Roxanne Tellier: CMW 2015 … And So It Begins

rox cmw2015

Finally, after a long, cold winter, I’m coming up for airto a bright spring promisinga musical overload. Perfect weather, indeed, for enjoying Fergus Hambleton  at Hugh’s Room on Wednesday, where he showcased his sunny signature sound and new CD “Written on the Wind. “

Written on the Wind cover

Thanks to Current Management’s Gerry Young, whowas there with jazzy, soulful singer Emilia, you couldn’t throw a bottle cap at Hugh’s without hitting a DBAWIS scribe; Jaimie Vernon was seated near the front of the stage, while Pat Blythe prowled the room for good camera angles– she’ll have some pics this Wednesday.


Unfortunately, I missed opening act, the Ault Sisters, but I did catch them doing backups with Fergus on a few of his tunes, and enjoyed their harmonies.

The CDs title track is an earworm that I can’t shake, but I also loved Fergus’ take on Brian Hyland’s classic “Sealed with a Kiss.”

Friday, Pat and I met up for CMW Registration at the Sheraton, before heading over to the Tranzac to catch Annette Shaffer’s weekly 5-7pm jam. As always, it’s two hours well and comfortably spent, as Annette, along with regulars Ben Walker, Wayne Smith, and a core of players and fans, wander through music both classic and original.

Annette Shaffer

I had never heard one of Annette’s signature songs, “If You Don’t Come Back to Me Now,” before hearing her version. Written by Kevin Quain,  a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and award-winning playwright, he and his group, The Mad Bastards, held down an 18-year weekly residency at the  Cameron House until 2012. Hoping to catch him playing some time soon.

david celiaOn the advice of singer-songwriter Ben Walker, who’s at Gate 403with his jazz trio tonight (Sunday.9pm-midnight) Pat and I raced over to the Cameron House,  to catch the end ofDavid Celia’s regular Friday  6-8pm set. We thoroughly enjoyed David’s alt/funk tuneage, and the contributions of Tim Jackson on bass, and the amazing Cleave Anderson (Blue Rodeo) on drums.

A personal favourite of the set was his “Don’t Be Afraid,” complete with kazoo solo!

David’s just back from a whirlwind European tour, and is looking forward to his June 4thDouble Mind” CD release party, at the Great Hall.

Patrick Brealey followed at 8 pm. Patrick is another stalwart of the Cameron scene, with a great infectious sound. So infectious that I actually found myself up and dancing with Pat and regular Crazy Mary, who insisted we join her on the dance floor, to songs like this:“Look at Miss Ohio“.

Then it was off to the Horseshoe, to officially begin CMW’s program.

cmw 2015 colour logo

The ‘Shoe was packed, and we just caught the end of Rocco Deluca’s set, as we bellied up to the bar. I was looking forward to hearing Daniel Lanois, who engineered my song “Touch Me Where I Rock,”way back in the Grant Avenue Studio days, before he began collaborating with Brian Eno, or became known for producing albums for folks like U2, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Neil Young and Peter Gabriel.

Lanois Grant Avenue

The room buzzed with excitement, as new fans and old awaited his set. I was hoping to hear some of his solo work, in the Cajun style, and was not disappointed. It’s hard to believe that it was at the Diamond Club in 1989 that I first heard the catchy “Jolie Louise.”

His latest work, Flesh and Machine, recently showcased on a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR music, is ambient, processed from steel and electric guitar, piano and human voice, to create a “sound palette.”

It was great to see Cherish Stevenson, gorgeous as usual and delightful to hug. She invited us all back to Cherry Cola’s, but I had to beg off, as the night was young, but I was not.



Rox Rants Ahead!



I still had to get home, and thanks to our archaic infrastructure and bickering amongst politicians, Toronto has terrible transit offerings. Whilst lip service is given to creating a mythical Music City, rife with financial opportunities for business and entertainment taxes, the public is getting short shrift, especially when it comes to transportation.


Considering that the bars offer longer hours, most staying open until 4a.m. during special events, it seems utterly backward for the TTC to maintain regularly scheduled hours. There are several all-night buses to serve the GTA, but the Greater Toronto Area is 622 square kilometres in size, and has a population of over 6 million people. There are a lot of late night revelers trying to leave the city after blowing the night’s budget.

TTC better way

The last GO train heading to suburbia leaves Union Station just after midnight, while streetcars and buses cut off service by 1 a.m., and the subway only runs until 1:30 a.m. This is NOT the better way.

Those hoping to enjoy entertainment offerings in downtown Toronto can get in to the core during regular hours, but getting home, a little worse for wear and still high from good music, is an exercise in patience and requires nerves of steel, as you stare into the dark night, waiting for one of the few all-night buses. It’s frustrating and potentially dangerous, especially for women, and long past time for the TTC to expand not only their fleet and coverage but their working hours as well, to accommodate the reality of Toronto citizens’ hours of work and play.

no patio smokingI’m also not at all impressed by the newly minted law, which even non-smokers can’t understand,which forbids smoking on bar and restaurant patios. I’m already hearing grumbling from bar owners, who are seeing a drop in revenue. Smokers drink, drinkers smoke. We were already pushed outside to puff miserably away in any weather, why was it necessary to isolate us even further? The new law seems vindictive and petty.

We Concludes this Week’s ROX RANTS. Smoke ’em if you got ’em…somewhere.


There’s lots of good stuff in the week ahead, as the CMW engine ramps up to full throttle with music, comedy, films, and conferences. With 1,000 bands at more than 60 venues, we’re spoiled for choice indeed.


Pat Blythe and I, the eternal students, will be covering as many conference bases as we can during the day, and hitting the clubs by night. Bob Segarini will be trawling the musical waters, and bringing us back the catch of the day.

I’m generally open to any musical genre, but there are only so many hours in the day. I’ve got some notes penciled in to my program on who to see and where to be, and I’m open to suggestions on bands that might be flying under the radar.  You can leave a comment here, or find me on my Facebook page.


Roxanne’s column appears here every Sunday 

Contact us at

DBAWIS ButtonRoxanne Tellier has been singing since she was 10 months old … no, really. Not like she’s telling anyone else how to live their lives, because she’s not judgmental, and most 10 month olds need a little more time to figure out how to hold a microphone. She has also been a vocalist with many acts, including Tangents, Lady, Performer, Mambo Jimi, and Delta Tango. In 2013 she co-hosted Bob Segarini’s podcast, The Bobcast, and, along with Bobert, will continue to seek out and destroy the people who cancelled ‘Bunheads’.

One Response to “Roxanne Tellier: CMW 2015 … And So It Begins”

  1. Betty and Veronica…..that’s us….cruising and schmoozing at CMW… good coverage there Veronica…..and good to get the dancing shoes back on again eh?

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