Tag Archives: Meaford

Music Always Within Earshot This Week

The summer music season kicks off this week with the annual Peak To Shore music festival, with forty concerts squeezed into one week, spread through venues at Blue Mountain Village, Collingwood, Meaford and Thornbury.  This year it is better than ever thanks to the organizing efforts of Chris Scerri Presents.  There are some great headliners that include Irish Mythen at Meaford Hall on Wednesday, Sean McCann at Blue Mountain on Saturday and The Harpoonist and The Axe Murderer at Blue Mountain on Friday.

If you are visiting the area and want a real taste of the local music scene which is vibrant here all year round, Peak To Shore gives you a chance to see some of the artists who perform consistently in the neighbourhood, rotating around the many great local venues.  They include Karla Crawford, Drew McIvor, Winnie Brave, Tamica Herod, Jason Redman, Craig Smith, Drew Wright, Winnie Brave,  Jayden Grahlman, and Bored of EducationBambalamb Kid will be spreading the joy of music with his uplifting enthusiasm that brings the audience into his drumming display a couple of times during the series.  Chris Scerri with his Summit Band begins a summer long residency at the Coca-Cola  stage in the Village at Blue on Sunday and he’ll be joining the wrap party at Blue on Sunday night which features the Ted’s Range Road BandTed’s Range Road Diner in Meaford is without doubt the most important influence on local music with their weekly Wednesday jams that have been responsible for developing a lot of the local talent for a quarter of a century.  It is a place every visitor to the area should visit, not only on Wednesdays for the rocking jams but any evening to check out the unique wild game cuisine.

Larry JensenPeak To Shore also brings in a couple of venues that you may not have been to before to enjoy live music.  The most highly anticipated is the soft opening of Crow Bar and Variety in Collingwood.  This is a brand new venue in the area created by Steven Vipond, whose love of original music has made Bruce Wine Bar in Thornbury a favoured destination for fans and for touring artists alike.  Bridges Tavern in Thornbury is presenting live music again, this week featuring the celebrated local songwriter Larry Jensen as well as Jayden GrahlmanThe Corner Café in Thornbury is famous for the open stage on Thursdays hosted by Dave Russell and this week it is also featuring live music on Friday night.  The Northwinds Brewhouse in Collingwood is also featuring live music on Thursday with Winnie Brave.  There are also shows at The Simcoe Street Theatre, The Shipyards Amphitheatre, MJ Byrne’s Irish Pub, and The Leeky Canoe.

A variety of music genres are represented in the Peak To Shore series.  Blues is prevalent, starting with the local home of the blues, The Harbour Street Fish Bar, where Tamica Herod duets with Jerome Godboo, but also offering Grace at the Collingwood Museum, Jenie Thai and Al Lerman in separate shows at the Village at Blue.  A great reggae band, Too Nice, plays The Corner Café on Friday and there’s jazz from the William Sperandei Trio at Bayview Park on Saturday.

But Peak To Shore is not the only music happening this week.  Owen Sound will be running a street festival from Wednesday to Friday with music that includes Amanda Dorey, the Matrix Steel Drum band, and the excellent Kreuger Band.  Meaford Hall presents the first in its Terrace Thursdays with Franny Wisp and Her Washboard.  And the second annual Meaford Summer Concert Series begins on Friday night with Tomi Swick and The Strummers’ Union, Scott Almond and Eden Young.

There are two tributes to the famous Canadian painter Tom Thompson happening this week.  One will be on Friday with the Shipyard Kitchen Party at the Simcoe Street Theatre, with a Celtic flavour, and the other will be at the Historic Leith Church, Thompson’s birthplace, on Saturday, billed as a wake on the 100th anniversary of his death with David Sereda and Anne Michaels.

And it doesn’t end there, with concerts happening next weekend in Desboro and Durham.

This week the hills are truly alive with the sound of music.

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Young Talent Featured at GBCS Battle of The Bands

The Battle of The Bands at Georgian Bay Community School in Meaford on Friday night showcased the talents of local high school students and provided many of them with their first practical lesson in performance as musicians.  This was the best attended of any of the bi-annual events so far, with close to 200 people in attendance and it displayed a wide range of musical talents and styles.   Thirteen bands completed, each of which received generous ovations and helpful comments from the judges.

