Tag Archives: Gracie

Tom Barlow Stars in Final Meaford Summer Concert

On Friday, Aug. 25th Tom Barlow will be headlining the final concert in this year’s Meaford Summer Concert Series.  This year’s series has been even more successful than last year’s and it is particularly fitting that Tom Barlow would headline the final show of the season.

Tom Barlow is a Canadian recording artist who has garnered four Juno Award nominations and has released three audio albums. His debut “Barlow” garnered three top ten radio hits and was nominated for two Juno Awards. His politically charged second album was also nominated for a Juno. Barlow has performed in virtually every corner of planet and writes and performs lyrically driven emotionally compelling rock and roll.

Last Monday Tom celebrated eleven years as host of the Monday night jam at The Shore Grille and Grotto in Port Credit.  For over a decade this open mic has been important to developing musicians.  At Tom Barlow’s jam night people can get up and play with the industry’s top musicians as their backing band, a band with a tight groove that can make them feel comfortable and allow them to showcase their talents.

“I love it!” he says, “That kind of mentorship and half butt-kicking that moves people from being terrible to okay, to good, to fantastic, to pro, and they go on to make gold records.  All this stuff kind of feeds itself. You have to get out and play.  It’s okay to be terrible at a jam night, that’s how you learn.  You go and you meet other musicians and you develop.”

When he started the weekly jam a decade ago he had no idea that it would become so important to so many emerging talents.  And he had no way of knowing that his Port Credit jam would become an important part of creating a live music scene three hours away in Meaford on a whole different Great Lake.

Summit On The Mountain On A Sunday Evening

Review of Summit in concert at The Village at Blue, Sunday Aug. 14, 2017

Featuring photos by Susan Vogan

Blue Mountain Village was still crowded on Sunday evening at the end of a perfect summer’s day and the band that calls itself Summit took the stage for their second set.  They took command immediately. As they played more and more of the flowing crowd gathered around the Coca-Cola stage to stay and listen.  Kids sat cross-legged on the ground in front of the stage and couples danced off to the side in the shadow of the speakers.

Tyler YaremaJohn Bride’s guitar solos acted like a crowd magnet with his classic pyrotechnics, playing behind his head and with his teeth.   Equally alluring was the lineup of the three main vocalists, Gracie, Virgil Scott and Chris Scerri.  On this beautiful summer night weaving casually through the little streets of the village, you couldn’t help but stop and notice when you passed this band in action.  They rock.

Time Travel at The Marsh Street Centre

Review by Bill Monahan of the concert at Marsh Street Centre, Sat., June 10, 2017

Photos by Robert Burcher

The Marsh Street Centre capped off its day-long 90th birthday celebration on Saturday with a special sold-out concert.  The band was called The Amazing Time Machine, a name that host Florian Lenders said “we just made up”.  He explained to the audience that “Chris Scerri and I got together and brainstormed how to celebrate this birthday and we came up with the idea of musical selections that spanned the years of the building’s history.”  Of course, Chris knew where to go to get the band capable of such a challenge.  He called on his good friend Tyler Yarema, as he has so often with such impressive results, to put something together.  Tyler, a seasoned veteran, pulled together a band from his many friends and created the special program for the occasion.  During the evening, audience members commented on the fact that what was essentially a pick-up band could put on such an impressive show. It was because this band was a collection of top players, even though they may not be household names, musicians who could fill several shelves between them with the awards they’ve won, who are used to taking on any musical challenge.  In essence it was a band of all-star sidemen.

Tyler Yarema loves playing to Georgian Bay audiences

Tyler Yarema has played often in the area this past year, at the behest, as he mentioned, of Chris Scerri, and he continues to build a solid local fan base.  He makes it clear that these are not just gigs for pay, but he comes here because he loves to play for these audiences.  “I always love coming here,” he told the audience, “there is such a great community here around Georgian Bay, where you all support each other.”

And the evening was a celebration of community.  The sense of community was palpable in the hall and when at one point Florian mentioned names of people who had helped make this night possible it was a very long list.

