Tag Archives: Long John Baldry

The Best of The Best To Start the Meaford Summer Concert Series

Joey DiMarco has been the go-to drummer for decades for gigs and recordings, working from his home base in Burlington.  He teamed up with Gabor Szepesi, who’s been providing keyboards for recordings and TV shows as well as live gigs since the 70’s.  The pair decided to draw on talented friends from their many years in music to create a gigging band they called The Collective.  The quality of their friends means The Collective is always on the money with a world class groove.

The Collective will be kicking off the Meaford Summer Concert Series on Friday, July 13th.  The band is made up of the best players you’ll hear anywhere.  When Chris Scerri says they have played with the Who’s Who of rock and R & B, movies and pop music, he means names like Iron Butterfly, Better Midler, Jack Dekeyser, Greg Godovitz, Grant Smith & the Power, Long John Baldry, Daniel Lanois, Etta James, Sharon, Lois and Bram as a small random sampling.

Guitarist Danny Weis co-founded Iron Butterfly but quit after their first album to co-found Rhinoceros.  After an album and a tour with Lou Reed, he was tapped to provide the sound track music (and hit song) for Bette Midler’s movie The Rose.

Danny had been born into music, the son of Johnny Weis, the famous Western Swing guitarist who once played with the Spade Cooley band.

“I fondly remember the years I would go see my dad, Johnny Weis, play guitar, backing people from the Grand Ole Opry at Bostonia Ballroom in El Cajon,” says Danny on his website, “I was age 9 to 12, and I used to stand right in front of the stage and lean on it with my elbows. I wasn’t too tall then, I guess. I remember Johnny Cash playing right in front of me with my dad backing him on guitar with the band. [Cash] always remembered me and would stoop right in front of me, saying, ‘Folsom Prison?’ I said yes with joy.”

In 2005 Danny Weis released a beautiful jazz album called “Sweet Spot”, about as far from Iron Butterfly as you can get.  Like the other players in The Collective, his wide ranging musical taste and pedigree can take you in any direction.

A common thread among the players in The Collective is that most of them played at one time or another in a legendary blues band called Sweet Blindness.  Lead singer of The Collective, Donnie Meeker rotated as lead singer in Sweet Blindness with the late Bobbi Dupont.

“The Toronto sound was the original Bluenote,” Michael Williams told Cashbox magazine, “we always had a soul thing going on because we were so close to Buffalo and Detroit…The big time for Sweet Blindness was opening for Kool and the Gang.”

In addition to touring with Sweet Blindness, Donnie Meeker becomes “Downtown Donnie” when he does a Blues Brothers thing with his own blues brother “Dirty Bertie”.

Max Breadner opens the show

Bring a camp chair and something for the food bank in time for the show to start at 7 pm with Max Breadner.  Max is a notable young local talent who has progressed from performing to song writing.  He’s played the Meaford Summer Concert Series before, and last year he opened for John Brownlow at The Red Door.

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Cheryl Lescom is Canada’s Queen of The Blues

It was three decades ago that Cheryl Lescom was a student at Canada’s one true rock and roll university: Ronnie Hawkins band.  That puts her in a league with alumni that ranges from Robbie Robertson to David Foster.  Then she toured with Long John Baldry, another legend who, among other things, nurtured the talents of Rod Stewart and Reginald Dwight (a.k.a. Elton John) when they were first starting out.  As a highly admired backup singer she toured with Canadian icons Jeff Healy, Matt Minglewood, Dutch Mason and the Downchild Blues Band.  She’s recorded songs written by Jack De Keyzer, Donnie Walsh, Matt Minglewood.  With a CV like that, it’s no exaggeration to say that Cheryl Lescom is right up there on the Mount Rushmore of Canadian rock and blues.

Check out her moving evocation of an Etta James song (be prepared to shed a tear):

And she’s playing Saturday night at The Harbour Street Fish Bar in Collingwood, along with The Matt Weidinger Band.  He’s a young singer-songwriter from Kitchener who has been building his own reputation with a 60’s inspired sound that grabs the attention of both the old, young and everyone in between. He’s an “old soul” who easily commands the attention of any crowd.  His passion for music and performing is contagious.

The Harbour Street Fish Bar is a venue unlike any other in the area.  Located at The Cranberry Mews in the east end of Collingwood, it’s just a twenty minute drive from downtown Meaford.  It’s a spacious, glittery room at night, with a night club atmosphere and a crowded dance floor.  They’ve been specializing this past month in bringing in Toronto based names that are familiar to anyone who is a fan of the blues , including the legendary Tony Springer, The Johnny Max Band,Jack de Keyser and (still to come) Jerome Godboo.  You know that when you see a performer who has been rocking audiences for decades they know how to get you up on your feet. And every week they feature a house band with another blues veteran, Tamica Herod.  On top of all that, there are people who actually travel miles just for the food!

Be there or be square!

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The Thursday Outlook – Mar. 1 to 5, 2017

Tyler Yarema is co-hosting with Chris Scerri again this week at The Leeky Canoe, for tonight’s open stage.  He’s such a fine keyboard player, the joint is always jumping when he’s on board.  And fifteen minutes down the road you know that Dave Russell knows how to make the joint jump as well with his open stage at The Corner Café.

Gerry Markman

Friday night at The Red Door, Gerry Markman, journeyman guitarist, will be there, making up for the show he had to cancel three weeks ago due to scary weather.  The Red Door has become a great local place for music, with enthusiastic crowds out for a good time.  Last week they were blown away by the talents of Jenie Thai.  One of the convenient things about the shows at The Red Door is that they start early, at 7 p.m., and run to 10, so you can enjoy a great night out and still get home early.

If you want a chance to see the stars of tomorrow, make your way to the high school on Friday night.  It’s the Battle of The Bands, with thirteen acts competing, and judges that include local music luminaries like Tara Mackenzie, Rich Fletcher and Chris Scerri.  One of the acts in the contest is Cry For Ophelia, a band that impressed the crowd at last summer’s Concert Series and it’s rumoured that Max Breadner also has a band lined up to play.  It starts at 7 p.m. and the $5 admission charge will go to support the music program at the school.

Sohaya Smith

Sohaya Smith this weekend at Bruce Wine Bar

Sohayla Smith and The Smith Brothers will be playing at Bruce Wine Bar on Friday night before heading into Red Room Studios on Saturday to work on some new recordings.

And in Owen Sound at The Heartwood on Friday, RPR, which includes Meaford’s own Beaker Granger, will be rockin’ and folkin’ around with a bunch of great songs and stories.

Mark Reeves is holding court at the latest gallery concert at Meaford Hall on Saturday night.  And when that show finishes, head across the street to see Amanda Dorey at The Leeky Canoe, with her band Northern Country.

If you’re looking for a real nightclub experience, big city style with small town friendliness, The Harbour Street Fish Bar is the place to dance the night away.  It has a great vibe.  Last Saturday The Johnny Max Band tore the place up and packed the dance floor.  This Saturday it’s the amazing Cheryl Lescom, who has provided vocals for Ronny Hawkins and Long John Baldry as well as a stellar catalogue of performers from David Wilcox to Del Shannon.  When you consider that Long John Baldry once employed Rod Stewart and Elton John in his band, it’s quite an accolade when he says  “Cheryl Lescom has one of the best and biggest voices in Canada. I’ve had many great singers with me over the years and Cheryl is by far one of my favourites!”

No reason to sit home this weekend when the music is so hot it’ll be melting the ski hills.

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