NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol.103

Karaoke, Dj’s, Dominican Dancehall, Bruno Mars on the big screen and tourists packed in around the pool bar so tight they sound like a flock of birds! Another great trip to the Caribbean with family this time on my wife’s side. Congratulations to cousin Robyn on her marriage to Rusty! Great to get to know some extended family and rehash some relations with the immediate ones. The boys were a hit and kept us in line, for sure. The Mama Juana shots on wedding night with the old school classic wedding playlist and vintage hip hop were a perfect backdrop.

This just in…Vote for the song “There But For The Grace Of God” by Henry Norwood in The Canadian Songwriting Competition. He has been in this type of position before and done super well! Henry and friends enjoyed performing for family at The Cove on Saturday. They have so much pride for him! 

 
Spencer Evans Trio and Jazz Night returns for a one off soirée of Off kilter rock-Jazz-Funk-soul-r&b-reggae-country-folk-comedy medleys as an annual event in support of Perth Stingrays Swim Team! 7:30-10:30pm at The Cove
John Wilberforce comes back to The Cove on Friday for 6-9 coupled with a Fajitas Special and Head Over Heels closes out the weekend with 6-9 show of some serious lullabies of folk, jazz and blues’ greatest. Coming down the road is Jerome Godboo Band for Blues on the Rideau Series. Featuring a double trouble threat of guitar mastery with the intensity Shawn Kellerman and Eric Schenkman formerly of the Grammy  nominated and early nineties pop-rock-jam band who had two major Billlboard hits, Two Princes and Little Miss Can’t be Wrong from their debut record Pocket Full Of Kryptonite! Godboo is s party that can’t be contained with a smile the width of the front of his tour bus. His spirited harp playing continues to elevate his status to that of Rotundo, del Junco and the rest of Canada’s best. Fri.Apr.21 7-11pm and resos only. $65 + HST for Buffet, Show and Charity. www.bluesontherideau.ca
 
The legendary Beatles tribute from Montreal who have been wowing the Cove faithful will be back Sat.May.6! The quartet called A Day in the Life feature members of Sam Roberts Band, The Dears, Spoon River and more. $60 + HST Buffet and Show. www.adayinthelife.co
 
Thanks for reading and thanks for supporting the Lions Club Mobility Van Fundraiser this past Sunday at The Cove!!! $6027 with 460 people through, another record! Thanks for coming together as a community once again!
Esta mañana con musica,
Seamus

NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol.102

Some hot sun creepin’ in. Feels like it’s almost that time that bikers will rumblin’ through looking for patio service. Spring is so ten years ago anyway. I think this coming season is going to be wild and crazy. The 150th is looking like it is going to full all around. The National Parks will be free entry and that includes lockage, for those whom don’t know.
Pleasure to have Paul Langlois and his group in at The Cove last weekend. Was odd but I had this feeling of connection to Paul and Rob accepting their award on behalf of The Tragically Hip for Album of the Year at the Juno Awards at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa. When you win such prestige and play a little club like ours, that’s the effect it has on you…This, after their Hip brother Gord Downie received his award for Best Song giving a recorded uber philosophical speech. Hoping the Campfire Liars Club can return this summer at some point! In other Locla Hip news, Miss Emily Fennell is confirmed to play MUSICwestport festival this summer Aug.19 with Rob Baker and Gord Sinclair in her band! Speaking of the fest, some other confirmations are Kasador (Rob Baker’s son’s band), Brea Lawrenson Band, some Funk from Montreal, The Barrel Boys, Kingston Ceili Band, A Fellow Ship, King of the Swingers and the Kick Off with The Peptides…
John Wilberforce played The Cove on Friday night after the Jr. B Hockey Awards Banquet. John lost his dad the night before and still came with his wife and friends. I was floored to be honest. I would never have expected him to come had told me. Apparently, he wanted nothing more than to be playing music. I guess the night was truly tuned to 432 hz as opposed to 440. Let’s hear some more America songs next time…
A note on the Jr. Bs too. I think it donned on me the most this night how much dedication there is to this hockey club by the coaching staff, volunteers and fans. It is most evident in how the seniors who are moving on to the next phase are so appreciated and speak so highly of their coach, Bundy Seed. He really gives his heart and soul to the team and hence the community. Another big year boys!
Chris Murphy solo! Returned to The Cove Saturday. His folks came too! Mary Mac was unreal fast and totally tongue twisted. What’s job when this man plays solo! Thanks to the regulars for supporting! Fun to sing The Northwest Passage with him again! Finally got a low down on Jon McLurg too.
Enjoy the Juno awards this weekend? Oh the stories. It’s such a Canadian affair isn’t it? Standouts were the Feist tribute to Leonard Cohen, Russell Peters and Bryan Adams bromance hosting, Sarah McLaughlin’s lifetime achievement award, Sam Roberts appearance, the out of tune singing and once again, the Hip awards…I always enjoy catching the awards and I hope they continue to celebrate those on the outside looking in. Lord knows, there are many, many, many!
Quick mention: My wife’s old friend and room mate from Western is Leanna Collins with her friend George Bigelow are trying to beat the world record for a continuous concert which they have been playing in Stouffville since St. Patrick’s Day. It’s for charity and you have to meet criteria: band changeover can’t be more than five minutes, there can’t be any vocal silence for more than 30 seconds and there has to be at least 10 people in the audience who are awake! Music Marathon!
Coming back Wednesday because he just can’t get enough, can’t stay away and always wants to play is Shawn McCullough for his long tenured Wings ‘n Tunes Open Mic Night! It’s just over a month away for the big guitar giveaway courtesy of Long & McQuade music in Kingston and their main man Nathan! Speaking of long and McQuade, it was a fun trip to see Patrick Kelly this weekend…go PeeeKaaayyyy!

