NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol. 139

So my son got me back into my profound love of that dark black vacuum known as the universe. It’s a profoundly strange place, being so big makes us feel so small. In fact, that is now the best way for cosmologists to understand it is to study it I talk to my wife about it and we kind just say to ourselves, “what?” It’s all new to him but it’s this strange elephant in the room that few really talk about and incorporate into their daily lives. In the end, it really doesn’t matter what happens out there at the screaming edge of the proverbial light-speed expanding balloon. But! On the other hand, it does. I like to think of it as a syphon if sorts. Like how our lives are new everyday but the good stuff funnels down to the bottom if we choose it to, by our own powers. Our perception of perspective, just like how theoretically we see the rest of the universe differently from any different point, is most important to see the value of the whole. To see everything around us. To be mindful and strong in our thoughts. To be helpful and caring to others and really take that perspective deeper and deeper into our lives and make sure we don’t lose sight of what is truly most important in this mortal experience for us. I suppose some people might be just saying about now, whatever, I just want to know what is up with the local music scene and some community events…well yeah, that’s the focus here usually and basically but for me lately, it’s been impossible to avoid that quiet movement in the background, what I’ve been noticing with my little family which is the simple passage of time. Don’t get me wrong, I know we are all watching it moving around us every second but isn’t that more reason to spend a second and wonder, why maybe we worry about this or fuss about that or miss out on this or say something negative about that? I don’t know where I got the inspiration when I was a kid but I am increasingly impressed with the strength of my wife for being an outspoken advocate for  awareness about equality and fairness in the world. As Martin Luther King Day has just passed, I’m flooded by messages but reminded of how important it is to be just downright aware, accepting, positive and loving in this world in order to get through. I can set an alarm on my iPhone everyday to remind to be like this or I can meditate on it and it will just come to be who I am. Maybe the universe will start to feel smaller and more comfortable after all.

Blessings to my former backyard Slabtown neighbour Corrine McAndrews. Maiden name McCarthy, she has a connection to Jacky Brady and Karen McCarthy. She passed away about two weeks back. A strong soul, had a tough go I understand. She lived in the north for a while and experienced some trials and tribulations. She was subject to my raucous maiden voyage of immature proportions in Slabtown where I thought the neighbours of my new digs could handle a loud rock and roll post party jam in my uninsulated garage. Wrong. We later split on the cost of chipping down the apple tree that hung over our fence into her yard. She was always keeping an eye out.

Micajah Erskine Pickett III passed away over the Christmas holiday. Father of some of our first Westport friends, the Picketts, they have since moved back to the area. Nice folk. Beautiful little family. Rest In Peace.

Ottawa rocker Matt McKechnie is now co-owner of Embrun Music in Embrun just east of Ottawa. Matt’s stage name is Graven and has played the Cove a few times now, once with Ali McCormick who will be playing the Cove on Sunday afternoon from 12-3pm with her overly competent chicken pickin’ guitar wiz friend Bradley D. Scott from the Valley. Should be a cozy, folky afternoon for some mid winter fun. www.alimccormick.com

Hope everyone had a chance to meditate on Martin Luther King Day and if nothing else, it’s a day to be on, not off, for the good of humanity, to think of each other or someone else other than ourselves. For fun, look up some of his choice quotes, if you’re not inspired, I can’t help you anymore here.

Wings ‘n Tunes and the Open Mic has been continuing to be a most enjoyable night for the locals and country music loving folk alike. “It’s a Wednesday night to remember” as someone put it. 6:30-9:30pm weekly

Looking seriously forward to our wonderful Blues on the Rideau weekend with the one and only Jack De Keyzer (none of us know how to correctly spell his name). He is one of the bonafide Canadian Blues music legends and there is no doubt we are are all lucky to have this series coming here to The Cove to bring this powerful music to us all. Thanks again to James Doran for forging on since his wife Diane has passed. It will be a hard weekend but we know she will be there in huge spirit my friend.

The Cove will be observing the first ever Robbie Burns Day traditional festivity on Thu.Jan.25 from 6-10pm. It will feature a piper, haggis, true honoured Scottish MC, traditional Scottish fare, Scotch galore, toasts to the haggis and lasses and music from none other than who? Turpin’s Trail! What a great January evening we have in our midst! And for a good cause in party as well. A portion of ticket will go to funding for Lockwood Park and there will 6 or more exciting silent auction items gift baskets and a 50/50 Draw! Burns Nicht!

Finally, a little tidbit, Annual January Chinese Buffet will accompany the music of John Wilberforce. 6-9pm Fri.Jan.26 at The Cove.

