CMW….The Bands, The Music, The Food, The Rain…..

Well…..I’m sick and wide awake at 2am, coughing…. I refuse to bow down to the Spirit Virus. I will not yield to the scourge that is coursing through my system…my eyes, my nose, my body. I will not lie down on the Altar of Kleenex. I reject this damnable cold…. (it’s amazing what your brain comes up with at 2am). I am in denial but it’s not working. So, with a box of Kleenex, a cup of tea and enough ibuprofen in my system to kill an elephant, I power on. Homemade soup comes later.


I’m missing the CSARN conference I’ve been looking forward to for weeks. Gordon Pinsent is an honorary board member and actor Martha Henry is the Artistic Advisor. From the CSARN website, Formerly known as the Canadian Senior Artists’ Resource Network, CSARN [pronounced see-sarn] was created to help Canada’s senior professional artists maintain creative and healthy lives. We do this through a number of programs: mentorshipseminars, our annual  Maintaining Creativity conference (which is the one I’m missing), our Seniors’ Care Advisory Program, and the source section of our website.” Actually, if anybody out there has the skills and the time, they could use some serious help with their website. My lovely friend Judy will pick up the slack again for the second year running. My apologies Judy for letting you down but I didn’t think hacking up a lung would go over well with that particular crowd. For all you mature artists, check out CSARN at

Well, another CMW done and dusted and what a busy, busy week it was. The heralding of festival season although the weather was not very co-operative. The downtown Sheraton Hotel lobby and bar were packed with bodies…connections made, long lost friends rediscovered, introductions abounded and the libations were flowing. Oh….and there were seminars and music as well. I must confess, I have never seen such an eclectic wardrobe as was on display this year. From makeup to shoes, top to bottom, there were some overstated, funky, zany, colourful and downright outrageous outfits. Damn I wish I had taken some pics. ….and those little flowered shoes straight out of the Paris salons of Louis XVI.

Close enough…..

Several streams of conferences/sessions were on offer — Digital Music, Radio Summit, Music Summit, Film and Comedy Fests, CMW’s Sync Fest, Mentors Cafe, the trade show and so much more. There was enough to satisfy everyone’s palate. Kudos to the approximately 1,000 bands/musicians/performers from around the world who once again descended on our fair Music City to entertain the masses. The crowds followed them from club to club. An abundance of music that serenaded our ears, our hearts, our minds and got our bodies dancing. Showcases were everywhere and in many of the locales the entertainment started at 7pm, not ending until the wee hours, some as late as 4am.

At this point I want to give a shout out to the ladies manning the media booth. You were awesome! Friendly, efficient and oh so quick. Thank you to Neill Dixon and his entire team including Greg Simpson, Earle Taylor, Donna Creighton (I know there are waaaaay more people I just don’t know their names). You all worked tirelessly, long hours, short or non-existent breaks, endless days long into the evenings and you kept on smiling. I thank everyone of you!

A little musical interlude….some smooth jazz.

Spice Island – Eddie Bullen

I had the great pleasure of hanging with friend Eddie Bullen for a couple of afternoons attending a few sessions, noshing at the bar restaurant and chatting with folks in the lobby. Bullen’s son Quincy attended on Friday and it was lovely to see him again. Eddie and Quincy are The Dueling Pianos. If you haven’t caught their show, it’s a must. Jazz, Calypso, classical, R&B, a little rock and full of wonderful stories. Check out Eddie’s website for concert dates We schmoozed in the bar and I had the pleasure of meeting Bruce Bradley of Slammin’ Media, Ian Davies of Sunfest (from my home town of London) as well as producer and songwriter David Shaw. It was lovely to see good friend Susan Rosenberg of Live Nation, and to run into David McMillian of MacMillian Music Marketing, the boys at the El Mo booth….Greg Godovitz, Pat Kelly and Eddie Kramer, the latter with whom I spend considerable time chatting about photography….his, mine and Chris’s. Oh so many faces, too numerous to mention. ….and I had the boys from James Blonde (Phil Taylor and Steph Mercier) crashing at the house for a few nights. They’re house-trained and can be left to their own devices… Just make sure you have coffee and bagels on hand.

Quincy (l) and Eddie (r) Bullen

Day One, April 18 – Meet Veronica/Rox at the hotel, retrieve media wristband, seminar guide and music schedule, lunch and a drink in the hotel bar (thank you Roxanne), then I had to dash to shoot the ONES show rehearsal at RATSPACE II on Dupont.