Coming this Friday, a man named Chris Douglas from Brockville area will be substituting for Jeff Callery. He is also known as The Valley Shantyman…I’ll let your mind wander. He plays all kinds of new and old rock and country style tunes. Troubadour style…Fajitas are back and wanting to get in your belly on Friday as well! 6-9pm

Saturday at The Cove is Henry Norwood and friends. Always a family reunion and a classic country music extravaganza with Henry, Mr. Vintage Voice.

Don’t forget to support the annual Lions Club Mobility Van Fundraiser and French Toast Brunch at The Cove this Sunday from 9am-12:30pn. Thank you so much for all the help of the volunteers. You know who you are! And of course, thanks to Garter and Delbert’s Sugar Shack for providing delish sausage patties and liquid gold maple syrup! Following the branch at the Legion in Westport will be another in their matinee series with North American bluegrass songs of Bill White & White Pine.

When we’re hungry, love will keep us alive.


NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol.101

NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol.101

What a weekend of music. Have I said that before? What a weekend in American politics. Have I said that before? Man is this year speeding along, like pedal to the metal? Have I said that before? Ha! I’m sure I have. Enjoying the life we have here in Westport and hope everyone is going well…as the Aussies say!

Been watching too much CNN. Don’t know but I have a feeling most of you out there are as well. Most of you, like me, probably skipped out on the last season of House of Cards to substitute it for the reality show that is American Politics which began about a year ago with the presidential campaign. The daily news cycle is ultimately crushingly complicated and confusing and frustrating. Sometimes I throw on some music here and there and just watch Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper lip sync the words.

This past Friday at The Cove “dough”, Blues on the Rideau was surprised by a classic-as-it-gets show with Danny Brooks, the Texasippi bluesman and his partner Lil’ Miss Debi. The band was The Memphis Brothers featuring some of Canada’s blues brass from Toronto area, Dennis Pinhorn on the low end, Bucky “Al Smiles” Berger on the skins and Papa John on the six-string! Upon final analysis, it must be said Mr. Brooks is the Mr. Lucky/John Lee Hooker of Canadian Blues with an evangelist howl reminiscent of soul singer and Daptone King, Charles Bradley. It is such a real and visceral sound that it really makes you cock your head like an animal and wonder how he does it. So glad the man could get over the border and manage to get his green card. Makes things easier and makes Blues fans happy. Chatted with Papa John after the show and he told me about a gig he played in Jamaica in the eighties with the legendary Long John Baldy! After a weeklong gig with him in the sun, at the airport he met one of the Kings blues, Willie Dixon. Willie hired him on the spot for a big gig he needed a guitar sub for after hearing him play a couple notes! Later he wrote a tune that Blues queen Koko Taylor recorded called Save Your Breath. A past fav of mine. Fun connection. Funky. Folky. Rootsy. Bluesy. Floored house, super food. Thanks to James and Diane for the Mr. Lucky dedication painting for The Cove.

