Tag Archives: Matt Epp

Massie Hall Promises a Great Summer and Fall Lineup of Talent

by Bill Monahan

NOTE: Click on the album covers to sample music by that artist

Massie Hall, in the little hamlet of Massie just east of Chatsworth, has a full slate of talent lined up for the summer season.  The community centre in Massie provides a small venue for these concerts.  They set up folding tables and chairs, with a small stage at one end of the room.  There is no bar, but snacks and soft drinks are included in the ticket price.

It’s a little stage but it features big talents.  Once a month on Saturdays through the summer and fall (and one Friday) a series of high quality performers are scheduled to play.  Tickets for the concerts cost $20 each but with every show offering exceptional talent, the opportunity to get a discount by buying tickets for three or more shows at a time is worth considering.

The series kicks off on April 28th with Beggars Road, with a mix of traditional and Celtic sounds blending vocal melody with powerful instrumental texturing to an original repertoire of songs that celebrate the natural beauties of our region.  The band evolved from The Shards, a group originally brought together by Bob Robins to perform his original, traditional-flavoured songs.  They feature vocals from Larry Dickinson and Justine Maw-Farrar.

The following month, Larry’s brother, Steve Dickinson, returns to Massie Hall for a much-anticipated concert.  After several years following musical adventures abroad, recording and touring with members of Bob Segar’s  Silver Bullet Band, Steve returned home last year to re-group and consider his musical future.  His concert last summer at Massie Hall packed the room with an enthusiastic crowd that was blown away both by his powerful singing and his original songs.  He doesn’t play often in the area, so this is a show that is a must-see.

The Thursday Outlook – June 15 to 18, 2017

It’s always special when Victoria Yeh joins Chris Scerri at the Thursday Night Leeky Open Stage as she will tonight.  She is usually willing to play along with anyone who asks and she is so talented and adaptable she adds a sheen to anything she accompanies, no matter what the style.  The Leeky open mic starts at 9 now instead of 8 pm.

Don’t forget the other open stages that happen throughout our area every week.  There are so many talented musicians locally an open stage is always a good bet.  It makes for a great night out during the week, and there’s never a cover.  Also on Thursday, Dave Russell regularly rocks out at the Corner Café open stage in Thornbury.  Sunday afternoons at The Barn Coop are always inspiring, and on Tuesday nights Brianna McGowan hosts at Molly Blooms in The Village at Blue.  Wednesday’s at Bruce Wine Bar is always crowded with Drew McIvor hosting an open mic.

Then there’s the granddaddy of all open mics every Wednesday at Ted’s Range Road Diner, the place where our area’s most impressive musicians learned their chops over the many years it’s been happening.  Last night was a particularly auspicious night because Tara Mackenzie, indisputably the best vocalist for miles around (many miles, including the GTA) was able to perform again after being sidelined for many months by a concussion.  This is good news for fans of the Mackenzie Blues Band, which may soon see them back in full force, with the combination of killer guitar from Trevor Mackenzie and those incredible vocals from the Tara.

Other legendary local favourites, Tinman and The Flying Monkeys, will be at The Leeky on Saturday night.

Saturday night also brings some impressive artists, fresh from European tours, to some out-of-the-way venues in the area.  Christina Martin will be at Massie Hall on Saturday night, with a special appearance from Matt Epp.  And in Desboro, Ben Kunder and Sarah MacDougall join forces at the Desboro Music Hall.  They toured Ireland, Italy, UK, the Netherlands last fall and now they are in our area.

Friday night the place to be is Heartwood Hall to dance to K.C. Roberts and the Live Revolution, an 8-piece funk band that has excited fans and critics for years, being  compared to  Earth, Wind and Fire, Sly and The Family Stone, Tower of Power, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Review the listings on the right side of this page to find a long list of favourites who play often in our area so you can go check them out for the first time or revisit what you know will be a great performance.

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Massie Hall Brings Christina Martin Fresh From Her European Tour

Next Saturday, June 17th, Massie Hall is presenting another internationally acclaimed artist in concert.  Christina Martin, just back from a tour of Europe, is bringing her oversized talents to this undersized intimate venue.

With several European tours, multiple awards and TV soundtracks to her credit, Christina Martin is an artist whose star continues to ascend.

A sampling of critical praise gives you a sense of what to expect:

Edmonton’s Vue Weekly praises her “vivacious personality, brightly sparkling voice and unerring love of hooky choruses and peppy rhythms.”

Critic Jason Rankin, in the Windsor Lance, says, “This is a singer-songwriter who observes, feels, does not judge, and relays what she finds…with a voice high, strong and bittersweet, the affecting Nova Scotian sings of search, vulnerability and the concept of home.”

Bob Mersereau of the CBC, calls her “one of the area’s best lyricists, with an ability to get right inside the heart of her characters and listeners.”

