Pat Blythe: Keeping The Music Alive…Part Two


Good morning!! It’s Tuesday which means this must be “writing day”. It’s catch-up time once again. A myriad of events and happenings over the past few weeks this column might be longer than usual just so I can bring you all up-to-date. …..and of course all those lovely pictures (she says tongue-in-cheek). I’ll just take a minute to figure out where I left off……


Going waaaay back to September 9, I attended the Cirque du Soleil show, “Luzia, A Waking Dream of Mexico” with my two sisters at the “big top” down on Commissioners St. here in Toronto. It was not at all what I expected having seen the Vegas shows on the boob “toob”. Extremely colourful, at times ethereal, funny, the animals were amazing, and the show was beautifully choreographed. I was expecting a bit more acrobatics than what was on display at this particular show. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and some of those swinging leaps were breathtaking. The waterfall was spectacular! The tickets were a birthday gift from my eldest son and, as mine and my sister’s birthdays are very close together, it was lovely to celebrate together. Thank you Aarron.

Just because……

Black to Gold – Dear Rouge

The following night, September 10, found me heading to The Stone Cottage to see Sam Taylor and The East End Love. But first, a pit stop at the Nye residence for sustenance. Jon Nye and his lovely wife Cara hosted a group of us for a pre-show BBQ and drinks on the back patio. Dinner was yum and, sated, we headed towards The Love’s evening destination in a small caravan of cars. Taylor and the band had the place rocking.


Sam Taylor and The East End Love – L-R – David MacMichael, Jace,Traz and Sam Taylor


David MacMichael and Sam Taylor

….and then there was the Toronto Urban Roots Festival (TURF). Four stages (East, West, Battle of York and Rebellion) kept in continuous rotation with great music. Located at Fort York’s Garrison Common, it was another year of fun, food, beer and….did I mention music…and the FOOD!!! I ate my FIRST EVER poutine…..for breakfast!! Accompanied by Sam Taylor, who encouraged this particular indulgence and who also enjoyed the same breakfast, we strolled from one end of The Common to the other. Too many acts to choose from, we both took in The Hives (one 8G compact flash down) and then went our separate ways, meeting up later to catch the end of Matt Mays with a surprise appearance by Sam Roberts who joined Mays on stage for the song “Cocaine Cowgirl”.


September 16-18, forty-four acts kept the crowds pumped, energized, singing and very, very happy over the three-day festival. The Hives buzzed in from Sweden, local duo Whitehorse jockeyed on over from The Junction, Dropkick Murphy’s kilted in from the auld country and piped their way on to the West Stage, Barenaked Ladies strutted their stuff, Death Cab for Cuties taxied onto the East Stage, “punk folk” band Skinny Lister flew over the pond from London England, The Sheepdogs, The New Pornographers….a veritable feast of song. The weather was glorious on Friday, and after a rainy start, Saturday turned out to be another gorgeous day.

A TURF pictorial….




Dropkick Murphy’s takes the stage

Rose Tattoo – Dropkick Murphy’s


L-R – Sam Brace, Dan Heptinstall, Lorna Thomas, Thom Mills, Max Thomas, Michael Camino

Devil In Me – Skinny Lister


Matt Mays

Zita – Matt Mays (off the Coyote album)


Sam Roberts


Enjoying the show

The Hives, Pelle Almqvist and “the kick”….





Toronto’s own Whitehorse….


Melissa McClelland


Luke Doucet

Sweet Disaster -Whitehorse

Sunday evening on September 18 found me out at The Rockpile for the Rockin’ Winter Blues Series. Supported by the Toronto Blues Society (TSB) and presented by Ghost in The Machine, the concerts are in support of Camp Oochigeas. Camp Ooch (as it’s known) provides a chance for children suffering from cancer to experience life away from clinical environments, enjoy the outdoors and  revel in the camping experience. Juno award winning blues band Fathead was the featured act. I caught them last year at Palais Royale at the Toronto Blues Society’s 30th anniversary dinner and show. Known as “Canada’s most prodigious roots songwriters”, bandleader Al Lerman (harp, guitar, sax & vocals) and Bob “Omar” Tunnoch (bass & vocals) were joined on stage by band members Papa John King (Long John Baldry’s former guitarist) and drummer Bucky Berger. Incredible performance. Unfortunately lead singer John Mays, a seven-time winner of Male Vocalist of the Year at the Maple Blues Awards, is battling cancer and was unable to perform at The Rockpile show. Fathead’s music….blues at its “roots” finest.


