Tag Archives: Jon Zaslow

Massie Hall Promises a Great Summer and Fall Lineup of Talent

by Bill Monahan

NOTE: Click on the album covers to sample music by that artist

Massie Hall, in the little hamlet of Massie just east of Chatsworth, has a full slate of talent lined up for the summer season.  The community centre in Massie provides a small venue for these concerts.  They set up folding tables and chairs, with a small stage at one end of the room.  There is no bar, but snacks and soft drinks are included in the ticket price.

It’s a little stage but it features big talents.  Once a month on Saturdays through the summer and fall (and one Friday) a series of high quality performers are scheduled to play.  Tickets for the concerts cost $20 each but with every show offering exceptional talent, the opportunity to get a discount by buying tickets for three or more shows at a time is worth considering.

The series kicks off on April 28th with Beggars Road, with a mix of traditional and Celtic sounds blending vocal melody with powerful instrumental texturing to an original repertoire of songs that celebrate the natural beauties of our region.  The band evolved from The Shards, a group originally brought together by Bob Robins to perform his original, traditional-flavoured songs.  They feature vocals from Larry Dickinson and Justine Maw-Farrar.

The following month, Larry’s brother, Steve Dickinson, returns to Massie Hall for a much-anticipated concert.  After several years following musical adventures abroad, recording and touring with members of Bob Segar’s  Silver Bullet Band, Steve returned home last year to re-group and consider his musical future.  His concert last summer at Massie Hall packed the room with an enthusiastic crowd that was blown away both by his powerful singing and his original songs.  He doesn’t play often in the area, so this is a show that is a must-see.

This Year’s Maplepalooza Benefits Beaver Valley Outreach

By Bill Monahan

The fifth annual Maplepalooza is coming up this weekend (Sat., Mar. 24, doors open at 6:30) at Kimberley Hall and for the second time Chris Scerri has been involved in planning and promotion.

The annual event, a true community celebration, was founded by Jonathan Robinson.  Originally a gathering of his friends to enjoy gathering maple syrup from the sugar bush on his property during the day, and live music in the evening, it has grown in significance each year and last year for the first time, he coupled it with a benefit for Meaford’s family of Syrian refugees.

Fittingly, since Kimberley is located at the bottom of the Beaver Valley, where the Beaver River runs through, the beneficiary of this year’s party is Beaver Valley Outreach, a community based organization of volunteers whose mandate it is to enrich the community by offering programs to meet the needs of the residents of the Beaver Valley.  Most of their programs are designed to assist young families, with both winter and summer day camps, a kid’s club, a breakfast club and pre-school.  They raise funds through donations and sales at their Treasure Shop, a second-hand store currently located on Bruce Steet in Thornbury.

“They’re moving out of a small office in Thornbury to where Piper’s used to be in Thornbury on Highway 26,” says Chris, “They’ve taken on some additional expenses and they do a great job and we’re trying to raise some money for them.”

One More Lumdi Lai by Jon Zaslow

Reviewed by Bill Monahan

When you finish listening to the eight songs on Jon Zaslow’s CD, “One More Lundy Lai” the tune keeps playing in your head.  Which tune?  Well, that’s the thing.  There is a consistency to this CD that makes it hard to distinguish in retrospect one song from the other.  Along with the melodies and rhythms, there is a theme throughout of relentless disappointment and regret.

The title “One More Lumdi Lai” comes from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ first hit, “Mickey’s Monkey”.  With that as the leading and title track, you might expect an album of Motown flavoured dance music (the song was about a dance called “the monkey’, not about the primate).  Instead it is reminiscent of a decade later, post-Beatles, when album oriented radio was dominated by introspective singer-songwriters like Eric Anderson, Jackson Browne and David Wiffen.

Those were the days of mournful reflection set in beautiful studio arrangements.  Jon has excelled in setting his tunes within that genre.

  From the opening chord, through very tastefully balanced elements like slide guitar and saxophone, and impeccably subtle backing vocals, this album sounds beautiful.

Meaford Musical Community Shines In “The Last Waltz”

Review by Bill Monahan
featured photo courtesy of Patti Kendall

On Saturday night at Meaford Hall, “The Last Waltz – Meaford Style” was a celebration of our musical community unlike anything that has been seen before.  A complete sellout more than a month in advance, the show featured a cavalcade of home grown talent that was equal to any visiting talent that has graced this great venue, and the audience loved it.

The template for the show was the famous Martin Scorcese film from 1978 that documented the last concert by The Band, with all of the performers who had been part of that celebration represented here by local talents.  It was actually the 41st anniversary of the original concert, which took place at Winterland in San Francisco on November 25, 1976.  The film set the bar high for a group of local performers who had little more than a month to practice.  They rose to the occasion. The band was tight, often indistinguishable from their model, and each performer who contributed tributes to the other performers did a stellar job.  The energy from the audience matched that coming from the stage.

Jaret Koop photo courtesy of John Scerri

A few of the vocalists stood out with their ability to mimic the originals to an uncanny extent.  Drew McIvor’s take on Doctor John’s (Mac  Rebennack) “Such A Night” had that New Orleans drawl down cold, and Jaret Koop perfectly captured Rick Danko’s anguished vocals on “The Shape I’m In”.

Fran Bouwmann photo courtesy of John Scerri

Fran Bouwman did a great take on Joni Mitchell’s “Coyote” (and even looked the part), and Tom Thwaits version of Neil Diamond’s “Dry Your Eyes” sounded like the real thing.  John Hume reproduced not only the vocal parts but the keyboards (that beautiful Hammond organ sound) with fidelity.

Sandra Swannell photo courtesy of John Scerri

Others added their own special talent to the songs that reflected what they bring to music.  Sandra Swannell’s violin solos on “Acadian Driftwood” and the encore “I Shall Be Released”, and Emma Wright’s vocals on “Evangeline” were spine-tingling standouts.  Chris Scerri’s vocals, of course, are 100% his.  He’s a belter and his style made new versions of the songs he covered.