Thanks to Georgia Ferrell for writing a piece on my musical story in The Humm. Had a great talk with former music player teacher John Winskell today about the value in having sheer joy in teaching something you love. The article is on page 16 in the March issue! Look for another one on Shawn McCullough in the April issue.

Saturday was another special evening for music at The Cove. Campfire Liars Club. Paul Langlois of The Tragically Hip, Greg Ball solo artist/co-owner of Pan Chancho and Chez Piggy, Joe Carscallen guitarist in Greg Ball band on supportive Pedal Steel and guitar/vocals and local songwriter Jim Tidman. This whole night was on account of Paul’s wife Joanne’s 50th birthday party. It was a mix of passing the song around the circle to getting friends, wives and girlfriends up for some duo plus sing-alongs. There were a lot of originals and some colourful covers as well. It’s always so great to hear the real story behind a song done by an artist! Can’t wait to do it again, who knows what will happen!

Heard Ambush rocked the Legion! Happy birthday Beth! Steve Lynn! Debbie Barclay too!

Looking forward to working on the new Tom Savage record with Bonz Bowering and Tony Silvestri in Kingston. With a new direction and slightly more pop rock sound, should be great to be a part of this introspective affair.

Check out Paul Renz’s annual Jazz Camp on the Rideau this summer with former Manhattan Transfer Jazz Legend Cheryl Bentyne from Aug.3-6 on Upper Rideau Lake property. Contact Paul at jazzcamp@paulrenz.com.

Looking forward to a big week in Westport with some traditions…Wings ‘n Tunes with Shawn McCullough continues to ride on the wings of sustainable energy. John Wilberforce is back to entertain post-Jr. B Awards banquet 9-11pm on Friday and Chris Murphy of Turpin’s Trail will be entertaining some celebratory groups Saturday what’s is well articulated and stirring Celtic/East Coast sounds 6-9pm.

Forging ahead in a coal-less future, see you at the next venue!

Huge congratulations to all those who supported the epilepsy fundraiser at Farrell Hall in Perth on Saturday night! I know Henry Norwood was entertaining…I understand it was an incredible success from a fundraising perspective as well as a community one too.

