Tag Archives: The Harpoonist and The Axe Murderer

The Thursday Outlook – Oct. 5 to 9, 2017

Fraser Melvin will be playing at The Leeky Canoe on Saturday.  If you were lucky enough to catch the performance from Jenie Thai as part of the Summer Concert Series this year, you saw Fraser as part of her crack band.  He is a busy and talented blues guitarist, arranger and singer who, in addition to playing with Jenie Thai, has two other bands that he calls his own:  The Fraser Melvin Band, a quartet that countrifies Jimi Hendrix tunes and plays funk versions of Dylan; and The Melvin-Colacino Band, an 8-piece outfit with a horn section that plays Funk and R & B.  He will be on his own at The Leeky but, if you saw his solo turn during Jenie Thai’s set, you already know that’s something to see.

If you want to make an evening of Meaford live music on Saturday, you can catch Owen Sound duo Anyway Susan, featuring Kevin Ross and Mark Moloney, from 7 to 10 at The Red Door, and then walk up the street to enjoy Fraser Melvin.

Tonight is the big show at The Gayety Theatre in Collingwood, where  Tyler Yarema and Chuck Jackson will be recording a live CD.  It’s a full night with a reception beforehand that will feature Jenie Thai and a second set (after the live recording of the duo) that will be a jam with musical friends that include the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, Virgil Scott.

Whitehorse-based singer-songwriter Kim Beggs will be at Heartwood tonight.  This is a stop on a long winter tour that will take her across Canada in support of her new album, “Said Little Sparrow”.   New Canadian Music calls her “one of the most respected artists on the Canadian roots scene,” adding  “Beggs’ eloquent songs or her strong, supple voice that occasionally suggests Lucinda Williams”.  For this date she will be supported by Corin Raymond, JUNO-nominated Toronto singer-songwriter whose songs have been covered by, among others, The Good Lovelies, The Strumbellas, and The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer.  The Globe and Mail has said, “Corin Raymond is a storyteller who by the end of the night you’ll have known your whole life.”  This double bill is a must-see for fans of Roots/Americana music.

Return to Front Page for today’s update

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.

Return to Front Page for today’s update

Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer Bring Special Tuesday Treat for Blues Fans

The Harpoonist and The Axe Murderer are stopping at Meaford Hall on a Tuesday night, April 11th, as they tour to support their new album Apocalipstick.  They began their tour closer to home in B.C. and this week they’re making that long trek from Thunder Bay to Toronto to start the Ontario part of the tour.  An ideal stopover is at Meaford on Tuesday night.  Luckily for them they get to play the newly revamped Opera House, now with improved balcony seating and state of the art sound.  Luckily for local fans we get to see this west coast blues duo live in our own town.

The band’s name, like The Barenaked Ladies, is an attention grabber.  When you understand that the axe murderer means a mean guitar player and the harpoonist means “took my harpoon out of my dirty red bandana and was blowin’ sad while Bobby sang the blues.”, the name makes sense.

Shawn Hall and Matthew Rogers met in a Vancouver studio while recording a jingle for a pizza place in 2006.  Shawn worked as a microwave truck operator for CITY-TV Vancouver and Matthew already had a reputation as a “serious” composer, writing film scores and a commission from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.  When they got together with their mutual interest in the blues, it clicked.  They started a duo, gave it what Peter Goddard calls “a wonderfully idiosyncratic, utterly unforgettable name” and immediately began to attract attention.

HAM also has great posters and cover art

They rigged up percussion that they could play themselves which made for a great live show as well as great blues.  They get their feet going with their foot drums and percussion while harpooning and singing.

They put their own twist on the blues.  “We take the blues and do something different with it,” they told Peter Goddard, “We take a lot of our inspiration from the really early blues guys like Robert Johnson who didn’t always play 12-bar blues, but had this rather skewed approach to the music. For us the blues is just a good starting point.”

Shawn is the front guy and the singer.  Michael writes the songs, creating an interesting process of channelling a lot of Shawn’s “crap that has gone on in my life in writing for me.”

Their first release in 2007 was entirely covers of traditional blues, their next release mixed in some originals, and by the time they released Checkered Past in 2012 they were getting into some interesting modern twists, their different influences coming out in their work.

Mike Usinger  in his 2012 Georgia Strait review said, “Where Shawn Hall and Matthew Rogers differ from the industry blueprint on Checkered Past is that they actually sound like they might have been to the Mississippi Delta. Or at least sat down and listened to a Robert Johnson boxed set from start to finish. The first thing you notice on the emotive opener, “Shake It”, is that these guys come off as traditionalists with no desire to fix something that ain’t broken.”

