Tag Archives: the Mackenzie Blues Band

Local Players Excited To Be Doing The Last Waltz

The latest production at Meaford Hall by Chris Scerri, a tribute to The Last Waltz scheduled for November 25th, is a bit of a departure from his previous productions.  Up to this point he has put together variety shows that combined local and imported talent, built mainly around the talents of musical director Tyler Yarema and others from the Port Credit area that Chris has introduced to Meaford.  This time around it will be all local talent, some of the best that our area offers, under the musical direction of keyboard player John Hume.

For each member of this tribute band, The Band and their iconic farewell concert both hold special significance.

“It was a magic moment in music history,” says Chris Scerri, “that allowed for some of the most influential modern day artists to get together for the ultimate Jam.”  He adds that the DVD of the concert movie is one which, “I can watch time and time again, and continue to be inspired by both the musical talents and the show itself.”

The Last Waltz was the name Robbie Robertson gave to the farewell concert of The Band, performed on American Thanksgiving Day in 1976 at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco.  A film of the concert by Martin Scorcese was released in 1978 and was hailed by film critic Michael Wilmington as “the greatest rock concert movie ever made – and maybe the best rock movie, period”  Time bears that out, with the influence of the movie being felt almost forty years later.

The Thursday Outlook – March 23 to 26, 2017

Larry JensenThere’s a special event at The Heartwood in Owen Sound tonight with a showing of a film called Spirit Unforgettable.  It was filmed in 2015, following the band Spirit of The West as they prepared to their concert at Massey Hall, part of their farewell tour necessitated by lead singer John Mann being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.  The film was screened at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in April 2016.  Adding resonance to the evening, the film will be preceded by a performance by Larry Andreas Jensen, a songwriter who is particularly known for his poignant evocations of people in struggle.

itinerant troubadoursExtraordinary guitarist and singer-songwriter Shane Cloutier will be bringing his original songs and energies to The Red Door Grille and Pub in Meaford on Friday night.

The dinner shows at Bruce Wine Bar on Friday feature the former frontman for Harlan Pepper, Dan Edmonds, making his solo reputation on the strength of his modern take on retro sounds and sources.

There are too many good things to choose from on Saturday night in our area.

At The Leeky Canoe in Meaford, WKRP is a small group that features some of our area’s most impressive talents: Jaret Koop will front the band on lead vocals and bass. On guitar is the legendary Trevor MacKenzie with Mike Weir on drums, both from Maple Blues Award winning band The MacKenzie Blues Band.

Another Meaford talent, newly arrived to the area, is singer-songwriter Michael O’Connell.  He’ll be performing with his impressive little band Culture Reject at The Bicycle Café in Flesherton.

And a phenomenal blues player, Conor Gains, with his band Ramblin’ Moon, will be rocking the Marsh Street Centre in Clarksburg on Saturday night, another fund raiser for the volunteer run organization.  A Saturday night at Marsh Street is loads of fun.

Check the listings on the right of this page for other great options to help you celebrate the first spring weekend of 2017.

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Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar at The Marsh Street Centre

This coming Saturday, Feb. 18th, the Marsh Street Centre in Clarksburg will be presenting a fundraising concert featuring Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar.  Centred on the vocal power of Samantha and her backup singers, Sherie Marshall and Stacie Tabb, this is a band that straddles the lines between soul, blues, gospel and country.  Of course that’s not really a stretch when you consider that those genres are really just different shades of the same music – music that comes from a deep inner authenticity to reach out and touch an audience.

If you review the band’s press clippings, and those of its predecessor, The Haggard, you’ll find that the constant refrain is enthusiastic praise for Samantha Martin’s voice.  Her vocals have been compared most often to Janis Joplin, but also to  singers like Mavis Staples, Etta James, and Tina Turner.  This is fitting because these singers have always been among her favourites.  In making these comparisons, reviewers emphasize the group’s authenticity, with phrases like “this is a group that just gets it, gets it all,” and “this truck driver’s daughter is the real deal”.

