear on you.  The thing about musicians, though, is that more often than not when they take a break from their regular gig, their idea of relaxation is to get together with somebody else and play something different.  That’s how this band came together.  Their shared joy in what they do is so infectious that it has led to another regular gig for them.  Their private jam sessions became public with a longstanding residency at The Rex in Toronto.  As the public caught on to their sound, they found themselves having to set aside the occasional date at the Rex to take other offers, for which they are increasingly in demand.  And now they are bringing their sweet harmonies to the sweet air of Georgian Bay.

The most seasoned pro of the group is bass player Terry Wilkins, whose name will be familiar to any fan of 80’s Toronto rock and blues.  He was already established in Australia in the 60’s with a popular band called The Flying Circus.  When they tried their luck in San Francisco, a chance meeting with members of McKenna Mendelson Mainline brought them to Toronto.

Making Toronto his permanent home, Terry played bass with Rough Trade from 1978 to 1982 and did stints with Lighthouse and David Wilcox.  At the same time he played with a variety of visiting artists of wide-ranging styles, including Dr. John, Maria Muldaur and Levon Helm.  Consistently working through the decades, he has worked more recently with Freeman Dre and The Kitchen Party.

Drummer Adam Warner has a similar history of being an in demand player, except he started a couple of decades later.   He’s been around, playing at legendary clubs like The Cavern in Liverpool, CBGB’s in New York, and has played at a command concert for Paul Anka and birthday celebrations for the Queen of Holland.  As a writer and composer, he has released solo works, composed musical backdrops for David Suzuki, and performed or recorded with various members of The Barenaked Ladies,The Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo, Sloan, Great Big Sea, Big Sugar, and Moist.

Guitarist Adam Beer Colacino was busy growing up while his bandmates were making their  international reputations.  He’s worked with Devin Cuddy, Whitney Rose and members of Downchild Blues Band.  He’s teamed up with blues guitarist Fraser Melvin and an 8-piece horn section in the The Melvin-Colacino Band.

The band takes turns on lead vocals, with the other two providing harmonies, as they mix it up with originals that reflect the wide-ranging experience and tastes of the players.  When a band loves playing together as much as these three obviously do, it is always a delight for the audience.

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Last Chance This Week to Catch Hunnay at CROW

Every Wednesday this month, Hunnay has been doing a residency at CROW Bar and Variety.  It’s part of the vision of this new Collingwood venue to help local artists develop an audience and polish their chops, with a new artist featured every month.  Last month it was Austin McCarthy and there is just one more performance this month from Hunnay.  If you haven’t seen this uniquely entertaining duo, you should make a point of getting out to CROW this Wednesday, no cover, to check them out.

CROW provides a nice little room for listening to music.  It’s the shape of a shoebox, longer than it is wide, which is ideal for acoustics and sight lines.  If they continue the practice of featuring developing artists for month-long residencies, it should be on your monthly to-do list to be sure that you catch at least one of the Wednesday night shows.  It could be a first intimate glimpse of someone with a big future.  Hunnay seems to fit that bill.

Hunnay consists of Laura Somers and Karen A. Witt, each of whom worked independently before the two of them joined forces.  Early in their collaboration they attracted the attention of Wasaga Beach drummer Lee Chomiak, who has worked for the past fourteen years as guitar, bass and drum tech for Blue Rodeo, with the last eight years including duties as their road manager.  He was blown away by the duo’s effervescence, humour and harmonies and he worked with them to produce and record their first full length C.D. “The Other Side Of The Coin”.

The Thursday Outlook – Aug. 31 to Sep. 4, 2017

A few outdoor music shows remain on the Labour Day weekend that marks the end of the summer season.  On Sunday evening The Friends of The Meaford Library will feature Dixieland  from Collingwood’s Regal Jazz Band beside the river in the Rotary Pavilion.  Up in the Blue Mountain Village the Coca-Cola stage has Alysha Brilla and The Brilltones on Friday night and Chris Scerri’s last Sunday night show with the Summit band for this season.

Alysha Brilla, at 8 Friday on the Coca-Cola stage in Blue Mountain Village, is a performer whose music is interwoven within her personal tapestry of creativity.    She is a multi-racial child of the Indian diaspora, born in Mississauga.   As a Canadian daughter of an  Indo-Tanzanian immigrant father and a European-Canadian mother, Alysha has grown up with a unique view of the Canadian cultural kaleidoscope.  In addition to her music, she is an arts educator;  TEDx speaker, YWCA mentor, and a general activist along the lines of cultural diversity, gender equality and inclusivity.  These themes that are reflected in alluring worldbeat songs.

Russell deCarle Coming Thursday To Simcoe Street Theatre

Next Thursday, April 20th, Russell deCarle will be playing the Simcoe Street Theatre in Collingwood, with special guest Greg Smith.

The Simcoe Street Theatre is a intimate 100 seat blackbox theatre in downtown Collingwood.  In a Facebook post last June Nadia Mear wrote, “Simcoe Street Theatre is an absolute GIFT to the community of Collingwood and for audiences in Georgian Bay in general. Unique, independent and really special theatrical performances seem to be their mandate. Kudos to Anke and Rick who opened and run it. Well done!!”  It seems an ideal setting for a performance where the focus is on the songs.

Greg Smith, a young singer-songwriter from Meaford, has been enjoying a growing reputation locally since returning from his year in Budapest where he has made a name for himself.  He has a unique approach to song writing.  He creates song cycles where the characters and the narrative extends through several songs.  His musical settings are dynamic with liberal use of alternate tunings and filigreed finger work, and his vocals add a real cinematic aspect to his performance which suits the songs.  A dark theatre will be the perfect venue to hear his work.

And then when Russell deCarle comes on we’ll hear the distillation of forty-five years as a growing musician just coming into his prime.  He’ll be with his favourite guitar player Steve Briggs and they’ll be doing a lot of songs from the new (soon to be released) album that he is excited about.  Alone In This Crowd has a “southern soul sound” he says, which sounds like a natural for his voice.  Even though he’s played for most of his life in a country band, his vocal style leans more toward soul singers like Ray Charles and Arthur Alexander.  There’s still a lot of country in his voice, and it puts his vocal style in its own space.  Southern Soul is right where it belongs.

“I don’t do a lot of country,” Russell says, “My music is informed by what I listen to.  I love great pop music.”

“I’m feeling good about my writing,” he says, and you can hear the enthusiasm in his voice when he talks of this latest recording project with Steve Briggs.