Update - The Singing Kettle Coffeehouse (at The Country Kettle in St. Jacobs) Jack Cole
Well, we had our first try at bringing
affordable, quality folk music to the area. And there is no
doubt that we succeeded in the quality department, as Flights
of Fancy put on a terrific show. Beverlie, Rick and Judy
entertained us wonderfully, with expert harmonies, guitar, banjo,
fiddle and spoons. Every song was a sing-along, even the two
in French and Spanish. This was the perfect event for the Song
Circle crowd - lots of opportunity to harmonize on traditional,
classic and contemporary folk songs, with friendly and encouraging
performers leading the way.
Too bad most people missed it. Including
Lori and myself, our own family and friends, diners who stayed
on (they recognized a good thing) and James Morgan (who got there
for only the last 15 minutes) there were 21 people in the audience.
A handful of OCSC folks came (thank you!) and all the advertising,
flyer mailing, posting and hustling brought in, I believe, a single,
solitary person. Who, by the way, had a great time and loved
The result was that we had half the
people that we needed. Flights of Fancy was very gracious - they
are truly professionals - and agreed to consider a house concert
for the Circle in the winter, to help balance expenses. The
trouble with non-profit events is that one of only two possible
outcomes is a loss, as we found out !!
Was it the weather? Was it the time
of year? Was it the location? Was it bad promotion? Was it the
opening act? Was the X-Files season finale on, and nobody had
a VCR? Are people just weary of music? Do people just not want
All of this leaves the future of the
Singing Kettle cloudy, especially Eve Goldberg's June 14
concert. I feel very strongly that there needs to be a home for
this music, the music of those as yet undiscovered, or whose songs
will never be widely popular, but always loved by a discerning
few. Sure, some local bars hire folk musicians, but just try
to listen to a folk singer in a noisy, smoky club. At the other
end of the scale we have the Rankins playing for $30 per, at The
Centre In The Square. Are either of these venues your vision
of the future of professional folk music in KW?
Okay, I've had my rant. I know I'm mostly
preaching to the converted. The immediate question is what to
do for Eve's concert in 2 weeks time. My solution: I have printed
a bunch of tickets, and have them for sale. The $6 price for
Eve is an outright steal, so I'm looking very hard for thieves
among you. Reach a toe into your discretionary entertainment
fund and call me (519-578-6298); send a cheque for a ticket or
two. Call a couple of friends and do them a favour. When the
concert date gets close Eve and I will decide if we go ahead.
If not, I will call all ticket buyers and refund their money.
This will be a lot of extra work, but it could never be
as bad as my embarrassment and sadness last Friday night.
Today I found out that Buffy St. Marie
is playing in Waterloo on the same night. This is even more discouraging!
But I know that you'll have a lot more fun, for a lot less money,
in a much nicer setting at The Kettle. And one of the Song Circle
members will be the opening act, so please think about coming
out to lend your support to a fellow Chestnut!
May and Upcoming Song Circles
May's circle was the smallest so far,
with just 15 people attending, but it was also one of the best
feeling circles - lots of fun and conversation. The "country
songs" theme was well served, with many country songs, songs
about being in the country, and songs about other countries all
in abundance. James began with "I like to rise when the
sun she rises", and things took right off with Cover of
The Rolling Stone - a reprise of Modabo's opening from last
month. Merrick brought a fistful of Australian songs, which were
lots of fun. We re-emphasized the focus on singalong songs, and
with one exception (which was a request, he said
plaintively) we stuck to it. Have a glance at the song handout
summary that's included for more details.
And that's it for the first year of
Old Chestnuts. Thanks to all the helpers and bringers, strummers
and singers. Especially thanks to the Growdens for help with setup
and cleanup every month. That's all there is, there ain't no more!
I can't imagine life without it now, and I hope most of you feel
the same. I've built lots of new musical friendships and re-cemented
some old ones. I've learned choruses to an amazing number of
songs. I've forced myself to learn new songs to pass them
on. And I think I've gone a whole 8 months with calluses on my
fingers - something I haven't done since university! Thanks everyone,
and keep passing them on!
Reviews ....and what I would pay for....
Robert Atyeo from Peterborough and Brakin' Tradition from Nova Scotia have expressed interest in playing for us in the fall. I had been thinking of the Kettle, but now I'm not sure. Any thoughts on this are appreciated. Meanwhile, I thought I'd review their latest recordings, which they very kindly sent along.
Robert Atyeo Angels on a Cliff Rating: $20
Think John Prine or Tom Waits and you'll
have a good idea of how Robert sounds. His songwriting is excellent
and much less obscure than Prine, who I frankly have trouble understanding
these days. A sample: "My cat's scratchin' at the windowpane
/ I just let her out and now she wants in again / Crazy feline's
gonna drive me insane / I hate it when she acts like me, yeah."