The concert was divided into three sets.  The first set started out with twenties jazz and took us through to the Swing Era.  The second set visited the birth of rock and roll and took us up to The Yardbirds and The Who.  And the final set covered the rest of the 20th Century with selections from The Beatles, The Stones, The Guess Who and The Band, along with three Bill Withers songs and a single selection from the 21st Century with Amy Winehouse’s classic “Valerie”.

Sax battle with Alison Young and Richard Underhill

Tyler, who is a master of boogie-woogie and stride piano, was in his element with this set, as were the two saxophonists in the band, Alison Young (who was outstanding!) and Richard UnderhillLouis Jordan’s “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby” was near the beginning of a set that culminated in “Sing, Sing, Sing” which for me was the highlight of the whole evening.  It began with Tyler’s perfect reproduction of Louis Prima’s vocals and allowed a long section in the middle for a “battle of the saxes” which was thrilling, alto and tenor trading licks.  While Prima wrote the song, it had been recorded several artists including The Andrews Sisters.  But the most famous version was by Benny Goodman and the highlight of it was Gene Krupa’s drum solo that shook the world back in the thirties.  Drummer Chris Lamont took advantage of that historical nugget to shine in his own Krupaesque solo after the sax battle.  When a band like this takes on a song like that it is not just nostalgia.  It is as exciting as it must have been for the dancers who filled the pavilions at Port Elgin and Sauble Beach back in the day.

It was, as billed, an amazing time machine experience, and a fitting tribute to Florian Lenders.

Special guest Tom Barlow rocked the house

But it wasn’t until the second set that this crowd began to dance.  Special guest Tom Barlow set the pace with the song that caused riots in England back in 1955 when Bill Haley and the Comets introduced “Rock Around The Clock” to the first generation to be called “teenagers”.  When he segued into “Johnny B. Goode” every available space on the floor was filled with dancers, and they didn’t sit down for the rest of the night.

The Second Annual Summer Concert Series Returns to Meaford

The Meaford Summer Concert Series which takes place in the Market Square (beside Meaford Hall) will be returning this year with another exciting lineup that combines acts brought in from outside the area with local artists to create a free event on select Friday evenings through July and August.  Once again the series has been organized by Chris Scerri (now Chris Scerri Presents.com).  Last year’s series was the catalyst that initiated an impressive growth in live music locally, and, incidentally, was the reason for this website coming into existence.  Once again a number of sponsors have stepped up to make the series possible, led by the Meaford BIA and the Meaford Hall & Culture Foundation.

“One thing this year that’s different,” says Chris, “is that we will not only include young local artists, but there will be other opening acts to give local artists a chance to participate.”

Cry For Ophelia beat out a dozen other contenders to win the Battle of The Bands

The Ted Brownlow Band

The youth contingent last year was an important part of the series, showcasing some of the incredible talent that has emerged from Patrick Delaney’s music program at the high school.  It included the Ted Brownlow Band, a previous GBSS winner of Battle of The Bands, and Cry For Ophelia, a band which won this year’s Battle of The Bands and has been booked to be part of Meaford’s Canada Day Celebration.

Another change this year is that the same artists that appear as openers for the headliners at the main stage in the Market Square will head across the street afterwards to perform for the evening at The Leeky Canoe, which is one of the sponsors of the series.  Last year it evolved that visiting bands enjoyed themselves so much performing in the Market Square that pretty much all of them extended the night by going to The Leeky afterward.

One of the by-products of last year’s series was that the headliners who were brought in to play, most of whom had never performed in Meaford before, liked it so much they have returned often to play Meaford again, helping to create the buzz which is making the town’s reputation as a centre for live music.  The most notable of these is Tyler Yarema, often performing with Gracie.  They have become an integral part of the fabric of live music in Meaford and Tyler has worked with Chris to create a number of amazing shows through the year.

“I’m always hoping they’ll come back to Meaford one way or another,” says Chris of the out-of-town artists, “whether at a venue or a festival.”

You’ll learn a lot more details about the concerts by keeping an eye on this website so stay tuned.

There has been a lot of growth in interest in live music in the past year, not only in Meaford but in the surrounding area.  Meaford’s reputation for live music has grown to the extent that it will be included for the first time in this year’s Peak To Shore Festival sponsored by Blue Mountain Village.