Old Chestnuts Song Circle Newsletter

June 1997

May Song Circle Jack Cole

We closed out the season on a very positive note! May's Circle was devoted to Canadian folk songs, and, while we left a lot of ground uncovered, we managed songs written and/or performed by Stan Rogers, Gordon Lightfoot, the Arrogant Worms, David Essig, Bill Gallaher, Jakki Ridley, Great Big Sea, Eileen McGann, Louis Riel (!), Oscar Brand, and many many more. Clearly, we could have several more such nights and still not complete the topic….if fact, I think we should!

The group welcomed two new members with terrific voices and lots of enthusiasm. And it was great to have Mary Jarrett back with us, and to hear Gwen's voice! But what I found the most gratifying was that 5 of the 17 people were under 16 and at least half under 30 - it's really encouraging to share these songs with (I hate to say it) the next generation. And speaking of that, I have to award 4 full demerit points to Christa, who, after I commented that I had first heard a particular song in Merrick Jarrett's folk music course, piped up that so had she - "17 years later". Now, I question her math - it's just not possible - but appreciate even more the legacy of those courses at UW. I wonder what folkie students do there now??

And that leads me to Merrick's remark that his memoirs of 50 years in music are basically finished, and the photographs are being scanned for printing. He hopes to have copies by the end of the summer. If we're lucky we might see them for the Bill Gallaher concert at which Merrick is opening. Now, Merrick isn't pushing these; he put his memories on paper for his family and friends, not as a money-making scheme. But, having had a sneak preview, I can say that they are fascinating reading for anyone who knows Merrick or for anyone who is a history or music buff. Remember to ask Merrick next time you see him!

So that's it for the summer. There is still a Black Walnut night in June, then I hope to see you all in the fall for more concerts and Song Circles. Have a great summer and enjoy the festivals!

OCSC Concert News Jack Cole

I told you last month about house concerts for Bill Gallaher and Harmony Road and Cathy Miller, and a return to Kitchener for Two Thousand Years of Christmas. We've sold a few subscription series tickets for these concerts, but there are still many available. Just a reminder that the subscription saves a dollar for each of the 3 events, and gives you a chance to reserve space at Two Thousand Years of Christmas. It's not too early to plan your fall entertainment! 519-578-6298.

I've recently received some promotional material and thought I'd share a couple of quotes.

On Bill Gallaher & Harmony Road (Friday, August 29, $14):

On Cathy Miller (Friday, September 12, $12):

There is also a chance that we may be helping with another concert in the fall, for a pair of musicians from Newfoundland who soar on fiddle and guitar. If this develops I will let everyone know. But please, order tickets for these events today!

Black Walnut Folk Club: Changes Afoot

After two years in the Jester's Court in Kitchener's Victoria Park, the Black Walnut Folk Club is moving to a new home in Waterloo. The Park was a convenient location for their open stage, but I'm really looking forward to a venue where the heaters make less noise than the performers! Not only that, but they are changing the night from Saturday to Friday, on the third weekend each month. Hopefully this will bring more people out, as Saturday tended to be a conflicting night.

The new home is a familiar one to me - the Laurel Room at the University of Waterloo. For the first couple of years that I lived in Waterloo (I won't say what years, or Christa may revise her guess in the opposite direction) I lived in a basement room off campus. One night each week I treated myself to a gourmet cafeteria meal at one university or the other. The Laurel room was simply the South Campus Hall cafeteria back then; music was at the Sunday night coffeehouse in the CC Pub - now known as the BombShelter. But I will happily return to the Laurel Room for great folk music in the fall. Friday nights, starting September 19, at 8 PM. Admission remains $3, although close by parking adds $1.50 . Good luck to the BWFC (and their new logo (?) ).

Album Reviews Jack Cole

The dollar figure is what I would pay for the album; FYI my average 'club' CD costs about $7.50 (big sale last month!).

Garnet Rogers Night Drive Rating: $22

My sister gave me this disc, and my first impulse on spinning it up "Oh no. Loud and electric!". But having some faith in Garnet I set aside time for a proper listen, and am very glad I did. Garnet is a master of delivery, and knows how to pick and pen songs to deliver. True, some are loud and electric - especially Colliertown. But some are soft and gentle (Corrinna Corrinna) and some are downright brilliant. There are a couple of covers, an instrumental, and the much talked about suite Golden Fields / Borealis / Night Drive. This may be the best GR album so far, but be prepared for a bit more volume than last time.

