Pat Blythe – Tom Longboat and New Releases…Jeff Jones, Monowhales, OITC & Secret Broadcast…and Music!

Yesterday was Tom Longboat’s 131st birthday. How do I know. Google Doodle. Longboat’s Iroquois name….Cogwagee…..part of the Onondaga which means Keepers of The Fire. Longboat was born in 1887 and raised on the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford. Enrolled (a legal obligation under the Indian Act) at the Mohawk Institutional Residential School at the age of 12 he eventually escaped to an uncle’s home who agreed to hide him from the authorities.  A long-distance runner, Longboat is considered by many to be the greatest marathoner of all time.

Longboat’s racing career began in 1905. As an amateur he lost only three races including his inaugural race in 1905. Scheduled to run in the 1908 Olympics he and several other runners collapsed. A rematch was set for Madison Square Garden. Longboat won and turned professional. In 1909 he again raced at the same venue, winning the title of Professional Champion of the World in front of a sold out crowd.  According to Wikipedia, By the time he had turned professional, he owned two national track records and several unofficial world records. After joining the professional ranks, he set world records for the 24 and 32-kilometer races and had nearly set the world record for 19 kilometers.” According to several stories even his family couldn’t believe how fast he was. He agreed to race his brother who was driving a horse and buggy. After giving him a 30-minute head start, Longboat, running on foot, made it to Hamilton first. Longboat retired from running at the age of 29 to fight in WWI.

I love Google Doodles. It provides us almost daily snippets of significant events, special and/or influential people, international holidays, famous artists and entertainers, extraordinary achievements…..the list goes on. It’s a reminder, a poke if you will, particularly of events and people who have contributed to and helped to shape the world we live in today. It’s certainly educational in an easy, amusing way. Who was Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad? Singer Freddie Mercury’s birthday? Illusionist and film director Georges Méliès? Scientist Sir Isaac Newton? Composer Béla Bartok? Informative, interactive, creative…..whenever there’s a Doodle, I learn something new. And so yesterday I learned about a Canadian legend. June 4 was officially declared “Tom Longboat Day” in Ontario in 2008. Put forward as a Private Member’s bill by MPP Michael Colle, Bill 120 was passed unanimously and Google Doodles now shares Longboat’s legacy with North America every year.

So a couple of weeks ago I received an email from co-manager and SING! founder Patricia Silver inviting me to a SING! event at the Jane Mallett Theatre. It was a celebration…..the 20th anniversary of three diverse and influential a cappella groups….Retrocity, Cadence and Toronto Northern Lights. An incredible show! The three contrasting groups offered their own unique presentations of cover songs and perform original material. Cadence opened the show and within minutes had the audience captivated. Oodles of fun, these four singers simply love what they do and it translates through their voices and out to the audience. Thoroughly enjoying themselves on stage hamming it up, they can be cheeky, mischievous and playful, encouraging audience participation throughout their performance. Kurt Sampson (bass and vocal percussion), Ross Lynde (tenor), David Lane (baritone and bass) and Lucas Marchand (tenor) bring years of experience and whole lotta fun as well as four magnificent voices to make your ears smile and your senses dance.


Hi Di Ho – Cadence

This is the third time I have seen Retrocity, an eight-member a cappella group, and they never fail to please. Their original reworks of 80’s pop tunes are always a hit with the audience. Close your eyes and you can hear the entire band! Following Retrocity, Toronto Northern Lights filed on stage….and when I say filed…..this 50+ member (I lost count several times) group is Canada’s foremost  international award-winning a cappella/barbershop group. What a presence! The voices….well you have to see these guys live! What a force! From the Beatles to Broadway, they cover it all.


A few of the members of Toronto Northern Lights

Smile Medley – Toronto Northern Lights

The best part of the show…..introducing my “daughter” Colleen to a type of music she had never heard (or been exposed to) before. Her enjoyment and delight were palpable. Totally enthralled and amazed with what the human voice is capable of, sometimes it was more fun watching her than the stage. I am thrilled to have offered the opportunity for her to hear something brand new….and create a new fan.

If you are presented with the opportunity to see any or all of these gifted and accomplished a cappella groups, grab it.

Some new releases…..

It’s Tuesday afternoon and a good friend has informed me his latest single was just released a few hours ago. No video but I have purchased the MP3 for a whopping  89 cents. This man’s gospel roots go back to 1970 with the band Ocean and the hit single Put Your Hand in The Hand. Now his latest, Naked in The Church by Jeff Jones and Roar.

Jeff Jones was a 15-year-old bass player when he performed with Alex Lifeson and John Rutsey in the first incarnation of Rush in 1968. By 1970 Jones had joined Ocean and the band’s hit single was released in 1971. Fast forward to 2018 and Jones has gone back to his “gospel” roots for Naked in The Church. Vocalist, writer, producer, arranger and bassist extraordinaire, Jones rocks it with a country flavour. You can’t help but move, even when you’re sitting down. It’s a fun, feel-good song and oh so danceable. I can hardly wait to see this performed live.

One In The Chamber have released their latest single, Bills To Pay on April 30. Together since 2015, the band recently participated in The Bout, sponsored by The Hideout Toronto. Hard core rock, the kind that gets your mojo screaming, the band have opened for acts such as Scott Welland and The Wildabouts, Ted Nugent, Dream Killers and Darby Mills and performed at a host of festivals in Canada with a stint in Las Vegas. Featuring Gerrod Harris (drums), Mike Blasé (lead vocals/guitar), Christian Dotto (bass/vocals) and Cecil Eugene (lead guitar/vocals), OITC released two albums in 2017……The Boston Sessions, Bootleg Demos recorded in Massachusetts and Live From The Rockpile. OITC’s new album, recorded at Phase One here in Toronto, will be released this summer. In the meantime, we have Bills To Pay to tide us over until then.

Bills To Pay – One In The Chamber

Sally Shaar of the Monowhales

Monowhales have a new song and video. Real Love. The video is literally eye candy and these four talented musicians deliver, once again, another great, catchy, toe-tapping pop song. Remember Take It Back or Home, the latter becoming a love letter to Toronto with even Mayor Tory taking notice. Monowhales are one of the most creative and original bands “out there” today…..there are no comparisons. Remind me of anyone? Nope. Dynamo lead vocalist Sally Shaar takes no prisoners during her live performances, leaping into crowds and body surfing. She is also the creative force behind their innovative, eye-catching, sometimes wacky, off-the-wall ideas that have become the band’s “video” signature and are, how you say, as pleasing to the eyes as their music is to the ears. A pure celebration of fun.

Real Love – Monowhales

Home – Ginger Ale & The Monowhales

Okay, I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting…..for their new album. I (and their fans) have been getting teased with rare concert appearances by these guys for the past six months or so. I know….it’s a Secret….. Like giant rehearsals, Secret Broadcast have been testing and refining their new material, performing in front of small groups at private, invitation only events. Everything I’ve heard I love and are so so danceable. Rock with a little pop….outstanding vocals….Band members are Matt Lightstone (vox/guitar), pedal man Will Bennett (lead guitar), Curtis Harding (bass/keys/vox) and my favourite mad drummer Keith Heppler. Finally…..this Friday, June 8th their single Cause and Cure will be released. I can only offer a too short teaser….Lightstone holds firm. No amount of pleading or begging will get me the single any sooner.

To hear Secret Broadcast’s latest material, head on down to Adelaide Hall in Toronto this Saturday, June 9.  On tour with the Monowhales, you’ll have the chance to see (and support) some fabulous home-grown talent. This is a show you don’t want to miss.

Cause and the Cure – Secret Broadcast (teaser)

IT’S SUMMER!!!!! Time to get off the couch, unplug the TV, power down the computer, kiss Netflix goodbye (for now) and haul yourself down to the closest live music venue. Mingle, interact, communicate, get some ear time and listen to all the marvellous live music  being proffered in this city and beyond. There is a genre for everyone…..and there are simply no excuses!


All photographs ©2018 A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker” except for the photo of Tom Longboat


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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