Seamus

#campfireliarsclub #wingsntunes #covemusic #rideau #thehip


NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol.95

 
There ya really no other way to start reflection on my musical week other than with my experience watching Adele at the ACC in Toronto Monday. I rarely go out and throw down on a big ticket pop show down like this but I have been following her since I first heard her on Ghomeshi’s show Q on CBC and have since been I tried by the muscle and soul in her vocal. She can write a hell of a tune and make you laugh when discussing it’s depressing and near-suicidal meaning. The stage was set. A lot of anticipation. Huge world tour about to wrap up. Slick throwback lines of the towering stage frame had a Brat Pack retro soul feel. And the sound felt good. I loved the right before your face volume that didn’t tire your ears. Her story is one of hard work, self belief and humiliation. Her songs mainly reflect sadness in love which frankly to me seems the greatest connection in her success into the hearts such a diverse many. You look around the room. Smiles. Tears. Young. Old. Male. Female. Her personality could be best friends with almost anyone there. I’m glad I had chance to feel her power in the same room. She sings like she is free though she is inspired loves prison. Good ol Christmas gift with the in-laws too.
www.adele.com
Henry and Shawn kept it real with a healthy flock of family and friends on Sunday’s matinee at The Cove. Many guests too! Patsy Cline, Jimmy Norris and more. Sunday in the Country!
www.facebook.com
Lots of folk were talking about the Small Halls show by New Brunswick duo Tomato Tomato with Mo Price’s brother-in-law Sean Price on guitar and his daughter Alex. So much promising unknown and local talent.
www.tomatotomato.ca
Quilters were impressive last weekend. The sheer amount of hours, labour and concentration reminds me of my schools days in music…
Did you hear about Hedley? Hey, it may not be my favourite band but that was pretty cool that they played a concert at St. John’s Catholic High School on the weekend to recognize the students for raising the most funds in Ontario for Relay for Life and Cancer Research…one of those healthy competitions that ended up paying huge dividends for the local kids. Way to give back.
www.hedleyonline.com
Kevin Head played a show of original songs (including 4 new ones) on Saturday with Stittsville songwriting star Jim Bryson. That was also part of Small Halls in Gananoque at The Fire Hall Theatre. Promoter Kelly Symes worked hard to make things happen. Congratulations on another year! Perhaps I’ll actually make it to some more shows next year.
www.kevinheadmusic.com
Rack ‘n Tunes with the big man Shawn McCullough at The Cove ends for the season on Wednesday. Come out an see if your ballot will get pulled and win you a guitar courtesy Nathan Crocket from Renaissance Music of Kingston! 7-10pm
The winter version, Wings ‘n Tunes continues every darn Wednesday from 6-9pm! Whoa!
www.reverbnation.com/shawnmccullough
Last Jazz Night of the season ends on Thursday at The Cove. 19 seasons later with my buddy Spencer Evans! We have played many shows and he will always keep me on my toes. I have never and will probably never play with a musician like you. Our wonderful Robbie Radford not be in the house on Thursday but a surprise drummer will be! 8-10pm Thanks for the support for so many years of strictly entertainment!
Friday at The Cove, a return trip from a highly gifted and skilled player Rob Lutes will delight the ear holes. This man can create one quiet firestorm of an atmosphere on stage. His intensity through breathy vocals and detailed but raw fingerpicking is top notch. If you love solo acoustic blues, this is your gig. Think Eric Clapton meets John Hiatt meets Chris Whitley. 7-10pm $10
www.roblutes.com
And Saturday. Well. Thanksgiving Saturday will be a warm homecoming with Turpin’s Trail. The spritely east coast vibe of this band is unmistakeable and vivacious. Looking so forward to having them back in the house at The Cove! 6-10pm $10
www.turpinstrail.com
Rest in peace dear Sheila Rowland, mother of Jan Ditchfield. Undoubtedly, remembered as a strong character with a big heart.
Sad to hear yet again of a musical act being ripped off. Former resident of the area, Corey “C.R.” Avery has an incomparable act based out of Vancouver. No one deserves his kind of treatment. Hey, you selfish, cheap thieves, give it back and go home!
www.cravery.com
How bout them Jays! I mean, what an end to that game. Congratulations Canadian ball fans!
Happy birthday to my cute little neice and nephew! “Everybody here loves you kids!” Remember that one?
Happiest of thanksgivings to you and hey our family. Music to my ears.
Seamus Cowan

NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol.94

It was the Weekend of Spencer at the Cove. Long time host of Jazz Night Spencer Evans and newbie to open the 12th season of Blues on the Rideau Spencer MacKenzie. Spencer Evans has a story behind him in our area but MacKenzie is as fresh as the new fallen snow. Nice to meet the band, friends and groupies…and family too! The Davies, Edwards, MacKenzies. Seems the boys in the band met each other while jamming at a club in their native Ridgeway area just outside of Fort Erie. It’s like a young guns crew but surprisingly well read and trained. Miles on Keys was chit chatting with me about a fav Jeff Beck record Blow by Blow. I don’t know how we got onto it  but I love it. Reminds me of the hours and hours and hours my brother and I would spend pouring our drooling mouths and strained eyes over Classic rock and Jazz vinyl at Brian’s Record Option in Kingston’s Hub. Back to the show though, the kid can really play. He can sing too. Want to hear more of what he will write so that his musical voice will come to the fore. His band is hot with juicy keys licks backing. Was fun to get up for a couple tunes with the boys too. Vankleek Hill blues king Terry Gillespie joined us on a couple numbers. Caught up with Terry and his love of roots reggae and connections to east Jamaica. Seems we both love Dub! And Spencer’s mentor and Hamilton blues extract, Brant Parker came, saw and slayed a chunk of both sets. First time hearing him though he has been a mainstay. All in all, was a great way to start the 12 Blues on the Rideau season! Feelings of relief to promoter James Doran’s wife Diane now knowing what’s been up with her health over the past year or so…And what a buffet put on by Chef Jojo and staff. Absolutely delish. Next month, a cabaret blues show for the ages in Westport, Laura Rain and The Caesars from the big town of Detroit. Last time we had a Detroit native was when Electro-Fi Records artist Harmonica Shah recorded a live one at The Cove with Canadian blues legend Jack DeKeyzer. Keep in touch with the season and Canada’s blues scene in general with the commander-in-chief James Doran on DAWG 101.9 online.

