A Meaford Backyard Provides Idyllic Setting For Beautiful Music

There is a special backyard concert happening in Meaford this Friday, June 30th.  Everything about it seems to be uniquely suited to Meaford.  Admission is pay-what-you-can (with a suggested price of $10).  You’re encouraged to bring a chair or blanket and bring the kids along.  It takes place at 118 Algonquin Drive, starting at 7 pm and running until around midnight.

In this idyllic setting, don’t expect a heavy rock band.  Instead you can look forward to some beautiful, folk-flavoured music, intelligent and thoughtful lyrics and gentle performances that will fit in perfectly with the accompaniment of the robins and mourning doves as the sun goes down.

It’s a triple bill, with Bry Webb, Fiver and Jiants.

Bry Webb is best known as former front man for The Constantines, a band that was riding high with promise in 2005 when they were nominated for a Juno for Best Alternative Band.  He’s also programming director for CFRU-FM, campus radio at the University of Guelph.

One of his biggest fans is Feist, with whom he has recorded and toured.  In 2011, she told Exclaim!,  “His voice has an authority to it and I’ve always believed that he believes in what he’s singing. Plus, on a guitar level, I absolutely admire how unique and connected his playing is. I’d say he’s my favourite guitarist I’ve watched all these years.”  It was her encouragement that inspired him to record again after dissolving The Constantines in 2010, not because he was unhappy with the band but because he longed for a simpler lifestyle than that of a touring rock band.

How fitting that he is playing in a backyard in Meaford.  This area has many musicians who are highly respected around the world, including Michael O’Connell , Steve Dickinson and My Sweet Patootie, but who choose to live here because they place a high value on the beautiful and spiritually fulfilling lifestyle offered around the southern shores of Georgian Bay.

When you hear Bry Webb, accompanied on this occasion by lap steel guitarist Rich Burnett, you’ll understand Feist’s appreciation of his songs and honest style.

Fiver, the stage name of Simone Schmidt, is a unique artist who re-invents the traditional folk ballad, creating new songs in that style take a piercing look at history from today’s perspective.  This year she released ‘Audible Songs from Rockwood’ , a series of songs told from the perspective of women incarcerated Kingston’s Rockwood Asylum for the Criminally Insane in the 19th century, based on her own research at the Ontario Archives.

The project is not something she took lightly, but, accompanied by extensive liner notes, it is a serious and important look at an aspect of Canada’s history which puts into perspective the legacy of the treatment of women that is still being dealt with today.

Like Bry Webb’s quiet music, the work of Fiver is something rare and special that will be well served by this setting.

And, so you don’t forget that summer has arrived, bringing with it all of the romance and memory potential that accompanies the sun and the water, members of Jiants will be here to sing an acoustic version of their poignant ode to summer romance, Paralyze, which is making a buzz for the band in Toronto.

Friday night sits on the threshold of Meaford’s Canada Day celebrations which will be marked by a plethora of free live music around town, provided by local musicians with a fair contingent of young talent.  What better way for a fan of live music to celebrate our wonderful country and our beautiful town than to start the weekend listening to moving folk music in a back yard on the west side of town, spend Saturday downtown with a full schedule of bands, and finish up on the east side of town for a concert of classic country music on Sunday on the little stage in Memorial Park?

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