Roxanne Tellier – Panic, Packing, and Pagliaro


So .. I’m five weeks out of leaving this house, and utterly, utterly frozen in a paralysis of what comes next. Where will I be living? Still trying to figure that out.  What do I do with all of this STUFF .. so much on the go, it’s like living in  the largest and untidiest stress bubble on the planet.

You live in a half live when you’re moving like this ..  do you buy food? Of course you must! You still have to get from here to there! But .. it feels like .. no, you should be packing. You shouldn’t be bringing in MORE STUFF!

So you pack the obvious items, but can’t pack the things you use on a daily basis, which is all of the mess you see around you. You gotta eat, so you have to buy groceries. You still have to bathe, and shampoo, and have all the products those oblations entail. But .. it just feels weird.

Not to mention .. all of my eco warrior and freecycle mania is on hold as I try to move the bits and pieces somewhere .. anywhere … with the least ecological damage as possible. Anyone need a 17 foot ficus benjamina? A hibiscus that’s taking over the world? A pool noodle?

It’s madness. It’s a nightmare. It’s exhausting. And it’s my current reality, 24/7.

So I was more than chuffed to be invited to join a friend  to see Michel Pagliaro on a rare visit to Toronto. Depending upon whom you ask, Pag hasn’t done a gig here in between 10 to 30 years. It was historic.


Especially for an ex-Montrealer. Let’s face it .. the holy trinity of Montreal singer/songwriters includes Gino Vanelli, Jesse Winchester, and Michel Pagliaro. I had seen the other two in their prime .. it was Pag that was missing from the tuneful triad.

The Phoenix date this past Thursday was for many Montreal ex-pats a very real must-see life event.

The show was opened by Hamiltonian Tomi Swick. He and his band kicked it out with gusto, as they tore through songs from his latest album, “The Yukon Motel, ”  out later this year.

tomi-swickSinger-songwriter Tomi Swick is a Hamilton native who was recognized for his debut album “Stalled out in the Doorway” in 2007 by winning the Juno for best new artist and a nomination for pop record of the year as well as 2 Canadian radio music awards, the Socan A/C songwriting award and multiple Hamilton music awards. A Warner/Chappell Publishing recording artist, Tomi spent four months in London England where he recorded his second album with top British producer Chris Potter of Verve / Richard Ashcroft Acclaim as well as many others.  This self titled record ” Tomi Swick” was released on Warner Music Canada in 2012. Tomi has written, toured and played with many great bands and artists such as Julian Lennon, The Barenaked Ladies, The Goo Goo Dolls, Stabilo, Collective Soul, Tom Cochrane, Tom Wilson, Sam Roberts, Big Wreck, Feist , Jeremy Fisher, Blue Rodeo, Ron Sexsmith etc….    (from his site,

I was disappointed with the middy, muddy, vocal sound that prevented me from hearing Tomi’s words or lyrics clearly. I hoped that the sound would improve as the night wore on.

And then it was time for the headliner – Quebec‘s first rock star, Michel Pagliaro, also the first Canadian artist to receive gold records in both official languages. His hits, including “Some Sing Some Dance,” “J’ai marché pour une nation,” “Rainshowers,” “Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy,” “J’entends frapper,” “What The Hell I Got,” and “Fou de toi” have earned him such honours as the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and an induction into the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, a SOCAN National Achievement Award and an RPM Gold Leaf Award (the precursor to the Junos).


Pag bounded onto the stage in sunglasses and a “Canadian Tux,” (blue jeans and jean jacket,) with an energy that would have put a thirty year old rocker to shame, and kicked off the hard rocking, 90 minute set with one of his biggest hits.

The set proceeded apace, with a melange of his French and English hits, easily segueing from Beatlesque pop to riff and roots rock without a blink. It was seamless, non-stop, and as exciting to listen to as when the songs were first released. His band were tight, hitting all the right notes and then some, allowing Pag’s charisma and showmanship to shine.  Photo by Margaret Catto


Despite the fact that he was in fine voice, the sound had not improved, and it was often difficult to tell if songs were in English or French. Luckily, the energy on stage and in the crowd carried the night.

Sing-along time …

Hey baby on my mind. You’re doin’ something to me all the time. Too much and always stoned. I’m drinking baby, drinking all alone.

Don’t know what the hell I got. Whatever it is it’s an awful lot.  Hey, I’m gonna lose control –  From my liver to my very soul! I don’t wanna be lonely, lonely without love.

Some sing, some dance. Some like romance. I love lovin’

Good vibrations with mankind,  could set me free. So do it for me.”

And yes – he closed the set with his classic rocker, the song that encapsulates his sound, and the biggest-selling 7-inch single in the history of Quebec music, “J’entends Frapper.”

Apparently Pag signed autographs and posed for photos after the show, a magnanimous and kind-hearted gift to his loyal fans.

But I, alas, had to jet back to my worrying and packing on the home front. At least for a few hours, I could put aside my fretting, and I floated homeward on a cloud of gratitude for the excellent, classic, and enthusiastically performed music Pag shared with us.


Ironically, our house sale closes the same day as the American election. It should be a memorable day indeed.

I need a laugh. SNL gave me a hearty one, with their take on the first Presidential Debate


Roxanne’s column appears here every Sunday 

Contact us at

dbawis-button7Roxanne 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’. 

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