Pat Blythe – SING! Toronto, Jeff Jones Trio and …Music!

I am still in awe of what happens every time I step out the door whether it’s for a walk, head to a club, meet a friend for a meal, hop in the vehicle and drive….somewhere, photograph a festival, have a random conversation with someone you just met…..something totally unexpected invariably transpires, something I was totally unprepared for. Whether I’m learning it or experiencing it at least it’s consistent. Standing back and studying the broader picture I find there are a hundred million large and teeny tiny connections, that, as the universe unfolds and does its thing, links us all together. Whether it’s a person, a concert, a band, a type of music, an experience, a friend of a friend, we are all our own “six degrees of separation”. I find it all rather fascinating……and I’m still in awe.

Last week it was punk rock at its finest and that certainly left a lasting impression. Even though the raucous crowds I’m sure have toned down somewhat over the years, it was still something I preferred to watch from the sidelines behind the relative/perceived safety of the barricades. Now it’s booking bands and working on a music series, management, book-making, creating promo material (a graphic designer I’m not), writing a piece that connects with someone who reaches out, if I’m really lucky maybe even a tour….every year is special and distinct. Why should 2019 be any different?

…..and one more thing…..what’s with the weather? The heat for the bathroom floor has been shut off as has the heat for the house. Too soon? That porcelain floor is a little nippy in the morning and the comforter is still on the bed. Come on Mother Nature!!!! Enough already!!!! IT’S FRIGGIN’ JUNE!!!

The SING! Toronto Vocal Arts Festival was a happening thing for 10 days and nights of some of the most fabulous a cappella music in the world….literally. From May 24 to June 2, concert halls and theatres will filled with sound of voices in harmony. This year’s festival, Celebrate the Beauty of the Human Voice, is SING!’s eighth year in full song. Beginning as an idea around a dining room table, founder Patricia Silver and her wonderful group of volunteers have taken SING! around the world. Cities and countries are now reaching out to find out how they can spread the “word”. Voted consistently as one of the top ten festivals in Ontario, SING! participated in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year to roaring success.

The Storyteller

This year, for the first time, SING! has linked up with South Africa and fruits of this was South African a cappella group, Mzansi Acappella Ensemble, who flew to Toronto for a special performance at Young People’s Theatre. I was lucky enough to attend both the VIP reception and performance. One word…..amazing!!!! Through traditional African songs, the 10-member a cappella group told the story of Nelson Mandela’s life beginning with his birth. This beautiful celebration of Mandela was riveting. The storyteller….powerful.  The voices…..uplifting.  …..and that baritone was exquisite. I don’t think it would be humanly possible to sing any lower. Thank you Pat Silver for, once again, including me in your wonderful festival.

Note, during the festival SING! also holds workshops (both public and for schools), free lunchtime concerts, choir workshops and clinics and free outdoor concerts at various locations around the city. Performers include Countermeasure, Ault Sisters, Freeplay, Retrocity, The Swingles and many more. There is no purer instrument than the human voice.

Jeff Jones Trio…..

l-r – Michael Zweig, Sean Fitzsimons, Jeff Jones

I was thrilled when the Jeff Jones Trio agreed to perform as part of my series, Tuesday Nights at Cherry Cola’s. Jones and fellow Carpet Frog bandmates Sean Fitzsimons (drums/percussion/vocals) and Micheal Zweig (guitar/vocals) have formed The Jeff Jones Trio or JJ3 performing originals and classic rock songs. These three meld together like butter on hot toast. Seasoned performers, skilled musicians and close friends, their enjoyment and camaraderie make them a pleasure to watch and listen to. When they’re not touring, the trio have performed at Club Bass and Guitars as well as a number of private functions. They will be squeezing in one more performance this summer at Cherry Cola’s (in between tour dates) before taking up residency beginning in the fall.

