Tag Archives: Craig Martin

February’s Range of Great Music at Meaford Hall

by Bill Monahan

There’s something for everyone’s taste this coming month at Meaford Hall, from Canada’s Queen of R & B, Jully Black, to Grey County’s famous step-dancing fiddlers, The Beckett Family.

There is still one show left in January but it’s been sold out for quite a while.

Country star Gord Bamford, promoting his new record “Neon Smoke”, is on a grueling tour that has him playing every night in a different Ontario location through the first week of February, then heading coast to coast for the rest of the month.  After a show in Kelowna he’s heading straight out Australia where he’ll be spending the month of March on tour.  So far in this vast itinerary, the Meaford show is the only one sold out.



The Opera House will be filled with fun on Feb. 16th when the audience gets to Sing Along With Grease, that most sing-able of musicals.  Before the movie they put you through a vocal warm up, hand out props to use, and judge costumes of anyone who chooses to dress up.  You end up singing through the show with the whole crowd.  I got chills, they’re multiplying, and I’m losing control just thinking about it.



Classic Albums Live is bringing a note-for-note reproduction of the first Led Zeppelin album.  This album was completely recorded by the band before they approached a record label with it.  Jimmy Page and their manager paid for it, in order to have complete artistic control.  Atlantic Records signed them for the largest advance ever paid, for the first time straying from their focus on American R&B to take on a British band.  The record was on every turntable within my earshot all year in 1969 when it came out, with Robert Plant’s keening voice unlike anything we’d ever heard.

The Classic Albums Live company, created by Craig Martin, is comprised of world class musicians, many of whom augment their solo careers with these demanding reproductions.  They regularly fill Meaford Hall with their note-perfect re-creation of albums, taking on the most challenging of records, from Sgt. Pepper to Rumours.

The album will take up the first half of the show and greatest hits from the Led Zeppelin catalogue will fill the second half.



All You Need is (The David) Love (Band)

by Bill Monahan

Saturday, Jan. 13, The Harbour Street Fish Bar in Collingwood welcomes back the David Love Band with what they call “Power Pop For Baby Boomers,” promising, “Absolutely no blues whatsoever. Just happy, shiny songs. “

The trio, consisting of Love, Darrell McNeill, and Kevin Mulligan serves up a long list of pop songs from the sixties and seventies.  While he has played guitar with some heavy hitters (Randy Bachman calls him “my first choice for super solid guitar playing and vocal back up on any rock band I put together”), in this combo, Love takes on the bass, with McNeill on guitar and Mulligan on drums.  All three of them provide vocals.  They cover the British Invasion and the Summer of Love along with some classics from the likes of Tom Petty, ZZ Top, and The Byrds.  This trio, along with an acoustic duo he has with Brian LeBlanc, allows Love to spend more time at home with his family after almost forty years of touring the world with a variety of bands.

In the seventies David Love began his professional career with a band called Titan and two years later moved on to Dodger, touring Ontario and Northern Quebec.  After a ten-year break from the music business from 1979 to 1989, he formed a quartet called The Intenders and was back on the road. Four years later, he joined The Carpet Frogs, a gig he stuck with for eighteen years.  With them and on his own, he served fourteen years as a member of The Burton Cummings Band, on guitar and harmony vocals, and when the two principal members of The Guess Who reunited for five years to form the Bachman/Cummings Band, he was on board.

He continues to perform as part of Craig Martin’s stellar group of world-class musicians create concerts with note for note reproductions of Classic Albums Live, an assembly that frequently plays Meaford Hall.  Anyone who attended The Beatles No. 1 Hits this past summer at Meaford Hall saw him in that show.

He notes on his Facebook page: “I love playing that music and to be with so many other talented performers recreating it note for note is very fulfilling.”

While his power pop trio can’t hope to reproduce these classic songs note for note, they can elicit great memories and, as he says, “deliver Pop Rock with a melodic sound and high-energy beat, leading audiences to tap their toes, snap their fingers or jiggle their bones on the dance floor.”

So jiggle your Baby Boomer bones over to the Fish Bar on Saturday night.  There’s a $5 cover and the music starts at nine.

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The Thursday Outlook – October 26 to 31, 2017

You don’t have to run through the jungle this weekend to enjoy the music of Credence Clearwater RevivalClassic Albums Live is back this Saturday at Meaford Hall. This is the large group of professional musicians assembled by Craig Martin that has been recreating note-for-note albums since he invented the concept in 2003.  They have already presented Elton John’s Greatest Hits and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and this time around it’s CCR.  The difference between this show and other tributes is that the emphasis is entirely on the sound, without any effort to recreate the original band’s stage act.  You can close your eyes and pretend you’re listening to vinyl.

If you can’t get tickets to Meaford Hall on Saturday, bring your own CCR vinyl to BYOV Night at The Red Door.  Come in costume!

On Friday night in Owen Sound, Heartwood presents Bootleg Credence, a four piece rock band with two sets of CCR and John Fogarty covers to reproduce the excitement of the original band.  This sold out show is in support of Chapman House, Grey Bruce Hospice.

On Friday evening the music of Claude Bolling will be performed at the L. E. Shore Library in Thornbury by the Chantry Island Quartet.   Claude Bolling is a French jazz pianist famous for his collaborations with classical players like Jean-Pierre Rampal. They had a popular hit with their recording of Bolling’s  Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio, which the Chantry Island Quartet will perform on Friday. This mix of Baroque elegance and modern swing spent over 500 weeks on the Billboard charts.  Rampal’s part will be played by Meryl Gillmore, principal flute with the Georgian Bay Symphony Orchestra, along with Adrian Little on piano, Mike Grace on bass and Stephen Wood on drums.

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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