November 2006 * Volume 12, Number 2

* Next Old Chestnuts Song Circle Nov 25 (back at 111) * Eve Goldberg Jan 26

v Old Chestnuts - Last month and next - Jack Cole

October's song circle was held at Mary and Barry's, and a big thank you to them for hosting and making us so welcome. We had a moderate sized crowd on a chilly October night. Interesting highlights were Brad's two songs - one of which was the debut of Charlotte's words with his music, and the other an original about Saltspring Island - and Jim's version of a terrific Tim Harrison song. There were many more excellent songs for a cold autumn night, and thanks to everyone for coming. Culinary highlites - and there were many to choose between - were chocolate cake, and apple slices dipped in caramel and chocolate. Let's do those things all again! :

I set a theme for November that's a bit challenging, and I'm already planning to vary from it (see below). The theme is songs that name articles of clothing, are about clothing or with clothing in the title. I've selfishly reserved boots for myself. As an added challenge - find two songs about the same piece of clothing. As always, themes are only there to stimulate the creative juices, so if you don't have clothing songs, don't worry!

See you on Saturday, November 25th! And one more reminder that Artscan Circle calendars and Folk Night tickets make great Christmas presents!

v Eve Goldberg Coming to Folk Night - Jack Cole

The next "Folk Night at the Registry" isn't until the New Year, but friends, that's only 2 months away! Eve Goldberg comes back to Kitchener on January 26 with her new and very excellent CD, "A Kinder Season". If this CD doesn't win accolades for the songwriting and the whole package - it's a total visual delight - then something is very wrong.

Eve's new songs are not only very singable ("Let Me Rise" will be showing up at the Old Chestnuts one day soon, I predict), they are in such a variety of styles that one can listen again and again. And of course - "Old Tin Cup" is as close to a perfect song circle song as it gets. Produced by Ken Whiteley and released on Borealis, "A Kinder Season" is a CD that continues Eve's steady progress as a songwriter, and we are all the better for it.

Rumour has it that Eve will be joined by a couple of other fine musicians on January 26th to make a very magical night. More details on that as I get them. As a bonus, Guelph's Bob MacLean will be opening up the night with a set of Celtic guitar tunes and songs. Bob is an amazing, energetic musician, with multiple fine recordings and I am looking forward to hearing him again.

If you've been to either of the first 2 Folk Nights (both very successful), then you will know that the Registry Theatre is a wonderful place to experience music. So come on out and enjoy with Eve Goldberg and friends!

Tickets are only $12 and are available from myself, or the Centre In The Square box office, or (soon) at Twelfth Night Music in Waterloo.

Folk Night continues on the next Friday February 2nd with three local acts who, like Eve and Bob, have all been part of our Chequegnaut Festival! Midnight Clear (thrilling 4 part harmonies) teams up with Glen Soulis (of the Beirdo Bros., master of tin whistle and fiddle) and Norman Liota (guitarist, singer and songwriter). Andy Macpherson will be joining them on percussion, as they present both solo and joint efforts.

In March Steel Rail comes to town for the very first time and people are already getting excited about this concert. Steel Rail, from Montreal and VIctoria, has been gaining momentum with the release of their third CD, "River Song", one which has rarely left my CD player. Their style is described as combining folk, bluegrass, and acoustic country. The band is made up of Dave Clarke (blazing lead guitar, who played here with David Francey), Ellen Shizgal (bass and lead vocals), and Tod Gorr (rhythm guitar and lead vocals). All are very fine musicians, but it is the songwriting (with silent partner Lucinda Chodan) that continues to earn the most praise. I've already brought 3 of their songs to Song Circle, with more planned. My other favourite songwriter these days, Jay Linden, will be opening. Do not miss this concert, on March 10.

April 21 wraps up Folk Night for this year with Haines & Leighton, the powerhouse duo that blew us all away back in 2001. Mark and Tom are ultimate players, terrific songwriters, and performers without equal. This will be a fantastic concert and is not only a suitable finale to season 1, but also our first annual Jarrett concert in memory of our friends Mary and Merrick. Local trio GreenWood will be making a rare appearance opening the concert.

v John Allan Cameron - Jack Cole

It was very sad news yesterday that John Allan Cameron had died after a 5 year battle with cancer, still in his 60s. John Allan was a bit of an early influence, as he came out to Merrick Jarrett's folk music course to take part in the annual end-of-term ceilidh's twice while I was present, 30 years ago.