Mr. Delaney says hello to judges Drew McIvor, Fran Bouwman, Ryan Hewgill, Sylvee Kindree, and Chris Scerri

The judges were Chris Scerri, known for his promotion of live music in Meaford; Sylvie Kindree, member of The Kreuger Band; Ryan Hewgill, GBSS alumnus and multi-instrumentalist; Fran Bouwman, sculptor and creator of her alter-ego, Franny Wisp; and Drew McIvor, singer-songwriter.  Head of the music department, Mr. (Patrick) Delaney, acted as the amiable and charismatic Master of Ceremonies.  Another teacher, Mr. (Nick) Pretli, filled the role of bass player for many bands and even lent his name to the first band which kicked off the evening with a killer version of a Black Sabbath song.

Several students played in a number of different bands.  One of the busiest players of the evening was Max Woodburn.   He played drums for at least four bands with widely varying styles, in some cases without the opportunity of rehearsal.  Bassist Cam Toth did the same.  Each of them was acknowleged by the judges as the best in their field.  The other winners in the outstanding instrumentalist category were Thomas Hebbert who played keyboards for PJ and Marco, and Eden Young who impressed the judges with her acoustic guitar playing for the band C.E.M.RMichelle Wright won Top Vocalist honours for her impressive version of Adele’s “Set Fire To The Rain”.  Although the judges could only choose one winner in each category they had special praise as well for Risa McEnaney’s drumming in C.E.M.R. and August Banks whose hair-flinging stage presence added oomph to a rocking band called simply Band.

The evening started out with a very impressive video montage set to the Rocky Theme.  It had been created by Somer Graham as part of a contest held in the Graphic Arts class.

Musical selections, all covers, ranged across a variety of styles from headbangers to a simple and charming ukulele duet from The Outcasts doing a Grace Van Der Waal song.  Three bands chose Adele songs to do, each in a distinctive style, including the only instrumental band of the evening featuring exchange student Pablo Pardavila on sax.

While the audience was enthusiastic about everything throughout the evening, the real purpose was to teach the students something about showmanship.  It was in these areas, rather than specific playing, where the judges offered helpful tips.  It was noted that some bands portrayed a real sense of being a band (“you looked like you just tumbled out of the van”), some were commended for dressing alike, and others were advised to make better use of the stage, or to invest themselves more in their delivery.  There were repeated admonitions to play the drums with more power, but it was pretty clear that the subdued drumming was more a result of the sound mix than the players.  The drum kit had been acoustically isolated behind Plexiglas panels to prevent leakage into the other microphones, but either it wasn’t sufficiently miked or it was mixed too low in the levels.  This was particularly evident in the heavy metal selections which are designed to draw much of their power from their ability to rattle your spine.

There were technical difficulties throughout the evening, from occasional feedback to singers whose lips moved but appeared to make no sound.  The lead guitarist for Edgy Metal Band played what looked like a pretty hot solo but it couldn’t be heard.  Jazz Band stopped the performance after several bars, with apologies, because the bass was completely missing in action.  A few minutes transpired before they got it going and then began the tune again.  Drew McIvor criticized them for that but Mr. Delaney reminded the audience that it was an Adele song, and she did exactly the same thing at the Grammy Awards.  And it should be noted that every band that suffered through the problems acted in a more professional manner than Mariah Carey did when she walked off mid-song during her New Year’s Rocking Eve performance.

Audience choice Trebellious

Two bands took top honours for the night.  A band that was originally billed as T.B.A. and changed their moniker to the much more interesting Trebellious won the audience choice award.  The judges awarded top prize to Cry For Ophelia, a band that has been together long enough to have developed a really unified sound and good musicianship.  In this band, Eden Young, who had already distinguished herself on guitar in an earlier band, showed her vocal skills fronting the band without an instrument.  This band knows how to work a stage and make the most of their material.  They had impressed audiences last summer as part of the Meaford Summer Concert Series in the town square.

