November 2001

v OCSC Last Month and This - Jack Cole

We began our 7th year with songs of peace and hope, and it was a wonderful evening. My expectation of a small crowd was happily shattered, as we ended up with about 35 people including (yes, again) a half dozen new folks. Welcome to everyone!

My devoted assistant Jenny Moore took note of every song so that we could share the feeling with the rest of you. The list is 44 songs long! So I have posted it on the Web site, for those of you who are interested. Apologies for mistakes in titles. The highlight of the evening for me was when Anthony Baldasaro (age 11) played Amazing Grace on the recorder, inviting us to sing after the first time through. It was beautiful and spontaneous.

November's circle is back on Chestnut Street, on the 24th. Since there is no circle in December this is the last chance to sing together until late January! Many folks have already said they are coming, so you are advised to call ahead to be sure there is room. James provided the theme - "Summer is a `comin in". A sure way to guarantee snow for Christmas, James! As always, the theme is only a suggestion - all songs that we can sing together are welcome!

* Empty Bowl Found. At the last circle in the spring someone left behind a very nice brown bowl, with "Empty Bowls" written on the bottom. This is from the terrific fund-raiser for the Food Bank that is conducted every year by Waterloo Potters' Workshop. If this is your bowl, please let me know.

v Celtic College - Sarah Moore

This summer was my first experience with the Celtic College in Goderich. As a young person, I was a little intimidated by the fact that my classes would be with older, probably more experienced people. However as soon as my friends and I arrived at the Livery, we were immediately welcomed into the group and invited to have fun. The atmosphere was relaxed, like everyone was there for music and good times. If you played a wrong note, strummed a wrong chord, or drummed a wrong beat, life went on, and more then likely someone offered to help you, or give you a few tips.

All the classes I took had the same philosophy; try your best and have fun. My first class of the day was Celtic Cooking, and my classmates and I learned everything from how to make traditional Irish Soda Bread, to making a mint sauce for lamb that was to die for. When I left all those lovely cooking aromas at the end of class, it was off to Tin Whistle class. I never thought I would ever get used to hearing fifteen people blowing through those piercing whistles, but by the end of the week, our class sounded pretty darn good.

After that it was back to the house for a quick lunch, then back for Harmony Singing class. Harmony was the best class in the week, for me personally anyway. I am not that great at singing, and yet learned to use my voice to blend and harmonize with my friends.

My last class of the day was Group Playing. I know that sounds scary, but it was really fun. A whole bunch of different instrumentalists learned to play like a real Ceili Band. You didn't have to be good with your instrument, just willing to try and get a few more notes each time you played. The finale to the whole week was playing and singing at the actual festival. What a high, as people enjoyed what was being played or sung, and applauded with enthusiasm at the end of each tune.

As far as I can tell, any place that could get me to perform and sound good doing it is worth the effort of going to. So what I have to say to all those people who, like me, have procrastinated about going to Goderich at one time or another, is: Go! It is one of the best experiences you will ever have.

v Three Concerts A Coming - jc

There are 3 concerts of special interest in the next few days. Contact information is given below.

First is the GreenWood benefit concert for Amnesty International. The show is Sunday November 18, and tickets are $10 ($5 for children). Lots of opportunity to sing!

The next night there is a very special concert in Oakville, to kick off a CD release for "The Canadian Musicians September 11th Relief Foundation". The CD, Tears For 1000 Years, features songs by: Valdy, Lynn Harrison, Brent Titcomb, David Bradstreet, Katherine Wheatley, Scott Cameron Smith, Randy Uberig, Don Bray, The Laws, Doug MacArthur, Aengus Finnan, Tim Harrison, Paul Langille, D'Arcy Wickham, John Gracie, James Gordon, Stan Rogers, Fireweed, Eileen McGann, and Susan Crowe. If that weren't enough, all but the last two will be performing at the release concert, with Ariel and David Rogers performing for Stan.

The songs are mostly previously released efforts but there are a few new ones, and the Stan Rogers recording is a hereto unreleased track - "Jamie", written by Mark Rust.

All proceeds from admission and sales of the CD will be given to various organizations involved in the ongoing support of families affected by the events of September 11.

