Pat Blythe – That’s A Wrap…..CMW, JRLMA and a very special concert…….

Indulge me for just a moment. I’d like to begin this week’s column with a very poignant piece my “daughter” sent me. Colleen is actually my former daughter-in-law and a young woman I continue to consider my daughter. Over the years our friendship has grown and deepened with much love and mutual respect. When she decides to return to Canada from what has now become her home base of Thailand, she bunks in at my place for sometimes as long as a month. I enjoy her companionship and miss terribly her when she is gone. Artistically creative, Colleen is a wonderful copy writer and blogger. The two of us can sit in the same room tapping away on our respective keyboards in a companionable silence that is rare. Intelligent, beautiful inside and out, open-minded, a musician (she has a beautiful voice and plays guitar), Colleen is simply a joy to spend time with. As for our lengthy discussions, nothing is off the table. Refreshing!

Richard Wagamese

A few days ago we were reminiscing about Chris (probably me more than Colleen). The very recent death of friend and DBAWIS scribe, Frank Gutch Jr. became part of the conversation as I will be heading to Oregon next month to meet his sister. Our many shared memories of what has gone on before, the dramatic changes that have unfolded in our individual lives over the past few years and where we are now…..I’m not sure that discussion was the only trigger for but this beautiful piece by Ojibwe/Ojibway author, the late Richard Wagamese, applies to all of us who are getting slightly longer in the tooth and for whom nostalgic leanings are growing stronger with each passing day. With more years behind us than in ahead of us and the loss of so many who mean so much to us, the memories come surging back. The analogy…..perfect…..

“Thought’s on Grief: Grief is a strange thing. It makes you wish your life was like a cassette player. You want to rewind to a particular point, to re-experience so you might recapture some of the magic of a cherished moment. Then you want to press pause so you can stay there, linger and absorb it all again. Moments later you want to press fast forward so you can take yourself out and away from where you are, free yourself somehow from the reality of this heavyhearted moment. But if life IS like a cassette machine then the only real way to move is to just press play and move though the grief, the loss, the pain. That’s how life’s best music is created.” – Richard Wagamese

Now, for a recap of CMW…..

It’s late Monday afternoon (May 7) and it’s time to link up with our esteemed editor and check in at the media desk to pick up the our media wristbands and collateral material. I then head over head over to the Phoenix Concert Theatre to catch the Monowhales (formerly Ginger Ale & The Monowhales). This band apparently has pockets loaded with Mexican jumping beans. They don’t stop moving and their energy is just electric. Lead singer Sally Shaar is a fireball, darting and bouncing around on stage mic in hand, blonde hair flying. Her voice….strong and clear and perfect for the lively (and lyrically very direct) pop songs this band performs. The love and passion this band has for the music is palpable and the audience returns the love and passion in kind.

The crowds….

A little “body surfing”….

The Phoenix was heaving with cheering, rocking, singing bodies. At one point, after checking in with those closest to the stage, Shaar launched herself into the crowd and was expertly caught by many waiting hands. Mosh pit delight. Carefully passed around in undulating waves Shaar was transported back to the front where security guards deftly picked her up and lifted her back on to the stage. The woman has great aim, daring and guts…..and a boatload of trust. Just to give you a slightly clearer picture, there was a barricade (creating the photo pit) placed about four feet out from the front of the stage. In order to clear the pit Shaar pushed herself off the stage, the toe of her right shoe touching the top rail of the barrier propelling her into the crowd…..and they were ready for her. Monowhale members include Shaar, Holly Jamieson on keys, synth, Zac Zanardo on lead guitar and Jordan Circosta on drums.

To listen (and watch) the Monowhales latest release Real Love, click here  Their videos are unique and innovative….some of the most creative and colourful I’ve seen. Real Love is one of the songs that will be released on their newest EP Control Freak June 1, 2018.

Take It Back – Monowhales

Tuesday evening I headed to Cherry Cola’s to see The Crooked, J.C. Sandoval’s new band. These guys are rapidly making some noise on the club scene and audiences are taking notice. Sandoval founded the band just over a year ago and The Crooked released their debut video just a couple of months ago. Cherry’s was wall-to-wall, sweating bodies all waiting for Sandoval (Di Mannequin/Secret Broadcast) to take the stage.

Wednesday was the first day of the actual conference with attendees lining up to pick up badges and register starting at 7am. Me…..I was still furiously finishing off my column after only a few hours sleep. I headed down to the Sheraton mid-afternoon and caught up with Eddie Bullen and his son Quincy. Phil Taylor and Steph Mercier of James Blonde were also in town, taking advantage of Chez Blythe for one night. It was also the first day of the trade show so I wandered through stopping for my yearly catch-up chat with Jim Norris, publisher of Canadian Musician (Norris-Whitney Communications). A lifetime ago Norris was drumming for Seadog one of my favourite (local) live acts in the 70’s. We’ve managed to keep in touch off and on over the years.

At CMW there are always familiar faces and I love meeting new ones. People come in from all over the world to connect and learn. Long-time friend Greg Simpson runs the radio stream of the conference, along with writing all the speaker intros, keeping all sessions running smoothly and on time. Simpson has been with CMW for 27 years and is a familiar face to the hundreds (I’d wager thousands) of participants who attend every year. His connections in the music and radio industry run strong and deep. He is a well respected musicologist who’s background in promotion, artist management, radio, announcer as well as his time running various record stores for Sam The Record Man, Records on Wheels and Mister Sound (to name a few), his daily Today’s Almost Forgotten Tracks (TAFT) and Tenniversary pieces on Facebook and a host of other talents make Simpson a valuable asset to the CMW team. His CMW dinners are famous.

