Marshall Dane Returns, Playing The Leeky This Thursday

Marshall Dane is making great strides as a rising country star and you might wonder why he would come to Meaford to play a small venue like The Leeky Canoe, on a Thursday night no less.

“I love the people!,” he explains, “Our first invite was to the Meaford Hall and it was fabulous.  Our second visit to the town square was just as welcoming. The music fans are gracious and kind and really feed the inspiration.”

Marshall Dane was born in St. Catherines and grew up there and in Niagara Falls. Music was an everyday part of his life growing up.  “We sang together, we all played music together.  My mother would play us to sleep every night with the piano. My father would have a guitar at every gathering.  My grandparents loved to sing and play as well.  In fact they were multi-talented and some even professional, performing on the Don Messer show as a fiddler.”

His parents thought he should become a minister but, just like Jerry Lee Lewis, he had other plans.  He was finding joy in making music from a young age and tried taking it in school but the theory didn’t appeal to him (“I wish I got a few more classes in. I’ve had to pick it up after the fact.”)  What did appeal was taking his guitar to school and jamming before and after classes and at lunch.

He started playing gigs at the age of fifteen, at the Sweets Cafe and Crepes in St. Catherines, where he used to go regularly with his friends after church.  When he asked the owner for a job as a server, he was offered a regular musical gig instead, for $35 and a piece of cheesecake – and free hot chocolate.

“So at 15 years old, my sweet mama drove me every Friday and Saturday night to the cafe, where I played 13 songs in different orders and in different ways, to keep it interesting, until I had enough material to no longer repeat songs…for days on end. I had that gig for 6 months. I was hooked.”

When he turned sixteen his musical ambitions were beginning to grow and he had to choose between following his father’s path in the ministry or striking out on his own as a musician.  He chose the latter.  With his guitar, a keyboard, a little recording unit and a futon, he left the family home to pursue his dream.

In 2008, he went down to Nashville where he quickly got to know the country music capital’s songwriters and music publishers. Within nine months, he had gathered a repertoire of exciting new tunes. After submitting a song to a local songwriting competition, he won the prize: opening for Emerson Drive.  That gig led to a deal with The Agency Group, opening for Alan Jackson in 2010, a tour in early 2011 and then a nomination to represent the New Artist Showcase at the 2011 CCMAs.

From his first album released in 2005, aptly titled “35 Dollars and Cheesecake”, his career has progressed to the point of a Nashville publishing deal that allowed him to write and record with some of the industry’s best.

His stop in Meaford this summer was just one stop in a busy year.  It was the last of the Meaford Summer Concert Series and the most exciting.  There is bound to be a crowd in anticipation of his show this Thursday so get there early to grab some dinner and claim your spot.


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