Pat Blythe – Keep live alive…..and music

I could continue with the “cymbal saga”, but I think I’ll take a different tact this week….it’s all about the music. Summer is in full swing and coming alive with concerts, both public and private, on both sides of the border. In person or in car, people are attending in droves, almost desperate to see and hear their favourite bands and artists….live and alive. The camaraderie, the faces (both on and off stage), the laughter, the joy, the amps, the earplugs, the dancing, the oxytocin from the many hugs, all those endorphins coming alive, even mic or guitar feedback sounds good these days…’s literally impossible to replace any of this over the internet. We all need each other and the “in person” interaction and touch it provides.

Ode an die Freude (Ode to Joy) Beethoven Symphony No.9 (Flash Mob)

There are so many positives to music. They’ve all been listed and noted and listed again. But it’s not just the music. It’s what it creates in our mind and how it warms and soothes our souls. Music’s very essence touches everything, through the air we breathe, the vibrations in our bodies; it surrounds and envelopes us; it creates a special kind of harmony, happiness and peace in the world inside us and around us. Music is so much more than just……well… It’s not simply notes on a page, but what we feel with our gut and hear with our hearts. It grabs us, captivates us and holds us close to her breast. The first thing we hear in the womb is the beat of our mother’s heart. Our hearing is always the last sense in the brain to say goodbye….so let the music play on to bid a fond adieu.

Listen locally

I’ve been interviewing artists now for over a year. One point I kept raising was this; could the “quiet” of the pandemic be a golden opportunity give local talent a chance to be heard before the big-names acts started making too much noise and snuffing out the smaller, independent artists? With the pandemic shutdown and the world devoid of entertainment (specifically music), is it possible this could be the chance for mid-level artists to shine?

By consistently and creatively reaching out to their fans through social media, promoting themselves through backyards, parks, driveways and drive-in concerts, etc. whenever and wherever possible, my thought was, “if all the marketing and advertising campaigns could persuade people to “shop locally” and “eat locally”, then how about “listen locally’”? Supporting talent in our own communities would be far more affordable than paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a ticket to see a show at say The Roger’s Centre or Massey Hall, AND people could afford more than a single music event.

Lee-La Baum of The Damn Truth

Maybe going back to the days of the university/college circuits, church basements and legion halls is the thing to do? Or is that possible? Maybe it’s parking lots and parks, back decks and vineyards, or building your own show or teaming up other artists? Maybe stop relying on bars and clubs and the tip jar and create your own path? It takes an extraordinary amount of hard work and chutzpah whichever route an artist chooses. But there are a world of options and opportunities.

The majority of musicians are not in it for the money. Music is their calling, their muse, their life and all those wonderful things we keep hearing about. But it also has to pay the bills. It is a job after all and not an easy one. We shell out for movies, theatre, exhibitions, art galleries, etc. we should also expect to pay for our entertainment in the local clubs and bars. It’s respectful and honours their work and expertise.

Clockwise from upper left – Quincy Bullen, Secret Broadcast, The Reed Effect, Keegan, Drop Top Alibi, Sally Shaar/Monowhales

Supporting live music is critical, but now more than ever. Your local bands and artists need you to survive…..The Crooked, The Reed Effect, Hot Lips, Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar, Phantom Atlantic, Drop Top Alibi, James Blonde, Mike Celia, David Celia and Marla, Alysha Brilla, Suzi Kory, April, The Peptides, Julian Taylor, Quincy Bullen, Lucid Movement, Secret Broadcast, Monowhales, OITC, The Redhill Valleys, Keegan….there are hundreds more creating fantastic music every day. This is just the tip of the tip of the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

I leave you with this thought…..somebody’s got to take over when all of us geriatrics are no longer earthbound, so let’s start local and build from there. I’m stepping down off my pedestal now…..

OMG… do you use this thing?

It’s been almost 18 months since I’ve spent a spring/summer/fall prowling around the clubs, bars, festivals and theatres photographing the music. I did one brief shoot in February of a streaming session at Poetry Jazz Cafe. It felt so good and made me feel so high I was dancing around on tippy toes all night. It all hit home how much I miss not just the live music, but the people and the hugs, and particularly the vibe.

Kirk Reed and Suzi Cory performing during Indie Week at the Cameron House

Now that live music is slowly returning, I’m looking for that high once again, which is why I’m excited about August 14. The Love Revolution show is being presented once again in Cavan (just outside of Peterborough), brought to you by the unending energy of Suzi Kory. This will be my first live, outdoor shoot in two years! I feel those tippy toes coming back.

Today’s music is comprised of new material by some of the bands I’ve photographed over the past six years. I’ve tossed in a few older pieces too. Don’t think I’m finished with my cymbal saga either. I’ll wrap that up next week. In the meantime enjoy the tunes.

One of my happy songs. I still have the 45! “Attention K-Mart shoppers! All our 45s in the record department are 33 cents for the next 30 minutes.” I bought this and Delilah by Tom Jones (although not at the same time) a good old K-Mart.

Tomorrow – Strawberry Alarm Clock

One of the most poignant, emotional songs I’ve ever listened to. My eyes water every time. A final farewell to his wife and children, Glen Campbell suffered from Alzheimer’s for a number of years. I added Witchita Lineman simply because I LOVE this song!

I’m Not Gonna Miss You – Glen Campbell (with the Wrecking Crew)

Wichita Lineman – Glen Campbell

This is fantastic. I loved the movie and the play and so many of the songs, especially this on., It always brings a lump to my throat. To watch the emotions of the cast as they prepare for their first show on July 29 is both heartwarming and I’m sure bittersweet, with theatres around the world shuttered for so long.

The Circle of Life – first show 2021 rehearsal performance, The Lion King in the West End

This is a local Indie band I was invited to photograph a few years back at what was then called Radio. It was close to Christmas and the place was packed. Love the show and have kept by eye on them ever since. Following are a couple of their most recent releases.

No Way to Live – Phantom Atlantic

Man Like You – Phantom Atlantic

I first saw Montreal-based band The Damn Truth opening for Rival Sons at the Phoenix in 2015. My first CMW and my first time hearing both bands. Watching Lee-La handling her guitar was mesmerizing. No slouch in the performing department…..and neither is the rest of the band. Again, another band I’ve been watching and listening to.

This is Who We Are Now – The Damn Truth

To The Gallows – OITC (One In the Chamber)

Gotta Feelin’ – Suzi Kory

The brothers Reed, Kirk and Chris grew up together and formed their own band…..Kirk on guitar and lead vocals, Chris on bass and vocals. Both rockers, both extremely talented (Chris was also n artist and could also fix any bike), the brothers were preparing to release their album 1973 when Chris suddenly took his own life in late 2020. Kirk has forged on and the following is the first single off the new album. 1973 was released in its entirety just a few weeks ago….dedicated to the memory of Chris Reed.

Fine Here – The Reed Effect

All photographs of the artists are ©2015, 2018, 2020 Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker”


I couldn’t resist…..

Remember when…..I couldn’t resist this


Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.


“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 also 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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