Tag Archives: Bambalamb Kid

Drew McIvor To Celebrate CD Release at Heartwood

This Thursday, Drew McIvor will be launching his second CD, “Through The Tangle of Trees” with a release party at Heartwood Concert Hall in Owen Sound that will feature a full band performing songs from the CD, plus an opening set from Luke Martin.

Drew’s first CD, “Porchlight”, released in 2014, made an impact in CBC’s Searchlight Contest which led to a lot of spins on CBC radio as well as local and campus stations.  He wants to build on that initial radio exposure with this release, but he’s approached it with a different focus.

“The first one was more of a smattering of everything up to that point,” he says, “This one is more about my songwriting.”

While his repertoire has always included a lot of original material, he felt that his first album was more like a sampling of genres (he likes to call it “international folk”) and he approached this second album with the clear intention of taking these wide ranging influences and making something more personal with them, “instead of mimicking those styles, embrace them.”

“This album represents the next three years of my life after the first one,” he says, “It’s important for me to consolidate what I’ve done, to document the journey.”  He has also taken a different route in terms of the sound of the new CD.  “We tried to make it sound more like a session with a band rather than everything set perfectly in place, tried to give it more of an organic feel.  We wanted to bring out the songwriting.”

Music Always Within Earshot This Week

The summer music season kicks off this week with the annual Peak To Shore music festival, with forty concerts squeezed into one week, spread through venues at Blue Mountain Village, Collingwood, Meaford and Thornbury.  This year it is better than ever thanks to the organizing efforts of Chris Scerri Presents.  There are some great headliners that include Irish Mythen at Meaford Hall on Wednesday, Sean McCann at Blue Mountain on Saturday and The Harpoonist and The Axe Murderer at Blue Mountain on Friday.

If you are visiting the area and want a real taste of the local music scene which is vibrant here all year round, Peak To Shore gives you a chance to see some of the artists who perform consistently in the neighbourhood, rotating around the many great local venues.  They include Karla Crawford, Drew McIvor, Winnie Brave, Tamica Herod, Jason Redman, Craig Smith, Drew Wright, Winnie Brave,  Jayden Grahlman, and Bored of EducationBambalamb Kid will be spreading the joy of music with his uplifting enthusiasm that brings the audience into his drumming display a couple of times during the series.  Chris Scerri with his Summit Band begins a summer long residency at the Coca-Cola  stage in the Village at Blue on Sunday and he’ll be joining the wrap party at Blue on Sunday night which features the Ted’s Range Road BandTed’s Range Road Diner in Meaford is without doubt the most important influence on local music with their weekly Wednesday jams that have been responsible for developing a lot of the local talent for a quarter of a century.  It is a place every visitor to the area should visit, not only on Wednesdays for the rocking jams but any evening to check out the unique wild game cuisine.

Larry JensenPeak To Shore also brings in a couple of venues that you may not have been to before to enjoy live music.  The most highly anticipated is the soft opening of Crow Bar and Variety in Collingwood.  This is a brand new venue in the area created by Steven Vipond, whose love of original music has made Bruce Wine Bar in Thornbury a favoured destination for fans and for touring artists alike.  Bridges Tavern in Thornbury is presenting live music again, this week featuring the celebrated local songwriter Larry Jensen as well as Jayden GrahlmanThe Corner Café in Thornbury is famous for the open stage on Thursdays hosted by Dave Russell and this week it is also featuring live music on Friday night.  The Northwinds Brewhouse in Collingwood is also featuring live music on Thursday with Winnie Brave.  There are also shows at The Simcoe Street Theatre, The Shipyards Amphitheatre, MJ Byrne’s Irish Pub, and The Leeky Canoe.

A variety of music genres are represented in the Peak To Shore series.  Blues is prevalent, starting with the local home of the blues, The Harbour Street Fish Bar, where Tamica Herod duets with Jerome Godboo, but also offering Grace at the Collingwood Museum, Jenie Thai and Al Lerman in separate shows at the Village at Blue.  A great reggae band, Too Nice, plays The Corner Café on Friday and there’s jazz from the William Sperandei Trio at Bayview Park on Saturday.

