Tag Archives: Paul Clifford

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.

My Sweet Patootie Sizzles on a Desboro Saturday Night

Review by Bill Monahan of My Sweet Patootie at Desboro Music Hall, Sat., Apr. 21, 2017

The Desboro Music Hall kicked off their new concert season in fine style on Saturday night with My Sweet Patootie, and special guest Alicia Toner.

Alicia Toner came all the way from New Brunswick to open the concert, bringing along her husband and accompanist Matt Campbell.  The duo performed a number of original songs from Alicia’s upcoming CD, with Alicia on vocals and violin, accompanied by Matt’s guitar strumming.  Their music was sincere and simple with the emphasis on Alicia’s impressive voice.  Although they did an excellent cover of John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery”, it was the original songs that stood out.  Alicia’s song writing has a literal aspect to it that is endearing.

As endearing as Alicia’s set was, when My Sweet Patootie took the stage the entertainment meter went into overdrive.  With their arsenal of instrumental virtuosity combined with alternating humour and sincerity and unflagging energy, they filled the hall with joy.  Drummer Paul Clifford, from nearby Walters Falls was a perfect fit for the unique Patootie magic.

There are moments in their show when they take on the persona of a carnival barkers complete with strings of hyperbolic adjectives delivered in a fast paced exclamations.  They take turns with these audience-baiting routines.  And then at other times they introduce their songs with quiet sincerity.  The mix is intoxicating.

Among the highlights of the just havin’ fun songs were the title tune from their new CD “Pandemonium”, a lament about “Bad Service” at a late night diner, where Sandra acted the part of a bored and inattentive waitress, and cover of a very old song called “Make Yourself A Happiness Pie” in which Terry channelled Dick Powell from his Busby Berkely era so accurately that it was a tribute rather than a parody.  The best of the humourous songs was “The Epic Tale of Doris and the Pig Latin Lover”, a slightly surreal tale of a broken home that evolved into a happy threesome, proving that “love is ickle-fay”.

As entertaining as their tightly constructed entertainment was, the mind-blowing aspects of the performance came from their musicianship.

To counterbalance the silly songs, there were some sincere moments, the highlight of which was the song that Terry said “Sandra wrote for me,” called “I Feel Your Love.”  It is a moving evocation of how, as
Sandra said in her introduction, a sense of loss and loneliness that you can see no way out of can be instantly dissipated when someone new comes into your life.

Paul Clifford came out from behind the drums to borrow Terry’s guitar for one song and it was a great one.  The three of them stomped in unison to create a driving beat while Paul sang “You Don’t Know My Mind”.

My Sweet Patootie Kicks Off Desboro Music Hall’s Summer Season

This Saturday, Apr. 22nd, the Desboro Music Hall will be kicking off its second concert season with the international folk/jazz trio, My Sweet Patootie, a  show that Driftwood Magazine describes as “two parts exemplary musicianship, one part vaudeville comedy”.  The opening act will be Alicia Toner from Canada’s East Coast.

The Desboro Music Hall was created when brothers Phil and Joe Klages bought the historic Anglican church in town.  Ever since the community centre closed down there had been a gap in the local culture and Phil and Joe, music fans who grew up in Desboro, saw the church as an ideal venue for concerts and other community activities.  Their inaugural year was a great success, a mixture of local musicians as well as acts like Oh Susanna, Alfie Smith and Mark Reeves.  Their choice of featured acts reflects the affection local audiences feel for roots based music and they have the good taste to include only the best purveyors of the style.  It is the kind of concert series that you can attend knowing that it will be good because of the care with which it was put together.  This year’s series starts and ends with exemplary performers who also happen to be Meaford residents, starting with My Sweet Patootie, who reside in Meaford when they are not on tour, and ending in October with The Honey Brothers, featuring Meaford talents Drew McIvor and Jayden Grahlman, along with Jay Stiles.

My Sweet Patootie was formed as a duo in 2007 when the long-running Canadian roots band Tanglefoot disbanded after decades of touring.   The two halves of Tanglefoot took off in different directions.  One half teamed up with Meaford-based drummer and singer-songwriter Beaker Granger to form RPR (stands for Richie/Parrish/Richie) and put the emphasis on roots rock.  The Patootie half took off in an entirely different direction and, now after several years of touring and recording, they have evolved into a totally unique live act with recordings that have a sheen to them combining nostalgia with superlative musicianship.

If they were a very serious act the audience would be moved by their extraordinary musicianship.  If they were mediocre players, their energetic showmanship would easily carry the day.  When the two elements are combined they put on an irresistible show.

Both Terry Young and Sandra Swanell of My Sweet Patootie are classically trained, Terry in voice and Sandra in violin and viola.  Terry’s roots, though, go back to Canadiana folk and his fingerpicking guitar style was influenced by players like Bruce Cockburn.  Sandra was the principal violist of the Georgian Bay Symphony and fronted the Celtic art-rock band The Shards before joining Tanglefoot in 2005.  Despite her classical training her violin more often than not echoes the “hot jazz” of Stephane Grapelli.  Together they took their superlative instrumental chops and applied it to a hybrid of folk, Celtic and old jazz.  All of these elements can be heard in their performances and their recordings.  They mix evocative covers with their own originals which are simultaneously moving and whimsical.