A Romantic Evening With Drew McIvor at The Red Door

There’s a real treat in store for Meaford music fans on Friday night when The Red Door Grille brings in Drew McIvor for their weekly Friday night dinner show.  Although he is a Meaford resident and he hosts a weekly open mic at Bruce Wine Bar in Thornbury, he doesn’t play often right here in Meaford.  When he does, it’s worth making a point of catching him.

So far the emphasis at The Red Door has been on instrumental artists, but this time songs will take centre stage.  In honour of Valentine’s Day, Drew will be leaning toward more romantic songs, many of them his own compositions.  It’s a good fit, as a write-up in Georgian Bay News observed, “If music be romance then Drew McIvor’s music just might be the first date, playful, chatty, honestly yearning to connect.”  Steven Vipond owner of The Bruce Wine Bar where Drew hosts his weekly open mic, states matter-of-factly that Drew should be famous.  Seeing him perform live, you are sure to agree.  Not that fame is not still waiting in his future, but he is part of a generation of musicians who have learned that quality of life is more important than fame, even if you do carry a lot of talent in your guitar case.

“I’m a dad, I have a farm, and I have my own business,” he explains, “My three little ones are a priority.”  His business is working with stone and, being self-employed, it allows him the perfect opportunity to balance his musical life with the joy of being alive.  “I dig into music more in the winter,” he says, “and then when summer comes I get back to hauling stone”.  It seems an ideal balance, and balance is evident in his relaxed demeanor.

Fame has come sniffing around his door to some extent.  When he recorded his 2014 CD “Porchlight”, a single from it, “45s and 33s” made an impact on the CBC Searchlight contest, in part due to an excellent video created by the multi-talented John Brownlow, and featuring some stellar talents (who also should be famous) that included backing vocals from members of The Kreuger Band and the Mackenzie Blues Band.  The song climbed its way through the Searchlight competition up to the mid-twenties, resulting in lots of spins on CBC radio as well as local and campus stations.

Drew has been playing guitar since the age of three, when his instrument of choice was a nylon string Snoopy guitar.  His real interest in making music began somewhat later around the age of fourteen.  He was living in Belgium at the time and his mother bought him a piano.  “I realized then,” he says, “that music was something I could do, and wanted to do.”  In college he played in a number of bands and he’s been part of several bands here locally as well, most recently The Honey Brothers with Jayden Grahlman and Jay D. Stiles, an informal collective that grew organically from the Wednesday night jams upstairs at The Bruce.  He also done a tour with Coco Love Alcorn from P.E.I. to Vancouver.

Pick up a copy of “Porchlight” from Drew on Friday night

He’s working up a new recording this winter, moving more in a stripped down singer-songwriter direction.  His music has always drawn a lot from soulful genres, reggae, and what he calls “international folk” (his take on Sam Cooke does justice to that exceptional vocalist).  His intention this time out is to take these wide ranging influences and make something more personal with them, “instead of mimicking those styles, embrace them.”

With an inherent sense of a larger sound, he fills out his solo performances these days with the use of looper pedals.  A looper is a device, developed several decades ago by guitar wizard and technical genius Les Paul, that lets the musician record several bars while he plays and then add layers live.  It takes some skill but is very effective when it’s done right. Drew likes it because, he says, “you can set yourself up to take some risks.”

In the intimacy of The Red Door venue, Drew’s show on Friday is bound to be warm, engaging and fun, because that’s who he is.  It starts at seven, so get there early to enjoy a full evening with this stellar homegrown talent.

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