But Peak To Shore is not the only music happening this week.  Owen Sound will be running a street festival from Wednesday to Friday with music that includes Amanda Dorey, the Matrix Steel Drum band, and the excellent Kreuger Band.  Meaford Hall presents the first in its Terrace Thursdays with Franny Wisp and Her Washboard.  And the second annual Meaford Summer Concert Series begins on Friday night with Tomi Swick and The Strummers’ Union, Scott Almond and Eden Young.

There are two tributes to the famous Canadian painter Tom Thompson happening this week.  One will be on Friday with the Shipyard Kitchen Party at the Simcoe Street Theatre, with a Celtic flavour, and the other will be at the Historic Leith Church, Thompson’s birthplace, on Saturday, billed as a wake on the 100th anniversary of his death with David Sereda and Anne Michaels.

And it doesn’t end there, with concerts happening next weekend in Desboro and Durham.

This week the hills are truly alive with the sound of music.

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Mix of Humour Music and Theatre With Franny Wisp and Her Washboard

Another in the Gallery Concert Series this Saturday brings Franny Wisp and Her Washboard to the intimate venue in the gallery of Meaford Hall.  Her show, a blend of theatre and music, takes a satiric and often self-deprecating look at our life and times.

Franny Wisp opened for singer-songwriter Steve Poltz not long ago at The Bruce Street Social Club, something she considered a great privilege.  “I think he’s just a genius,” she says.  That along with regular appearances at Bruce Wine Bar’s weekly open stage has built a local following for her unique performance style.

Franny Wisp is the alter ego of Fran Bouwman, an accomplished sculptor whose work has been displayed in the Meaford Hall gallery.  It is eye-catching and clever with a touch of humour.  Franny Wisp draws on other aspects of her talents.  The character of Franny Wisp, who accompanies herself on the washboard, draws on her past history in theatre.  The fact that she worked primarily in puppetry explains a lot.  That form of performance allowed her to use her skills as a sculptor and this character she inhabits as Franny allows Fran the artist to pull the strings.  Having also played in a jazz trio, music is a natural element in this incarnation.  And humour, always as she says, “my best medicine”, is the spark that brings the stories to life.

This act evolved partly as a catharsis when she found herself being single in her forties after a long term relationship ended.  It wasn’t what she had expected and she was struck by the way society “pressures us into feeling that we have to stay forever young.”  Acting out her self-doubts within an invented persona, mixing in music and humour, she not only found a release for her creative energies but she also found that it struck a chord with audiences.  She had expected that it would appeal primarily to women like herself in similar situations but found it has a cross-generational appeal.  “I tackle a lot of subject matter that touches on that universal embarrassment that people feel,” she says.

And, speaking of subject matter, her routines can be pretty frank about sexuality.  “I don’t think what I do is obscene but I do push the envelope,” she says. “I have shocked people, but it’s not my intention. Comedy is different than music.  Comedians usually push the envelope.  It’s trying to lighten up serious issues.”  She admits “it may be a bit crass,” but she has no intention of toning it down for the Meaford Hall audience, noting “That would almost be disrespectful to Meaford to say Meaford can’t handle what Toronto can.”

The success of Franny Wisp and Her Washboard has taken her by surprise and she’s planning her future.  “When I first started I was just hamming it up but the response was so incredible it’s inspired me to try to take it further.”

There will be an opening act in the form of banjo picker Dave Loopstra and percussionist Bambalamb Kid.  “Bam has been one of my biggest supporters,” she says, “and I’m very grateful.”  His larger than life sense of joy is sure to enhance the evening and remove any semblance of discomfort that could arise from Franny’s subject matter. And Dave Loopstra is another performer she thinks very highly of.  “I first saw Dave play at the open mic, His humour and his wit is just unbelievable. He takes really simple things in life and makes them funny.”