Watch them perform “Shake It” with Dawn Pemberton on Exclaim! TV. September 10, 2015.

Gian Karla Limcango summarized the band’s appeal in the Vancouver Weekly:

“Many bands have incorporated the elements and style of blues in their music but The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer does it traditionally. Inspired by the pioneers and masters of blues such as BB King, John Hurt, Bling Willie McTell, Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, they have innovatively crafted their sound to its bluesy perfection, always returning to their roots and the roots of music. Sticking to the format of the original blues performances which is having just one or two guys singing, playing the guitar and stomping their feet, just made this duo a true blues act. Ultimately, HAM introduced the old sound to the new generation and showed everyone how blues should be played”.

You will be hearing the name a lot as The Harpoonist And The Axe Murderer continue to attract attention, inevitably moving on to bigger venues.  Thanks to Canadian geography we have a lucky chance to see them at Meaford Hall this Tuesday, 8 p.m.

Return to Front Page for today’s update

Click on the album cover to hear music from The Harpoonist and The Axe Murderer:

The Thursday Outlook – April 6 to 9

The music at The Red Door Grille and Pub this Friday is being provided by Honeymoon Phase, a duo consisting of Laura Conning and Nelson Beattie.  They have been playing a weekly cocktail hour on Fridays at The Strand in Collingwood but they are setting it aside this week to bring their music to a Meaford audience. Laura administers the website Route 26.ca, which provides an entertainment calendar for all live music events around Southern Georgian Bay, with a listing that provides a video example for each performer.  The duo features Laura on guitar and Nelson on sax and clarinet with a repertoire that mixes some nice jazz standards with pop, folk and blues tunes.

On Saturday night Ian Harker is bringing a bunch of friends to play with him at The Leeky Canoe, including Roy Genereaux , Dave Ramage and Amanda Dorey, which promises to be a night of great music as they take turns and combine on tunes.

Craig Martin invented the concept of live reproductions of classic albums

There’s no music happening at Meaford Hall this weekend but on Tuesday the Opera House will be coming back to life with The Harpoonist and The Axe Murderer.  This is one of the perks of our geographical location:  In the middle of their tour to support their latest release, Apokalipstick, this blues trio are stopping over in Meaford on Tuesday night to break up the long drive between gigs in Thunder Bay on Saturday and Lee’s Palace in Toronto on Thursday.  There’s a buzz about this band, both because of their live show and their songs.   John Raham, Shawn “The Harpoonist” Hall, and Matthew “The Axe Murderer” Rogers will be bringing what they call their “bed of chaos” to test drive the new and improved Opera House ahead of a month that includes Ron Sexsmith, Coldjack and Eddie Bullen, and the Classic Albums Live production of Elton John’s Greatest Hits.  A few other musical treats will be squeezed in before the “Grand Opening Event” weekend in May with concerts by Sean McCann and Tanya Tagaq along with another great variety show from Chris Scerri’s “Rock The Hall” team.

At Heartwood Hall on Saturday night, Higher FunKtion lays down funk classics, soul & r ‘n b nuggets and tasty originals with the Invasion of the Funky Body Snatchers . Get down with Randy Martin, Jayden Grahlman, Steven Morel & the HF Horns – Wayne McGrath, Ian Harper & Chris ‘Bonehead’ Palmer.

The Mike McCarthy duo plays Gustav’s Chophouse and Bar in Collingwood on Saturday night.  Mike and Erica are playing solo gigs before getting the Mike McCarthy Band back together in time for the big Canada 150 day at the GNE grounds, when their son, singer-songwriter Austin McCarthy will be able to sit in with the band between his own gigs.

If it’s a nice moonlit evening on Saturday night and you want to drive down to Durham, check out the Garafraxa Café, a nice listening room, where Benjamin Dakota Rogers will be appearing with Chris Rait.

Don’t forget about the open stages where you can catch a grab bag of entertainment.  There are two tonight, starting earlier at the Leeky Canoe with Chris Scerri and running later at the Corner Café with Dave Russell.  And if you are in Owen Sound on Friday afternoon, Kelly Babcock hosts a nice little open stage at the back of The Bleeding Carrot, running from four in the afternoon.  It’s a nice spot and you never know who might get up and sing against the backdrop of old Owen Sound on the wall.  And on Sunday afternoon, the open mic at The Barn Coop in Meaford is always crowded and transcendent.  These open stages are where all the new talent comes from.

Return to Front Page for today’s update