Tag Archives: London Free Press

The Thursday Outlook – June 8 to 11, 2017

Shannon Lyon performs Friday night at The Red Door Grille and Pub.  The peripatetic folk singer, whose songs reveal a “continued affection for the darker edges of country & bluegrass music with the tenor banjo taking center stage” has been recording and touring since the late 80’s when he was in a band called ‘Strange Days‘.  He released his first solo album in 1994 (Buffalo White) and continued releasing albums and touring throughout North America up until the time he moved overseas to The Netherlands in 2000. In 2003 he was the first Canadian artist to sign with Richard Branson‘s (post-Virgin imprint) V2 Records (becoming label mates with The White Stripes and Paul Weller) with the release of his critically acclaimed album ‘Wandered‘.  After five years abroad he returned to Canada in 2012 and recorded with producer Rob Szabo an album called “The Lights Behind”, which included about twenty years of material from previous recordings, along with a few new songs.  It made sense because much of his earlier recorded work is no longer available. “Most people haven’t heard my early recordings. The record companies are no longer in business and the albums are no longer in print,” he says.  You’ll get a chance to hear this industry veteran’s “deep swaggering voice and melancholic minor chord songs” starting at 7 pm.

Saturday kicks off the new Songwriters’ Series at The Barn with Greg Smith and Tragedy Ann.  The series, conceived by Greg, will pair local emerging songwriters with visiting acts.

Saturday also brings a day-long party at the Marsh Street Centre in Clarksburg to celebrate their 90th anniversary.  Along with a full day of events, music from Chris Scerri and friends on the patio in the afternoon and some historical displays, there will be a concert in the evening in which Tyler Yarema will lead an all-star cast through several decades of musical styles.

Two acts from London, Ontario, representing opposite ends of the roots spectrum, will be visiting our area this weekend.  At The Harbour Street Fish Bar it’s The Focklers Blues Band.  The band consists of the three Fockler brothers with the addition of “honorary Fockler” Mat Power on bass and vocals.  Their promo material suggests a tempting attraction for this time of year: “Visualize yourself on the dock at the cottage, sun’s out, you’ve got the weekend off, and you just cracked your first tall can. How tasty was that? That’s what The Focklers sound like.”

Meanwhile, also from London, The Marrieds will be performing Saturday night at The Bicycle Café in Flesherton. The Marrieds, is a man-and-wife duo consisting of Jane Carmichael and Kevin Kennedy, blending ukulele, guitar and vocal harmonies.   Lori Mastronardi of the London Free Press describes their “folk-country sound filled with playful lyrics and sweet harmonies” and Amantha Hather in Canadian Beats says that their “melodic and wistful folk music” is “full of tales that everyone can relate to in some way or another”.

It’s going to be a fun weekend at The Garafraxa Café in Durham.  On Friday night they present Jay Semko, singer-songwriter formerly with The Northern Pikes, a band he formed in Saskatoon which went on to achieve four Gold records and one Platinum, with sales of over 1 million units worldwide.  Jay received two Canadian Music Publishers Association Awards, for Teenland and Girl with a Problem. During the course of their career, the Northern Pikes have released twelve albums. In 2012 the iconic Canadian band was inducted into the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame.  After the Northern Pikes he embarked on a very successful career writing for films and television, collecting many awards over the years.  At the same time, he has exploited his talents with a lot of voiceover work and teaching songwriting, while continuing to release solo albums, so far nine and counting.

On Saturday night, the Garafraxa presents Richard Garvey, whose songs of environmental justice and social change have drawn comparisons to Pete Seeger and David Francey.  He’ll be sharing the evening with The Ever-Lovin’ Jug Band, which plays original tunes inspired by the jug bands and string bands of the 1920s, plus some old-time, ragtime, cajun, and more from a bygone era or two.

As always, there is a lot of choice for live music this weekend (see the complete listings at the right of this page).  And don’t forget the open stages, where you can enjoy a grab-bag of talent and possibly witness the kind of magical moments that occur when a bunch of different artists feed off each other’s inspiration.

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Andrew McPherson Unpacks The Realities of His Age

Andrew McPherson will be celebrating the release of his fourth solo album on Saturday night at The Bicycle Café in Flesherton.  The Bicycle Café has been gaining a reputation as a great little venue to enjoy some high quality music, a warm friendly atmosphere and great food.  Andrew McPherson has enjoyed a reputation for a few decades as a composer, arranger, producer, session musician and architect of the Juno-nominated world music project he calls Eccodek.  Founded in 2002 Eccodek has released seven albums.  Although the music of Eccodek originates from his laying down basic tracks and inviting musicians from different cultures around the world to add their own flavour, he also has a six-piece band of top quality musicians that tour under the same name.  This concept of “a revolving door of guests from around the world” means that every Eccodek release has new surprises for fans and it has allowed Andrew to explore his many varied musical interests.  But with this new solo release, “Bardo”, he says it’s “just me kind of working the singer-songwriter thing again.”

There has been a transition through his four solo albums, with the first being more electronic, “cheekier”, showing the influence of his Eccodek work.  But each has become a “more serious affair”, culminating in this latest release, which he feels has more of a “statement of purpose, more direct, less BS.”

“I’m doing so much of this for me now,” he adds, “living life a little more authentically.  This is a chance for me to unpack the realities of my age.  It has a strong sense of artistic identity.”  It also allows him to stretch as a lyricist, something that was never a part of Eccodek.

Among his many other musical adventures, Andrew collaborated with bandmate DJ Deliveryboy to create a soundtrack for the silent classic, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

He’ll be accompanied at The Bicycle Cafe by top Humber-trained musicians, Adam Bowman on drums, Marc de Vos on bass (Eccodek’s rhythm section), and Thomas Hammerton on keyboards.  Mixed in with his original songs, the band will be performing several David Bowie songs.  They had thrown together a Bowie tribute just after that artist’s passing and enjoyed it so much that they have rehearsed and polished it, “trying to own the material”.