The music has a nice bluesy feel and comes from the fingers of
Atyeo, Tony Quarrington, Jeff Bird, Tannis Slimmin, Sue Smith,
David Woodhead, Willie P. Bennett and many more. This is a very
enjoyable album, and I recommend it. Catch Robert at a couple
of local festivals this summer. Album can be ordered at 705-743-3671.
Brakin' Tradition Presence In The Past Rating: $17
This group of 6 have released their
third project recently, to much praise and airplay. The liner
notes refer to them as "New Age Celtic Music contributors",
but I would argue that a better description is "modern players
of traditional songs." The instruments include electric
guitar and bass and a full drum set, so their name is apt. Add
a couple of acoustic guitars, fiddle and mandolin and 4 voices,
and the sound is nice and full. This CD reminds me over and over
again of the first Good Brothers album, which featured their wild
enthusiasm on a bunch of classic bluegrass/country tunes. I liked
that one a lot, and this one too. Songs include Joe Neil, Bonnie
Bessie Logan, Star of the County Down, Peggy Gordon, The Jeannie
C., Sam Hall. There are also some new songs. This is an album
that is comfortable & fun to listen to, but just misses that
"grab you and hold on" quality. PO Box 381, St. Peters
NS, B0E 3B0.
Of course we have Eve Goldberg coming
up on June 14. If you skipped my diatribe above, go read it now!
Tickets are $6 (with a big smile) in advance, or $6 (with a smaller
smile) at the Singing Kettle, St. Jacob's. Eve, in addition to
being a regular at festivals in Ontario, plays a lot in the Toronto
area. She is an active member of the Toronto Song Circle and one
of the organizers of The Woods. Her specialty is thoughtful songs
that we can all sing together.
To get to the Singing Kettle take King
Street north out of Waterloo (or the new St. Jacob's exit from
the expressway). The Country Kettle Restaurant is on the right
as you come into town, across from the lumber yard. Ralph is
serving coffee, tea and deserts after we begin, and full meals
beforehand. Check it out!
for a house concert on Saturday, September 21! The concert will
be similar to Modabo's, with warm-up acts, coffee, munchies and
door prizes included in the suggested minimum donation price,
which will be between $12 and $15. Since there are no more Circles
I have devised another way to sell tickets. They will go on sale
July 15; call or drop over to get yours. There are only 40-45
tickets - they will go to the first people that get in touch with
us at 519-578-6298. We will again keep a waiting list for returned
tickets, however, to reduce the last minute returns, we have
a new policy. As long as there are names on the waiting list,
I will be happy to assist in finding new owners for tickets, well
in advance. But, within a week of the concert, when
we are very rushed, we may request to keep back a buck or two
per ticket - this will encourage you to find your own substitutes,
and will help us make the long distance phone calls that were
plentiful last time. I hope you understand.
Eileen is also able to do a workshop
that afternoon, probably at another location in town. I requested
harmony, but song writing and slide guitar are also possibilities.
Workshops are longer and more involved than concerts, so the
price will likely be higher. If we have about the same number
as the concert the price will be about the same. If we have half,
the price will be about double. Remember, these are classes
with Eileen McGann and David Knutsen - compare the price with
a Saturday class at a college with an expert lecturer. And it
could be a life changing afternoon. Maybe we could work out a
package with the concert. It's vital that you call us ASAP if
you are interested in this. Eileen is also interested in doing
concerts for schools in the area, so if you have any pull with
The BWFC has it's final regular meeting
of the season on June 15. On July 13 is a special benefit night
for the Food Bank - all proceeds from the door go to the bank.
Then they take a summer break too. Given the low attendance
that seems to be going around, you might want to make a special
effort to get to these!
Jun 1 Woods Benefit, Tranzac Club, 8 PM, $10, Grit Laskin, Eve Goldberg, Marie-Lynn Hammond and more!
Jun 8 Natalie MacMaster, Guelph War Memorial Hall
Jun 14 Eve Goldberg, The Singing Kettle Coffeehouse, St. Jacobs, $6
Jun 14 Buffy St. Marie, Waterloo Recreation Complex, $15/$18
Jun 14 Cravan Spirit etc. Brantford Folk Club fund-raiser, $10
Jun 15 Black Walnut Folk Club, Jester's Court, Victoria Park, $3.
Jul 13 Black Walnut Folk Club,
Food Bank Benefit
I'm still looking for another home,
with easy access and a large living room for September's circle.
And when the fourth Saturday in September comes along and you
haven't heard about OCSC, give us a call!! I may not get a mailing
About this newsletter......
