September 2008 * Volume 14, Number 1

* Next Old Chestnuts Song Circle Sep 27 * Archie Fisher October 16 *

v Old Chestnuts - Here we go! - Jack Cole

For fourteen years he climbed that cliff. Back down again he'd slide
He'd sit and cry, then climb some more, pursuing the perfect high.
    ~ The Perfect High, Shel Silverstein

And so we begin our 14th year of pursuing the Perfect High of singing together within the Old Chestnuts Song Circle. On September 27, 2008 please gather your ears, voices, Rise Up Singings, instruments, and good cheer, and come launch another year of The Circle.

The location is tentatively the usual one, although at the moment Lori and I are getting some quotes for work on our house, so that may need to change. Please check back here, or at , for an update a day or two before the circle.

A reminder that we are trying to play a little softer and sing a little sweeter.

It's a little late to throw a theme at you – and please remember that themes are only suggestions, not requirements – but there seems to be an excess of changes going on in many of our lives right now. Some good, some not good, some tied to the seasons, some way overdue, no matter how much we would like to postpone them even more.

I promise (threaten?) to sing about how the summer slips away and the final trawl; any other songs about moving forward, moving on, moving out, moving away, moving back, just plain moving would be welcome. That is, songs with a big first derivative – oh oh, I'm slipping into Thursday's lecture a few days early !! Well, you know what I mean. Songs we can all sing together, and appreciate the changes for what they are.

See you then. With a little luck you might even see some changes around the house!

v Fall Concert Mania - Jack Cole

I don't think I can remember ever seeing such an amazingly interesting list of concerts kicking off a fall. Sure, some of them I organized, so I'm biased on those, but even the ones that I didn't are quite fascinating! My advice is to clone yourself and go to all of them!

Here are some highlights, in temporal order.

On Saturday September 13th, friend, icon, and Chequegnat performer Margaret Christl returns to the area for a house concert in Cambridge. Margaret is a renowned interpreter of traditional Scottish songs, and has recently found her own songwriting voice. She will be appearing with her son Simon, an apparently scintillating guitarist. Steve Fruitman, who bestows the annual folk music Porcupine Awards, will be there to present Margaret with her 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award. I understand that tickets are wait-listed, but if you would like to join the list call 519-621-4649. See you there!

Then on Thursday the 18th, friend, icon, and Chequegnat performer Nonie Crete launches her latest CD at The Registry Theatre. The new CD is called "Comin' Home". Tickets are $20 at the door, or $17.50 in advance. The Rollin' Sands Band includes Eugene Rae, Ken Brown (both friends, icons, and Chequegnat performers), Karen Reed, Gary Kreller, and Michelle Josef. A mixture of folk, blues, celtic – Nonie performs wonderfully on guitar and harmonica, in all styles. The next night it's more blues with Roy Bookbinder in Guelph, at Folkway Music. Roy learned from Reverend Gary Davis, toured with Bonnie Raitt, and is known as "one of the finest blues finger-pickers active today". A rare chance to hear one who's been there. Tickets are $20. Mo Kauffey opens.

Less than a week later, on Thursday the 25th, Jez Lowe comes to Cambridge for a date at Café 13 for the Mill Race Folk Society. Besides writing one of my favourite songs (The Bergen) Jez has built a reputation as a fine songwriter and performer, and as a recognised musical ambassador for his native North East England. With more than a dozen albums and countless live performances around the world over the last twenty years, this Jez Lowe concert is a bargain at only $12 for Mill Race members ($14 otherwise). The usual practice at Folk @ The Café is to also feature an open stage, and I presume this will be part of the evening.

The very next night September 26, at the Port Dover Lighthouse Theatre, a quartet featuring fiddles, guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano, sweet harmonies and more will be presented. The draw - Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, "one of the most celebrated duos on the American acoustic music scene" and composer of Ashoken Farewell (you know it to hear it). Sounds like a great night. Tickets are $20 from (519) 583-2221.

Sunday afternoon on October 5 hosts a very special concert with a boatload of people I consider friends, icons, and (yes, in some cases) Chequegnat performers. The Healing Garden Music Fest takes place at the King Street Theatre, in downtown Kitchener. Appearing will be Tannis Slimmon, Katherine Wheatley, Wendall Ferguson, Rick Fines, Susie Vinnick, the Allison Lupton Band and more. The Fest is a fundraiser for the creation of healing spaces in cancer treatment centres. Tickets are $17 in advance and $22 at the door. (519) 571-0928.

That brings me to Thursday, October 16, and the launch of the third season of Folk Night at the Registry with the legendary Archie Fisher. He of the "Dark Eyed Molly" and "Witch of the Westmoreland" and "Final Trawl" is stopping between gigs in Lunenburg and Calgary, moving ever westward from his home in Scotland. Did you know that he has written a sequel to "Westmoreland"? (Not recorded by Archie yet, it is available on a Waybacks CD.) Did you know that Archie will turn 69 one week later, and that he has just now released a new album spanning 25 years of his amazing career? With a cover drawing by Robert Bateman, and an original song called "Ontario Dust"? Archie is as legendary a figure as there is. Don't miss him. Tickets are $20 in advance and will go fast. Laura Bird, from Orangeville, and with a new D of her own, will open. Email me!

Guitar players will be rising early the next morning to attend the 3 day "Elora Residential Guitar Summit", hosted by Archie Fisher's colleague, and renowned guitarist, Tony McManus.

Other concerts through the fall include Sheesham & Lotus (Cambridge, Oct 17), Great Big Sea (Kitchener, Nov 20) and the always wonderful Tanglefoot (Cambridge, November 15). Even The Centre In The Square is getting in on the act, bringing Buffy Sainte-Marie and Richie Havens to Kitchener on November 2.

Then on November 29 Folk Night resumes with the faculty of Guelph's Riverside Celtic College, including (at last count): Bob MacLean, Steve Fuller with Irene Shelton, Duncan Cameron, Sahra Featherstone, Andy Webster and Jason Pfeiffer, WhirlyGig, Carolyn Buck, Phil Elsworthy, Ed Koenig & Les Starkey, and Irish Ceili dancers and caller Siobhan Harrop. And after the break……. :-)  

For more concerts, regular club events, and even some singing opportunities, check out the new look Grand River Folk Community site at  .

Closing Notes - jc
# If you want more sing along opportunities (and who doesn't), check out  . Every Friday evening from 7-9 pm What's In The Pantry Cafe at 328 Speedvale in Guelph hosts a singalong session of "well-known folk, pop/rock, bluegrass, country, and gospel numbers, as well as traditional Irish/English/Scottish pub songs".  Sam Turton and Jane Lewis host.  And the same folks also present a series of workshops on singing (and more), with leaders like Tannis Slimmon.  Become a better singer and have fun!
# Speaking of Rise Up Singing - is it time to order more of the big book?
About this newsletter..... It's on the Web at . Call 519-578- 6298 or write for more information. Made it through the summer.  At least the calendar says so, so it must be true. Can this be September really???  Lots of our "regulars" will be on the move this year, to new homes in new countries, new musical opportunities, new places of learning - so let's make sure they come back often! (Steal their words!)

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