Bill Gallaher & Harmony Road Across the Divide Rating: $20

Another fine recording from Bill Gallaher, Jake Galbraith, Maureen Campbell and Mike Jones, a sampling of good things to come in August. Highlights for me are The Wild McLean Boys and Lunenburg Town, which is why I handed those songs around at the last Song Circle! But there are many more singable tunes here - songs about sealers stranded on the ice, traders heading for Canada, a couple swept up in the gold rush, and his journey to carry her body home to Ontario. Some humour, some romance, and a great deal of Canadian history, all wrapped up with terrific choruses. Another ideal Song Circle album from Gallaher & Co.

Kevin Kennedy with Samantha Kennedy When I Was One and Twenty / (905) 874-1162 Rating: $13

I don't recall being contacted by Kevin (from Brampton); I've not heard of him before or since; but this CD showed up in my mail slot. The 17 songs are a beautiful collection, and make the CD worth owning if you don't have them elsewhere. For example: Kitty Bawn O'Brien, Fiddlers Green, Maggie, From Clare To Here, Cape St. Mary's, The Foggy Dew. There are also 3 fine originals. According to the liner notes (and there must be a story here) talent on the album includes Jonathan Lynn, Rick Fielding and Sinead O'Connor. But, while the songs are wonderful, the album is best described as "pleasant". It never hits the emotional chord and offers little new.

Great Big Sea Play Rating: $18

After Up the boys from St. John's had a hard act to follow. And nothing can compare to them live. So it's not surprising that Play is a slight disappointment, yet still full of spunk, drive and joy and one of the 'funnest' of the year. Certainly they have brought in the talent: Danny Greenspoon to produce; the Barra MacNeils; part of Blue Rodeo; Oliver Schroer and several I don't know. Most songs are ripping Newfoundland versions of traditional songs, but there are a couple of covers (notably End Of The World) and several originals. If you haven't seen them you might think some of it pretentious, but make no mistake - they have fun and mean it. In order: see them live, buy Up, then buy Play.

Leahy Leahy Rating: $17

This is an all instrumental album from Lakefield Ontario's Leahy family. It's nearly an all fiddle album, with 3 members of the clan working that particular instrument, but predominantly Donnell, described in the liner notes as having "FEROCIOUS fiddling talent". The other 5 brothers and sisters (down from 11 in the original band) play keyboards, bass, guitar, mandolin, drums and stepdance. I bought this album (yes, paid full price) after seeing a bit of the video for The Call To Dance, and have enjoyed it. A variety of styles (a Hungarian dance, a "down south" set) make it hard to peg this album; if you like energy and fiddle music, catch them this summer!

Upcoming Events (Check Acoustic Cafe for more!)

Jun 21 Black Walnut Folk Club, Jester's Court, Victoria Park, Kitchener. Open stage, 8 PM, $3. One final time at this venue!

------ Festivals!! Check the attached list for more info!

About this newsletter..... It's emailed if I have your address. It's 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. I understand Modabo CDs are only a couple of weeks away! I'll let you know when I get the box! Thanks to all for a fine season - a bit of a different feel every month. Looking forward to next season after a wonderful run of festivals! We nearly had a new venue for OCSC too, complete with concert room - missed it by a hair. Sigh.

Summer Festival Information

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 5 Bracebridge 416-588-3655 $ ??

Bracebridge did well last year, so they're back again. Lennie Gallant, Moxy Fruvous, Dawnbreakers, Holmes Hooke. 10 AM to midnight.

Celtic Continuum Jul 12-13 Collingwood 705-444-7750 $ 10

Music + workshops by craftspeople. Harbord Trio, Don Ross, Len Wallace, Rick Fielding, Mary Anderson, Glenelg Full Moon.

Home County July 18-20 London 519-432-4310 Free

My favourite, and not yet missed festival celebrates 24 years! 150 craft vendors and 7 stages. Stephen Fearing, Mae Moore, Cassandra Vasik, Tony Quarrington, Don McGeoch, Jackie Washington, Sneezy

Waters, Gopher Baroque, Bobby Watt, Doug McArthur, Rick Fielding, Les Barker.

All Folks Festival July 19-20 Kingston 613-549-3705 Free

Two stages, open stage, workshops. 11 - 11 on Saturday, 11 to 6 on Sunday. Tamarack.

Hillside Festival July 27-29 Guelph 519-763-6396 $50

Eclectic festival at Guelph Lake. Valdy, Connie Kaldor, Colin James, Oliver Schroer, O.J. Anderson and many varied perfromers.

Blue Skies Festival Aug 1-3 Clarendon (Ottawa) 613-279-3260 $ ??

One of the ones that people rave about. 600 camping and 400 day passes. Lineup includes Erin Benjamin and Fred J. Eaglesmith.

Caledon Folk Festival Aug 1-4 Caledon 905-951-2415 $ ??

In the Albion Conservation area; camping, beach etc. Stephen Fearing, Norm Hacking, Joe Hall, John Gorka, Michael Smith, Don Ross, James Keelaghan.

Mill Race Festival Aug 2 Cambridge 519-621-7135 Free

In beautiful, downtown Cambridge; music and dancing. Nonesuch, Ad Vielle Que Pourra, Beirdo Bros., Beverlie Robertson, Dixie Flyers, Murphy Family.

Earth, Air, Fire & Water Aug 8-10 Goderich 519-524-8221 $ ??

This festival follows the Celtic College. Not much info (where are you Deb?) but Les Barker is there, and Pierre Schryer (?).

Festival of Friends Aug 1 - 4 Hamilton 905-525-6644 Free

In Gage Park - a fabulous lineup, but beware that some performers come only for their main stage show. Bruce Cockburn, Great Big Sea, Leahy, Downchild Blues Band, John Allan Cameron.

Scottish Festival Aug 8-10 Fergus 519-787-0099 $ Individual events

Lots of fun celtic stuff. Leahy, Rawlins Cross, John Allan Cameron, Seven Nations, Celtic Offspring, Cobbler's Apron, Mary Anderson, Failte.

Summerfolk Aug 15-17 Owen Sound 519-371-2995 $ 50

The festival of the summer it seems. I expect to make it back finally, to hear Modabo, Leahy, Shari Ulrich, Trout Fishing In America, Bob Snider, Moxy Fruvous, The Paperboys, John Gorka, Gwen Swick, Cindy Church, Lawrence Gowan, Melanie Doane, Arrandale, Les Barker, Erin Benjamin.

Eaglewood Earth Aug 22-24 Pefferlaw 416-481-5506 $ 30?

My other favourite festival, 'cause of the intimate atmosphere. Connie Kaldor, Bobby Watt, Norm Hacking, Jackie Washington.

Bayside Folk Festival Aug 22-24 Penetanguishene 705-549-2150 $ ??

Formerly the Songs of Sail - I guess the "sea" theme didn't hold. Features a Friday night cruise concert. Bill Gallaher & Harmony Road, Finest Kind, Sweet Tyme (way to go Sue!), Tanglefoot, Enoch Kent, Tranby Croft.

Ottawa Folk Festival Aug 22-24 Ottawa 613-520-2772 $ Free ??

The other festival of the summer! Bruce Cockburn, Valdy, Shari Ulrich, Ian Tamblyn, Tamarack, Cindy Church, The Arrogant Worms….. 150 performers!!! In Britannia park.

Wye March Festival Sep 13-14 Midland 705-526-7809 $ ??

Environment festival in a beautiful setting. Finest Kind, Bill Garrett & Curly Boy Stubbs, Steel Rail, Compadres

Octoberfolk Oct 18 Brantford 800-265-0710 / 519-759-7676 $23.50

Back for their second year, with indoor workshops and concerts in the evening. I hear last year's was a lot of fun. Lennie Gallant, Lynn Miles, Don Ross, Orealis, Arrogant Worms, Ed Miller, Tanglefoot, Erin Benjamin, Richard Knecthel, Donald McGeoch, Alfie Smith, Elysian Dreams. Brantford Folk Club.

...and Peterborough (Aug 23-24, 705-749-3639), Tillsonburg (Aug 23-24, 519-842-6151), Morrisburg (Jul 12, 613-543-3704), Perth (Jul 26-27, 613-264-1190).