From humble beginnings in Nova Scotia, Christina Martin has grown to be a consummate music professional, recording on her own independent label (Come Undone Records), touring the UK, Ireland and Europe regularly where she continues to build her fan base, and forming strategic partnerships along the way.  While exemplifying the successful indie artist building her independent label, she has also grown creatively, with each succeeding release expanding her creative palette, working with longtime producer, collaborator and life partner, Dale Murray.  And she doesn’t stop at that.  Going beyond music business success, she is an artist who is motivated to make a difference.  “Artists can open people’s hearts and minds,” she says, “Performing and touring provides a great chance to get them to support things.”  Her primary passion in that regard has been for some time and continues to be mental health.

Throughout her current tour she has partnered with Center for Addiction and Mental Health to increase engagement and awareness.  As far back as 2011 she used her release A House Concert, which contained live acoustic versions of songs from her first three studio albums, to raise awareness and funds for the Canadian Mental Health Association.  In 2014 she released an EP entitled Remember Me, featuring five songs inspired by and dedicated to individuals affected by dementia. Co-produced and written by Dale Murray, the EP won the 2014 Music Nova Scotia Award for Inspirational Recording of the Year.  And the first single from her newest release, due out later this year, is a song called “Lungs Are Burning”, which takes a hard look at the Fentynal crisis.  “The song is an modest attempt to bring light to the heavy topic of addiction, and reflects my own personal sense of loss, longing and a deep void,” she says, “and the ache I feel from losing my brother and friends to addiction and mental illness.”

Her brother suffered from a bipolar disorder and “it wasn’t easy for him to talk about it”.  Tragically his life was cut short from an overdose.

“Every album I put out and the work I do with Dale Murray in the studio, every time, gets more liberating.”

“I’ve been very conscious of addiction my whole life.  It’s something we are all affected by.  We as a society are always craving something.”

Itinerant Troubadours Are Coming

itinerant troubadors

The open mic night on Wednesdays at Captains Corner won’t be running through the winter months but Amanda Dorey and Carey have promised to bring it back in the spring when the patio can be used again.  There are still two open mic opportunities on Wednesdays not far away, at Ted’s of course, and at The Corner Café in Thornbury hosted by Dave Russell.

Itinerant troubadors

Laurie Zwarich plays Friday at Captains Corner

Friday live music is still happening at Captains Corner and this week Laurie Zwarich is coming in from Nottawa to sing a variety of covers with a smattering of original songs.


itinerant troubadours

Shane Cloutier, powerhouse guitarist, plays The Leeky on Saturday

This Tuesday, John Marshall will be joining Chris Scerri for his open mic at The Leeky Canoe.  On Thirsty Thursdays, they feature the WKRP trio and Saturday night brings the great guitarist, and singer songwriter Shane Cloutier.

Tuesday is also the night for the Georgian Shores Songwriters’ Circle, moving back to The Marsh Street Centre in Clarksburg this week.  The gathering grows in size with each passing week so the main auditorium at Marsh Street will allow room for everybody.  The more songwriters attend, the more inspiring it is, with a wider variety of original songs and better feedback.  Last time the session was at Marsh Street, a group went down the road to The Leeky afterward to catch some of the open mic there.

There are a number of performers out there on the icy roads of Ontario as winter creeps ever closer, and they will be stopping in Collingwood and Owen Sound this week.

Graham Playford at The Huron Club on Wednesday

Graham Playford at The Huron Club on Wednesday

Folky singer-songwriter Graham Playford will be driving up from Toronto to play a Wednesday night at The Huron Club in Collingwood.

Zachary Lucky is on the road promoting his new release “Everywhere A Man Can Be”, enjoying the new experience of touring with a band.  They’ve been through the East Coast, Quebec and much of Ontario, and will be landing at The Bruce Wine Bar in Thornbury before carrying on down the road to visit Peterborough, Uxbridge, Waterloo, Oakville, Cambridge and Guelph before Christmas.

itinerant troubadours

Matt Epp and Christina Martin Saturday at Heartwood Hall

Matt Epp and Christina Martin are touring together with a busy schedule.  Last week they were in the maritimes and this week they’ll be making stops every night starting tomorrow in Montreal and stopping in Ottawa, Toronto, and Hamilton before arriving to play Saturday night at Heartwood Hall in Owen Sound.  After the Christmas break, Matt will spend January touring Germany and Christina will follow through that country in February.

Summerfolk presents Irish Mythen at The Harmony Centre

Summerfolk presents Irish Mythen at The Harmony Centre

Irish Mythen, who will be playing The Harmony Centre in Owen Sound this Saturday spreads out her dates a little more, but she has been all around the world.  A favourite at folk festivals, she toured Australia last spring opening for Melissa Etheridge and returned with her own tour later in the year. After a December stop in December at Millgrove, she’ll be back home in Halifax through January.

We can find these touring artists just down the road at some great local venues, and when they have come and gone, there will be more coming over the hills to entertain us.

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