It seems like the blues has pulled her like a magnet to get to this point.  She grew up in Lion’s Head and migrated south to Owen Sound, where her earliest recordings were made with the help of Trevor and Tara Mackenzie of The Mackenzie Blues Band, resulting in the 2004 EP, “Fade”.  She began to write her own songs in 2005, and moved further south to Toronto, where she was originally introduced to audiences there at the C’Est Wha? Open stages, and then found a home at The Dakota Tavern.  In 2008 she recorded her first full length CD, “Back Home”, produced by Derek Downham.

Members of the Kensington Hillbillies helped form her first band The Haggard.  Ostensibly alternative country, her vocal style pulled it more toward the blues spectrum and the eventually it morphed into Delta Sugar, bringing along guitarist Mikey McCallum from the first band.  In the studio they relied on hand claps and foot stomping to provide the percussion but that became difficult to sustain live (“It was hard for me to catch my breath” she explains) so they added drummer Dani Nash.  This is the lineup that will be performing at The Marsh Street Centre.

Samantha Martin has a voice “that grabs you by the throat while causing the hairs on the back of your neck to tingle”

“As a five-piece,” she says, “we are really, really tight.”  While horn sections and drums and bass are often the meat on the bones of soul music, Samantha finds that there is an advantage to leaving a little more space in the sound.  “Somebody will come up and say, ‘I really liked such and such a song, you should add a pedal steel to make it more country’, and then someone else will come up and say ‘you should add horns’ – and they’re talking about the same song.”  People hear what they want to hear when she gives them room to do so.

But leaving that space, she says, is “a double-edged sword.  It makes me hard to market.” On the other hand they can rock the house with the best of them or “do a 1 a.m. set at a festival, or play a house party without compromising what we do”.  She adds, “The simpler it is the bigger it sounds.”

And it’s a sound that works.  She was pleased to be asked by Colin Linden to join Blackie And The Rodeo Kings on stage at Massey Hall in a few weeks to sing a song from their “Kings And Queens” album, a sold out concert that kicks off their latest tour just before they too come to the area to play The Gayety Theatre in Collingwood.

When this sound and this voice fills The Marsh Street Centre next Saturday night, to be sure a lot of people will experience what reviewer Kerry Doole, writing in Exclaim!, calls “a force of nature, one of those voices that grabs you by the throat while causing the hairs on the back of your neck to tingle”.

Visit http://www.marshstreetcentre.com/events-cmql for tickets.

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A Fist Full Of Glitter Celebrates Community with Music

Let’s hope the weather allows the big concerts at Owen Sound’s Harmony Centre to go ahead when tonight and tomorrow, Rock The Sound choir brings together the community with over a hundred participants to celebrate Christmas with music and dance.

Although there is a suggested ticket price of $15, in the spirit of Christmas, attendees will be allowed to pay what they can at the door, so that no one need miss out on the experience.

Rock The Sound is a large community choir that was started in Owen Sound in 2012 by Tara MacKenzie, one of our areas most phenomenal and influential musical talents.  As lead singer of The MacKenzie Blues Band she is a performer that is on a par with the very best vocalists, whether rocking the house or moving you to tears with her emotive ballads.  For much of this year she has been sidelined from the aftereffects of a bad concussion.  A concert at Meaford Hall to promote the band’s new album was first postponed and then cancelled, and a unique Summer Choir Slam to be held at Heartwood Concert Hall in the summer also had to be cancelled.  It would have been a pretty special evening with the audience learning a rock song with harmonies and producing a video of the results.  It is with innovative initiatives like this that Tara has raised the bar for musicians of all sorts in this community.   The proceeds for the $5 cover charge had been earmarked to provide yearly choir scholarships for those who do not have the means to participate in her choir otherwise.

Tara MacKenzie is so much more than a world class vocalist.  Her passion is helping people understand that music is the essential element of a brave, happy and fulfilled life and she wants nothing more than to inspire people of all ages to pursue their own personal growth through musical studies.  She is focused on vocal mechanics and stage performance and when she has a talented and dedicated student, like our own Emma Wright or Wiarton’s Steenika Gilbert, the results are spectacular.