Last but certainly not least, there is a new CD from local songwriter Jack Cooper on November 23. Jack's first CD really blew me away, and from the songs I've heard at Circles and clubs, the next one, Land Of Plenty, will do the same. The album was produced by local folk guru Ken Brown.

v Octoberfolk 2001 - Robin Jones

The day started with a welcoming concert featuring the Bill Hilly Band. What a delightfully eclectic bunch of guys they turned out to be. They are basically a bluegrass band who play everything from show tunes such as, (but definitely not like) Julie Andrews' "I Could Have Danced all Night" through Canadian Style fiddle tunes, Graham Townshend fiddle tunes, Celtic, Russian Folk, Klesmer Polkas, to Vaudeville tunes like "Fields of Dover" tied in with "Turkey in the Straw." I was humming

"Put on your Old Grey Bonnet,
With the Blue Ribbons on it,
While I hook ol'e Dobbin to the Shay,
We'll go up to Dover,
Through Fields of clover,
On our Golden Wedding Day."

The band is made up of: Chris Frye (guitar), Marc Atkinson (mandolin), Adrian Dolan (fiddle, piano, accordion), Glen Manders (bass), and Beau Klaibert (fiddle). I get the feeling that Marc is the leader. This mini concert alone was worth the price of the ticket.

I purchased their CD immediately, and when I spoke with Marc to sign it, he warned me that they were not awake yet, and that the evening would be even better!

I then had to start making choices with the workshops. I still haven't figured out how to be in two places at one time.

My first choice was "Songwriters (Part One)", with David Francey, Ray Bonneville, and Scott Cameron Smith.

It really was not much of a workshop; more like a song circle. Ray did get David Clark (who has a nice new Collings guitar), and David Rogers to join in a bit. With all that skill on stage we should have seen more. As you all know, I like it better when they jam. David Francey's leg must be black and blue from slapping out the rhythms when Ray played. David and Ray were really super, and Scott was almost as good. Scott had David Rogers backing him up on guitar, and this young man is already better than his ancestors.

Next - on to a workshop named "Guitar Styles." This was the highlight of the workshops again this year, as the last two years; if this is all you got to see all day, you got your money's worth. Dave Clark hosted, with Ray Bonneville, David Rogers, and Marc Atkinson. Marc had Chris Frye playing rhythm guitar with him. Marc was playing a copy of a Selma guitar, made on the west coast. Chris' was similar, but his had a U-shaped bridge and a large vertical oval sound hole, compared to Marc's small horizontal oval sound hole with a solid very long bridge. They used a combination of silk and steel strings. This is the same style of guitar played by Django Reinhardt. They have a beautiful, mellow, well balanced jazz sound. Marc is an excellent picker, and plays a Django style of picking, with many runs that use the entire length of the neck.

David Rogers is very accomplished, and was playing a Grit Laskin, beautifully ornamented guitar, that was played as well as it looked. I wish I could have afforded another CD, but there is only so much one can spend!

Dave Clark must be one of the best bluegrass style flat pickers there is, and he seemed better than normal. His new guitar looks like a D18 copy, and sounds pretty good.

Ray Bonneville has an interesting finger picking style that is very rhythmic, and infectious. But he was outclassed on this stage. The workshop ended with a blues jam in Gm, it was ooohh oohh so good, the sort of jam that only amazes.

The third workshop for me was Swing, Jazz, Blues. Ray Bonneville, Mose Scarlett, and Lisa Moscatiello.

Ray was much more in his element here, as his guitar style is much more attuned to accompaniment. Lisa Moscatiello started it off with "Throw it Away"; later she did "Summertime" - oh what a lovely voice. It reminds me of a young Shirley Eikhard. Both men on stage commented on her voice. I was silently begging Mose to join in on "Summertime", but no joy. The potential for a unique rendition lost. Mose was forgetting his words, but otherwise was up to his usual high standard. He even coaxed Fred, the cello player accompanying Lisa, to jam along with "My Blue Heaven." Fred also jammed on Ray's last song, quite to his surprise. He wasn't paying much attention, but he pulled it off, and finally all started to play along.

Next was "Traditional Music of the British Isles". Finally a chance to see Eileen McGann, who was hosting Lisa Moscatiello and David Francey. Eileen sang a hauntingly beautiful Shetland Kelpie lullaby. Wow! love her voice, and I really enjoy her traditional stuff, oh be still my heart. David Francy sang Burns. "Rattlin Roarin' Willie", "Ye Banks and Braes". He could make a CD of traditional stuff easily. Really good. Lisa did something called "Amber". "Oh Oh oh, my love is gone, she's the youth I adore". You know the song. We have to get this lady to do a house concert!.

