Tag Archives: The Garafraxa Café

The Thursday Outlook – Oct. 19 to 23, 2017

The Band That Kills Hate, Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, is coming back to spread their vibe and their amazing music in our area, with a show on Sunday evening at Meaford Hall.  Along with killing hate and putting on a show that rocks the house, this is a band that represents the best in Canadian song writing.  Originally founded as a tribute to the late Willie P. Bennett, the band was conceived as a fun side project for the three artists (Tom Wilson, Colin Linden and Stephen Fearing) who all have their own careers, and two decades later they still bring that fun of an all-star jam to every show.  Throughout their career they have consistently made a point of shining the spotlight on Canadian songwriters and others from the wide world of music.  Touring with them recently is Tom Wilson’s son, Thompson Wilson, who dispels any hint of nepotism with engaging original songs performed solo on acoustic guitar.  Blackie and The Rodeo Kings is a band that every Canadian music fan should see and there’s no better venue for that than Meaford Hall.

Owen Sound based songwriter, Larry Jensen, whose original songs have spawned a tribute album by the leading lights of the local music scene, will be performing a special concert tonight at The Bleeding Carrot, starting at 7 pm.  This is an ideal small venue to be able to really enjoy the songs and stories he weaves.

Jacelyn Holmes, whose press touts her as a blend of Marilyn Monroe and Stevie Nicks, is at The Huron Club in Collingwood for the weekend.  Following her showcase performance at the 2017 Juno Awards she’s released a smoky blues single, “Fool”, and is working on an upcoming album.

The Thursday Outlook – Sept. 21 to 25, 2017

At Kimberley Hall, just down the road from Meaford, a special art show is running all weekend and on Saturday night it will include live music from some local favourites.  East Back Line, with Paul Woolner, David Marshak, Beaker Granger, and Tom Thwaits, will be on hand along with Chris Scerri’s new band Horseshoes & Handgrenades with Jon Zaslow, Beaker Granger, Erik Vandeweerdhof and as a special guest, violinist Victoria Yeh.  The music is just part of a weekend-long celebration of local visual artists billed as “Apple and Art”.

If you can time it right, be on Hurontario Street in Collingwood today at 12:30 and you’ll be treated to a special pop-up concert with Tyler Yarema and Chuck Jackson at one of the pianos that are set up on the sidewalk.  This is part of the promotion for a show that these two blues veterans have planned at The Historic Gayety Theatre on Oct. 5th.

Saturday night on Hurontario street it’s the annual Collingwood Art Crawl which includes live music in the evening from the Mike McCarthy Band. 

Songwriters Night at The Bleeding Carrot

There is another Songwriters’ evening planned this Thursday, starting at 7:30 pm at The Bleeding Carrot in Owen Sound, this one featuring songwriters, Dave Hawkins, Bill Monahan, and Bill Dickson.  Although the styles of the three are quite different, each has a distinctive way of weaving a story into a song.  The evening will be set up so that all three performers share the stage through the show, taking turns with their songs and stories, in a conversational setting that mirrors the famous Bluebird Café in Nashville.

Dave Hawkins from Owen Sound and Bill Monahan from Meaford have done these songwriters’ nights before, with John Brownlow.  Their first one was at The Red Door Pub in Meaford and the second was at The Garafraxa Café in Durham.  Both evenings turned out to be very rewarding for the performers as well as for the audience.  The idea of three songwriters in a single show offers a variety and range of expression that adds extra value for the audience, and it is a lot of fun.  With the setup of this performance, there should be a lot of entertaining comments back and forth between the performers.

The third songwriter this time out is Bill Dickson from Sauble Beach.  An appealing, melodic singer, his songs, like those of the others, tell personal stories with some clever wordplay and insights.  He has a collection of songs on a CD called “Isn’t Life Grand”.

With the Bluebird Café style of show, the audience will get a chance throughout the evening to compare the songs and performances of the three unique songwrites, enjoy some laughs and some heartfelt moments and go home with new tunes playing in their heads.

Tickets for this show are $15, available at the venue or from the performers.

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Sunday Afternoon Songwriters at The Garafraxa Cafe

If you missed their show at the Red Door Grille and Pub in May, you have another chance to see three local songwriters perform next Sunday afternoon, June 25th, at The Garafraxa Café in Durham.  Bill Monahan, Dave Hawkins and John Brownlow make up a show in which each does a 40-minute set of his original songs.  They have different styles, but each writes songs that contain interesting stories couched in catch melodies.  Their last show was praised by poet Robert Menzies as “impressive, highly entertaining and well crafted songs”.

John Brownlow is a busy screenwriter who also makes videos of local artists and writes constantly, recording in his home studio, playing most of the parts himself.  He has a real pop sensibility, with evident influence of the 80’s Brit-pop that nurtured his musical development.  Clever wordplay and melodic hooks combine to create something unique and entertaining.

Dave Hawkins writes from the heart, songs that mean something to him in his personal journey of discovery and transfer that meaning to the audience.  His background in jazz and country creates a melodic sense that is alluring while his lyrics combine wit with a humanistic outlook.

Bill Monahan writes love songs and fun ramblings in a style that hovers somewhere in the area of country and folk.  His songs draw you in from the first line and lead you through stories and emotions.

All three performers are relaxed on stage having spent many years performing both solo and with bands.

The Garafraxa Café is the kind of venue that you rarely find, an ideal place to enjoy this kind of music on a Sunday afternoon.  Located in the little town of Durham near the corner of Highways 4 and 6, it is a “small town treasure” with a reputation for great coffee and pastries.

Valerie Shane wrote a review last January that captures the essence of this unique place:

“We drove 52 km from Thornbury to catch the live Saturday night music at the GC. We didn’t expect to find such a unique venue with an adorable little stage and great acoustics. It was terrific to relax with a glass of wine and chill with the owners and other patrons as if we were regulars. Everyone was so friendly and by the end of the evening, it felt like we just been to a private concert. So even if it’s not close, take the drive, it’s worth every kilometer.”

If you have never been there, this show gives you a good reason to check it out.

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