Mark Reeves This Saturday at Meaford Hall Gallery Series

Everybody talks about Mark Reeves stage presence.  “Mark is not only at ease performing, he owns the stage,” says Pierre Guerin, former artistic director of the Winnipeg Folk Festival and past president of the North American Folk Alliance. “Even more impressive is the attention and care he pays to his craft as a songwriter.”

“I think that I write like a person that’s watching a movie and I try to describe that,” he told Mike Ruta of, who added, “he clearly has a good time in the spotlight and wants the crowd to as well.”

These strengths come from many years of learning how to please an audience by busking in the streets where he learned that the first priority is to keep the audience entertained.  He mixes his songs with anecdotes and stories about the songs that he knows will engage the audience.  He appreciates a good audience and, knowing what the audiences are like at Meaford Hall, he is bound to be in his element when he plays there this Saturday, the fourth great little show in the Gallery Concert Series.

He has played this area before, several times at The Irish Mountain House Concerts, where artistic director Liz Scott describes him as “an Irish Mountain favourite, Mark Reeves fires up his sultry ballads and blistering blues, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats and breathless for more. He’s a one man show, the music right through him, and it sinks into our souls.”

He was the inspiration for brothers Phil and Joe Klages to initiate buy an Anglican church and convert it to the Desboro Music Hall.  When they finished last year’s concert series there with Mark and local phenomenon Jayden Grahlman, they said, “We thought it would be appropriate to end our season with the artist who started it all: Mark Reeves.”  Joe and Phil saw Mark’s concert at Greenbank back in 2015 and after talking with Mogens and Cathy, the folks who started Greenbank Folk Music Society, they thought, “Hey, we could do this” and thus began the dream of The Desboro Music Hall.  “So since Mark Reeves kind of helped start the beginnings of the idea, it’s fitting to have him come and close our first season at The Desboro Music Hall.”

Originally from Winnipeg, where a fertile music scene over the years has spawned artists as diverse as Neil Young and The Guess Who, he was accepted at a young age into the famous Berklee School of Music in Boston, but after two semesters, opted instead to get his education in the streets and the blues clubs.  Opening for everyone from Robert Cray and Blue Rodeo to Colin James and Jesse Winchester, he learned his performance skills and his reverence for his audience.

While he describes himself as “a roots artist” with echoes of blues, folk, gospel and other genres in the mix, it’s also been said that if Bonnie Raitt and Lyle Lovett had a love child, Mark Reeves would be it.

The Meaford Hall Gallery Concert Series, arranged to continue to provide live music for local audiences while the Opera House is closed for renovations to the balcony, has been a pretty amazing set of performances so far, with each artist responding to the intimacy of the space and the warmth of the audience.  For many, it has provided an introduction to talents that they might otherwise have missed. That continues this Saturday with Mark Reeves.

Tickets are just $30, showtime is 8pm this Saturday March 4.  Sellouts are the norm for this series, so don’t wait to get your tickets.

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