Tag Archives: Alicia Toner

Second Great Show at Desboro Hall This Weekend

The Desboro Music Hall is proving this season to be a great value, presenting high quality performers in the ideal setting of an old church for just $20 a ticket ($25 at the door).  Their first show a month ago featured the virtuoso duo, My Sweet Patootie, who combined great musicianship with a highly energetic and engaging stage show.  They are continuing in that vein this month with James Hill and Anne Janelle, a husband and wife team that combines the unlikely pairing of ukulele and cello to create a unique musical offering.  Their first duo recording in 2009, True Love Don’t Weep,  won them critical praise and a Canadian Folk Music Award for Best Traditional Album of the Year.  It included traditional folk tunes and original songwriting.  They subsequently recorded and toured separately but now they have returned to the duo format, appreciating its unique value.  As Anne is quoted on their website, “I think we both came to realize, each in our own way, that the duo is our strongest musical offering.”

Both have won accolades for their songwriting, with R2 magazine calling Anne’s songs “inventive, entertaining, beautifully written and brilliantly performed” and Trad Magazine describing James’ songs as encapsulating “joie de vivre, tenderness and musical perfection.”

Both enjoy stretching the boundaries of their instruments, and passing along their insights through teaching.  Anne has performed with such varied artists as Kanye West, Bruce Cockburn, and Holly Cole while experimenting deeply with free improvisation in both music and dance while James co-authored the Ukulele in the Classroom method book series with J. Chalmers Doane, the trail-blazing teacher who pioneered the use of ukuleles in Canadian schools and  has taught throughout Canada and the United States, as well as in Europe, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand.

As if bringing world class musicians to Desboro is not enough, each of the summer series of concerts also features an engaging opening act.

In concert they have been universally praised for an engaging show, with critics citing “a crystal clear sound filled with warmth” and Anne’s “gorgeous syrupy voice”.  The duo has toured Europe and Asia and now are finding themselves in the little hamlet of Desboro where they are sure to be met with an audience that fully appreciates their singular offerings.

My Sweet Patootie Sizzles on a Desboro Saturday Night

Review by Bill Monahan of My Sweet Patootie at Desboro Music Hall, Sat., Apr. 21, 2017

The Desboro Music Hall kicked off their new concert season in fine style on Saturday night with My Sweet Patootie, and special guest Alicia Toner.

Alicia Toner came all the way from New Brunswick to open the concert, bringing along her husband and accompanist Matt Campbell.  The duo performed a number of original songs from Alicia’s upcoming CD, with Alicia on vocals and violin, accompanied by Matt’s guitar strumming.  Their music was sincere and simple with the emphasis on Alicia’s impressive voice.  Although they did an excellent cover of John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery”, it was the original songs that stood out.  Alicia’s song writing has a literal aspect to it that is endearing.

As endearing as Alicia’s set was, when My Sweet Patootie took the stage the entertainment meter went into overdrive.  With their arsenal of instrumental virtuosity combined with alternating humour and sincerity and unflagging energy, they filled the hall with joy.  Drummer Paul Clifford, from nearby Walters Falls was a perfect fit for the unique Patootie magic.

There are moments in their show when they take on the persona of a carnival barkers complete with strings of hyperbolic adjectives delivered in a fast paced exclamations.  They take turns with these audience-baiting routines.  And then at other times they introduce their songs with quiet sincerity.  The mix is intoxicating.

Among the highlights of the just havin’ fun songs were the title tune from their new CD “Pandemonium”, a lament about “Bad Service” at a late night diner, where Sandra acted the part of a bored and inattentive waitress, and cover of a very old song called “Make Yourself A Happiness Pie” in which Terry channelled Dick Powell from his Busby Berkely era so accurately that it was a tribute rather than a parody.  The best of the humourous songs was “The Epic Tale of Doris and the Pig Latin Lover”, a slightly surreal tale of a broken home that evolved into a happy threesome, proving that “love is ickle-fay”.

As entertaining as their tightly constructed entertainment was, the mind-blowing aspects of the performance came from their musicianship.

To counterbalance the silly songs, there were some sincere moments, the highlight of which was the song that Terry said “Sandra wrote for me,” called “I Feel Your Love.”  It is a moving evocation of how, as
Sandra said in her introduction, a sense of loss and loneliness that you can see no way out of can be instantly dissipated when someone new comes into your life.

Paul Clifford came out from behind the drums to borrow Terry’s guitar for one song and it was a great one.  The three of them stomped in unison to create a driving beat while Paul sang “You Don’t Know My Mind”.

The Thursday Outlook – April 20 to23, 2017

Tonight at the Simcoe Street Theatre, check out Russell deCarle, formerly of the legendary country band Prairie Oyster.  He’ll be playing with his favourite sideman, Steve Briggs, and the opening act will be Meaford’s Greg Smith.  It will be a night of varied and captivating original songs.

