Pat Blythe – The Movies of My Life….


The weeks, days, minutes, even seconds spin by so fast and another day rapidly approaches. Everything starts to run together and life becomes a joyful blur of music and people. I want to capture every moment, not just with a camera but in my mind and my heart. To be able to embrace the memories, close my eyes and watch the movies of my life roll by.


Is it possible we can pack so much into one short lifetime and still only touch a minute portion of what’s available? Time….we hold it in the palm of our hand….what we do with it, where we take it, how we see it. We can never get it back so…. Live. Love. Laugh. Enjoy. Go for it!

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Sarah Smith

The past seven days have been jammed full. My niece headed home last Thursday after a whirlwind trip traipsing all over Toronto, out to Hamilton and back. Cars, bars and yep …… more bars. Wednesday evening, April 20 found us at Hugh’s Room to see Emm Gryner and Sarah Smith. WHAT AN EVENING!!!! I have seen Smith solo and with her band a number of times now and I never tire of watching her perform. She is just magic on stage, putting her heart and soul out there for all to see. Constantly touring either with her full band or just her and her acoustic guitar (Smith had just arrived home from Germany) she is known as one of the hardest working artists in the business playing about 300 shows a year. Smith is so easy to photograph with a smile that just lights up a room. She sings from the gut and the heart with a voice that is reminiscent of Melissa Etheridge with a rockier edge. After performing with The Joys for almost 10 years, Smith went solo in 2012 and has never looked back. She now has two albums out, Stronger Now (2012) and The Journey (2015). I was joined by good friends Marysia Gonsalvez, Pat Kelly and Sam Taylor for the evening and we had the perfect table to watch the show. Only Taylor and I had seen Sarah live so the others were in for a treat.

Into The Light – Sarah Smith

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Emm Gryner and Sarah Smith

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L-R – Guy Miskelly, Sarah Smith, Bobby Reynolds, Ken Ross

I am almost embarrassed to admit I had never heard of singer/songwriter Emm Gryner. Originally from Sarnia, Ontario, Gryner headed to Toronto in 1995, after attending Fanshawe College, to kickstart her music career. She entered an original song, “Wisdom Bus” in a Canada-wide songwriting contest that had been sponsored by Standard Broadcasting. She won and recorded an album with her winnings, attracting the attention of producer Warren Bruleigh (Violent Femmes). Two of her subsequent albums were nominated by the Juno’s for Pop Album of the Year. In 1999 Gryner went on to play keyboards for David Bowie. Gryner also collaborated with astronaut Chris Hadfield on a cover version of Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, part of which was recorded on The International Space Station. She has released 15 albums of original material and continues to write and perform. Playing both piano and guitar, Gryner has a strong, clear and passionate voice. I would love to see her perform again. However, I’m left wondering….exactly how many feet high were those shoes she was wearing?

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Emm Gryner

Pour Some Sugar On Me – Emm Gryner (Def Leppard cover)

Friday found me in Keswick with the ONES show for rehearsal. I brought young photographer and graphic designer Dylan Weller and the two of us proceeded to shoot the full, two-hour dress rehearsal complete with the strings and horns. A wonderful, tantalizing teaser of what was to come opening night. Just after 5pm I was back in the car, after a wardrobe change, heading for Wasaga Beach with Sandy Graham to attend a press event for the launch of Beach One Cerveza, brewed by Wasaga Beach Brewing Company, a new company who is also sponsoring Alex Fisher, a new artist signed to Entertainment Music Group (EMG). The place was packed and I darted around the room taking pictures. I ran into Sam Reid (Glass Tiger) who remembered my husband Chris from many years previous. We chatted about Chris, the business and I filled him in on the ONES show. It’s late. Kiss, kiss, hug, hug and we were headed home. By the way, I don’t drink beer but this one is good. No bitter aftertaste (yeah I know, sounds like a commercial) but it really is good beer. Perfect for a Shandy.

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L-R – Alex Fisher, Sam Reid (Glass Tiger), Dave Cubitt (Wasaga Beach Brewing Company President)

A two-hour photo shoot in the Beach for singer Johnny Wright and then I hit the road again, heading north for Keswick.