Go Shapovolov!


NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol. 138

It’s a new year. It’s a new dawn. Life changes for us all, but then not so much at all. We get that rebuttal of sorts of how the past year of life has been for our loved ones and maybe get a short glimpse their near future plans. It’s an enlightening time and a really fleeting time all the same. Cramming good food and stories in and out of our mouths until we are full! Giving big hugs and presents, sipping good cheer and watching kids tangle and mingle. It’s truly an actual wonderful time of year. At least on paper it should be. I have heard many stories that don’t follow the same fairy tale that our holiday Christmas songs preach. However, despite that reality, I must say that the time of year with its lead up and fervour does nothing but good for us by lifting our spirits to know that for some of us lucky folk, hey, we aren’t here alone and we should be rightly thankful and celebratory for the great life we work hard to create for ourselves throughout the year. This year was another special one for me as we watch our little dudes find their voices and wrestle with their earliest thoughts and emotions in this crazy world. I’m literally turning into a mush ball. I love just even the thought of my boys and my family convening when I wake up and when I get home at the end of the day. Sharing the traditions that I was raised on has been a way of coming around full circle and it’s a good time for sure.

Since this column remains hazy in its main focus anymore, although it’s original intent was to create a round up/forum for musical happenings in the Westport and great area, I’ll continue on the same path. That path has become subject of music at large of course, community events, recognizing loved ones in town and area, personal musings, and more. I continue to mention this, that people consistently tell me they enjoy these writings. I find it a way for me to marinate and meditate on the week and what’s happened and what’s to come.

Over the holidays, there were some funky shows for sure. Henry and Wade’s night was hit by snow storm. Jazz Night was festive and Oscar joined on trumpet. Logan and Taylor were all Soul with Head Over Heels all smiles. Shawn continued to corral the troops with Boo Boo taking home the guitar! Finally, Turpin’s Trail gave a heartfelt performance to ring in 2018! It was a special holiday season with many generous businesses supporting us and recognizing their staff at their parties. If I may, I must say that everyone at The Cove greatly appreciates all the support over the past year! In order to continue with a diverse musical program, it takes many different tastes and many sets of inquisitive ears.

This past weekend was a testament to the musical community support that has developed at The Cove. You see, live musical really brings people together. Blues on the Rideau has nurtured a Blues music loving community over the last 13 years. The hard work of James Doran and his wife Diane Leduc-Doran have been instrumental in making that legacy a reality in partnership with The Cove. Diane lost her battle with complications of Liver and Lyme Disease and the inability to find a liver donor. She was a gentle, hard working spirit who supported and co-operated their venture in BOTR. She will be missed but the celebration of life truly spoke to the hardy community that has been created in the name of the Blues at The Cove. Thanks for the special musical contributions from the singular, angelic talents of Rick Fines and Suzie Vinnick. Capping the night were the wonderful Head Over Heels whom Rick joined for a few…our hearts are with you James. All but sold out shows of Jack de Keyzer up next on Jan.19 and 20.

Tony Silvestri makes the trip back to The Cove on Friday. You may remember his band featuring Westport’s own Tom Savage who performed an inspired night of premium b-side prof and classic rock hits that rattled the walls. The full house crowd in Kate December absolutely adores this band and I assume you will too. Albeit Tony will be solo, his power and showmanship will shine through. What a talent is he!

Speaking of Tom, was great to spend the last couple of days with him Zane Whitfield’s North of Princess studio in Kingston recording the music for a most individual of Singer/Songwriters, Sandy Stubbert. Bonz on drums, Dan Chalmers on congas, Tom on guitar and and me on upright bass. Her songs share a happy influence between the likes artists like Jennifer Warnes, Bruce Cockburn, Joni Mitchell. Looking forward to the final masterpiece by this new found characterful troubadour.

Coming Thu.Jan.25 is The Cove’s first Robbie Burns Day celebration. Man is his exciting to see the Scottish response from the community! They will be out in droves if they know that the words Haggis, Scotch, pipes and kilts will be out in full force! 6-10pm $50 + HST for buffet dinner, show with Turpin’s Trail Trio, dram of Scotch and donation to Lockwood Park. Call for reservations! Burns Nicht!

Thanks for reading and all the very best in 2018!


NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol. 137

It’s a week until Christmas. It’s that time of every single year in this area of the world where you hear that onslaught of Christmas carols and cheer. It’s the time of year when you realize, man, it’s been a year since the kids gazed starry eyed at holiday lights, squinted at images of Santa and Nativity everywhere or heard overdone remakes of classic Christmas recordings.  It what this time of year for me does is take it back further, for me. It’s the aforementioned images and sounds that conjure up feelings of my own youth and the parenting and experiences that I had. I’m in that role now, being a young parent and I have to say, for all of the ups and downs, I’m just loving being dad to these two little boys. It’s like everything eventually starts to run on autopilot from what you remember from your childhood. It’s actually fun to step back and look at the cycle you follow and how you gravitate and value certain things like the corniest of music like Perry Como, Bing Crosby and Burl Ives. The classics seem to conjure up real grounded feelings of family, comfort food, community and more. There a reason those little musical boats are still floating around! And the movies, wow it’s fun actually sitting down again and seeing the little ones mesmerized by the stories and songs. Taking the time to be together, be helpful, loving, thoughtful and giving are all welcoming attributes to absorb. On that note, I have seen and heard about many people making the effort to get out and see each other! And it’s pretty heartening to see all of the community Christmas concerts in pageants around the area!

Lee Casement, former bass player of Flood and After the News is now a teacher and received a grant from the Limestone Learning Foundation to start a School of Rock program at PCPS! The grant is worth $2,360 and will allow him to purchase a plethora of “rock and roll” instruments for the school. Way to go taking it to the next level Lee!

Our beloved Turpin’s Trail have just finished a short run of dates to release their freshly pressed Christmas album, “All The Bells”, featuring classic Christmas favourites like “Jingle Bells”, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, and “It Came Upon The Midnight Clear”, as well as some outside-the-box songs like Mumford & Sons’ “Winter Winds”, David Francey’s “Skating Rink” and John Prine’s “Christmas in Prison”. It’s available for download now on cdbaby.com, iTunes, as well as Spotify and Apple Music. They will also have plenty for sale on New Year’s Eve (and, appropriately, the album ends with their rendition of “Auld Lang Syne”). Check out www.turpinstrail.com for more info. Album artwork by Hannah Roth and Mia St. Amand (Noah’s wife and daughter). Anticipation! Congrats on the gift to yourselves guys! On a side note, it will be a special Christmas for the McLurg clan this year. Thinking about you folks.

This is the last issue until early January, so coming up for the rest of 2018 and into the new year at The Cove:Wings ‘n Tunes big night hits this Wednesday with the guitar giveaway! It’s a surprise axe and it’s a gorgeous one! Thanks once again to Nathan at Long and McQuade for sticking with this series! Thanks to all of you folk who support this show weekly. You and everyone know who you are!!! Shawn and all of us at The Cove appreciate the life you breathe into the night! 6:30-9:30pm grab some wings…Wings ‘n Tunes resumes Wednesday’s weekly, no stoppage here!

Fri.Dec.22 it’s the Henry Norwood and Wade Foster Holiday Hoedown with an Ugly Sweater Party with some prizes for the best worst one! 7-10pm $5 c’mom down. Christmas in the Country!

Sat.Dec.23 is the Annual Christmas Eve Eve Jazz Night with none other than the Spencer Evans Trio. Twenty years Spencer has been playing The Cove. Many years this has been going down too. Fun night heavy on the Christmas tunes! Be there or stay home! Happy it falls on a Saturday this year! 9-11pm $5

Fri.Dec.29 Head Over Heels will help close out the year with a night of their signature  feel good, feel warm, Sing-a-long love and loss songs. 6-9pm

Sat.Dec.30 the other couple who keep our stage so hot are back to help you get ready for 2018! Ridiculously talented young folk, the acoustic neo soul of Logan Brown and Taylor Angus always has people talking and walking away with their jaw dragging on the hard wood floor. It’s quite a sight and sound.

We appreciate the great, loyal and diverse talent who keep The Cove remaining to be one of the most successful rural live music venues in Eastern Ontario. We all work hard at it and we all value the support of this scene. It’s a complete two way street and we thank you!

Moving into the new year, please don’t forget that most important event we have coming on Sat.Jan.6.2018, The Celebration of Life for Diane Leduc-Doran, wife of Choose the Blues Productions/Blues on the Rideau producer James Doran. 1-5pm Fellowship, Food, Friends, Words and Music.

