Tag Archives: Canada Day

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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To order buy, browse or listen to Bry Webb

on iTunes, click on this album cover:

July’s Top 5 Videos

Many of the performers who played in Meaford in July have posted videos on You Tube.  Whenever possible we like to link to these performances in advance of a show to allow you a chance to hear these artists and decide if it is a show you would like to see.  Here is our pick for the Top 5 of those videos that we posted during the month of July.

#5 – “Nellie Kane” by Tim and Doug.  This was part of a post about the Queen’s Bush Annual Bluegrass Campout that happened July 15th to 17th at the Meaford Fair Grounds:

#4 – ‘Runaway” by Too Nice.  This band from Wasaga Beach brightened up what seems to have been the only rainy day of the year on Canada Day with their lively performance.  This video was from a show they had done in Newmarket:


#3 – “Dream” by Emma Wright.  This video is a few years old and Emma Wright has developed her talents even more since then but this beautiful rendition is still inspiring.  When she played at Canada Day, the crowd sat in hushed appreciation through her performance.


#2 – “Words Don’t Mean A Thing” by The Road Heavy.  This band was trimmed down to a trio when they opened for Jeff Martin at Meaford Hall on July 12th but their set was a powerful collection of original songs suited to the dual vocals of Pat James and Jules Cardoso:

#1 – “I’ve Got Everything I Need (Almost) by The Downchild Blues Band.  This classic blues band just keeps getting better, as this performance video of one of their classics shows.  After playing Meaford Hall on July 20th they went across the street to the Leeky Canoe and jammed there until they started putting the chairs up on the tables.  Now that’s a blues band!

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Tyler Yarema and Gracie Rock Market Square

Tyler Yarema
"The Great Canadian Songbook" at Meaford Hall

“The Great Canadian Songbook” rocked Meaford Hall this spring, including locals Chris Scerri and Drew McIvor

When Tyler Yarema and His Rhythm played at the Market Square to help us celebrate Canada Day 2016, he was clearly happy to be here.  “This is my new favourite place,” he told the audience, “Whenever I have a few days off I come to visit Meaford.”

About a month earlier there had been a big party in The Opera House at Meaford Hall.  It was a show called “The Great Canadian Songbook”.  A varied group of musicians from the Toronto area ran through two scintillating sets of Canadian classics that, by the end of the evening had the audience up and dancing.  Tyler Yarema, at the piano, was the heart of the performance and only member of the group to do a solo, with a heart rendering performance of Neil Young’s “Helpless”.  But it was the several interludes when Gracie came on stage that really warmed up the audience.  A young vibrant performer with a passionate delivery, she brought the audience to their feet.

Tyler and Gracie performing for Meaford Hall Foundation

Tyler and Gracie played jazz for wine-sipping schmoozers at Meaford Hall last fall

The two of them had been in Meaford before, providing light jazz for a Meaford Hall Foundation soiree last November.  When they returned to rock the Market Square on Canada Day the crowd gave them a warm welcome.

Tyler Yarema brought his piano talents originally from Thunder Bay to play the Toronto clubs with the likes of Jeff Healey, The Downchild Blues Band, and the late legendary Doug Riley.  He’s played, produced, arranged and sung on over 40 albums and won at least three awards for his piano playing, including NOW magazine’s piano player of the year in 2002.

Tyler Yarema at the keyboard

Tyler Yarema

His influences run into deep roots, from the rocking boogie-woogie of Willie (The Lion) Smith to the sophistication of Duke Ellington.



Gracie is making a name for herself, stretching her wings and expanding her talent.  Already she has a lot to show for it, and can make a song or style her own with passion and verve that hovers between Broadway and a smoky club.  Whether she is singing jazz or soul or rock and roll, she brings her special personality and an ebullient energy to the stage and audiences love it.

Their show was the kick-off event for the Meaford Summer Concert Series of Friday night concerts put together by Chris Scerri to bring the sound of live music to downtown Meaford and heat up the harbour right through July and August.  Every show of the series will include a local young talent and this one featured the remarkable vocalist Emma Wright.

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Local Favourites River and Rock Heat Up Canada Day

River and Rock are familiar to local fans of classic rock, having appeared all over the area, including Meaford’s Scarecrow Invasion last year and several Saturday nights at The Leeky Canoe.  In particular, Beaker Granger on vocals and Martin Rice on guitar are local favourites.

744 resizedCatch them at Meaford’s Market Square on Canada Day at 4:30.

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