ONES_11 x 17 keswickIT’S OPENING NIGHT!!!!! I’m so excited! A sold out show (at the last minute). I’m still trying to figure out why people wait until the very last second before deciding to purchase a seat in the nosebleed section. You give all promoters and producers heart palpitations every time.

Oh what a night! From the first strum of the guitar, the audience was engaged and moving. Just look up into the crowd….yes, lip synching at its finest. Everyone knew the words to all the songs and I’m sure some new dance moves were created in those seats. Narrator Al Joynes (Q107 Psychedelic Snack), who was ten feet tall on the big screen, had them laughing and clapping as he told the story of the Beatles from their first landing in America to their final concert on the roof of Apple Records, and their subsequent demise. A younger and much more agile Weller and I were attempting to catch the moments on “film”, including the dancers who hit the floor during the encore (yep, I was dancing with ’em). A few minor hiccups handled with humour and aplomb and the cast received a standing ovation and encore.  Dedicated to Don McLean, Producer Frank Zirone’s lifelong friend and collaborator, who passed away quite suddenly last December, this project has been near and dear to Zirone’s heart for many years.  Frank….Don would be so proud.

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L-R – Frank Zirone, David Love

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The Pepperland Horns – Tara Davidson on sax and Anita McAlister on trumpet

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The Penny Lane Strings – L-R – Sonia Klimasko, Nastassia Leheniuk, Wendy Soloman

Members of the Yeah Yeah Yeah band are Frank Zirone (guitar/vocals), Bruce Nasmith (keyboards/guitar/vocals), Frank “Fringo” Russell (drums/vocals), Kevin Rolston (bass/vocals), and David Love (guitar/vocals). The Pepperland Horns are  Tara Davidson, alto and tenor saxophone and Anita McAlister, trumpet.  The Penny Lane Strings are Sonia Klimasko and Nastassia Leheniuk, violins and Wendy Soloman, cello. Special kudos go to graphic designer Jain McMillian who’s wonderfully crafted and creative multi-media show is really the icing on the cake. As the program states, her deep love for the Beatles shines through. She really is the sixth member of the band. Check out Next show is in Cobourg, April 24. I’ll be there with my dancing shoes on!

…and finally….

MichaelWilliams_pressheader4 Sunday lights

Sunday night finds me back in Oakville for another evening of acoustic delights. Natasha Waterman and Neil Carson of Xprime were the featured artists.

Local Oakville artist Lorne Allan, a Michael Williams Open Mic discovery, opened the show. He immediately had the audiences’ undivided attention. Easy going and relaxed but what a voice! As well, a young, 14-year-old Shruti Ramachaundran arrived with her brother Thrice and parents to ‘audition’ for Open Mic. She did (albeit long past Open Mic hours) and Williams promptly invited her to join us in El Salon to open for the opener. What a beautiful, strong, powerful voice. With her Thrice accompanying her on the guitar, she nervously sang two songs (one of them was Valery). At the end of the evening she joined Natasha for a song, voices matching strength for strength.

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Shruti Ramachaundran and Thrice with Natasha Waterman and Michael Williams

Always a pleasure to hear singer/songwriter Neil Carson sing. He opened with a great rendition of Neil Young’s “A Heart of Gold”, performed some brand new tunes coming up on Xprime’s album and always manages to fit in at least one Beatle tune.  Waterman has a powerful, soulful voice that just fills the room. Engaging and full of stories, Waterman sings with her heart on her sleeve. It was another wonderful evening LISTENING to some fabulous music presented by gifted performers.

In My Life (Beatles cover) – Neil Carson and Steph Mercier

City Girl – Natasha Waterman

CMW coming up in just over a week. Both Veronica and I will be filling you in on all the events, sessions and excitement during festival. Get your party hats on and your dancing shoes ready by the door. It’s gonna be a blast!


All photos by Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker”



Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

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dbawis-buttonIn “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 workedpblythealongside 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!

One Response to “Pat Blythe – The Movies of My Life….”

  1. yikes! the woman who never sleeps! 😉 What a wonderful week!

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