Friday night at the same theatre, the popular Collingwood band, Jimmy and the Extractions have a show that is a special fundraiser for St. Mary’s Church in Collingwood, the proceeds going toward a new heating and air conditioning system for the church.  The band, consisting of Jim Harrison, Sam Moneypenny, Marilyn Reid, Lenny Fligg and Don Reid, plays alternative rock, folk and roots music.

Friday night also brings a concert with Ron Sexsmith to Meaford Hall.  He has been here before but solo, and this time he is touring with his band.  Throughout his career a long succession of A-list producers have put their individual stamps on his recordings but his latest release is the first to be recorded with his touring band, and it has a liveliness missing from previous recordings.  His touring band includes drummer and independent Toronto producer Don Kerr, a distinctive soundsmith who has been with him since the start.

The best bet for dinner music on Friday night is at Bruce Wine Bar with The Shuvs, folk-rock gone soul, playing music that has been characterized as breezy and mellow but with real intent”.  They will be laying down a solid, carefree groove through the dinner hour and again at ten.

On Saturday night, bass player for the popular Meaford band Bored of Education, Brian Miessner, will be performing with his friends at a great little venue down in Durham called The Garafraxa Café.  Brian is a successful singer-songwriter who originally played with the first Beatles cover band in North America, called Liverpool.  After many years away from the music business, he has more recently returned to writing and recording.  His 2006 release “My Perfect World” and his new collection of nine songs, “Windows and Walls” are both available on iTunes.

Another nice venue just south of Owen Sound, The Desboro Music Hall will be kicking off this year’s concert series on Saturday night with My Sweet Patootie, a small band that blends “jaw-dropping” musicianship with an energetic and fun stage presence.  They be sharing the evening with Alicia Toner, a singer and violinist who has a new album ready for release, and is more focused on her music than ever after years spent on the musical comedy stage.

The Kinettes of Meaford and Beaver Valley are teaming up for a special night on Saturday at the Beaver Valley Community Centre.  A Yuk-Yuks comedy show starts at 8 p.m. but the real fun starts afterward when Amanda Dorey and her band Northern Country play music for dancing.  The band features Dale Harbottle on guitar, his sister Deborah Anne on bass, and Bambalamb on percussion.

Return to Front Page for today’s update

My Sweet Patootie Kicks Off Desboro Music Hall’s Summer Season

This Saturday, Apr. 22nd, the Desboro Music Hall will be kicking off its second concert season with the international folk/jazz trio, My Sweet Patootie, a  show that Driftwood Magazine describes as “two parts exemplary musicianship, one part vaudeville comedy”.  The opening act will be Alicia Toner from Canada’s East Coast.

The Desboro Music Hall was created when brothers Phil and Joe Klages bought the historic Anglican church in town.  Ever since the community centre closed down there had been a gap in the local culture and Phil and Joe, music fans who grew up in Desboro, saw the church as an ideal venue for concerts and other community activities.  Their inaugural year was a great success, a mixture of local musicians as well as acts like Oh Susanna, Alfie Smith and Mark Reeves.  Their choice of featured acts reflects the affection local audiences feel for roots based music and they have the good taste to include only the best purveyors of the style.  It is the kind of concert series that you can attend knowing that it will be good because of the care with which it was put together.  This year’s series starts and ends with exemplary performers who also happen to be Meaford residents, starting with My Sweet Patootie, who reside in Meaford when they are not on tour, and ending in October with The Honey Brothers, featuring Meaford talents Drew McIvor and Jayden Grahlman, along with Jay Stiles.

My Sweet Patootie was formed as a duo in 2007 when the long-running Canadian roots band Tanglefoot disbanded after decades of touring.   The two halves of Tanglefoot took off in different directions.  One half teamed up with Meaford-based drummer and singer-songwriter Beaker Granger to form RPR (stands for Richie/Parrish/Richie) and put the emphasis on roots rock.  The Patootie half took off in an entirely different direction and, now after several years of touring and recording, they have evolved into a totally unique live act with recordings that have a sheen to them combining nostalgia with superlative musicianship.

If they were a very serious act the audience would be moved by their extraordinary musicianship.  If they were mediocre players, their energetic showmanship would easily carry the day.  When the two elements are combined they put on an irresistible show.

Both Terry Young and Sandra Swanell of My Sweet Patootie are classically trained, Terry in voice and Sandra in violin and viola.  Terry’s roots, though, go back to Canadiana folk and his fingerpicking guitar style was influenced by players like Bruce Cockburn.  Sandra was the principal violist of the Georgian Bay Symphony and fronted the Celtic art-rock band The Shards before joining Tanglefoot in 2005.  Despite her classical training her violin more often than not echoes the “hot jazz” of Stephane Grapelli.  Together they took their superlative instrumental chops and applied it to a hybrid of folk, Celtic and old jazz.  All of these elements can be heard in their performances and their recordings.  They mix evocative covers with their own originals which are simultaneously moving and whimsical.