Tag Archives: John Hume

Meaford Musical Community Shines In “The Last Waltz”

Review by Bill Monahan
featured photo courtesy of Patti Kendall

On Saturday night at Meaford Hall, “The Last Waltz – Meaford Style” was a celebration of our musical community unlike anything that has been seen before.  A complete sellout more than a month in advance, the show featured a cavalcade of home grown talent that was equal to any visiting talent that has graced this great venue, and the audience loved it.

The template for the show was the famous Martin Scorcese film from 1978 that documented the last concert by The Band, with all of the performers who had been part of that celebration represented here by local talents.  It was actually the 41st anniversary of the original concert, which took place at Winterland in San Francisco on November 25, 1976.  The film set the bar high for a group of local performers who had little more than a month to practice.  They rose to the occasion. The band was tight, often indistinguishable from their model, and each performer who contributed tributes to the other performers did a stellar job.  The energy from the audience matched that coming from the stage.

Jaret Koop photo courtesy of John Scerri

A few of the vocalists stood out with their ability to mimic the originals to an uncanny extent.  Drew McIvor’s take on Doctor John’s (Mac  Rebennack) “Such A Night” had that New Orleans drawl down cold, and Jaret Koop perfectly captured Rick Danko’s anguished vocals on “The Shape I’m In”.

Fran Bouwmann photo courtesy of John Scerri

Fran Bouwman did a great take on Joni Mitchell’s “Coyote” (and even looked the part), and Tom Thwaits version of Neil Diamond’s “Dry Your Eyes” sounded like the real thing.  John Hume reproduced not only the vocal parts but the keyboards (that beautiful Hammond organ sound) with fidelity.

Sandra Swannell photo courtesy of John Scerri

Others added their own special talent to the songs that reflected what they bring to music.  Sandra Swannell’s violin solos on “Acadian Driftwood” and the encore “I Shall Be Released”, and Emma Wright’s vocals on “Evangeline” were spine-tingling standouts.  Chris Scerri’s vocals, of course, are 100% his.  He’s a belter and his style made new versions of the songs he covered.


Local Players Excited To Be Doing The Last Waltz

The latest production at Meaford Hall by Chris Scerri, a tribute to The Last Waltz scheduled for November 25th, is a bit of a departure from his previous productions.  Up to this point he has put together variety shows that combined local and imported talent, built mainly around the talents of musical director Tyler Yarema and others from the Port Credit area that Chris has introduced to Meaford.  This time around it will be all local talent, some of the best that our area offers, under the musical direction of keyboard player John Hume.

For each member of this tribute band, The Band and their iconic farewell concert both hold special significance.

“It was a magic moment in music history,” says Chris Scerri, “that allowed for some of the most influential modern day artists to get together for the ultimate Jam.”  He adds that the DVD of the concert movie is one which, “I can watch time and time again, and continue to be inspired by both the musical talents and the show itself.”

The Last Waltz was the name Robbie Robertson gave to the farewell concert of The Band, performed on American Thanksgiving Day in 1976 at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco.  A film of the concert by Martin Scorcese was released in 1978 and was hailed by film critic Michael Wilmington as “the greatest rock concert movie ever made – and maybe the best rock movie, period”  Time bears that out, with the influence of the movie being felt almost forty years later.

Meaford Hall is Brimming With Live Music This Fall

On Friday night, the last of the Meaford Summer Concert Series ended with a big Tom Barlow concert in the parking lot outside Meaford Hall.  But in the Opera House upstairs a full slate of great music is packed into the next few months.

The biggest show of the fall season, Jann Arden at Meaford Hall in October is already sold out, to no one’s surprise.  Already catching on with advance sales is the next big show from Chris Scerri, this time a tribute to The Last Waltz, a favourite concert movie from the seventies in which The Band featured an array of stars and friends.  For the Meaford Hall show, Chris has assembled the very best local talents to reproduce the excitement of the original, in a band comprised of Drew McIvor, Jayden Grahlman, Jon Zaslow, Beaker Granger, Jared Koop and John Hume .

While The Last Waltz uses local talent to reproduce the sixties, country music shows off our local country stars early in September at Meaford Hall in the Bruce Grey Country Jamboree Meaford Style.  Produced by Bognor Jam, the show is hosted by the True Country Show Band, who hosted last year’s Grand Ol’ Opry at the Music Hall of Fame Auditorium in Hepworth.  In addition to the True Heart Trio, this band of great country players will be backing up local Meaford talent.  Amanda Dorey and Scott Almond will both get a chance to perform in The Opera House with a great band.

River and Rock Trio at The Leeky Saturday Night

River and Rock, built around the singing and songwriting of Beaker Granger, will be rocking The Leeky Canoe as a threesome this Saturday, Sept. 17th, from 9:30 to midnight.  The trio includes Darrell Dennis on drums and John Hume on keyboards.

Darrell Dennis on drums

Darrell Dennis on drums (photo by John Brownlow)

The band came together around eighteen months ago when Beaker thought about all the songs he had written over the years and called in some friends to help him make something of them.  Along with Darrell and John, he had some help from Martin Rice and Johnny Roy, both well-known and accomplished local musicians, and River and Rock was born.

John Hume on keyboards

John Hume on keyboards (photo by John Brownlow)

Beaker was raised in Walters Falls and his whole life has revolved around music ever since he was inspired by hearing a scratchy recording of Louis Armstrong on his Great Aunt Isabel’s old gramophone when he was young.  He always wanted to play along and naturally gravitated toward drumming, but steered clear of piano lessons, having an aversion to formal training.  Through the 80’s and 90’s he spent much of his time on the road playing in bands, many of them tribute bands that carried him through a wide range of styles from Lynyrd Skynerd, to Neil Diamond and Johnny Cash.  These experiences informed his songwriting approach today.

Beaker with RPR

Beaker with RPR

More recently he has been with Owen Sound’s RPR teaming up with Steve Ritchie, Al Parrish and Rob Ritchie, about five years ago just after their highly respected band Tanglefoot called it a day. He contributes drums, vocals and sometimes guitar to the band, as well as his songwriting.  He tours regularly with the band through Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.

One thing that Beaker appreciates about local audiences is that they are broad minded enough to enjoy good music without having to pigeonhole it.  The variety of performers that come to play Meaford Hall, and The Leeky Canoe are testament to the wide ranging tastes of that audience.

River and Rock were a big part of the Canada Day celebrations earlier this year at the Market Square.  This is a chance to see them in a more intimate setting at The Leeky.

Here’s a brief video of Beaker’s tribute to Levon Helm, recorded live off the floor

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