Tag Archives: Led Zeppelin

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.

 

 

Brit-Pop, Georgian Bay style, with John Brownlow

John Brownlow will be playing in Meaford tonight at The Red Door Pub and Grille as part of a Songwriters’ Showcase that includes Bill Monahan and Dave Hawkins.  Although he is well known in the area, particularly by musicians who have benefitted from his talents as a producer and video producer, and from the attendees at the Bi-Monthly Songwriters’ Circle who benefit from his perceptive feedback, he doesn’t get out much to play since disbanding his group The Sportswriters a few years ago.

The Sportswriters ran for four or five years, and it kind of felt like it had run its course,” he said.  Part of the problem was that he is a restless creative spirit, always wanting to try a new direction, and part of it was because with every song he writes he has “a very specific sound in my head”.  The best bet for him, then, seemed to be to do it all himself.  “I had a few things to get out of my system,” he says.  Since breaking up the band, he has spent hours in his home studio working on his original songs, playing all of the parts himself except for the drums.  It’s been a process of sorting out the scraps of ideas he’d been collecting.

“I record every idea I have.  So I started with about 300 song ideas, half had lyrics and half didn’t, pared them down to 70 and then whittled those down to 30.”  He recorded those thirty songs with a variety of instrumental arrangements, carefully “putting the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle”.  Now he’s finished, with songs fully mixed and mastered, and just has to figure out the best way to get them to the public.  But while he’s sorting that out, he’s written fifteen more since then, so he wants to record them.

“It’s all storytelling,” he says, “constructing a narrative”

It’s a prodigious output from a guy with a fertile imagination.  Although the songs range through different emotions, moods and sonic colourings, the one thing they all have in common is that they are unashamedly pop music.  He’s not into angst.  He wants to write and record songs that sound good coming out of the dashboard of a car.  The result is a collection of songs with more hooks than a salmon derby.