Tag Archives: The Northern Pikes

The Thursday Outlook – June 8 to 11, 2017

Shannon Lyon performs Friday night at The Red Door Grille and Pub.  The peripatetic folk singer, whose songs reveal a “continued affection for the darker edges of country & bluegrass music with the tenor banjo taking center stage” has been recording and touring since the late 80’s when he was in a band called ‘Strange Days‘.  He released his first solo album in 1994 (Buffalo White) and continued releasing albums and touring throughout North America up until the time he moved overseas to The Netherlands in 2000. In 2003 he was the first Canadian artist to sign with Richard Branson‘s (post-Virgin imprint) V2 Records (becoming label mates with The White Stripes and Paul Weller) with the release of his critically acclaimed album ‘Wandered‘.  After five years abroad he returned to Canada in 2012 and recorded with producer Rob Szabo an album called “The Lights Behind”, which included about twenty years of material from previous recordings, along with a few new songs.  It made sense because much of his earlier recorded work is no longer available. “Most people haven’t heard my early recordings. The record companies are no longer in business and the albums are no longer in print,” he says.  You’ll get a chance to hear this industry veteran’s “deep swaggering voice and melancholic minor chord songs” starting at 7 pm.

Saturday kicks off the new Songwriters’ Series at The Barn with Greg Smith and Tragedy Ann.  The series, conceived by Greg, will pair local emerging songwriters with visiting acts.

Saturday also brings a day-long party at the Marsh Street Centre in Clarksburg to celebrate their 90th anniversary.  Along with a full day of events, music from Chris Scerri and friends on the patio in the afternoon and some historical displays, there will be a concert in the evening in which Tyler Yarema will lead an all-star cast through several decades of musical styles.

Two acts from London, Ontario, representing opposite ends of the roots spectrum, will be visiting our area this weekend.  At The Harbour Street Fish Bar it’s The Focklers Blues Band.  The band consists of the three Fockler brothers with the addition of “honorary Fockler” Mat Power on bass and vocals.  Their promo material suggests a tempting attraction for this time of year: “Visualize yourself on the dock at the cottage, sun’s out, you’ve got the weekend off, and you just cracked your first tall can. How tasty was that? That’s what The Focklers sound like.”

Meanwhile, also from London, The Marrieds will be performing Saturday night at The Bicycle Café in Flesherton. The Marrieds, is a man-and-wife duo consisting of Jane Carmichael and Kevin Kennedy, blending ukulele, guitar and vocal harmonies.   Lori Mastronardi of the London Free Press describes their “folk-country sound filled with playful lyrics and sweet harmonies” and Amantha Hather in Canadian Beats says that their “melodic and wistful folk music” is “full of tales that everyone can relate to in some way or another”.

It’s going to be a fun weekend at The Garafraxa Café in Durham.  On Friday night they present Jay Semko, singer-songwriter formerly with The Northern Pikes, a band he formed in Saskatoon which went on to achieve four Gold records and one Platinum, with sales of over 1 million units worldwide.  Jay received two Canadian Music Publishers Association Awards, for Teenland and Girl with a Problem. During the course of their career, the Northern Pikes have released twelve albums. In 2012 the iconic Canadian band was inducted into the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame.  After the Northern Pikes he embarked on a very successful career writing for films and television, collecting many awards over the years.  At the same time, he has exploited his talents with a lot of voiceover work and teaching songwriting, while continuing to release solo albums, so far nine and counting.

On Saturday night, the Garafraxa presents Richard Garvey, whose songs of environmental justice and social change have drawn comparisons to Pete Seeger and David Francey.  He’ll be sharing the evening with The Ever-Lovin’ Jug Band, which plays original tunes inspired by the jug bands and string bands of the 1920s, plus some old-time, ragtime, cajun, and more from a bygone era or two.

As always, there is a lot of choice for live music this weekend (see the complete listings at the right of this page).  And don’t forget the open stages, where you can enjoy a grab-bag of talent and possibly witness the kind of magical moments that occur when a bunch of different artists feed off each other’s inspiration.

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Steve Dickinson Revisits His Roots at Massie Hall

Local music fans, and particularly fans of Bob Segar, have a real treat in store this Friday at Massie Hall with a concert by Steve Dickinson.  This is a return to his roots for Steve, who grew up in nearby Elsinore, learning his vocal chops by listening to the records of Bob Segar among others.  He was the first performer to play at Massie Hall thirteen years ago when a local non-profit group bought the historic schoolhouse from the school board to create a community centre and local musician Pete Miller (May Contain Nuts) approached them with the idea of putting on concerts there.  “If I remember right,” says Steve, “I sold him the PA there.”

Steve served on the board of Summerfolk and performed there.  “For many people it seems performing at Summerfolk is seen as the pinnacle for them,” said Steve, “but I saw it as a launching pad”.  He went from there to showcases in Nashville and, over the years has recorded four albums of his own songs.

Steve had grown up playing music locally.  “Steve Richie (Tanglefoot and RPR) was the drummer in my first band,” he says.  He played around a lot with a group that included Rob Richie (Tanglefoot and RPR), Sandra Swannell (Tanglefoot and My Sweet Patootie), and Roger Williamson, who will be joining him at this concert.

“He is a great talent,” says Steve, “He and I have done some duos over the years and I feel very fortunate that he will be sitting in with me.”  Performing at Massie Hall this time around was suggested to him by Bryan Leckie (The Kreuger Band) and his is looking forward to the opportunity to play some of his own songs in an acoustic performance.  “I’m glad I’ve got some new material to play,” he says, “I’m going to tell some stories about my escapades and sing my songs.”

He also appreciates that this area is a hotbed of exceptional talent, and it’s changed since he was young, with a lot more venues open to original music.

And he has some great stories to tell.  His most recent adventures include singing on a tribute album of songs written by the legendary Glasgow songwriter Frankie Miller, joining a stellar international cast that includes Willie Nelson, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Joe Walsh, Huey Lewis, Kid Rock and many more household names.  The fact that Steve, the only Canadian and not exactly a household name, was included in the project speaks to his talent, particularly his powerful voice.