Tag Archives: David J. Russell

Jazzmania Takes Over Thornbury This Weekend

Music will be everywhere you turn in Thornbury this weekend as they celebrate their 26th Annual Jazzmania.  Adding to the venues that can regularly be relied upon to provide live music, there are others who will be featuring music in order to be part of this little local festival.

Bruce Wine Bar can be relied upon to consistently provide live music every week, with their open mic night on Wednesdays, and their dinner shows on Friday and Saturday, always with the emphasis on original music.  Normally they have two shows from the same artist, one through the dinner hour and one later in the evening, but this Friday, in order to contribute to the variety offered by Jazzmania, they will feature two different bands in one night.

The seven o’clock show will feature Josh Norling and The Rhythm Section, which is a subset of Frank Deresti and the Lake Effect.  Normally Josh plays sax and other instruments in Frank’s band but this time Frank will be playing upright bass for Josh, joined by Lindsay Pugh on guitar.  In keeping with Bruce Wine Bar’s all-original policy, the emphasis will be on original jazz compositions.

Later that same evening, the ten o’clock show at Bruce Wine Bar will feature the Alan Zemaitis Organ Trio, with Nichol Robertson and Lowell Whitty. Organist Alan Zemaitis’ background is in blues and soul music. Nichol Robertson is an accomplished Toronto-based guitarist and banjoist, known for his numerous and eclectic musical endeavors that include bluegrass and country. Lowell Whitty has been a busy drummer in Toronto’s vibrant jazz scene for many years, with a leaning toward a New Orleans style.  Blending these three styles into one trio should make for an interesting hybrid jazz.

Some shows are selling advance tickets, some ask for donations with no cover, and some include dinner with the price of a ticket.

The other venue that can be counted on to bring live music to Thornbury on a regular basis is The Corner Café, right across the street from Bruce Wine Bar.  This place comes alive every Thursday night when David J. Russell hosts his open mic.  Next Sunday afternoon, they will be contributing to Jazzmania with Brian Miessner and friends from 1pm to 3pm.  While they are more in the progressive pop vein than jazz, Brian’s many years of experience as a performer and songwriter guarantees a good show.

The Thursday Outlook – March 9 to 12, 2017

Victoria Yeh is back in town this weekend.  She’ll be adding her inimitable talents to the Thursday night open stage with Chris Scerri at The Leeky Canoe, and joining him again on Friday night at Gustav’s in Collingwood.

If you weren’t proactive enough, you’ve missed your chance to see a couple of great shows this weekend that have been sold out.  One is the latest in the Meaford Hall Gallery Series on Saturday night with multiple award winning guitarist and singer Wendall Ferguson.  If you’re a fan of great guitar players, you can spend the evening across the street with David J. Russell instead.  He been very busy playing all over the area and hasn’t played The Leeky in a while, so it’s worth catching.

The other show you’ve missed if you don’t have tickets already is the Songwriters’ Evening at The Bleeding Carrot in Owen Sound, hosted by Summerfolk’s Jon Farmer and featuring Meaford’s young phenomenon Greg Smith, along with Marshall Veroni and Pat Maloney.  But you can stay in Meaford on Friday night and enjoy the guitar stylings of Stevie Gee, returning this week to The Red Door.

Or check out Freeman Dre and The Kitchen Party at Bruce Wine Bar on Friday.  This band, up from Queen West in Toronto, began as kitchen jams that spilled out into the street, eventually coming together with Dale Morningstar to record a debut CD, “Old Town” at The Gas Station studio in Toronto in 2012.  Great reviews have built a reputation for the band, known particularly for Andre (Dre) Flak’s songs and storytelling, as well as genre-jumping musical styles that have attracted notice in Montreal, New York, and as far afield as Eastern Europe, and the UK.

The Harbour Street Fish Bar continues its string of great Toronto based blues bands on Saturday night with Jerome Godboo, and Godboogie.  This veteran harmonica player, legendary to Toronto fans as front man for The Phantoms, took home the Lee Oskar best harmonica Player award at the International blues Challenge 2014 held in Memphis.  He’s recorded and toured with the Phantoms, Alannah Myles, Dutch Mason, Jeff Healey, Ronnie Hawkins, Jack de Keyzer, among others.  This will be another hopping Saturday night at the Fish Bar.

There’s lots of other good stuff happening in this great Georgian Bay music hub: check the listings at the right.  And then on Sunday afternoon chill out at The Barn Cooperative in Meaford where their open mic has a real magic about it that brings out talent of all types.  No tickets required, but if you want a good seat you’d better try to be there by noon.

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The Thursday Outlook – Feb. 9 to 12, 2016

There’s some excitement in Meaford this week with The Leeky Canoe reopening after renovations that were undertaken in order to provide a better room for live music.  Chris Scerri’s open mic night has moved to Thursdays and tonight he is back and welcoming local musicians to come out and play.  Chris always has a talented co-host to share the evening with him but this time, to celebrate the new and improved Leeky, he’s invited three of Meaford’s most talented musicians to join him: Jayden Grahlman, Beaker Granger and Tom Thwaits.  It promises to be a great evening of music.

And on Saturday at The Leeky, Bored of Education will take the stage, with their popular blend of songs that range from classic rock through a few decades each side of that.  This talented band has some great players, including Tom Thwaits on keyboards.

Gerry Markman

The Red Door Grille at the Meaford Motel continues it’s instrumental music on Friday night with blues veteran Gerry Markman, who has toured with The Lincolns and Alannah Myles, and has played with the likes of Jeff Healey and Dan Ackroyd.  These Friday nights are dinner shows, running from seven to ten.