I had received an invitation to the Radio Music Awards for the first time so decided to check it out. My type of awards show….short, sweet, fantastic entertainment and we were out of there just after 9:30pm. Inbetween verbal bantering and award announcements a different band played…three had been nominated for various awards in their category… and sister duo The Reklaws and River Town Saints (both up for Best New Group Solo Artist Country, River Town Saints won) Romes, New City (these guys won for Best New Group or Solo Artist Dance/Urban/Rhythmic) and Felix Cartel. Aterwards I headed to the Bovine Sex Club to see Brazilian band Trampa, running into DBAWIS writer Peter Montreuil as well as Carly Forget and Alex Black of Hot Lips. Outside the bar I ran into Bruce Bradley of Slammin’ Media and the two of us decided to head to the Horseshoe Tavern to catch Birds of Bellwoods. Bradley then headed to the Rivoli to for the 1am Lowdown Brass Band show while I actually headed home. Big day on Thursday.

Jenna and Stuart Walker of the Reklaws

Long Live The Night – The Reklaws

River Town Saints

You Get To Me – River Town Saints

l – r – James Tebitt & Jacob Alexander of Romes

Tryna Be – Romes

l -r – Jed Webster, Adrian Mitchell & Nathan Brown of New City

New City – Getting Closer

Get What You Give – Felix Cartal

A Year Ago – Birds of Bellwood

Thursday was a special photography shoot at Holland-Bloorview Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital. A fundraising event for the music therapy program, Tom Cochrane and Red Rider were the featured performers. The opening act was a group of children who participate in the program. Their chosen song was The Village People’s YMCA which had the whole audience up and singing. My role….what I love to do best….photograph the attendees and the show and I loved every minute of it!

Village People – YMCA

The outdoor event was held in the hospital’s Spiral Garden, an integrated art, garden and play  area. It was beautifully organized and catered, the layout and setup allowing for ease of movement and cozy chats. Even the plants and some of the flowering trees were co-operating, beginning to display their summer finery. The event planner made wonderful use of the various outdoor areas to create an old world charm. I loved the stage area with what will eventually be a large garden at the front and comfortable Adirondack chairs scattered just beyond for a good view of the performance. Each chair was supplied with a pillow for comfort and a blanket to keep the chill of the night air at bay.

Spiral Garden ….great sightlines……

l-r – Ken Greer, Davide DiRenzo, Tom Cochrane, Jeff Jones

There are three distinct components of Bloorview-Holland’s music therapy program. They are music therapy assessment, music therapy and adapted music education. The yearend culminates in Holland Bloorview Rocks, a fundraiser rock band concert put on by the kids who are part of the music program. Last year three bands performed in front of judges drummer/percussionist Topher Stott, Rudy Blair and Sharon & Bram with one band selected as the winner.

Jack Richardson London Music Awards……better known as the “Jacks”

Well this week-long event turned out to be a “three-parter”. Awards night is the culmination of not only music week but an entire year of preparing for the finale. Held at London Music Hall, the show was sold out. Ticket price…..a suggested donation of $5. Young and not so young filled the hall in support of local talent and their favourite artists. M.A.D!, winners of the Battle of The High School Bands performed to a standing ovation. House band was Double Clutch (who won in the Blues category) and the emcees were Julia Haggarty (winner in the Country category) and Chad Price. Price and Haggarty opened the night with Bob Seger’s Night Moves, a song produced by Jack Richardson which put Seger on the charts. Other performers include hip-hop artist Sum-01, Mountain of Wolves, Tom Dunphy’s Classic Country and Celtic folk group The Sheridan Band.

It’s A Hot Night – Sea Dog

There were two honourees for the  Lifetime Achievement Award this year.  Nick Panaseiko, who was presented his award by long time friend Greg Simpson and the late Saul Holiff, whose family accepted his award on his behalf. New inductees into the Jack Richardson Music Hall Fame include multi-instrumentalist Doug Varty (Sea Dog, Lowdown), drummer Graham Lear (Santana, REO Speedwagon, Dominic Troiano, etc.) and comedian/musician/storyteller Gordie Tapp. If you grew up watching Hee Haw or the Tommy Hunter Show, you couldn’t miss Tapp.

Kudos to all the behind-the-scenes people who keep the show ticking including roadie/photographer/social media guru/people herder Tara Scott, who seems to be everywhere all at once, and the team of people she works with. “Mr. Soundman”, whoever you are, you made the night sing! Many, many thanks to JRLMA founder Mario Circelli for instigating this back in 2005. What a brilliant way to keep Richardson’s name alive while encouraging all musicians to keep the music coming.

WE ARE LONDONERS!!!! That damn ice storm couldn’t keep us away…..until next year.

JRML Awards night photo album…..

Brad Price & Julia Haggarty

Tom Dunphy


Scott Bollert and the bays from M.A.D!

Doug Varty

Graham Lear

l-r – Nick Panaseiko and Greg Simpson

Garth Richardson (in baseball cap) and his human puppet handing out the Producer of The Year award

Will O’Donnell (Mountain of Wolves)

Mario Circelli (centre) with Swagger


All photographs ©2018 A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker” except Richard Wagamese

Just because…….you make me feel like dancing……

Footloose – Kenny Loggins

Boogie Wonderland – Earth, Wind and Fire

a-ha – Take On Me

You Make Me Feel Like Dancing – Leo Sayer


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! 

2 Responses to “Pat Blythe – That’s A Wrap…..CMW, JRLMA and a very special concert…….”

  1. Nice post Pat, thank you. Love you xx

  2. Greg Simpson Says:

    Thanks for the kind words. ..

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