Meaford Hall Has Got Your Summer Covered

concert seating at Meaford Hall

It won’t be long now until the Opera House at Meaford Hall is open again with the newly renovated balcony offering plush seating and great sight lines to patrons.  There will be a splash of special events to celebrate, including another variety show put together by Chris Scerri, another great singer-songwriter presented by talent spotter Liz Scott and the incredible and much in demand throat singer Tanya Tagaq and lots more.  But throughout the summer, in addition to the great original artists that will be coming to Meaford to play the Opera House, there are a few occasions when some classic artists and albums are recreated by skilled professional musicians, elite cover bands who specialize in reproducing the sound quality of the original recordings to create a sense of excitement in a live performance that you can no longer expect from the original artists, who have either passed on or are now limited to playing huge stadiums where the acoustics are execrable and you see more on the Jumbotron than you do on the distant stage.

Two of the shows are part of a long lineup of tribute concerts continually running all over North America produced by Classic Albums Live.  They are Elton John’s Greatest Hits on April 27th and  Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours on June 7th.

Craig Martin invented the concept of live reproductions of classic albums

Classic Albums Live is the brainchild of Craig Martin, a musician who had previously produced a series of boutique cabaret shows as well as composed music for television and film and who invented the concept of reproducing classic albums note for note way back in 2003.  He has been riding a wave of success with it ever since.  Just as classically trained musicians take great pains to reproduce the great compositions of symphonic composers, Classic Albums Live recreates the compositions of modern artists whose medium of composition was the recording studio. Through the years Classic Albums Live has provided employment for over 170 top notch professional musicians, including the Merry Clayton, who provided the glass-shattering backup vocals on The Rolling Stones’ recording of “Gimme Shelter”; Jerome Godboo legendary Toronto based harmonica player whose band played The Harbour Street Fish Bar not long ago; Richard Underhill, who founded The Shuffle Demons; and Maria del Mar, lead vocalist for 1980s goth rock band National Velvet.  From the stable of highly qualified professionals a different group is assembled for each album reproduction in order to provide “the greatest albums performed live without all the gimmickry and cheesy impersonations.”  When in Toronto, they will play at Massey Hall or Roy Thompson Hall.  When they visit Georgian Bay, their venue of choice is Meaford Hall.

“Getting work for all these musicians is the real joy of what I’m doing,” Martin told Kerry Doole of FYI Music.  He went on to say, “Let me tell you a funny story. I’m friends with a famous actor and recently we were backstage at Madison Square Gardens for Bruce Springsteen doing The River. Before he goes onstage he’s having a conversation with Elvis Costello and Jon Stewart and Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone, and Bruce says ‘the trend right now seems to be that people want to hear the entire album played from top to bottom. That’s how you make the hay.’ I’m standing there, the guy that started the trend. I so wanted to insert myself into that conversation, but I didn’t. I’m the low-key guy from Scarborough. That was quite a moment…”

For the reproduction of Rumours, it’s going to take a 10-piece band and six singers to duplicate the exact sound of the album because of overdubbed vocals and additional guitars added during the studio recording process.  Martin told The Barrie Examiner that it is his all-time favourite album, adding, “The sound really showcased great musicians, complex harmonies. I feel it picks up where the Beatles left off. It’s a personal album to the musicians as well. Fleetwood Mac bares their soul on this one.”

Jim and Pam Yorfido as Johnny and June Carter Cash

On June 22nd, the show “Johnny Cash: From Memphis to Folsom” celebrates the music and lives of Johnny Cash and June Carter featuring Jim Yorfido, widely considered amongst the top Johnny Cash tribute artists in the world.  For five years, Fort Erie based Yorfido toured as part of a show called The Sun Records Story, in which he played the part of the man in black.  His focus is also on the sound.  As he noted in an interview with The Fort Erie Times, the real focus is making sure the songs sound as similar as possible to Cash’s recordings. “He never did the same thing twice… I’m myself up there, the people love it and it works.”

June Carter is portrayed by Yorfido’s wife Pam, who also has a background portraying famous country singers.  She’s been particularly successful in her tribute to Tammy Wynette.  She took on the role of June Carter when Beamsville resident Bill Culp hired the real-life couple to star in his theatrical production of “Johnny and June: Together Again”.  For Pam, it was a natural fit.  “All I have to do is look into Jim’s eyes when I am singing and that love that June and Johnny had for one another, that special spark, becomes so easy to bring out on stage,” she told the St. Catherine Standard when the show was originally mounted back in 2010, “And you’re not going to get a better Johnny Cash than Jim.”

“You can check them out any time you like, but you’ll never want to leave.”

The band that calls themselves Hotel California has been reproducing the sound of The Eagles for three decades, since long before hell froze over.  In this case the original band never did have a big on stage presence.  It’s always been about the music, and this, the original Eagles cover band, has perfected the lead vocals with their soaring harmonies, and a detailed reproduction of the instrumental work.  They will be coming to Meaford Hall on July 22nd.

With these faithful reproductions of original stars, Meaford Hall will fill out a summer of great shows that already set the standard for live entertainment throughout the Southern Georgian Bay.

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One Response to Meaford Hall Has Got Your Summer Covered

  1. Gillian says:

    Opportunity knocks a lot but as a low-key Clarksburgian I usually ignore it so I laughed out loud when I read the bit about Craig Martin backstage with Bruce. Thanks!

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