Steve Poltz live

Steve Poltz

The Bruce Wine Bar in Thornbury also features dinner shows this Friday, with two shows at seven and nine featuring folk singer-songwriter Ken Yates.  Music promoter Steve Vipond has also arranged a house concert for tonight starting at 7:30 at The Bruce Street Social Club, featuring the great songwriter, raconteur, Steve Poltz.  And he has an exciting concert lined up at the end of the month with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings on Sunday Feb. 26th at The Gayety Theatre in Collingwood.  That show is general seating so you’ll want to get your tickets early.

The Huron Club in Collingwood has Pat Maloney tonight and some great local talent lined up for the weekend with Luke Martin on Friday, the Dennis McAndrew Trio on Saturday and Jayden Grahlman for a Sunday matinee.

Heartwood Hall in Owen Sound is giving karaoke aficionados a chance to play with a live band on Friday night.  It’s a 4-piece band with a repertoire of over 300 songs.  They provide you with an iPad for the lyrics.  You can check out the repertoire at www.goodenoughlivekaraoke.com.

Gustav’s in Collingwood this weekend features Jason Redman and Aaron Gardner on Thursday, the Dave Quanbury Duo on Friday, and David J. Russell on Saturday.  There’s still time to get tickets for Dave Russell’s special Valentine’s Show next Tuesday at the Gayety Theatre where he will be doing a tribute to Jim Croce.

The Harbour Street Fish Bar presents Tamica Herod and The Harbour Street Band tonight and the Weber Brothers tomorrow night.

Kailey Thompson is hosting the open mic at The Barn on Sunday afternoon.

ATTENTION MUSICIANS:  The Barn is now rotating hosts on a weekly basis for its popular open mic.  It’s an experiment to try to involve more of the local musicians in this community oriented venue.  If you want to try your hand at hosting, contact Angela at barnpress@gmail.com.

And at the Nottawa Community Centre, Laurie Zwarich will be hosting her monthly open mic afternoon on Sunday from noon to five.

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Dave Russell’s Special Valentine’s Show

One of the busiest and most popular local musicians, David J. Russell, will be the star of a special Valentine’s Day Show at The Gayety Theatre in Collingwood.  For this one night, our local guitar hero will transform himself into Jim Croce (maybe he’ll rent a big black moustache) to create an evening featuring the late songwriter’s most popular tunes.

If you aren’t a fan of Dave Russell it’s probably because you haven’t seen him perform, and if you haven’t seen him perform then you aren’t getting out enough.

For many years he has performed somewhere practically every day of the week, almost always in our local area.  Up until recently many of the shows he did were for free, but he is now enough in demand to string together paying gigs at local pubs and restaurants, sometimes with his band The Rockafellers but often solo.  You might have seen him at M. J. Byrne’s in the Blue Mountain Village, or at the weekly jam he hosts on Thursdays at The Corner Café in Thornbury, but you are just as likely to see him hosting or co-hosting various open stages, including Sundays at The Barn, Tuesday’s with Chris Scerri at The Leeky Canoe, or Wednesday nights up at Ted’s Range Road Diner.  But this show is special, in a concert setting with him at the centre of it.

Dave has been playing music for a long time and has put out two CDs of his original songs.  His big break is long overdue.  How this show came about is a story in itself.  The catalyst is a man named David Maxwell.  Serendipity played a part as well.

“I met Dave Russell through a mutual friend, David Wilding-Davies of Ashanti Coffee, at a street festival in Thornbury,” says Dave Maxwell, “I met Dave Russell and Sid Dickinson, owner of the Gayety, literally at exactly the same time when they were sitting outside the Ashanti coffee shop.”   He heard Dave play on a Sunday afternoon at the Thornbury market. “He he was singing ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen.  For whatever reason, as I was driving home I was trying to figure out who he reminded me of.   Three days later it hit me…it was Jim Croce.”

Like many people, he saw in Dave Russell a talent that deserves to go places.  Ideas rattled around in his imagination as several months went by and then, eighteen months later, he ran into Sid Dickinson again at a dinner party.  And around the same time he ran into Dave Russell again.  Dave Maxwell had been involved in hospital fundraising over the years and he found a kindred spirit in Sid, who had “completed a coast to coast bike run raising over $42,000 for the Collingwood hospitals.  So our thought was to continue with Sid’s fundraising efforts in particular given the Gayety is the centre of it all.”  He wondered if Dave Russell would agree to do a Jim Croce tribute at The Gayety as a fundraiser for the Collingwood Hospital.  Sid had an open date at The Gayety on Valentine’s Day and it all seemed to fit together perfectly. The first thing he did was get in contact with Jim Croce’s widow and he obtained permission to use his songs.  When he approached Dave Russell with the idea he got a positive response.  And the rest is history.

“Those of us who know the musical talent of Dave Russell truly enjoy him both as a musician and as a tremendous personality,” he says, “We believe it is now ‘Dave Russell’s Time’, and we want to do everything we can to help promote and elevate his career profile.”

The music of Jim Croce is in a class by itself, sincere ballads and rocking story songs.  He died in a plane crash in 1973 at the height of his popularity, leaving behind a legacy of unforgettable songs.

David Maxwell is hoping for big things to happen for David J. Russell as a result of this undertaking.   “There are two things we are hoping will come out of this project,” he says, “The first being the potential of a national series of fundraising for hospitals which are the centre of our communities.  And secondly, the Gayety is to be ‘the Home Of Dave Russell’ for concerts once a month.”

The concert will begin at 8 p.m. on Valentine’s Evening, and “both Dave and Sid are very excited about their special guests”.  Tickets are $35.

So if you’re looking for a special night out with your sweetie, this is your chance to let Dave Russell speak for you, to “say I love you in a song”.

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