The Old Chestnuts Song Circle Newsletter
December 1998 / January 1999


v Last Month and Next Month at OCSC - Jack Cole

Are you worried about the weather yet? You should be. Forget the "Year 2000 Problem" - it will be an insignificant ripple in the space-time continuum, not worth the powder to blow up the newspaper articles that have already been written. Itís the weather you should be worried about.

November was the 11th month in 1998 that set record average warm temperatures, and Iím betting December (the hot new month for golfing here in Southern Ontario) will end up the same. A degree here, a couple more there. And before you know it we have screwed up growing seasons, a few extra inches in the Great Lakes, and next, strange species of alligators living in the sewers. And the newspapers tell us about the exciting prospect of a navigable Northwest Passage. Itís e nough to make Lord Franklin (or Stan Rogers) cry.

Which brings me back to Novemberís Song Circle. The topic was weather, and although Northwest Passage didnít make an appearance, we had five rounds of songs, many with weather as a dominant factor. The 23 singers (including 8 for the first time) handed out songs such as: Roy Forbesí The Farmer Needs The Rain, Eve Goldbergís Cold Wind Blowing, the traditional When the Currawongs Come Down (about the Australian weather bird) and Lindaís original How Many Stor ms Did They Weather - a dozen handouts in all!

Personal highlights were hearing at least 6 dulcimer tunes, and enjoying the wide range of songs, from Bad Moon Rising to Early Morning Rain to (Talkiní ĎBout) My Girl - all of which have lots of weather in them (and the latter is in Rise Up Singing!)! Also Jamesí Dublin In The Rare Old Days, a beautiful song; and the fact that the newbies included a family of 3, a sister (mine) and two daughters (Merrickís Kate and the Lightís Erin). The Circle grows.

So, on to Januaryís circle. The date will be the 4th Saturday, the 23rd. Call 578-6298 for directions or to let us know you are coming. The theme will be "Things Lost". They can be intangibles, like innocence, freedom, love or anger. Or concrete things like people, car keys, health care, youth or a good nightís sleep. Or even good old Ontario weather.

v A Plea for HELP!

Organizing and promoting the Old Chestnuts Song Circles and house concerts (plus concerts like Trilogy and Modabo), writing this newsletter, and still preparing new songs to pass on takes quite a bit of my time and energy. Iím happy to do it - this is my passion! However, a recent change in job responsibilities (plus an actual gig for which rehearsal is required) means that I am forced to cut back on these things, at least for 1999. Very simply, if we are to continue with all of them, I need more help.

So Iím asking for volunteers. There are lots of things that people can do to keep the balls rolling. Here are some:

As it stands now, we will go ahead with the concerts we have planned (including Trilogy in December) and maybe another house concert in the fall. But the Modabo concert booked for April had already run into scheduling problems at their end, and I donít plan to rebook it unless someone else is willing to take charge. I have many other performers interested in coming here - they will have to wait too.

Any ideas? Can we form teams for circles, concerts, newsletters? Iíll gladly coordinate and advise, but I need help in some form!

v Coming in February! Eve Goldberg!

I first encountered Eve Goldberg at the Eaglewood Folk Festival in about 1994. I canít say that I paid her sufficient attention - there was lots to see, and I hadnít heard of her yet. I remembered the name, the face, that she seemed pretty nervous and excited, and that she performed good, traditional-sounding material.

Flash forward a year or maybe two. Itís the summer of 1995 at The Woods Music and Dance Camp, and Eve is one of the four head honchos. She hustles around organizing this and that, leading workshops and song circles. Cathy and I meet James and the Old Chestnuts is born. A few months later we host The Singing Kettle Coffeehouse, and Eve Goldberg is our second featured performer. More fine, traditional, singable songs.

So we have a bit of a history with Eve. When she started drumming up support for her first album, one of the sponsorship plans included a house concert. A half dozen of us pitched in the cash, and it is with great anticipation that we welcome Eve, album in hand, to the Old Chestnuts.

This will be the first OCSC house concert outside of our own living room - hosts for this night will be Mary and Barry Baldesaro, who live in an historical home just around the corner from us. It also marks the first time that the performer has been paid in advance, with proceeds going instead to the half dozen sponsors. Itís a rather nifty opportunity to help out those who helped Eve get this rolling.

Here is an introduction to Eve Goldberg, excerpted from her press kit. I would add that Eve will give us all plenty of opportunities to sing along - thatís her style and her background!

"Eve grew up in New England in a family steeped in folk music traditions. She was strongly influenced at an early age by performers like Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, The Weavers, The Beatles, and Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band. At summer camp she was inspired by music of the Civil Rights and labour movements. When she moved to Toronto in her teens, her musical horizons expanded to include blues, swing, gospel, country, bluegrass, and old-time music. Living in Toronto als o introduced Eve to Canadian and British folk traditions.

