Tag Archives: Elton John

Steve Dickinson’s Songs and Stories For A Saturday Night

Review of concert at Massie Hall, May 19, 2018, by Bill Monahan

This past Saturday, Massie Hall presented Steve Dickinson in concert as part of this year’s concert series.  Steve had been the first performer presented at Massie Hall thirteen years ago when a local group of volunteers had bought the historic school house to turn it into a community centre and Pete Miller initiated the tradition of summer concerts.  Last year Steve performed here as a kind of homecoming after several years of international adventures in the music business.  His return on Saturday night brought out an audience which included some die-hard fans who have all his albums.

Presenter Ralph Bergman introduced him as “a local legend”.  Despite a quiet humility, his talent lived up to that billing with engaging songs and a one-in-a-million voice.

After a few opening songs that reached far back into his past, including “Marlowe Lindsay”, an evocative look at mortality, Steve did a medley of Bob Segar songs.  It was fitting because his vocal similarity to Segar had taken him far afield, sharing the stage with bands like Boston and being included on a compilation album alongside legends that included Elton John and Rod Stewart.  The short Segar medley kicked it up a notch and the original songs that followed burned with intensity.

He introduced one song, “Summer Rain,” from his 2002 album called “Good Old Days”, saying, “I thought this was going to be a million seller.  Instead I had to get a bigger house to keep a million of them in my basement.”  It was ironic because the song really does sound like it should have been a huge hit, with all the touchstones of timeless classic rock.  Another irony is that Steve at one time played with members of Kid Rock’s band and “Summer Rain” sounds perfectly suited for that artist.

If it hasn’t become the radio staple that it deserves to be, you can still download and enjoy both the album and the song from iTunes, CD Baby or Spotify.  His music ages well and any of his albums if well worth an addition to your playlist.

Over the years Steve Dickinson has been backed up by the best.  When he started, some of the best local musicians played with him and since then he’s been backed by members of the bands of Bob Segar, Eric Clapton and Kid Rock.  He’s been produced by the talented Rick Hutt and co-written with artists like Dean McTaggart.  He’s had more than one ride of the roller coaster of music business success.

With all of this history lending a superstar legitimacy to his music he proved on Saturday night that he is, as Ralph Bergman quoted Trevor Mackenzie as saying, “a complete show all on his own.”  With just his voice, guitar and occasionally harmonica, he held the audience in his hands, hanging on every word even as he unravelled fairly lengthy anecdotes between songs.  And he was called back for an encore, for which he performed one of his airplay successes, “Ten Summers Past”.

And with that the concert was over all too soon.

Saturday night’s concert was one of a series of impressive shows lined up this summer at Massie Hall.  A small unassuming venue seemingly miles from anywhere, it is a real find for local music fans.

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Canada’s Queen of Soul Coming To Meaford Hall

By Bill Monahan

Jully Black, named by CBC as one of ‘The 25 Greatest Canadian Singers Ever’, will be gracing the stage at Meaford Hall on Thursday February 22, 2018.  This platinum selling artist, affectionately dubbed ‘Canada’s Queen of R&B Soul’ has a multi-faceted career that includes Juno awards, writing songs for major artists, and a variety of television appearances that highlight her ebullient personality.

Born to Jamaican immigrants and raised in the Jane/Finch area, Jully Black discovered her talent at an early age and was particularly inspired by Whitney Houston. After winning a local talent show and singing at numerous events, she began travelling to New York on weekends to sing and record when she was just fourteen.   The music industry was also quick to recognize her talent.  She was signed to Warner/Chappell Publishing and wrote for or collaborated with other well-known artists such as Nas, Destiny’s Child, Sean Paul, Kardinal Official and many others.  Her debut album was originally scheduled for release on MCA records in 2003 but the company folded before that could happen.  Signed to Universal, she released an album called “This Is Me” in 2005, which spawned the hit singles “Sweat of Your Brow” and “5x Love”.

The success of the album led to a cross-Canada tour opening for the Black Eyed Peas, which in turn led to that band’s drummer, Keith Harris, producing her sophomore album.  That album, “Revival”, won a Juno for R&B/Soul Recording of the Year and scored a Top Ten hit with a cover of Etta James’ “Seven Day Fool”.

That same year she starred in the theatre production of “Da Kink in My Hair” at the Princess of Wales in Toronto. The show was a great success and led to a TV series for which she wrote the opening theme and appeared in a few episodes.

