Tag Archives: Rich Fletcher

Meaford Musical Community Shines In “The Last Waltz”

Review by Bill Monahan
featured photo courtesy of Patti Kendall

On Saturday night at Meaford Hall, “The Last Waltz – Meaford Style” was a celebration of our musical community unlike anything that has been seen before.  A complete sellout more than a month in advance, the show featured a cavalcade of home grown talent that was equal to any visiting talent that has graced this great venue, and the audience loved it.

The template for the show was the famous Martin Scorcese film from 1978 that documented the last concert by The Band, with all of the performers who had been part of that celebration represented here by local talents.  It was actually the 41st anniversary of the original concert, which took place at Winterland in San Francisco on November 25, 1976.  The film set the bar high for a group of local performers who had little more than a month to practice.  They rose to the occasion. The band was tight, often indistinguishable from their model, and each performer who contributed tributes to the other performers did a stellar job.  The energy from the audience matched that coming from the stage.

Jaret Koop photo courtesy of John Scerri

A few of the vocalists stood out with their ability to mimic the originals to an uncanny extent.  Drew McIvor’s take on Doctor John’s (Mac  Rebennack) “Such A Night” had that New Orleans drawl down cold, and Jaret Koop perfectly captured Rick Danko’s anguished vocals on “The Shape I’m In”.

Fran Bouwmann photo courtesy of John Scerri

Fran Bouwman did a great take on Joni Mitchell’s “Coyote” (and even looked the part), and Tom Thwaits version of Neil Diamond’s “Dry Your Eyes” sounded like the real thing.  John Hume reproduced not only the vocal parts but the keyboards (that beautiful Hammond organ sound) with fidelity.

Sandra Swannell photo courtesy of John Scerri

Others added their own special talent to the songs that reflected what they bring to music.  Sandra Swannell’s violin solos on “Acadian Driftwood” and the encore “I Shall Be Released”, and Emma Wright’s vocals on “Evangeline” were spine-tingling standouts.  Chris Scerri’s vocals, of course, are 100% his.  He’s a belter and his style made new versions of the songs he covered.


Brian Miessner Brings His Own Brand of Pop To The Red Door

This Friday, July 21, Brian Miessner will be playing at The Red Door Pub in Meaford, accompanied by Melinda Camplin on violin.  Brian plays regularly around town with the popular party band Bored of Education, contributing bass and vocals.  He also plays with The Thirsty Night Boys, another collective of local talents, and in the past year or so has been gigging more frequently with solo acoustic guitar, billed as Brian Miessner and Friends.  This is usually a trio, with Bored of Education’s Rich Fletcher on guitar and Melinda on violin.

“Up until I arrived up here,” he says, “I’d never done a solo acoustic thing.  Then I got playing with The Thirsty Night Boys, and it just progressed.  I was always in groups before.”

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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The Thursday Outlook – Feb. 23 to 26, 2017

A couple of outstanding female artists top the list of this weekend’s live music picks in Meaford, with Jenie Thai on Friday at The Red Door Grille and Franny Wisp at Meaford Hall on Saturday.

Jenie Thai offers up virtuoso piano playing, with a beautifully expressive and sensitive voice and evocative songs, to make up a very special package in this small venue.

And with the balcony renos at Meaford Hall still going on, it is presenting live music in a small venue as well with Franny Wisp and her Washboard.  A local phenomenon who combines spoken word, music and satire, it may be difficult at this point to get a ticket but it’s definitely worth checking out if you can.

And The Leeky Canoe will be rocking on Saturday with Rob Elder.  Don’t forget that the open mic has changed to Thursday nights with Chris Scerri, whose cohost this week will be Rich Fletcher, lead guitarist from Bored of Education.  On Saturday night Chris is going to be at Gustav’s in Collingwood.

Another option for this evening is the young singer-songwriter Austin McCarthy at The Huron Club.  Austin, who has been referred to as “an old soul” has been diligently building his career rung by rung with his gentle, introspective songs and hot blues licks.  He’s won over fans opening for Coldjack at The Gayety Theatre, and for Kim Mitchell at The Village at Blue, and he’s won the Collingwood Idol contest.

There are a couple of exciting shows happening on the weekend in Collingwood and Owen Sound.

On Saturday night The Johnny Max Band is having a CD release party at the Harbour Street Fish Bar in Collingwood.  This is their 7th album, which they call, fittingly, “Roadhouse Soul”.  With excellent players and the charismatic presence of Johnny Max, this band is pure joy.

And then on Sunday night, at the Historic Gayety Theatre in Collingwood, one of the best concerts to hit our region in a long time will be Blackie And the Rodeo Kings playing to a packed house.  Promoter Steve Vipond has been daily counting down the number of tickets left and as of yesterday only a handful remained.  This is the second date of a short tour by the band which they are kicking off the night before with a sold out concert at Massey Hall.  This is a concert that people will be talking about for a long time.

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