While I type Lori is throwing more OCSC mugs and Robert Atyeo plays on...the final newsletter until ????. Thanks to everybody who has contributed, read, commented, HTMLed, and come out to the OCSC, BWFC, house concerts and The Singing Kettle. I hope to see some of you at The Kettle and at the festivals this summer, or why not drop over with your voices some night! Have a great summer everyone! jc
Here is information about nearby festivals
that I have been able to scrounge from various sources. I make
no promises to accuracy, but it should be pretty good!! I have
listed some performers that I find particularly noteworthy - apologies
if I have left out a favourite. Prices are minimum weekend rates.
Mariposa July 6 Bracebridge 416-924-4839 $ ??
August 3-4 Cobourg $ ??
A new slant on the oldest of them all.
Bracebridge features Tamarack and 3 Our Tour. Cobourg features
our very own Merrick Jarrett and family, Rick Fielding,
Bill Garrett, Curly Boy Stubbs, Caitlin Hanford, Bobby Watt.
I hope some of you can make it out to what Merrick swears is
his retirement gig!!
Home Country July 19-21 London 519-645-2845 Free
One of my favourites, this will be the
23rd edition. Workshops run all afternoon throughout Victoria
Park in downtown London, with concerts at the bandshell in the
evening. Crafts are a highlight here and the food is pretty good.
Music tends to the traditional. This year: Robert Atyeo, Bill
Bourne & Shannon Johnson, Dixie Flyers, Georgette Fry, Joe
Hall, Grit Laskin, Tom Lewis, Cathy Miller, Faith Nolan, Laura
Smith, Graham Townsend.
All Folks Festival July 20-21 Kingston 613-548-6525 Free
Saturday afternoon and evening, Sunday
afternoon. Too bad their Web site has no info! City Park, near
Hillside Festival July 26-28 Guelph 519-763-6396 $45
Diverse range of musical styles in a
very nice setting at Guelph Lake (but shade is scarce!). Jane
Siberry, Willie P. Bennett, Ellen McIllwaine, Mad Pudding.
Blue Skies Festival Aug 2-4 Clarendon (Ottawa) 613-279-3260 $ ??
Supposed to be one of the nicest festivals,
but very hard to get tickets. Camping is recommended here. Stephen
Fearing is the only name I have.
Mill Race Festival Aug 3 Cambridge 519-622-0146 Free
Downtown, along the Grand. Focus on
traditional music and dance. Everyone tells me this is a very
nice festival, but I haven't made it yet, and The Woods is the
same weekend! Unfortunately, I have no info on performers.
Earth, Air, Fire... Aug 9-11 Goderich 519-524-8221 $ ??
I've heard wonderful things about this
festival, the setting (Harbour Park), the music - but haven't
made it there yet. This is a full Celtic festival, preceded by
a 3 day Celtic College. Four workshop areas and main stage.
Loretto Reid + Brian Taheny, Mad Pudding, Dennis Doyle, Anderson
& Brown, Bobby Watt, Arrandale, Glen Elg Full Moon, Steafan
Hannigan, Pierre Schreyer, Don McGeough.
Festival of Friends Aug 9-11 Hamilton 905-525-6644 Free
Held in Gage Park in downtown Hamilton.
Move diverse than most festivals, and often features a few "big
names" who just play the main stage and split. Four stages
and LOTS of crafts. Arrogant ("Last Saskatchewan Pirate")
Worms, Baladins, Daisy DeBolt, Tom Lewis, David Wiffen.
Scottish Festival Aug 9-11 Fergus 519-787-0099 $ Individual events
Not really a folk festival, but local
and fun. Natalie MacMaster has a featured concert. Also John
Allan Cameron and Gopher Baroque.
Summerfolk Aug 16-18 Owen Sound 519-371-2995 $ 50
A lovely site on the lake, this is one
of the top-rated festivals in North America. I haven't been for
several years - I find it pricey and sure to rain. But it gets
big name folkies, and you can camp closeby. And Big Names: Nancy
White, James Keelaghan, Dar Williams, Natalie MacMaster, Katherine
Wheatley, Penny Lang, Susan Werner, Shirley Eikhardt.
Eaglewood Earth Aug 23-24 Pefferlaw 416-481-5506 $ 30?
Co-favourite festival with Home County,
just south of Lake Simcoe at the Eaglewood resort. Camping available,
wheelchair accessible, more affordable than most and great lattes.
Features performers from southern Ontario. Very relaxed, friendly
and uncrowded. OCSC's own Jane Field, Alistair Brown,
Rick Fielding, Bill Garrett, Curly Boy Stubbs, Mose Scarlett,
Katherine Wheatley, Ian Tamblyn, Jackie Washington, the Whiteley
Songs of Sail Aug 23-24 Penetanguishene 705-361-3084 $ ??
Marine Heritage Folk Festival is the
rest of the name, held at the Centennial Museum. Tom Lewis.
Peterborough Folk.. Aug 24-25 Guess 705-749-3157 $ ??
Saturday is a Club Crawl in a variety
of downtown locations. Sunday is free in the park. "Lots
of chances to get involved, so bring your instrument." Eve
Goldberg, Blue Rodeo.
Ottawa Folk Festival Aug 23-25 Guess again. 613-520-2600 $ 18
Held in Britannia Park, this festival
always sounds great, and this year is no exception. Lynn Miles,
Moxy Fruvous, Lucie Bleu Tremblay, Penny Lang.
Celtic Continuum Aug 31 - Sep 1 Collingwood 705-444-7750 $ ??
This is the third year, but I had not
heard of this festival until this year. Held at Bygone Days Farm
just west of town on 6th St.
Wye March Festival Sep 14-15 Midland 705-526-7809 $ 30
Catch three of my favourites - Modabo, Eileen McGann (in a warmup for our house concert) and Garnet Rogers, plus Elysian Dream, Ken Perlman. Music, wildlife carving and art, conservation activities. If I add a festival to my list this year, it will be Wye Marsh!
500 Miles (Proclaimers) Dec/95 Proclaimers?
A Time To Watch The River Run Dec/95 Ed Barrington
Across The Western Ocean May/96 Trad
As I Roved Out Nov/95 Trad.
Augustus & Catherine Nov/95 Bill Gallaher
Before They Close~Minstrel Show Nov/95
Blackfly Song Nov/95 Wade Hemsworth I have extra copies of most of these songs.
Blue Eyes Cryin' In The Rain Mar/96 Fred Rose Drop by and sort through my files!
Bonavist' Harbour Nov/95
Boston Tea Party, The Nov/95
Brandy Tree (?) Jan/96
Caledonia Jan/96 Dougie MacLean
Cape, The Nov/95 Guy Clark et al.
Circle Dec/95 Harry Chapin
Circle, The Feb/96 Coleen Peterson
Click Go The Shears Nov/95
Cover Of The Rolling Stone May/96
Erie Canal, The Nov/95
Fare You Well Nov/95
Farmer Song May/96 Murray McLaughlin
Fashioned In The Clay Sep/95 Elmer Beal
Fogerty's Cove Feb/96 Stan Rogers
Garden Song, The Jan/96 David Mallett
Gentle Annie Sep/95 Stephen Foster
Go To Work On Monday Sep/95 Si Kahn
Handful of Songs Sep/95 Jerry Rasmussen
Hard Travelling Nov/95
High Road TO Rum May/96 Trad.
Hobo's Lullaby Sep/95 Woody Guthrie
Hymn For Pincher Creek May/96 Connie Kaldor
I Ride An Old Paint Nov/95
I'm Just Dreamin' May/96 Fred J. Eaglesmith
If Wishes Were FIshes Sep/95 Eric Bogle
It's Amazing Dec/95 Ed Barrington
Johnny, I Hardly Knew You Feb/96
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine May/96 Pete Seeger (??)
Last Saskatchewan Pirate, The Nov/95 Arrogant Worms
Lilly Of The West Mar/96 Trad?
Little Star Treks Mar/96 Tuerff / Reynolds
Long Black Veil Mar/96 Trad?
Love Is Teasing May/96 Trad?
Mary And The Seal Mar/96 Bill Gallaher
Maybelle Mar/96 Jakki Ridley
Merry Month Of May May/96 Trad?
On a Day Like Today (?) Jan/96
Oxford County Line May/96 Fred J. Eaglesmith
Pass It On Dec/95 Sally Rogers
PGE, The Nov/95
Please Come To Boston May/96 Dave Loggins
Potter's Wheel (chorus) Mar/96 Bill Danoff
Run Come See Jerusalem Dec/95 Trad.
Shearing Time Nov/95
Something To Sing About Nov/95 Oscar Brand (?)
Song For A Winter's Night Dec/95 Gordon Lightfoot
South Australia May/96 Trad
Springtime It Brings..Shearing May/96 Trad
Sweet Baby James Jan/96 James Taylor
Tell My Ma Mar/96 Trad?
This Love WIll Carry Jan/96 Dougie MacLean
Three Score & Ten Nov/95
Thyme Feb/96 Trad
Wabash Cannonball Dec/95
Way I Feel, The Feb/96 Gordon Lightfoot
When The Currawongs Come Down Nov/95
When The Ice Worms Nest Again May/96 Wade Helmsworth
When The Rivers Flow Feb/96 Ed Barrington
Whiskey In The Jar Mar/96 Trad.
You Are The One May/96 Jakki Ridley