Pat Blythe – Dueling Pianos, February, Upcoming Festivals …and Music!

Ugh!!! Computer and monitor challenges continue. The good news is I finally got my drums up for sale and I’ve managed to get everything off the troublesome laptop on to a honking big hard drive (although now I have to sort that out). I’m downsizing to a smaller kit….less real estate and I won’t feel so overwhelmed. One of these days…..and now, for your latest weather report…..

So….we are almost at the end of the most despised month of the year and February has decided to sock it to us with both barrels. Snow I can more or less deal with but this whole freezing rain thing is starting to get rather taxing….and speaking of taxes, that particular season is looming large…. municipal, provincial and federal…..and since when did paying taxes become a “season”.  (nice run-on sentence eh?) “They” say January is the most depressing month of the year but personally, I think February takes the cake with its incessant promises of spring, teasing and mocking us with contempt and disdain, ripped out of our grasp with yet another miserable winter storm and its aftermath. Now that I’ve got you all hyped up on anti-depressants here’s Goldie Hawn to explain what taxes are all about.

Goldie Hawn Explains Taxes – Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in

Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, Arte Johnson, Henry Gibson, Jo Anne Worely, Judy Carne, Ruth Buzzi et al, the hundreds of guests that passed through or popped out those many doors and windows and of course Dan Rowan and Dick Martin themselves. A ground-breaking show addressing social issues and the politics of the day through humorous satire, snide jokes and one-liners. SNL…..take notes.

Sock It To Me Joke Wall = Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in

One Ringy Dingy (Ernestine) – Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in –

Dueling Pianos…….

With two large grand pianos positioned so the players face each other, this father and son duo spread the love of jazz and classics through stories and music. Eddie and Quincy Bullen take the audience through Quincy’s childhood, the teenage years and adulthood opening with the theme from the Simpsons, a theme song everyone is familiar with. With humour and an undeniable passion for the genre it’s a lesson in jazz that’s both enlightening and ear opening. The devotion and love between father and son is evident in the performance and spreads to the audience like a cozy blanket. No one wants the performance to end with a standing ovation and three encore numbers. I never tire of listening and watching them.

Quincy Bullen

Quincy & Eddie Bullen

Eddie Bullen

I headed to my hometown of London, Ontario to see Eddie and Quincy perform. Part of Sunfest’s World Music & Jazz Series, the concert was held in Aeolian Hall, an historical building in the east end manned and maintained solely by volunteers. Eddie is the owner of Thunder Dome Sounds and his lived his life surrounded by music. His father owned a music store in Grenada and when Eddie, a now accomplished pianist, immigrated to Canada at the young age of 18, he brought the gift of music with him and has now passed it on to his multi-talented son Quincy. Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist (guitar, bass, drums, piano), Quincy’s first love is the piano, an instrument he always returns to.  More duet than duel, the father/son duo play off each other…teasing, laughing and loving through the keys on the pianos and the notes of the songs.

Celebrating 25 years of music in London, Mr. Sunfest, Alfredo Caxaj founded Sunfest in 1994 beginning with 40 volunteers. Now in 2019, with almost 400 volunteers and considered one of the premier free festivals in the world, Sunfest is attracting artists from all over the world, eager to perform to the thousands of people who attend each year. No one artist or ensemble performs more than once so if you miss them it will be several years before they’re back. A political refugee from Guatemala in 1985, Caxaj was shocked by our Canadian winters but loved the country’s diversity, especially the music.

Alfredo Caxaj

As festival of music, art and culture, you also won’t find a better smorgesborg of foods from around the world. To quote Caxaj, “Sunfest is one of the most beautiful expressions of community. If we don’t have art in the city, it’s almost like having a city with no soul. “ Famly friendly Sunfest 2019 takes place in London’s downtown core at Victoria Park from July 4-7. Thank you to Ian Davies of Idea Concerts, who works closely with Sunfest, for the opportunity to photograph this wonderful event.

It’s Music and Art Festival Time!

Time to plan and look forward to another season of music across this great country of ours. Maybe plan a little road trip, do some camping (no glamping), hop on the train and visit some new places. Enjoy the diversity of cultures through music, food, arts and crafts and simply meeting new people…..and the journey itself. Here’s a partial list:

Winterfolk XVII (Toronto) – February 22-24

SOTC (Toronto) – April 1-5

Canadian Music Week (Toronto) – May 6-12

June 2019………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Sound of Music Festival – (Burlington) – June 8-16

NXNE (Toronto) – June 7-16

Tottenham Bluegrass Festival (Tottenham) – June 15-17

TD Toronto Jazz Festival – June 21-30

July 2019…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Female eye Film Festival (FeFF) – (Toronto) – June 25-30

Tiff Bell Lightbox

Sunfest (London, ON) – July 4-7

Ottawa Bluesfest – July 4-14

Mariposa Folk Festival (Tudhope Park, Orillia) – July 5-7

Beaches International Jazz Festival (Toronto) – July 5-29

Montreal Jazz Festival – June 27 – July 6

August 2019…………………………………………………………………………

Toronto Summer Music Festival (Toronto)– July 11-August 3

Boots and Hearts (Oro Medonte) – August 8-11

Burl’s Creek Event Grounds

Wolfe Island Music Festival (Wolf Island) – Date TBD

Summerfolk Arts and Crafts Festival (Owen Sound) – August 16-18

Attended what I had hoped to be an informative session on social media. Pfffffftttt!!! That was a waste of two hours….no wait, four hours. Two hours on the glorious TTC (some bright spark came up with the slogan “The Better Way”) downtown and back and two hours of session time. I knew more than the presenter so that’s not saying much. Damn! I could have given that session. The audience of 60 somethings were even told not to concern themselves with privacy or security since once you’re “‘out there”……wherever “there” is…….you’ve already given it up so might as well go with the flow. WHAT!!!!! After 36 years in voice and data communications I just about choked on that one. No wonder people are getting hacked and screwed and generally taken advantage of with this kind of sage advice.  Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Oh….and I almost forgot. I had the most marvelous evening with my two sons and their ladies. I can’t remember the last time the five of us had Sunday dinner together. It was a treat to spend the evening with them….there’s never a lack of things to talk about. We’re going to try and make it a monthly thing…..fingers crossed. Love them all.


Bits and pieces I’ve come across in the past few weeks.

The Simpsons Main Title Theme on Piano – Marcelo Cesena

Blue on Black – Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Take Five – Dave Brubeck

Heavy – Collective Soul

Zombie – Cranberries

Phantom of The Opera – Nightwish

Elan – Nightwish

You have no idea how long it’s taken me to find this version of Small Town Boy again…..literally years! Holy crumb. The copy of my phone doesn’t tell me who does this remake. One of my drumming goals!!!

Small Town Boy – Paradise Lost (original by Bronski Beat)


All photos ©2019 Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera


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! 

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