As a performer, Eve brings all of these influences to bear on her eclectic repertoire of folk, country, blues, and gospel music. She has an uncanny ability to pick out the best songs the contemporary and traditional folk music scene has to offer, and place them alongside her own songs to create an inviting musical tapestry. Her music has brought her to folk clubs and festivals across Ontario, as well as New York City and Washington DC. She has recently made guest vocal appearances on alb ums by Penny Lang, Grit Laskin, Mose Scarlett, and Glen Reid.

One of the organizers of The Woods Music and Dance Camp, Eve's day job is managing the Borealis Recording Company, Canada's only national folk music label. This year she has also been hard at work recording the new album, which features Eve in everything from full blues band to solo a cappella settings. Eve gets a helping hand from a stellar cast of musicians, including Ken Whiteley, Chris Whiteley, Cindy Church, Mose Scarlett, and producer Bill Garrett. The album includes four of Eve's original songs as well as eight songs by some of her favourite songwriters.

After a busy summer playing at festivals across Ontario, Eve's new album "Ever Brightening Day" was launched in September to great acclaim. Already the album has had significant airplay on folk radio shows in Canada. In the fall Eve received honourable mention in the 1998 SOCAN "Songs From the Heart" Awards organized by the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals. She has also just received a coveted Porcupine Award in the folk blues category from CIUT's "The Great North Wind." "

Mark down Saturday, February 6 for a night of great songs! Call for tickets, or pick them up at the January Circle.

v Cathy Miller & Paddy Tutty

May 8th will bring another very special house concert to the Old Chestnuts. I was fortunate to have several performers interested in playing for us this spring, from as far away as Scotland. Itís one of my more difficult jobs to decide who should come and who should wait. So to reduce my stress, I pitched a double bill to two of the candidates, and they agreed!

Cathy Miller needs little introduction to this group! As part of Trilogy she has thrilled us twice with 2000 Years of Christmas. And as a solo performer she gave us a memorable house concert last spring. Cathy has an amazing voice, a fine selection of contemporary folk songs, and a captivating stage presence. Her style ranges from pure folk to blues to jazz to humourous songs. Her new album, her fourth I believe, has just been released.

Paddy Tutty has the distinction of being the first performer I have booked without previewing a concert first. Her CD Prairie Druid impressed me that much. Plus she plays dulcimer - how could I go wrong? Some notes from her press kit appear below.

Paddy is willing to give a dulcimer workshop in the afternoon, so if any players with some experience would like to pursue this, please let me know!

"Drawing from the musical traditions of Britain, Ireland and North America, Paddy Tutty weaves a tapestry of folk songs, ballads and dance tunes.

She presents songs up to several centuries old with immediacy and relevance, reflecting a concern for the struggles of both nature and humanity. With her warm, clear voice, Paddy Tutty sings of passion, tragedy and struggle intermingled with songs of empowerment, humour and magic. Her repertoire of songs from traditional roots is enhanced with music by some of our era's best songwriters, and with instrumentals dance tunes from many world cultures.

A concert with Paddy Tutty might include songs of the gypsies, a lament for the forest, love songs, French bourrees, Shetland jigs, ballads of prairie life, seasonal songs, and sagas of wizardry. Whether she sings of the lives of men and women, kinship with the land, or the moral victories of the poor, Ms. Tutty always brings warmth and humour to her concerts.

An accomplished musician on guitar and fretted dulcimer, her performances are finely crafted, enhanced by a keen interpretive talent and a spirited delivery. Especially well-regarded for her energetic and innovative dulcimer playing, she often flavours her performances with fiddle, spoons, or Anglo-concertina.

Paddy Tutty has been actively touring as a solo performer in Canada for almost two decades, with hundreds of concerts to her credit In her Saskatoon home she has often collaborated in recording, storytelling and theatre projects. On her independent label Prairie Druid Music she has recorded four albums of mostly traditional music."


v Some Events in The Area (as space permits!)

Jan 9 Mill Race Folk Club, open sing at Ernieís in Cambridge.

Jan 15 Black Walnut Folk Club, U of W, Open stage, $3.

Jan 23 Old Chestnuts Song Circle, 578-6298

Feb 6 Eve Goldberg House Concert, $10 adults, $8 12 & under

Feb 26 Rathlin, (former members of Killiecrankie and the Murphy family), Button Factory.

Mar 19 Christina Smith & Jean Hewson, at the Button Factory, with Jack, Jean and James opening! Contact Robin Jones for info.

May 8 Cathy Miller & Paddy Tutty House Concert, $14.


v About this newsletter..... Itís emailed if I have your address. Itís available at OCSC and BWFC get togethers. Also available by regular mail, but for that I request a few stamped envelopes or a contribution to postage. Call 578-6298 for more information!!! Song Circle topics are suggestions only - sticking to theme is not required!! So now it turns bitter cold - maybe December wonít se t a warm record after all! But I stick with my Y2K statement; the impact will be insignificant compared to the ice storms of 1998. Hope everyone had a great holiday season - I know I did!

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