Jones is a man with a long history in the music business. After his family relocated from Chicago to Canada it took a mere three years before the young bass player (he was only sixteen) was performing with Ocean. After his moment as the original bassist in Rush his next adventure was with rock group Red Rider followed by Infidels with Molly Johnson and Norman Orenstein. He currently tours with Burton Cummings, The Carpet Frogs and Tom Cochrane all of which makes the local appearance of the Trio that much more delightful. During his 50 year career in music Jones has performed with Lawrence Gowan, Burton Cummings, Randy Bachman, Tom Cochrane with Red Rider and Ronnie Hawkins. He continues to write and record, releasing two CDs and working on a third. His latest single, a collaboration with Roar, Naked in the Church, was released in 2018.

One More Chance – Ocean

Naked in The Church – Jeff Jones and Roar


Tuesdays at Cherry Cola’s – I’m working with owner Cherish Stevenson and Beyond The Cage’s singer/songwriter Tracy Brett to bring a little jazz, blues and acoustic. classic rock to the masses on Tuesday nights. An early start and early finish will have everyone home and in bed before the coach turns into a pumpkin. Cherish has very kindly provided the venue and soundman Corey Shields. ….. and we’re bringing out the popcorn. Watch for upcoming events on Facebook, Instagram and possibly a few tweets here and there.

The first Tuesday of every month is Tuesday Blues with Little Magic Sam aka Sam Taylor. A master guitarist and blues singer/songwriter. This is an acoustic session and Sam will be bringing in different guest artists every week.

The third Tuesday of every month is Jazzy Tuesdays with Juno award winning Eddie Bullen. Performing with Eddie is his supremely talented son Quincy and they are the Eddie and Quincy Bullen Jazz Review. Smooth jazz, funky jazz, rockin’ jazz.

The fourth Tuesday of every month is Tuesday Classics with the Jeff Jones Trio (JJ3). An acoustic evening bringing you rock classics and originals.  JJ3’s next performance is August 13 as these guys are touring for most of the summer. They pick up steam and start their residency September 24.

Each band/artist is free to curate their own shows so there are sure to be some surprises. Ya never know who might show up. There is also a wildcard Tuesday each month so let’s see what happens……

 Bob Segarini (r) performs with Craig Riddock (l) at BBC, March 2019

Next week, June 11 singer/songwriter/guitarist Craig Riddock (Reuben Cherry) will be gracing Cherry’s stage with his special brand of rock, soul and blues. A prolific songwriter, Riddock ‘s music was the heart of Reuben Cherry in the early 2000’s.  After an extensive hiatus, Riddock is back writing and performing preparing to head out on the road once again.

Where did all our creativity go? – I found the following video extremely interesting.  According to a study by NASA scientists, we are born creative geniuses and through our educational systems are “dumbed down” to the point of limited creativity. By the time we’re adults only two percent of the population is still in “contact” with their creative genius. Here’s a link to the written article and you can watch the video below.

George Land and the Failure of Success – Tedx Tucson

A friend of mine, bassist, keyboardist and vocalist Melissa (Mo) Ogden currently enjoys rocking out with local London, Ontario group Swagger. However, in a previous life she was the singer for a band called Sister Someone and the following video popped up in my news feed on FB. I had to join Vimeo to grab a copy for this column so hoping it works. The video was uploaded eight years ago so this is a little taste of Ogden’s history and I love it! The whole thing just rocks! I think Swagger should be incorporating another cover tune into their repertoire.

Ogden far right on acoustic bass with Swagger

I found this short review of Sister Someone, Sister Someone is pop in technicolour. They make music that challenges the mind while tickling the libido. Their attitude is over-the-top, full-speed-ahead, amps-on-eleven! The group recorded 1998’s ‘Luvsilly’. It was only available at their live shows. That’s what the group is all about – their live shows. They put everything into their sound and performance. Witnessing Sister Someone on stage is like waiting for a bomb to explode. Most people make up stuff to put in their bios. This is the truth.” –

Sister Someone – 16 Is Dying

<p><a href=”″>Sister Someone – 16 is Dying</a> from <a href=”″>Michael McNally</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Put Your Hand in the Hand – Ocean

We Gotta Dream – Ocean

Angeline – Reuben Cherry

A little Ukrainian psychedelic rock…..

White Cats – Sinoptik



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! 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: