Pat Blythe – Hello September… news…..and music

September…..the beginning of my favourite time of year. There’s something so crisp and refreshing…..a newness spring doesn’t possess. New jobs, new schools, new grades, new homes, new lives…..September to me has always meant “beginning”. Maybe because it’s the month of my birth, or maybe it’s all the fall colours and brightness of the air, but I always feel inspired and invigorated in the comfortable cool months of fall. Of course, all things pumpkin spice doesn’t hurt either!

DBAWIS writers have had a few weeks off to enjoy the last breath of an incredibly hot, hazy and humid summer. Truth be told, I spent most of it indoors in air conditioned comfort. Melting in the heat is not my cup of tea. There’s gardening to wrap up for the season, herbs and tomatoes to harvest and grape jelly to make. I’ll get right on that!!!

Let the live music begin

Summer was full of the sounds of music. Outdoor concerts, patio and backyard performances were happening right across the country. More are coming for the fall season and into the (brrrrrrr) winter months. Yes, a few shows south of the border have been postponed, but the blanket has been tugged back and the slumbering tunesmiths are awakening. If anyone, on both sides of the pond, is looking for their fix of live music, here’s a small list of what’s happening.


Samantha Martin @ Summerfolk 2018

With a number of gigs lined up for Ontario and one in New Brunswick, Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar will be following up with an overseas European tour beginning in Spain. Another artist heading overseas is Sarah Smith. The North Pender Island resident (formerly of London, Ontario) has been touring Europe regularly, at least twice a year, sometimes more, for several years now. Sarah has a huge following in The Netherlands and Germany, and if the responses to her podcast are any indication, the shows will be packed!

The Hideout and Orbit Room are gone but the rest are hanging in

We lost far too many venues during the past eighteen months. Bands will be moving to different venues and it will be a struggle, as well as competitive, to find new homes. Quality over quantity will reign. My favourite Steely Dan tribute band, Pretzel Logic, are finally out and about. September 11 they are back at Timothy’s Pub in Etobicoke. I have to admit, I’ll miss those years at the Orbit Room where PL were once-a-month Thursday night regulars. Hopefully owner Tim Notter lines up a new locale. Nothing will replace The Toronto Hideout or Club 120 or, or, or…… The good news is Cherry Cola’s and Cherish are back and open for business Wednesday through Sundays. The club looks fantastic and the outdoor courtyard is perfect for a quaff or two. Sexy is in the house as Cherry’s also welcomes back Sinful Sundays burlesque, and don’t forget the live music!

A benefit show for the Unison Benevolent Fund is being presented in Blue Mountain Village in Collingwood. Country Cares will feature artists Kansas Stone, Suzi Kory, Elyse Saunders, Alessia Cohle, Jason McCoy and a whole lot more. The show runs September 11. The West End Phoenix, a local community newspaper, is holding a benefit concert October 2 at the Junction Craft Brewery parking lot. NEWSAID, in support of independent journalism, will feature performing artists Tom Wilson, Michie Mee, Rik Emmett, Feist, Tara Sloan, Emm Gryner, Hawksley Workman just to name a few. Not to be left out, the 23rd Annual Southside Shuffle in Port Credit is back! Running from September 10-12, the festival features, the Downchild Blues Band, Suzie Vinnick, The Shuffle Demons, a Tribute to Etta James, The Carole King Songbook, Everyday People (the music of Sly and The Family Stone) just to name a few.


New releases…..or coming soon

Hot Lips….It’s Karli’s haunting voice that captures and holds me every time. Keith and Alex (that’s Dr. Alex to you)…..I love you both too. I’ve been a fan of these three for a number of years now, even before they combined forces to create Hot Lips. Like most of their videos, this one is fast paced, frantic and hard driving….the song always has a story to tell. Recently filmed at Cherry Cola’s…..don’t blink and you’ll recognize that distinctive decor, I was there for the “after party” celebration and watched them perform live. First time in almost two years! Bass, drums and synth…..I’m not sure what it is about this mix of instruments, but they always hit home for me. Maybe, just maybe, one of these days they’ll introduce Alex’s wicked violin playing. Incredible musicians and artists…..Karli Forget on synth and keys, Keith Heppler on drums and Alex Black on bass.

Snip from the Black Locust video

Tribal East – I admire hard work, determination, talent and chutzpah, which these young, transplanted Somalians have. Three out of four first met at a music festival in their home country and all agreed, when they were all finally in North America, they would reconnect to make music…..and so they have. The group has a new album coming out called Family Tree and below you’ll find their new single, All You Need. Prenze, Hanad Bandz, Tavari and Profitt comprise this quartet. The first two live in Canada and latter two live in the U.S. Talk about long distance collaboration! Tribal East’s first single, Mad Rich was released in 2017 and garnered over two million YouTube hits.