The timing of this show is perfect, set in the bleakest part of winter.  It’s a good bet that the audience will come away with a renewed appreciation of life’s little absurdities.

Franny Wisp & Her Washboard, with special guests Dave Loopstra and Bambalamb Kid, Sat Feb 25, 8pm in the Meaford Hall Gallery.

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Partying With Samantha Martin At Marsh Street


Review by Bill Monahan of Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar at The Marsh Street Centre, Sat., Feb. 18, 2017

They sure know how to throw a party at The Marsh Street Centre in Clarksburg.  Saturday night’s concert with Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar kind of had the vibe of a wedding reception without the bride.  There was a family spirit in the air and everybody was out for a good time enjoying each other’s company and responding to a great band that was perfectly suited to the occasion.  A big part of this mood probably derives from the fact that The Marsh Street Centre is run as a non-profit gift to the community by volunteers.  They are their friends were out in force to celebrate the fruits of their labours.

And part of it might be due to the history of the building.  Master of Ceremonies and general factotum Florian Lenders pointed out that the building had been built in 1927, originally used as a dance hall.  Attendees on Saturday night did the history proud with a lot of dancing all through the concert.   The room had been set up with long tables on each side of the hall (a great way to make new friends) and an open space in the centre.  Dancers took advantage of that space even without being urged by the band to do so, and as things heated up through the course of the evening, more and more dancers gave in to the urge to shake their booties.  Florian told the crowd that this summer on June 10th, the centre will be celebrating its 90th birthday, so it too is bound to be a great party.

It would be unfair to the band to give all the credit to the vibes and the audience.  Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar put out so much energy that they excited the audience from the very first song, a beautiful a capella version of the spiritual “Freedom” with four female voices in harmony.

Much is made of the power of Samantha Martin’s vocals, and with full justification, especially enhanced by the backing vocals of Sherie Marshall and Stacie Tabb, but there were other dimensions on display on Saturday night.  Guitarist Mikey McCallum adds a bit of Duane Eddy flavour with his tasty playing on his hollow body arch top guitar and subtle use of the whammy bar.  And diminutive drummer Dani Nash, packing a solid punch on the drums thanks to a virile mix from the sound man, excelled when she took a turn on vocals, sounding unmistakably like Wanda Jackson with a version of that rockabilly legend’s “Fujiyama Mama”.  In the second set local hero Bambalamb Kid sat in on congas, rocketing the band into the stratosphere.

But the star of the show was Samantha Martin, who puts everything she has into her vocals, raw and expressive.  Her original songs all fit perfectly into the style of the band, which inhabits a unique territory that is part country, part gospel and part R & B.  Particularly impressive was her ability to turn a tired old chestnut, “You Are My Sunshine” into a tour de force, beginning with a slow Janis Joplin style blues vocal and then kicking in to a rhythmic arrangement with the band that was a huge improvement on the original or any version of it done since by anyone else.  Another impressive feat was the band’s take on “Born On The Bayou”, a song that is so compelling in its original Credence Clearwater version that you wouldn’t expect anyone to improve upon it.  But the band set it to a Bo Diddley clave beat that made it into a whole different song.

Early in the evening, when the band’s performance was still relatively quiet and moody, a crowd by the bar at the back of the room was talking loudly.  While that might be extremely annoying in another concert venue, in this case it added a bit of a roadhouse feel to a band that already has a lot of authenticity going for it.  By the end of the evening, when almost everyone was dancing, the whole hall was vibrating with joy.

You should have been there.  No really, you should have been there!

Don’t miss the next big party at The Marsh Street Centre, when Conor Gains and The Ramblin’ Moon host a Blues/Rock Dance Party on March 25th.  As Samantha said from the stage, venues like this need your support so that great live music can be presented in small communities.  “If you stop coming,” she said, “the musicians will stop coming”.

And that’s the last thing we want.

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