The Thursday Outlook – Sept. 21 to 25, 2017

At Kimberley Hall, just down the road from Meaford, a special art show is running all weekend and on Saturday night it will include live music from some local favourites.  East Back Line, with Paul Woolner, David Marshak, Beaker Granger, and Tom Thwaits, will be on hand along with Chris Scerri’s new band Horseshoes & Handgrenades with Jon Zaslow, Beaker Granger, Erik Vandeweerdhof and as a special guest, violinist Victoria Yeh.  The music is just part of a weekend-long celebration of local visual artists billed as “Apple and Art”.

If you can time it right, be on Hurontario Street in Collingwood today at 12:30 and you’ll be treated to a special pop-up concert with Tyler Yarema and Chuck Jackson at one of the pianos that are set up on the sidewalk.  This is part of the promotion for a show that these two blues veterans have planned at The Historic Gayety Theatre on Oct. 5th.

Saturday night on Hurontario street it’s the annual Collingwood Art Crawl which includes live music in the evening from the Mike McCarthy Band. 

The Thursday Lookout – May 25 to 28, 2017

Start your weekend at The Leeky Canoe tonight when a cast of local musicians will offer their individual interpretations of the songs of Bob Dylan, who celebrated his 75th birthday yesterday.  When Chris Scerri put the word out that he was dedicating tonight’s open mic to Dylan songs he received a flood of responses from performers so that the night is shaping up to be something of a showcase of local talent.  And to expand your Bob Dylan fix, get over to Heartwood Hall in Owen Sound on Saturday night to see and hear The Kreuger Band’s mix of Dylan covers and originals done in a style that is all their own.

If you’re looking for a different kind of vibe tonight, check out . SweetWater Jazz: An evening of Swingin’ Strings tonight at Heartwood.  The show was put together by SweetWater Artistic Director Mark Fewer who has teamed up with guitarist Nathan Hiltz, violinist Drew Jurecka, and Joseph Phillips on bass in what he calls a performance inspired by Grappelli and Venuti.  Sounds pretty sweet for fans of “le jazz hot”.

Veteran musician Pete Boynton will be at The Harbour Street Fish Bar in Collingwood tonight starting at seven.  He was the keyboard player for Tom Cochrane’s band Red Rider and has played with everyone from Bo Diddley to Alfie Zappacosta.

The Red Door Grille at The Meaford Motel has been steadily building a reputation as the place to see artists you may not have heard of but will never forget once you have.  Tomorrow night, its Romney Getty performing with Aisha Chiandet, offering harmonies that include Neil Young covers and originals on banjo and ukulele.  Romney has toured he has Canada, USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand, garnering reviews like “Wow, can this girl deliver a song or what!  Romney is a singer-songwriter from Canada and her very personal and soulful deliver of country and blues is totally spellbinding, ”  from Guitar Techniques Magazine and “…Truly the complete package…With enough sheer guts and charisma to cross virtually any genre barrier, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if Getty became the next major breakthrough from the Canadian roots rock scene,” from  Exclaim! Magazine.  This is your chance to see a major talent in Meaford’s most intimate venue.

When it comes to major talents in unexpected places, jazz fans can’t miss with a special performance by Russ Little on Friday night at the L. E. Shore Library in Thornbury.  After an early career that included touring with the Woody Herman Orchestra as lead trombone and later with the Count Basie Orchestra, he became an original member of Canada’s legendary Lighthouse, and through the early ’70’s performed in the world famous Boss Brass, while pursuing a very successful career as conductor/composer/arranger for major Canadian and American television networks.

Also on Friday night there is a very special evening in store for those who make their way to Massie Hall for a concert by Steve Dickinson, joined by his old friend Roger Williamson.  They are both local talents whose abilities soar far beyond our area.  Steve has returned home after touring England with a band that included former players from the bands of Eric Clapton, Bob Segar and Kid Rock and contributing to a tribute album of Frankie Miller songs that also featured Rod Stewart, Elton John, Huey Lewis and a who’s who of international stars.  Internationally respected as a vocalist, Steve will be telling some road stories and featuring his own songs on Friday night.

Meaford’s Jayden Grahlman, who is as busy as he is talented, is increasingly in demand both as a solo performer and sideman in a variety of incarnations.  He’ll be at Heartwood on Friday night joining the “energetic wave of psychedelic funkiness” that calls themselves Zuffalo, a band with four songwriters who put the emphasis on “community, positivity and fun”.

With all that going on there are still more choices (check the listings on the right).  Trish and The Tractors, whose following continues to grow by leaps and step dances, is hosting another of their  Country Dance nights at the Royal Canadian Legion in Owen Sound on Saturday night and Bill Murdoch hosts an old time Gospel Show at Hepworth Shallow Lake Legion on Sunday afternoon.

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