Pat Blythe – It’s All About The Music
Every week I sit down to write this column never knowing what the keyboard will produce. My fingers seem to have a mind of their own. I have a list that I don’t seem to follow. Bits and pieces of paper with notes scribbled on them scattered all over the house. Something exciting, new, interesting or completely distracting seems to pop up and my focus is once again altered and my direction changes (squirrel!). FB is providing some fuel to this fire. Here are a few items that caught my attention.
A piece of music that is….well….I can’t think of enough adjectives (or just the right ones) to describe it. Called “Crazy Horse”, it’s Mongolian fusion music at its best. Accompanied by Guo Ga, Aliocha Regnard and Enkhjargal, Mathias Duplessy has put together one of the most unique and original pieces I’ve heard in a very long time. I’ve always loved stringed instruments, particularly the violin and cello but this….it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen or heard. Thank you to friend Steven Lee for bringing this to my attention.
Crazy Horse – Duplessy & the Violins of the World
….and another new piece introduced to me by singer/songwriter Jay Sparrow. A very unusual, evocative almost ethereal piece. From her debut album Give It A Rest, Canadian producer and songwriter Brenna MacQuarre, known as Hill, released her first single titled “Beckon (Run)”. The video stars Chad Rook (War From The Planet of the Apes) and “focuses on the relationship’s momentous: vulnerability, intensity, heartbreak and disillusionment.” Beautiful and haunting.
Beckon (Run) – Hill
One of Greg Simpson’s TAFT posts, I could listen to this song repeatedly. Poignant, melodic and easy on the ears, In Your Eyes hit a particular chord with me. A top 20 hit off the album Book of Rejection in 1992, it also featured Randy Bachman on guitar. The folk/rock band took their name from Toronto Harbour’s nature reserve the Leslie Street Spit, releasing four albums between 1990 and 1996 and winning The Most Promising Group Juno in 1991. The trio, vocalist Laura Hubert, guitarists Pat Langer and Jack Nicholsen, disbanded shortly after their last album, Chocolate Chip Cookies was released. Hubert is currently part of Toronto’s jazz scene and has released three solo jazz albums. I hope to catch one of her performances this summer. Langer is a writer and Nicholsen continues to sing and act.
In Your Eyes – Leslie Spit Treeo
A jazz concert at the Glenn Gould Studio on March 19 with CBC Radio host Tim Tamashiro, Canadian tenor Ben Heppner, Don Thompson (stand up bass and piano) and guitarist Reg Schwager. So much talent in one room. Great music, incredible vibe and we all had fun. Many thanks to Jane Harbury for the photo opportunity.
The stage the Glenn Gould Studio….waiting
As part of the Michael Williams Presents series, I was back in Oakville on March 20 to hear Lisa Hartt and Don Graham. This was Hartt’s first public appearance, after a lengthy sabbatical and the evening was a sell out. Sam Taylor also joined Hartt and Graham behind the mike for the evening’s finale. I’ll be posting a schedule for these intimate, acoustic events which are held twice-monthly on Sunday evenings from 7-9pm. It’s a laid-back, relaxing way to ease into Monday.
L-R – Sam Taylor, Don Graham, Michael Williams, Lisa Hartt
….and then there was Musideum. The evening of March 22 found me in a cozy, musical haven I discovered too late to enjoy but a single night….but oh what a night! So many performers celebrating Don Quan’s loving gift to song. A place of unique instruments and exceptional talent. Musideum is closing April 2 but Quan promises to reopen in about a year. We are all holding him to that promise.
…And Now for Last Week….
An evening at Adelaide Hall on Thursday night, March 24 featuring four bands….Xprime (headliner), Mushy Callahan, The Fiscals and Pindles. I have written a number of times about the boys of Xprime. This trio never fail to impress, putting on one of the most energetic shows around and always filling a dance floor. Performing many songs off their most recent EP and giving us a taste of a few new ones, Phil Taylor (drums/vocals), Neil Carson (bass/vocals) and Steph Mercier (guitar/vocals) leave a piece of themselves behind after every show.
Mushy Callahan is a band I’ve been hearing so much about and this was my first opportunity to see them live. The stars finally aligned. The name Mushy Callahan was the ring name of Vincent Morris Scheer, and L.A.-based World Light Welterweight Division champion from 1926 to 1930. Callahan had a 30-year career taking on small roles in movies as well as working as a stuntman and advisor on boxing-related movie sets. The four-man, Toronto-based band has adopted Callahan’s name as their moniker. Originally from Alberta, the band Mushy Callahan formed in 2011. They are described as an “Indie, alternative rock band”, and are comprised of the four McCann brothers….Noah (lead vox/guitar), Jacob (bass), Joel (drums) and Lucas (guitar/keyboards). The brothers complement each other well, their voices blending and harmonizing effortlessly. Playing together since they were mere tots has allowed them a particular smooth, relaxed easiness on stage, well tuned into each other’s cues. I’ll be on the lookout for them during the music festivals this summer
Survival – Mushy Callahan
Brothers three….L-R – Jacob, Noah, Lucas
…And Finally, a Show I’ve Been Working On Now for About Six Months…ONES.
Opening night is April 23 and we are all very excited. The Yeah Yeah Yeah Band has put an incredible amount of time into perfecting the music. Horns and strings will be joining them on stage and Jain McMillian will take us on a visual journey from The Beatles’ beginning to their final farewell while Al Joynes from Q107 fills us in on the stories behind the stories. So much heart and soul has been put into this production. Check us out at http://www.onesshow.com/ and come join us on a trip.
It really is all about the music.
All photographs by Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker” except “Glenn Gould Studio”, “Xprime”, and the “Mushy Callahan Group Shot”
Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.
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In “real” life Pat Blythe has spent the past 32 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry. After an extended absence Pat is now heading back to the GTA clubs, immersing herself in the local music scene, tasting what’s on offer, talking to people and writing once again — sharing her passions and her deep love of music. Together for 34 years, Pat also workedalongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who shot much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, Plateau, Buzzsaw, Hellfield….) as well as national and international acts, Currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, Pat is currently compiling a photographic history of the local GTA music scene from 1975 to 1985. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance!