Pat Blythe – ON THE ROAD: With ONES, In England, At the London Bluesfest Finale…and Music!

Guess what? I have to write a column today. It’s supposed to post tomorrow (Wednesday). I should have it done today but……. I don’t have writer’s block. In fact, I have far too much to write about. All kinds of music and such I’d like to share. Events past, just happened and future. Problem is, it doesn’t in fit in a single piece. This is not a “one size fits all”, the old 500 words or less…. Nope, I’m beginning to feel like the late, great, Frank Gutch Jr. I don’t think anything less that 5,000 words could pour out of his brain. I think he got up to 13,000 at one point. I’m neither that verbose or knowledgeable but we did share a deep passion for music and for sharing it. I fear it’s gonna be a very, very, very late night…………………….

On the road again…..

I’m still high, my mind is still racing and the body is still vibrating days after completing a three-day mini tour. ONES….the multi-media Beatles show hit three cities in three days. Touring, even a short one, feeds my energy levels until sometimes they are off the charts. The rush lasts for days. Sleep? Not much and this three-day jaunt reminds me how much I miss life on the road. It’s been an incredibly long time. I’m older, supposedly wiser, more experienced and in that “you should know better” phase of my life and yet…..that young, passionate, crazy person comes racing to the fore and just guns it. During setup I run around, with camera in hand, walking into lighting rigs on stage (missed two, hit the third….not even phased until I felt the lump and bruise later), skipping around the theatres and scoping out my entrances and exits. I get to dance to the music during soundcheck, kind of like your own private concert. It’s a fantastic feeling… just bubbles up through me until I just want to either explode or dissolve.

Also one of my favourite spots during soundcheck. Watching is good too!

The theatres range from “simply gorgeous” to “fantastically magnificent”. The former are grand old ladies, in all their architectural glory, lovingly restored to their former splendour and a feast for the eyes. All their golden gilt and frescoed ceilings, the beautiful plasterwork and painted scenes are quite something to behold. Lovingly constructed back in the day when craftsmen took pride in their work. You felt privileged to be on the stage. The latter….. FirstOntario Place Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines. This is the second time I’ve had the luxury of photographing a show here. Almost brand new, it can be overwhelming. All wood, the sound is fantastic, the stage is vast, the lighting system is a light man’s dream, the screen is huge and the doors on the wings are colossal. I also kept getting lost there are so many corridors, passageways and levels but it all worked and again I was darting about in the shadows (one FOH manager called it “stealth mode”).

There are so many wonderfully talented people who work together to produce the ONES Show and I love them all. You truly light up my life.


back row – Marvyn Summerfield, Bruce Nasmith, Paul DeLong, David Love

centre row – Jain McMillan, Alice Kim, Sonia Klimasko, Frank Zirone, Luise Heyerhoff, Chelsea Davidson, Ian Garcia , Marty Morin

front – Nastassia Leheniuk , Austin Nolan, Jeffery Wiggins


back row – Jain McMillan, Wendy Rogers, Peter Genrick, Greg Wyard, David Love, Tara Davidson, Emma Rowlandson-O’Hara, Beth Silver, Marty Morin, Dale Harrison

kneeling – Sonia Klimasko, Marvyn Summerfield, Frank Zirone, Bruce Nasmith, Jeffery Wiggins

Yes I know, everyone has their own idiosyncrasies and peccadilloes but we all have one thing in common…..a deep love for music. Travelling in close quarters can get tiring, sometimes even boring (my mom use to say only stupid people get bored so I make sure I’m never bored) , exhausting and certainly nerve-wracking. For me, the exhilarating sense of freedom, the personalities, the camaraderie, the impromptu jams late at night (or on a bus), to be a small part of this and then to watch as everything comes together on stage makes it all worthwhile. That’s when the music comes alive and it makes every “who pissed in your cornflakes this morning?” moment disappear.

So, as I bounce on my feet while I type this, every-once-in-a-while busting a move to whatever music is playing and occasionally skittering across my ground floor, this feeling remains and I’ll hang on to it for as long as I possibly can.

Jolly old England……

….and what’s England without her sheep

….and castles

…..and gin

…..for two whole weeks!!! Oh my gawd I love this country! When I get off the plane it feels like home. The history, the architecture, the music, the people and yes…..even the food, and for those who love it….the beer. Although, gin to seems to be a THE alcoholic beverage at the moment, coming in all sorts of flavours….even the tonic water! But I digress. Many of you followed my journey on FB, this ‘fabyouluss’ trip with my two sisters. We had a blast (but then you know that). Headquarters was North Yorkshire, the place where my father was born and raised. The towns and villages we visited — Richmond, Masham (silent ‘h’), Harrogate, Skipton, Leyburn, Carlton, Brompton-on-Swale, Saltburn, Skelton (and the North Sea), Hawes, Leeds, Reath, Selby/Cawood….and the dales…..Wensleydale, Nidderdale, Swaledale, Arkengarthdale, Coverdale….the Dales are alive with…..never mind…. Such a small island with sooooo many stories to tell and surprisingly, large wide open spaces throughout the country….the moors, the yurts…. I could go on and on and on and…… It was a fast-paced, whirlwind trip and I was this close to staying on an extra few weeks. Next time….

Greg and friends performing at the Jolly Sailor in Selby, England

Special mention….good friend (and member of the ONES troupe) Greg Wyard just happened to be in England at the same time. He was performing just one hour south of where we were (the music is never far behind me). Determined to head to Selby to see him I even scoped out the local transportation offerings (not great). Enter “the cousins”….Stephen and Julie, with no major plans that Saturday night, agreed to drive us. We enjoyed a lovely dinner and headed over to The Jolly Sailor. A very intimate (read teeny tiny) pub, it rapidly filled up to overflowing. Greg’s parents were also in attendance and his mom was overjoyed to see her son perform (I will see them again at the Ottawa ONES show). The evening’s events even included an impromptu performance by an audience member, a lover of The Beatles, who not only wanted to sing but was quite taken with our Mr. Wyard. It was a fun night and a surreal pleasure to see Greg perform 4,000 miles away from home.

The finale…..

Day four and it’s the closing of London Bluesfest with a stellar lineup. Taking the stage that day would be Cheryl Lescom, Bill Durst, Dana Fuchs,  Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band and Blue Oyster Cult. It was also my sister’s 60th British Tea Birthday Party and we were presenting her with her ticket to England. A surprise trip overseas and I wasn’t about to miss that!

I did finally make it to Harris Park to catch Fuchs, Wayne and BOC, sadly missing Lescom and Durst. Fuchs was already on stage when I arrived. I was not intimate with her work but had heard a few of her songs. Reminiscent of Joss Stone (especially the hair and bare feet on stage), Fuchs commands the stage, singing with a deep passionate voice and yes, the power (and grit) of Janis. Her obvious joy in what she does is palpable. A photographer’s dream, I love listening to her as she moved with grace and ease across the stage……and that hair…. A certain elegance mixed with gritty blues/southern rock and soul draws your eyes and your ears in. Her band, complete with brass section, was on to her every move and nuance and her keyboard player was making fantastic use of the Leslie. I would love to see her and her band perform again.

Dana Fuchs

Dana Fuchs and her band

Love Lives On – Dana Fuchs

A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, Kenny Wayne Shepherd is a completely self-taught guitarist who does not read music. Heavily influenced by Steve Ray Vaughan, Shepherd experienced his first live performance in front of a crowd at the age of 13, invited by blind blues guitarist Bryan Lee to join him on stage. Fast forward a few years to 1995 and Shepherd has had 10 singles in the top ten and “holds the record for the longest-running album on the Billboard Blues Charts with Trouble Is” — Wikipedia

Kenny Wayne (far left), Noah Hunt (far right) and the band — everyone in a single shot!!

Blue on Black – Kenny Wayne Shepherd

….and now…..another teenage craze…..Blue Oyster Cult

Educating Pat. In chatting with friend Paul DeLong, the subject of “more cowbell” came up. I hadn’t a clue what he was referring to but it didn’t take long to enlighten me. Kind enough to dig up the SNL video and forward to me, I now had something else to watch for during this concert. When the band played those first few notes my eyes started scanning for the cowbell. It was impossible for any of the band members as they all had their hands full. It wasn’t until I looked clear across to the other side and saw the guitar/drum tech I had been talking to earlier, almost surreptitiously, playing the cowbell. He caught my eye and started laughing. He knew exactly what I was looking for.

My cowbell player…..

…..and the back of his shirt

BOC is another band I never had the opportunity to see live and was looking forward to photographing them. It was exciting to hear all my favourites live and some I’d never heard before. Bopping around the stage, back and forth from ‘the pit’ to crouching behind the drummer and chatting with a couple of the techs, I was in my element. This is just way too much fun!


SNL More Cowbell Skit

DeLong was also good enough to dig up the cowbell chart… get out those drumsticks and follow along…..there will be a test next week……

(Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

Carry On Wayward Son – Kansas

Toronto happenings….

J.C. Sandoval

The Crooked launched their new EP, First Place Silver, at the Horseshoe Tavern October 4. Supported by Iduna, Tree Museum and Recordbreaker, the night was a jam packed sellout! Great music and a fantastic crowd. Always a pleasure to see J.C Sandoval. I also had fun interviewing The Crooked and Iduna for See Rock Live Magazine just prior to the show.

Bassist/vocalist Russ Shipman

Glove – The Crooked

As I mentioned in last week’s column, Indie Week held their Media Launch soiree October 16 at The Hideout. There will be hundreds of bands performing all over the city November 6-11. Click here for a link to the complete list of artists. Whoa!! I’ve just discovered a band called The Love Tongues. Now these guys I gotta check out….. Whatever your taste in music (she says tongue in cheek) you’ll find it during Indie Week so get off your collective asses and support live music!!!!

….and the innuendos are flying……

Hard – The Love Tongues

A few more random picks……give a listen, there just might be something there you like.

More – Astha

Home – Drop Top Alibi

Strike The Set – Iduna

One of the most interesting, unique, creative and erotic music videos I think I’ve ever seen…..

Play With Me – Cielo Pordomingo

Annie – Moscow Apartment

Tan Lines – Tree Museum

Breathe – The Divided Line

……and I close with this. A song that matches, to perfection, my life as it is now. Another DeLong share, he and Kenny Greer of Red Rider appear in this video. It will definitely have you dancing……on your own ground!

Dancing On My Own Ground – Lawrence Gowan


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


Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Please scroll down and leave a comment. Thank you.

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 – ON THE ROAD: With ONES, In England, At the London Bluesfest Finale…and Music!”

  1. Rick Caldwell Says:

    Great stuff Pat

  2. Howard Thomas Says:

    Wow Pat….how do you do it?!!! What a girl ! xHoward

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