This Saturday, My DogSpa will be celebrating Fall Customer Appreciation Day with a BBQ and an Elvis tribute artist Brent Freeman. He is an acclaimed multi award winning dude and I’m sure the crowd will dig it. Christine Jennings’ business has been real, real good to the local music business by single handedly supporting WAC’s MUSICwestport Kick Off Party at The Cove. 1-3pm 20 Whelan Street beside the “Dollar” Store.
Last show Head Over Heels’ Sunday matinees at The Cove was this past Sunday. Was another most calming and enjoying stint on the patio.  Definitely felt I missed hearing them as mush as years past due to the excess business in the bar but I know people love Sunday when it’s warm in large part to them! The wonder duo will keep you falling in love as long as you are under their musical spell on Friday at The Cove 6-9pm.
Wednesday is the penultimate week of the ultra popular Rack ‘n Tunes series. Make NO mistake, Oct.5 will be completely rammed as you have to be present to accept your award if you have out your name in the draw for the so generously donated acoustic guitar from Renaissance Music of Kingston. Their own Nathan Crockett will be in the house to present to the winner and many will be vying for the right to some stage time. 7-10pm. Wednesday’s at The Cove will systematically re-morph into Wings ‘n Tunes on Oct.12 6-9pm for the winter. Thanks everyone for yer support in making it one of the most predictable weekly parties in the area!
Thursday continues with Jazz Night and Spencer Evans Trio at The Cove, also for another two weeks but will sadly end on Oct.6. There is no prize to be won other than that satisfying feeling being bombarded by an onslaught of songs you want to hear and have never heard all night long. 8-10pm
Vanessa Rodrigues teaching string in Rio slums! My old McGill schoolmate and fellow bandmate in the funk orchestra Groove Prophecy is really putting her strengths to work in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. I’m sure she even had a time at the Olympics! I’m very proud of this woman who has always been just on the outside and connecting with a slightly different crew pushing herself and musical boundaries. I remember when she just had to learn the enigmatic ways of the Hammond organ and thick tastiness of its vibe. So she called up one of the best, Lonnie Liston Smith. Then she just had to do a series with Baritone Sax behemoth Ronnie Cuber so she brought him to Montreal on a grant. Amazing collaborations like this have no doubt boosted her ever growing confidence to do whatever she wanted. One of those such times came when I was entrustsed by some of the world’s great drummers to play a Latin groove descarga jam for the NFB film A Drummer’s Dream on Netflix.
Canadian Folk Music Awards are coming in Toronto and Ottawa indie rockstar and MUSICwestport sideman to Oh Susanna, Jim Bryson has just been nominated for the Oliver Schrorer Pushing the Boundaries Award for his new record Somewhere We Will Find Our Place. Also, young fiddling star who has performed on our in and outdoor stage has been nominated for Young Performer. Jadea Kelly is up for Contemporary Singer and Amanda Rheaume of Ottawa is up for Aboriginal Performer and both have played the MUSICwestport stage! If that wasn’t enough, The Slocan Ramblers, the unreal young bluegrass outfit who played The Cove at the start of the summer is up for Traditional Album. “Old timer” Lotus Wight of Sheesham and Lotus is up for Instrumental Artist. Great to see him with his partner for some RnR a couple months back.
 
Finally, a good old fashioned classic country duel will unfold on Sunday at The Cove between Shawn McCullough and Henry Norwood. Draw! 1-4pm free

www.reverbnation.com/shawnmccullough

Henry original called Gentleman for his grandpA. www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzBGyiN3PMw
Shout to my musical mentors and teachers! When I get around to it, I’m planning to get some weekly blurbs happening. It’s very rewarding for me to be able to reflect. Lord knows there have been so many who have inspired me and created with me.
Just a little note, my family will be expanding in under a month so I might be taking a break from writing the column for a while. When you least expect it but expect it.
Delusional rhetoric was front and centre south of the boarder at the debate folks. Is this entertainment because the shock value is electric. It just keeps getting stronger. Over 80 million tuning in. That sounds like a show people want to see. We will be watching north of the border because the outcome matters to us too.
Seamo, out.