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

Another band that had been part of that series but was not competing in this Battle of The Bands, was the Ted Brownlow Band.  They played three or four songs after the competing bands to entertain the audience while the judges were backstage ruminating.

It was a celebratory night for both the bands and the audience.  Aside from the performances themselves (which for the musicians probably whizzed by except when time stood still during technical glitches) the students learned about the camaraderie that comes from playing in a band.  It is in many ways analogous to a sports team, in which every member has a part to play in order to win.

Mr. Delaney acknowledged the contributions of countless people behind the scenes to making the night a success.  It is something that will long be remembered by everyone involved and, for some, it may have sparked an interest that will lead them toward a career.

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TONIGHT: Hot Music For Live Music Fans

Whatever the weatherman tries to tell you, the real cause of everything melting is all the hot music TONIGHT around Meaford and southern Georgian Bay.

Considered the young bluegrass band to watch, blending great traditional chops with originality, The Slocan Ramblers will be at Meaford Hall tonight.  Across the street, Hammer will be at The Leeky Canoe, with their classic rock.  Scott Almond was originally scheduled for tonight but when Hammer couldn’t make it last week, he stepped in and they traded places.

Over in Owen Sound tonight, Meaford artists Amanda Dorey and Ian Harker team up to present two great voices and a mix of styles at Jazzmyn’s.  A few blocks away at The Harmony Centre, Trish and The Tractors are holding another of their great country dances.  And at Heartwood Hall, Mudtown Records is presenting singer-songwriter Lindy Vopnfjörð, whose last album “Young Waverer” had two Number 1 hits on CBC Radio 2, supported by Wax Mannequin (the stage name of Chris Adeney) a Canadian indie rock singer-songwriter who comes with a warning from the Globe and Mail: “crowds are often baffled whether to be awed, irritated or amused by Wax’s all-rockets-flaring, un-Canadian-like extravagant performances”

In Collingwood Evan Macdonald, who describes his music as Post Modern Baroque Surf Folk Pop, is at The Huron Club tonight.  And  tomorrow Karla Crawford plays a matinee Sidelaunch Sunday Brunch there.

Heading south from Collingwood, there’s a big party at the Marsh Street Centre in ClarksburgThe Human Rights are one of Canada’s top reggae bands with their original, high-energy, modern roots reggae with a mix of jazz, funk and R&B influences. This is a fundraiser for The Marsh Street Centre, which Florian Lenders is developing into a great venue for local and imported talent.

Head a little further down the road where The Nottawa Hall Arts & Craft Beer Festival runs Saturday afternoon with a lineup of local artists that include Laurie Zwarich and David Stone.  Laurie is now hosting an monthly open stage Sundays at Nottawa Hall (the next one is Feb. 12th).

On Sunday, pop/jazz singer Coco Love Alcorn,  whose career has spanned over 20 years, 10 albums, cross-canada tours, collaborations, festival appearances, award nominations and notable success in TV and film licensing, plays an afternoon concert at Heartwood Hall.

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Five Meaford Songs of 2016

As one year moves aside to let another begin take fifteen minutes to enjoy five original voices from Meaford. Here are five songs written by Meaford performers who found their way to a live stage in 2016.

 

Subject To Change by Greg Smith

Greg Smith returned from Hungary with a new confidence and his own unique way of creating song cycles that tell a tale individually and in context of each other. This song is a turning point in the tale.

Cold Fish by Zoe Young

Zoe Young made up a good song called Cold Fish and she sang it one day at The Barn’s open stage, urged on by her mother Diana, who sings there and her sister Eden Young who is the lead singer of Cry For Ophelia. It was a hit.

Visceral by James McLaughlin

James McLaughlin has a unique songwriting approach and the voice and guitar chops to pull it off.  This is one of his songs from 2016 before he began moving in more of a country direction.

Diving In by Jayden Grahlman

Jayden Grahlman brightens up whatever room he’s in.  He’s found a groove with this song that makes you want to sing along on the chorus

Minute To Minute by Bill Monahan

Bill Monahan writes this blog every day and writes songs in between.  You can catch him at open stages or concerts at the harbour.  Here he’s counting down the minutes to 2017

Stay tuned for 2017

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