February 2009 * Volume 14, Number 2

* Next Old Chestnuts Song Circle Feb 28 * Ron Hynes March 14 * Dunn & Gunning April 18

v Old Chestnuts - 2009 is here! - Jack Cole

January is often a low attendance month at the Song Circle, and with three of our regulars living the good life in Europe these days, 2009 was no exception.  We started with about 25 people and picked up a few more at break.  But what was different was that five newbies came to the circle, including our youngest ever at only 8 months!  Welcome to all the first timers, and we hope to see you again in February.

After a request for "It's In The Book", I foolishly suggested that books would make a good theme for February.  "Foolishly" because, as it turns out, there aren't a lot of folk songs out there about books!  But we'll give it a try.  Bring songs about books, based on books, about book-keepers, bookies and librarians, pages, and words - but only if they are good singalong songs.  As always with themes, they are optional and only intended to get your brain working - all singalong songs are good, and a good singalong is always better than a song on theme! 

This theme has a part 2, though.  We have these great Old Chestnuts songbooks that need to get a workout every now and then. It's good for us as a group, and good for our harmony practice!  So while we're on the books theme I would like you to think about leading one song from the songbook this month, on one of your turns. Here is a list of songbook songs, as of a couple of years ago.  Not many have been added since then (although I would like to add  Eve Goldberg's "Let Me Rise" this month and we welcome suggestions).

Across the Great Divide
Another Train
Augustus and Catherine
Blow the Candle Out
Braw Sailing On the Sea
The Canadian Tire Song
Country Life
Crossing the Water
Deep Fork
Down to the River to Pray
The Fields of Athenry
Fisherman's Wharf
Frobisher Bay
Handful of Songs
Hard Times Come Again No More

High Upon the Mountain
Home Place
The Honour of Your Company
How Now Mad Cow
I'm On My Way
It Rains Everywhere I go
Land On the Shore
Lunenburg Town
My Lady Of Autumn
Make & Break Harbour
Mirabeau Bridge
Night Rider's Lament
Old Tin Cup
Pass Them On
Potter's Wheel
The Rare Old Times
The River Driver
Robin Hood's Bay
Snow Shanty
Sweet Evalina
The Last Battle
There Will Be Music
Times We'll All Remember
Tupelo Honey
Turn It Around
We Have Seen the Wind
We Belong to the Earth
Who Will Sing For Me?
Wind Willow
Winter's Night

See you on February 28th!  Volunteers to help with setup are always appreciated; it will be extra interesting this month as once again the furniture fairy has descended on us.......

v Girls With Glasses and Darrell Grant and Ron Hynes - Jack Cole

We have been blessed with some really fantastic concerts over the last 13 years.  Some of my personal favourites include Eileen McGann, David Francey, Haines & Leighton, Modabo, Pied Pumkin, Trilogy ..... and now I have another one to add.  The last Folk Night at the Registry was  right up with those highlights.

The night started off with a brief opening set by Darrell Grant, New Brunswick singer/songwriter, and formerly of everyone's favourite band, Modabo.  Darrell played some songs from his brand new CD "The Heart Is Like A Wheel", plus a Modabo song, and some others from his upcoming project "A Child's Garden of Verses".  This was just a sampler for Darrell's house concert the next day, which was exactly what house concerts should be - intimate, relaxed, with lots of singing opportunities, some oldies and some new songs from the 300-ish that Darrell has written over the last 9 years.  It was a wonderful thing to hear from Darrell again, and I thank him for making the long trek to play for us.

Back to the Girls With Glasses.  Karyn EllisEvalyn Perry, and Eve Goldberg (left to right in the photo below)  traded the lead back and forth throughout two sets that were much too short for me.  Each song was an harmonic delight, fine tuned for their wonderful blend of voices and delicate instrumental arrangements, executed on acoustic guitars, a blue hollow-body electric, a concertina, a suitcase glockenspiel,  and various percussion instruments, including plastic water bottles to accompany Evalyn's perfect "Bottle This".

Among the many highlights of their original songs, it was also a treat to hear Kate Wolfe's "Across the Great Divide", with Darrell joining them for a verse and the audience singing along.  