Scott Cameron Smith opened the evening concerts. He had a full band, with Ariel Rogers as backup singer, and David Rogers on lead guitar. Very smooth, slick, highly polished country sound. Most of the songs seemed to be written to a formula and were predictable. There were signs of brilliance when they turned to bluegrass. It is nice to see people rise up from the folk club ranks.

Next was Lisa Moscatiello. There was a bit of a sound problem at the beginning, but this did not faze Lisa from giving a polished performance. Lisa was the only person that I heard repeat a song, but it was only one song. Her cellist Fred Leder, is brilliant, and his playing set her voice off beautifully.

Mose Scarlett gave a very comfortable relaxed, well executed performance that is hard to beat. His voice is so low it rattles my toe nails.

David Francey is getting more comfortable all the time, and according to my 'missus' Pat, is as good live, as on his record. When he did "The Flowers of Saskatchewan" the room was hushed; he had everyone enraptured. Has anyone else noticed that he says the word February correctly. He actually sounds the first R; now I don't feel so lonely.

Next up was Eileen McGann. I came in half way through her first song, (darn line ups for beer). I didn't catch the name of the song, but I think it was about Medusa. Eileen's non traditional songs are not as interesting to me as her traditional ones, and I think this is because of shorter story lines. But I am glad she has folk processed "Bonny Susie Cleland" so she did not die at Dundee. There is not a better traditional folk singer. I like the way her songs are arranged, and presented, and am looking forward to seeing her again and again.

Ray Bonneville has a gravely voice, that reminds me of a nice smooth Norton Bonneville motor cycle. As I said before this man has a very effective finger picking style. He seems to use simple chords, and an alternating thumb, and forefinger staccato style. He had three Gibsons, one solid, and two arch tops. Obviously (taken from a comment) not a Martin fan.

The Bill Hilly Band were able to top their previous performance. They started off a cappella at the back of the room and sung their way on to the stage with "Follow the Innocent Hare," an English hunting song. An excellent opening. They continued where they left off with many varied styles of music from Ukrainian to Brazilian. They are well rehearsed and choreographed, with kicks, jumps, shrugs and splits all done in time to the music. They even did a musical parade through the audience, ending up on their knees serenading a damsel in the back of the room. Great presentation Guys!

Only one repeated song all day so it can be done! This was the best Octoberfolk ever, and I would have to say the best festival of the season.

Kudos to the Brantford Folk Club, and all their hard work.

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

Nov 16 Black Walnut Folk Club, Mill-Courtland Centre. $3. Open mic. With host.
Nov 17 Dave Sinclair, flamenco guitarist, Button Factory W'loo. 886-4577.
Nov 17 Aengus Finnan, St. Jacobs Church Theatre, 1376 King St., $12, 664-1134.
Nov 18 GreenWood, benefit house concert for Amnesty International, $10 adults, $5 students. 578-6298.
Nov 19 Tears Of 1000 Years, Oakville Arts Centre, $12.50 + handling charge (!), 905.815.2021
Nov 23 Jack Cooper CD Release, Laurel Room, University of Waterloo. $12 WordsWorth Books, 578-2942 or
Nov 23 Garnet Rogers, Brantford Folk Club,
Nov 24 Old Chestnuts Song Circle. 578-6298. Summer songs!?!?
Nov 24 Mary Anne Epp, Father's House, 89 King N., W'loo. Food Bank donation.
Nov 25 Mill Race Traditional Sessions, Golden Kiwi, Cambridge, 4:30 Also Dec 9
Dec 1 Mill Race open singaround at Ernie's, Cambridge. $3
Dec 4 Guy Davis, St. Jacobs Church Theatre, 1376 King St., $18, 664-1134. Also Fred Eaglesmith, Dec 8 & 9.
Dec 7 Beverlie Robertson/Poor Charlie, Blues/Folk, Raintree Cafe, Waterloo
Dec 8 Hill Top Cafe‚ Live, Father's House, 89 King N., Waterloo. open mic

v About this newsletter..... It's emailed if I have your address. It's on the Web at and 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. Thanks to Robin & Sarah for captivating reports on Brantford and Goderich. Well done!! Time is ZOOMING by... Thanks to those who made it out to the concerts so far this fall. IMHO they have been OUTSTANDING, Eileen's incredibly so! We are very lucky to have these! Spread the word!! Now working on concerts for the spring. Unfortunately Bill Gallaher is once again unable to tour, but we will keep trying! Watch for a very special event in (about) February..... - jc

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