Tag Archives: Trevor MacKenzie

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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Community Helps Launch Talent of Jayden Grahlman

By Bill Monahan

Jayden Grahlman, a young local talent familiar to anyone who checks out the open stages, or catches live music in area venues, has a crowd-finding campaign in place to help him create a new album to be called “Diving In”.  He is well on his way, with most of the bed tracks completed, working with producer Craig Smith.

“He’s got amazing ears and he really knows what he’s doing,” Jayden enthuses, “He’s super easy to get along with and he has great ideas, and he really brings the best out of whatever we’re doing.”

Jayden will be benefitting from the help of several musical friends to make the album a reality.

“There’s going to be some great people playing on it,” he says, “We’re just getting the core tracks done on their own and then we’re going to have people come in on their own once everything’s totally ready.”  Not everyone has been lined up yet, but He mentioned that Tyler Yarema is “going to come and play piano on some tunes,” and he will be heading to Guelph at the end of March to add drums and bass with Adam Bowman and Tyler Wagler respectively.

“It’s something that’s been a long time coming for me and I’m having a lot of fun in the studio,” he says.

Jayden has guitar skills that put him in the top echelon of local players, something that developed from a passion he discovered at a young age.

“The first time I remember actually learning guitar and playing stuff was me and my brother.  I think I was twelve and he was thirteen and something like that and we had a contest to see who could play the most riffs.  It was like, ‘Smoke On The Water’ and ‘Seven Nation Army’, and whatever many little riffs you could learn.  So I just learned a whole whack of them and at that point I just got into it.  I was like, ‘Oh! I can learn songs!’  It was just fun so at that point I started playing more.”

Bringing In The New Year With Live Music

If you’re looking for live music to bring in the New Year with, here are some local options:

(many of them are sold out already, so check before you go)

Higher Funktion will be bringing in the new year at Heartwood Concert Hall.  This is where you go to shake your booty and shake off the old year.  They’ll have the party favours, snacks and the midnight bubbly but best of all they’ll have the music of this band with their mix of funk, pop and even reggae.

You can get a taste of funk as well at the Owen Sound Legion where The Honey Hammers ring in the new year with dancing to some great musicians.  Led by the duo vocals of Sylvie Weir and Josie Elder, the band includes Kimmer T on bass, Mike Weir on drums and Trevor MacKenzie on lead guitar.

If you’re looking for a black tie gala to do it up right, join the Rat Pack at Gustav’s Chophouse at the Georgian Bay Hotel for a luxury dinner and dance.  Chef Jeff Anderson and his team have created some culinary delights for a special menu and on stage is MEMORIES OF THE RAT PACK with a tribute to the three most famous members of The Rat Pack: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. in two 50 minute acts with stories and songs. As a bonus, everyone gets a $10 cab voucher for a ride home from Ace Cabs.

The party band Switchbeat will be celebrating New Year’s Eve at the Harbour Street Fish Bar.  Take in the four-course dinner starting at 6 pm or come later just for the band, the party favours and the midnight champagne toast.  Switchbeat underwent at slight lineup change a month ago when founding member Jennifer Little left the band.

She’s been replaced by Nikki Ponte.  Born in Toronto, Nikki made a name for herself in Greece and Cyprus, where she came third in The X Factor, was signed to Sony, and competed in the Eurovision Song Contest.  Now back in Canada, she brings considerable chops to fill the gap in Swichbeat.

The Beckett Family returns to the Roxy Theatre for two shows on New Year’s Eve, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.  As a duo, Linsey and her brother Tyler have performed throughout Ontario with their blend of traditional country music, old time fiddling and step dancing. It’s a family tradition for The Beckett family who have been entertaining for three generations.  The show at the Roxy also welcomes special guests Kelly Prescott, Devan Ballagh and Stan Beckett.

Local Players Excited To Be Doing The Last Waltz

The latest production at Meaford Hall by Chris Scerri, a tribute to The Last Waltz scheduled for November 25th, is a bit of a departure from his previous productions.  Up to this point he has put together variety shows that combined local and imported talent, built mainly around the talents of musical director Tyler Yarema and others from the Port Credit area that Chris has introduced to Meaford.  This time around it will be all local talent, some of the best that our area offers, under the musical direction of keyboard player John Hume.

For each member of this tribute band, The Band and their iconic farewell concert both hold special significance.

“It was a magic moment in music history,” says Chris Scerri, “that allowed for some of the most influential modern day artists to get together for the ultimate Jam.”  He adds that the DVD of the concert movie is one which, “I can watch time and time again, and continue to be inspired by both the musical talents and the show itself.”

The Last Waltz was the name Robbie Robertson gave to the farewell concert of The Band, performed on American Thanksgiving Day in 1976 at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco.  A film of the concert by Martin Scorcese was released in 1978 and was hailed by film critic Michael Wilmington as “the greatest rock concert movie ever made – and maybe the best rock movie, period”  Time bears that out, with the influence of the movie being felt almost forty years later.