Day Two, April 19, it’s grant writing time for The Picture Taker Project and now for some music. Down to the Sheraton to meet up with Rox who was in the “green room” chatting with Donna Creighton. It was dinner at Quincy’s and then time for Rox and I to head over to Adelaide Hall to catch the James Blonde. All new tunes, all from the their new, upcoming album. Fantastic show and I love their new music….a band that has grown and matured over the years. Long chat with Michael Greggs, James Blonde’s manager. We found out we have a lot of people in common from the later 70s and early 80s. Funny the connections you make once you start talking.

Steph Mercier (l) and Neil Carson (r) of James Blonde

Phil Taylor of James Blonde

Day Three, April 20 and Thursday is always busy. By now everyone is in town…. speakers, delegates, promoters, managers, agents, record company execs, musicians….the list is endless and everywhere are hundreds of faces milling around the lobby and bar…..and it’s only 1pm in the afternoon. By 5pm you can’t move. I have a meeting at noon and then head down the escalator. Wending my way through throng downstairs where all the seminars are and  run smack into Bullen. We decide to attend a couple of sessions and then head back upstairs where the bar mob is collecting. I eventually bid adieu to everyone and head out into the night. I have a few clubs to hit.

Kerosene – Courage My Love

Now here I digress a bit. I had my club scene/band schedule all worked out well ahead of time based on CMW’s website and programme. It’s a tightly timed, co-ordinated effort to bounce from place-place-place to catch the bands one wants to see.  Well, apparently there were some changes….. I missed Courage My Love at the Velvet Underground due to a scheduling change….they went on at 10pm instead of 8pm. Then the snowball effect hits  and almost everything is a miss including the Hugh’s Room Live reception…..and it’s raining…..and raining hard.

Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland

So, with everything else a wash, to the Phoenix I headed….late….meeting up with Sam Taylor and Maia Van Raes. Managed to catch the tail end of Amelia Curran and her band, Tanya Tagaq (more on her in next week’s column) and finally, the band I had really come to see, Whitehorse. …..and what a show it was. This husband and wife team (Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland) now have a full band after performing as duo for many years using McClelland’s fondness for looping to fill in the sound. I saw them at TURF last year and have to say, I love them with the band and much prefer them up front where they belong, their chemistry taking centre stage. Their “coupledom” is obvious. They supremely enjoy what they do and that feeling spills over to the audience. It was an amazing show, Doucet’s and McClelland’s voices distinct yet blending and harmonizing together beautifully. Doucet is a consummate guitar player, working the instrument with the ease and grace of a master. I’m not big on guitar solos but Doucet’s…..I can listen to his. McClelland moves effortlessly between bass, six strings and keys and her voice is clear and true. ….and who uses a telephone receiver as a mic….Whitehorse do. A combination of blues, folk and rock. Look for their new album Panther in the Dollhouse.

Singin’ on the Telephone

Loved the silver shoes…..

Boys Like You – Whitehorse

Sweet Disaster – Whitehorse

I’m fading so I’ll end this lengthy diatribe here. I’ll cover off Friday, Saturday and Sunday next week. Needless to say, what a blast!!!

Oh, and this was posted on Facebook by fellow scribe Roxanne Tellier. Take five and watch, it’s excellent! Heineken presents ‘Worlds Apart’ An Experiment. Can two strangers with opposing views prove that there’s more that unites than divides us?” Well done Heineken!

Worlds Apart – Heineken


Coming up for your Live Listening Pleasure

April 27 – Eton House – Sam Taylor

April 28 – Showplace Performance Centre, Peterborough – ONES

April 28 – The Linsmore, Robbie Rox and the Power Quintet

April 29 – Meaford Hall, Eddie Bullen and Coldjack

April 30 – Olde Stone Cottage, Tim Williams, Dinner and a Song, (2:30pm)

April 30 – Taste of Columbia, El Salon, Eddie Bullen and Liberty Silver

May 3 – Rebel, Eagles of Death Metal

May 4 – Lee’s Palace, Jack The Lads, A Fellowship

May 6 – Danforth Music Hall, Rival Sons (Teatro Fiasco tour)

May 11 – Grace Church-on-the-Hill, Ensemble Vivant

May 12 – Horseshoe Tavern, The Damned Truth

Every Wednesday @ The Inter Steer, Fraser/Daley

Some of the upcoming Summer Festivals

SING! Vocal Arts Festival – May 23-28 Music Festival – May 27

DesiFest  – June 3

Bestival – Dates TBA

Afrobeat Festival – July 8-9

NXNE – June 16-25

Luminato – June 14-24

TD Toronto Jazz Festival – June 23 – July 2

Beaches International Jazz Festival – July 24-30

Electric Island – Summer Music Series – May 22, July 1, August 7, September 3&4

TURF – Dates TBA

Indie Week – Dates TBA


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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