Happy Christmas, Merry New Year and Happy Belated Hanukkah. It’s been a good run…


NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol. 136

NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol. 136
Fun week passed! Wade Foster and Shawn Shawn Mccullough entertained on Friday and Healy and Orr made Christmas rock ‘n’ roll history on Saturday at The Cove. Some people I’m sure had a couple too many and some people quite possibly overdosed or Turkey and Beef. The holiday season is definitely here! Randal Orr
Had so much fun playing Young & Petty at the famous old Chateau du Lac Hotel in Hudson, QC on Saturday with my musical brothers Rob Radford, Eric Lawrance and Jason Kent
Wednesday at The Cove is Shawn Mccullough with Wings ‘n Tunes and The Open Mic from 6:30-9:30pm!
Coming to The Cove Friday is the Tony Silvestri band! Members of this talented quartet are Richard Pichet, Tom Savage and Bonz Bowering. Some Prog, bluesy and super hit Classic Rick will be explored. Buffet and show and it’s almost sold out! 7-11pm
On Saturday is Folk/rock/country collaboration we haven’t seen yet. These boys have frequented the Cove individually but this night they come together. Jeff Callery, Wade Foster and Kevin Head.
Our beloved Divan Orange where three of my former bands, Bullmoose, The High Dials and Spoon River have both played many an important show! Weirdly, the venue may not be able to last much longer due to dwindling attendance for shows. Some of my best musical memories of performing and attending shows are there! Will you help? www.divanorange.org Lazarus P. Horkenheimer Jeff Louch Jefferson Robert Cowan Trevor Anderson Maxime Hébert Robbie MacArthur
Congrats to Mo’s bro, Sean Price for bringing his Sure Fire Cube to Dragon’s Den which starts fires through natural ventilation, not dangerous chemicals. Sean and used to play blues music in one of the first groups I ever played in with my twin brother Jeff. It was called Desmond & The Redfins.
Check out the suave and dramatic vocal styling of Kingston’s Justin Bird. My good riends Bunny Jon Stewart, Rob Radford Radford, Benji Perosin and Alec Barken are the band. Looking forward to the upcoming release sooner than later! Thanks
Kingston’s colourfully mouthed rock and roll brother, Greg Ball has a new record out. Should be a friggin’ beaut, so keep an eye on him. Would love to have him back to The Cove with Campfire Liars Club feat. Paul Langlois, Jim Tidman and Joe Carscallen. www.gregball.ca Joanne Langlois
Coming up next week to the Cove is Henry Norwood and Wade Foster on Fri.Dec.22 for a Xmas Hoedown then the annual Xmas Eve Eve Jazz Night is back with Spencer Evans, Andy Love Andy and myself on Sat.Dec.23!
Wonderful NYC via Montreal saxophonist Chet Doxas released Rich in Symbolism earlier this year in September and I didn’t mention. Wow, did I make a mistake. What a powerful record. Mixing everything progressive about new composition jazz, rock and electronic soundscaping. It’s ridiculously jagged and unresolved in the most intriguing ways. Chet continues to explore his musical palette. He may quite well have been influenced by the rock and roll drive of the other major group in which he plays, Sam Roberts Band. Or it may be the influence of the abstract 70s/80s visual art of Haring and Basquiat in which he viewed in exhibit in museum, then wrote tunes. Or, maybe it’s the almost robotically random way that guitarist Matthew Stevens plays his insanity Lines or how DJ/bass player Zack Lober cuts through with his low end clarity or how possessed drummer Eric Doob inhumanly smashes his grooves. It’s a fun listen that caught me off guard. It’s a very new sound by his and the band’s standards yet it’s a super mature sound nonetheless.
Chet just finished a tour of a lifetime with fellow bandmate and brother Chet Doxas and his other Riverside bandmates, boundary pushing trumpeter Dave Douglas and living legend electric bassist Steve Swallow who wrote some of the 70’s famous jazz classics. Swallow’s partner Carla Bley was the wild card on this trip, joining the band for the tour. Carla is known as one of Free jazz’s most pure voices since her days of advocating for jazz composers in the NYC scene in the early 1960s with Paul Bley. She wrote with Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orchestra! She became a revered composer and beloved advocate for the musicians themselves. I have always loved her tune Donkey! Long story short, the Doxas brothers had a chance to perform and create magic nightly with these jazz masters.
Wow, would I love to get these folk back to The Cove sometime…the last time didn’t seem real. Congratulations brothers. www.chetdoxas.com
PS, I really love jazz nerd conversations especially when it’s on Facebook and my old friends are involved.
Alabama, you’ve got the weight on your shoulders and it’s breaking your back. Your Cadillac has got a wheel in the ditch and a wheel on the track. Congratulations on the right decision! Right on Charles Barkley!
Finally, very, very sad to hear about the sudden loss of the sister of Jonathan McLurg and Heather Heather McLurg-murphy. Our hearts go out to you folks. Christopher Joseph Murphy

NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol. 135

The bells rung out on Sunday night with the annual Christmas Candlelight service at the Presbyterian Church! What a diverse program! Standouts everywhere! Every last person in the performance brought such inspiration to the evening. It’s truly an annual gift to the village from the area’s musically endowed. Particular mention to the supercharged Joanne Lambert who is the evening’s musical director, choir director, accompanist and overall spiritual bombshell. Without people with such dedication to seeing things done at such a high level of attention to detail, we just wouldn’t be blessed by the inspired nature of a show like this. Congratulations on a diverse program featuring some wonderful arrangements and new pieces to celebrate the kickoff of the Christmas season! Big shout out to some others too, Margaret Ross, accompanist at the piano and Jamie Burt, former RDHS schoolmate and incredible flutist. Some amazing vocal performances by Heather and Rasa and Rasa’s son Sarunas. Deep, moving stuff, you usually come to expect in a major cathedral performance in Montreal or something…All around, the choir and all the performers were stellar and should be proud of their work! Merry Christmas!

Neil Young. One of the greatest contributors to “popular” music, songwriting, performance art and charity in the last century. To those in the know, Neil is about to release a new record, The Visitor. In celebration of this feat for the mid 70 year old, he decided to have a last minute lounge concert in an undisclosed locale which was special to him, here in southern Ontario. He did so in Omeemee, his former hometown. He played by himself choosing from an acoustic buffet of instruments to re-imagine some of his great masterpieces and perform some of the new ones. Songs like “There’s a World” haven’t been heard by him live since 1971! His voice has aged but his characteristic shaky delivery gives that comfortable Neil Young feel through and through. It’s just great to hear his candor and as my friend Geoff put it “Self Deprication”. Shows how real he is, even if he is such an icon to so many in such different ways. His life has been that of a true troubadour and has seen him spread his rock and roll sermon across the globe. He has always stuck to his guns. So much so that even recently he just came out with the Neil Young Archives which holds the key to the vault of every last recorded piece by him. It’s a growing archive that will continue as long as he is alive and producing his music. He is truly something else.
My friends Chris Thompson and Vanessa Ramsey now live in Omeemee. They watched the concert projected onto the wall of the Omeemee Legion Friday night. What trip!
www.neilyoung.com

Some St. Edwards kindergarten kids sang for the seniors on Tuesday at The Cove. So cute! Thanks for giving your gift of music to the folks! Incredible how those songs are always so alive in our hearts this time of year.

There will be celebration of life for our beloved Diane Leduc Doran on Sat.Jan.6 at The Cove. Diane was the wife of James Doran who has certainly run one of the great musical series of The Cove in Blues on the Rideau. She died due to an ongoing battle with complications of Liver Disease and Lyme Disease. She waited patiently and with strength for a liver donor but ran out of mortal time in the end. She was a giving lady with a such a strong character and supportive way. We and everyone who has come to the series will miss her and her hospitable ways. There will be an afternoon to meet with friends and reflect over an Open Mic with drink, food and music. Rest in peach Diane.

Wings ‘n Tunes with Shawn McCullough returns as strong as ever this Wednesday from 6:30-9:30pm! It’s the holiday season!!!
www.reverbnation.com/shawnmccullough

This Thursday is the first annual Handmade Hearts Holiday Market at The Cove. Showcasing local artsy folk with their handmade or independently sourced products. Congrats to Emily Brown for her efforts! This Thursday at The Cove Lounge from 6-9pm. Yummy apps and cocktails and  the wildly infectious soul jazz sounds of Taylor Angus and Logan Brown. $15 www.taylorangusmusic.com

Shawn McCullough and Wade Foster are back for another spirited romp of country roots musical telepathy. These guys remind me of my brother and I how they can finish each other’s licks and lines. They know their styles and sounds so well they they sound like one. It’s truly a top notch duo who have a massive catalog of songs for all types. Dare I say, fun for the whole family? This Friday at The Cove 7-10pm $35 Traditional beef and turkey buffet with tunes! www.reverbnation.com/shawnmccullough www.wadefostermusic.com

Healy and Orr, rock and roll Gods from Brockville. These guys have another brotherly story. Been together so long they are like musical roommates. We have become smitten with this trio since our first meeting in September. The Cove is ready. Festive rock all night long. This Saturday from 7-11pm $45 Big buffet and all the b-side hits! www.healyandorr.ca

Country Rockers, Picket Fences will rock out the Legion Saturday.

Following week at The Cove , while we’re at it:

Fri.Dec.15 Tony Silvestri Band feat. Local guitar hero Tom Savage

Sat.Dec.16 Jeff Callery and special guest

Keeping supporting live music sbdvit will keep supporting your mind!