Singer/songwriter/guitarist Michael Schatte opened the show with a powerful acoustic set. Schatte, who’s repetoire includes multiple genres — rock, blues, rockabilly, bluegrass and celtic music — is the 2015 winner of the Toronto Blues Society’s Talent Search. According to his bio, Schatte’s style is described as “contemporary roots”.


Michael Schatte


Founder of the Rockin’ Winter Blues Series Sean Patrick Armstrong and Michael Schatte

Schatte was followed by The Charlie Jacobson Band. Jacobson is a young singer/songwriter who hails from Red Deer Alberta. Both an accomplished guitarist and drummer, Jacobson’s musicality runs the gamut of blues, funk, rock, roots and R&B.  Equally comfortable fronting a four-piece band or performing solo, Jacobson has criss-crossed the Rockies and covered the prairies with hundreds of performances. We now welcome him in the East.

To find out more about the Rockin’ Winter Blues Series and Camp Ooch check out these sites…. and and come on out and support a great cause and enoy some incredible music.


L-R – Charlie Jacobson and Bryant Didier

The boys from Fathead…..


Al Lerman


Bucky Berger


L-R – Bob “Omar” Tunnoch and Papa John King

This is an older video but I really love the song, and especially the sax….

Just Another Day – Fathead

Moving right along, September 23 found me at Music Gallery on John St. attending the launch of AHI’s debut album, We Made It Through the Wreckage. Opening for AHI was none other than Sam Taylor. His powerful, emotive voice combined with his accomplished guitar playing had the audience in awe. Taylor’s acoustic sets just blow the lid off any venue. Performing publicly since the age of seven, Taylor’s ease and comfort on stage belie his youth and his love of the guitar is written all over his face.


Music Gallery pre-show setup

AHI and his four-piece ensemble (which included Taylor on lead guitar) then took the stage. Playing to a full house, the show was over far too soon. Performing all the tunes from the new album, musicians Tim O’Reilly (bass), Shawn Kelly (drums) and Todd Pentney (keyboard) accompanied AHI on stage.  A passionate man, this is reflected in AHI’s music, his lyrics and his voice, which has been described as “gravel on silk”. AHI is currently on a cross-Canada tour. His next appearance is October 6 in Moncton, New Brunswick at the Tide and Boar. The new release is available only on vinyl and cassette. You can see AHI’s itinerary and purchase the new album here are


L-R – Todd Pentney, Tim O’Reilly, Shawn Killaly, AHI, Sam Taylor


L-R – Todd Pentney, AHI, Tim O’Reilly

Rockin’ Robin’s final BBQ bash took place on Sunday, Sept. 25 which just happened to be my birthday. ….and what a rockin’ BBQ it was. Music and food at its finest. The bands included Sam Taylor and The East End Love and Derrick Gyles (Images in Vogue). Loads of my favourite meatballs, surrounded by good friends, an amazing birthday cake and an evening bonfire. The weather was perfect! What an absolutely fantastic way to spend a birthday. Heartfelt thanks go out to Robin Campbell and Risa Black for making the day so special. We also celebrated Alice Black’s birthday (which falls on September 27) so two cakes appeared. On the top of Alice’s cake was a picture I had taken of her at a previous event, smoking her stogie. Oh, and Sam, how’s Alice’s song coming? “I Left My Pink Ukulele in the Back of The Rolls”…..


The rest of the BBQ pics will be up on my FB page (A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker) later this week.

Happy Birthday To You – The Beatles

Unfortunately I missed the second Rockin’ Blues show with Toney Springer, Sam Taylor, Jerome Godboo and Susan O’Quinn so I’m going to sign off with this….

Backdoor Man – Sam Taylor live at The Rockpile

My trip to North Carolina, plus the launch of Julian Taylor’s new album Desert Star and of course, Thanksgiving….next week.

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



Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Contact us at:

dbawis-button7“Music and photography….my heart, my passions.” After an extended absence —  33 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry — Pat has turned her focus back to the music scene. Immersing herself in the local club circuit, attending the many diverse music festivals, listening to some great music, photographing and writing once again, she is eager to spread the word about this great Music City of ours…..Toronto. Together for 34 years, Pat little-red-headed-dancing-girlalso worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who, beginning in the early 70s, photographed much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, BB Gabor, the first Police Picnic, Buzzsaw, Hellfield, Shooter, The Segarini Band….) as well as national and international acts. Pat is currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, 20 of which are a photographic history of the local GTA music scene beginning in 1974. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance! 

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