Individually, the Girls have most distinct and interesting voices and presentations, but together they are magical.  A pity that they have not yet recorded an album together, but we can hope that day soon comes.  Another pity is that, due to the length of the show, they could not return for a second encore - I know that they had a few more songs ready and waiting.   More for next time.

The only disappointment was that the show was not sold out.  We had a paying audience of just under 100, which is about two thirds of the Registry's capacity.    We were able to pay the performers our budgeted amount, but just barely. So please keep spreading the word about good, live, music!

Which brings me to our next concert - the inimitable and legendary Ron Hynes, from Newfoundland.  With a songwriting career that spans nearly 35 years, Ron Hynes is a six-time East Coast Music Award (ECMA) winner, a Genie Award winner, recipient of the 2008 SOCAN National Achievement Award and a past Juno, CCMA and Canadian Folk Music Awards nominee. He's received both Artist of The Year and the prestigious Arts Achievement Award from the Newfoundland & Labrador Arts Council, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the St. John's Folk Arts Council.  Ron also holds an Honorary PhD for his songwriting and contribution to the cultural life of his beloved Newfoundland. 

Ron's ECMA's include "Album of the Year", and "Male Solo Recording of the Year".  His well-crafted songs include the ubiquitous "Sonny's Dream".   His latest album, "Get Back Change", was the most played album on Galaxie's Folk-Roots channel in 2006. He was part of the Wonderful Grand Band, making 41 shows for CBC and touring cross-country for 6 years.    

To put it mildly, Ron Hynes is someone that you should not miss if you are a fan of songs that say something (isn't that the definition of folk music??).   There will be no opening act on March 14, so that we can soak in a whole night of Ron's music. Tickets have been selling since August but there are still lots left from me, Twelfth Night Music in Waterloo, and the Centre In The Square at $18 each. Tell your friends!

After Ron it's Maria Dunn and Dave Gunning - two rising stars from west and east - in April, and Finest Kind performing with Beverlie Robertson in memory of our friend and mentor Merrick Jarrett in May. These are two more you must not miss. www.folknight.ca

As we head into the second half of season 3,  it's a good time to thank the Old Chestnuts volunteers and helpers that make this concert series possible.  Janette, the two Dans, Christa, Robert, Lori, Ellen, the Nelson family - we couldn't do this without you!   Thanks for all your hard and brilliant work!  And thanks to The Registry for making such a lovely home possible.

P.S. Darrell Grant left me a box of his new CD to sell.  If you would like a copy please just let me know!

For more concerts, regular club events, and even some singing opportunities, check out the Grand River Folk Community site at www.grandriverfolk.org  .

Closing Notes - jc
# Check out Strung tonight (February 18) at The Registry.  This supergroup of Doug Cox (dobro), April Verch (fiddle) and Tony McManus (guitar) will amaze you with their playing!   They are all world-class masters of their instruments, just returned from concerts in Scotland and presenting their brand new CD "Band of Gypsies".
# Coming up on the Mill Race scene, it's our friend Ken Brown on Friday the 27th, at Folk at the Cafe.  Ken has played a number of Chequegnat Festivals, and has the distinction of writing one of the Best Damn Songs Ever (imho).  Later, on March 14, the Mill Race Spring Preview is on, a fund-raiser for the Mill Race Festival.  Catch Alfie Smith, our own Jean Mills and Angie Stock, General Store, and Rukanas.  Tickets are only $12 (or $10 if you are a member).
# Also coming soon to The Princess - Garnet Rogers and Kelly Joe Phelps, on March 1 and 11.  The Ferron concert, which had to be postponed due to illness, has been rescheduled to April 30.
# Peggy Seeger returns to the The Woods Music and Dance Camp this August! Places at this summer music camp for adults are going FAST.  Details at www.the-woods.ca .

For more concerts, regular club events, and even some singing opportunities, check out the Grand River Folk Community site at www.grandriverfolk.org  .

About this newsletter..... It's on the Web at oldchestnuts.org . Call 519-578- 6298 or write jhcole@mgl.ca for more information. Long time since the last newsletter, and this one's awfully short.  You folks must go to concerts and listen to music - how about some reviews? Let's share the wealth!

Back to Old Chestnuts Home Page.