Tribal East

Carson Koa – A unique combination of Hawaiian and French-Canadian descent, 18-year-old Carson Koa seems to have it all together as a singer/songwriter/performer (a background in theatre helps immensely).  Breakfast Special, a song-writing collaboration with mentor Lily Frost, is Koa’s first single. A jet-setter already, Koa lives in LaSalle, Ontario but also works out of Toronto and Los Angeles. He’s handy with the strings….a self-taught guitarist, he also plays the ukulele….piano too!  There’s nothing quite like a young man’s unrequited love.

Carson Koa

Dear Rouge – Formed by husband and wife team Drew and Danielle McTaggart in 2012, the “dear” is a homophone of the word “deer” and “rouge” is red in French. Although the band is based in Vancouver, Danielle’s home town is Red Deer, Alberta. The one and only time I have seen this band live is on the Horseshoe Tavern patio during Canadian Music Week (CMW) a number of years ago, and that was accidental. I’ve been waiting to see a full live performance ever since. Dear Rouge’s new single Fake Fame will be released on September 10, in just a couple of days. In the meantime, Live Through the Night will have to do. Some of the most visceral, dirtiest bass on record!

Dear Rouge – Danielle and Drew McTaggart

James Blonde – Originally formed as Xprime and friends since high school, these three extremely talented multi-instrumentalists can also produce gorgeous, a cappella harmony at the drop of a hat. Phil Taylor (drums/vocals), Neil Carson (bass/guitar/vocals) and Steph Mercier (guitar/bass/vocals) comprise this gifted and brilliant trio. Their first performance as the rebranded James Blonde was NYE in 2017. They’ve never looked back. Their new single, Delirium will be released September 10. Powerful performances will always have you up and moving your feet. Go to their FB page to find out what it’s all about…..seriously. I love these guys and miss them loads!

We The Crooked – l-r – Neelesh, Dell Orso, J.C. Sandoval and Russ Shipman (photo ©2020 Dylan Weller)

We The Crooked – Another Toronto Indie band introduces a new video on September 24 (a rather “almost” auspicious date but we won’t divulge why). J.C. Sandoval (lead vocals/guitar), who has performed with Die Mannequin and Secret Broadcast, formed The Crooked a few years ago with Russ Shipman (bass), Dell Orso (drums) and Neelesh (guitar). It’s been a rough 18 months for everyone, but with some changes and an expanded lineup, We The Crooked is finally back live and making plans to tour overseas. They are also dropping a new video for the re-release of their single, Villian, in just under three weeks. I’m looking forward to seeing these guys live again…..soon. While we wait for Sept. 24, the band did an incredible rendition of Chris Isaak’s hit Wicked Game, one of my all time favourite songs.

The Redhill Valleys – l-r – Matt Soliveri, Tim Allard, Chelsea McWilliams, Danielle Beaudin (photo ©2021 Andrea Hunter)

The Redhill Valleys – This Hamilton-based quartet has a new single out, Finish Line, which has been gathering so much steam it aired in the U.K. on Spotlight TV!  Released three months ago, the video was filmed at Ontario’s own Flamboro Speedway. The ladies of the band, bassist Chelsea McWilliams andguitarist Danielle Beaudin strut their stuff, but don’t let sexy fool ya. McWilliams and Beaudin are crack musicians and vocalists, and with lead guitarist and vocalist Tim Allard and drummer Matt Soliveri, form a solid, progressive country rock unit. Allard and McWilliams scored first place in the July/August 2021 American Songwriter Lyric Contest for their song Anymore.  I’ve watched (and photographed) The Redhill Valleys perform at various shows over the years and when you think they can’t better, they up their own game!

Black Locust – Hot Lips

To The Gallows – One In the Chamber

Finish Line – The Redhill Valleys

So I Always Know – Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar

All You Need – Tribal East

Breakfast Special – Carson Koa

Live Through the Night – Dear Rouge

Don’t Lock That Door – James Blonde

Shitshow – James Blonde (rather appropriate for the times)

Wicked Games – We The Crooked

Enjoy the fall weather and sunshine. It’s supposed to be spectacular this year. Tall corn in the fields means a snowy cold winter. I figure it’s time to start thinking about cool evenings and all those cozy comfort foods that keep our bellies full, our bodies warm and soothes our spirits.

This week’s podcast features Toronto blues vocalist and harmonica player Cathy Young. Find out about some of this great city’s contributions to music from someone who was “there”.


Photograph of Samantha Martin ©2018-2021 Pat Blythe A Girl With A Camera


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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