He was indeed a charming man, who sure could play that 12-string guitar, tell wonderful stories, and sing great songs. He had a whale of a time playing with the other musicians and getting the class to sing along. You'd think he had absolutely nothing better to do on a Tuesday night than drive down from Toronto to play for a bunch of university students, most of whom probably never quite 'got it'.

For Merrick's class it was an all-traditional set, and the song that stayed with me was "Lizzie Lindsay", one of the most beautiful tunes I've ever heard. The narrator, one Ranald McDonald (and yes, that got a few snickers), is asking Lizzie to go away to the Highlands with him, and in the end, she does! A beautiful Scottish song with a happy ending, no less! That may have been the first time that I heard an actual "recording artist" performing a trad song. I was hooked.

I bought some John Allan records a while later and learned "Old Maid in the Garrett" and "Four Green Fields" and Paul Grady's "Get There By Dawn" - with many of the wrong words, as it turns out. In my out-of-kilter version the singer is speaking to God, waiting and welcoming his turn to meet his maker, by dawn. I'm not sure if that's what Mr. Grady had in mind, but tonight I'll sing it my way, for John Allan.

The world is a little less optimistic without John Allan Cameron. Come on out to the Old Chestnuts on Saturday, maybe bring a Celtic song for John Allan, and help us raise the roof with Lizzie Lindsay!

v Cohousing - Jack Cole

Cohousing is a movement. Coming to a city, town or village near you, if it's not there already.

Cohousing is about planning to share your community with people that you like, instead of with people that you never know. It's not necessarily about being a co-op - but it might be. It's not necessarily about being a commune - but it might be something like that too. It's certainly about having the space you want and need, in a community of people that will vastly improve your quality of life.

Old Chestnut Tony Burns started a Yahoo group to talk about cohousing a few months ago. Many of the members are people from the Toronto musical community and The Woods Music and Dance Camp. So far, they are exploring ideas about the type of community they might like to be a part of, and where they might like to do it, and when. It's an exciting concept for those if us approaching retirement and The Beyond, and knowing that we want friends and music to be a part of those times. Membership in the Neighbou rhoodOfFriends Yahoo group is slowly expanding by invitation, and if you are interested you should get in touch with me and I can tell you more.

Cohousing developments are popping up all over the world, including right here in our own backyard, and that backyard group is having a dinner and information night. The local group is called the Grand River Intentional Communities, and they are hosting a "Cohousing Information Night" and organic vegetarian spaghetti dinner on Saturday, November 25th. Dinner starts at 5pm ($5 per adult, children eat free) with presentations at 7pm. A supervised playroom for children will be provided.

Presenting will be Dorothy Mazeau of the Canadian Cohousing Network, and Wendy Pearle, President of FROG at the EcoVillage at Ithaca, New York. The events happen at the First Unitarian Church, 96 Dunbar Road South, Waterloo, ON. For more information, please contact Stephen Wilson at 519-888-6917 or

Several folks from the Toronto Song Circle and the Neighbourhood Of Friends group are coming to Kitchener on Saturday for the dinner, the presentations, and a visit to the Old Chestnuts Song Circle. This is an excellent opportunity to find out about cohousing and share a meal with some good folks, so I hope a few Old Chestnuts can join them! (I'll be at my mom's 90th birthday party, then rushing back to set up chairs, so I doubt that I can be there - but I intend to try!)

Closing Notes - jc

# As most of you know it's been a time for sad news, as on November 10th Old Chestnut Jerry Gonnelly succumbed to injuries from a fall a couple of weeks earlier. There was a very moving memorial service last Friday and a concert is being planned in Toronto in the next couple of weeks.

We will have a card for Linda at the Song Circle this week, for those of you who would like to express your condolences. Jerry was a heck of a mandolin player, and a really nice person. Many of us enjoyed playing with him for the first time in August, at Jakki and Wayne's reception, and it was a delight. Our hearts go out to Linda. Jerry will be very deeply missed.

# If you're looking for a Christmas concert this year, look towards Guelph where the Barra McNeils are coming in mid-December! There Christmas TV show was terrific, and I can't imagine that their live show would be any less. More Christmas concerts can be found by visiting .

About this newsletter..... It's on the Web at and available at Circles. Call 578- 6298 or write for more information. A very busy time of year, with concerts and exams and parties and circles and pottery sales! Living takes all my time! :-)

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