I heard the news from my father last week while I was away on vacation. Manfred was missing. I felt so helpless and disconnected as the search went on. When all is said and done, it’s amazing what I, along with most of the commentary about him realize is that there is a common thread about this great, unique man: rough and maybe a bit harsh but a real hard worker with a heart of gold.
He was loved by so many. A father, brother, son, helper, worker.
He was so intelligent, beyond many people’s true understanding. Always quick to challenge you with trivia, the latest mainstream news or off beat controversy. Full of opinion and insight.
A character. He was a man with a singular stance. And hell of a swagger with long step and whack sense of the world. He had the weirdest way of holding an air guitar.
A mouth. We all know who knew him about this attribute. “Dirty Rotten!”
A mind of logic. If you didn’t understand his point, he wouldn’t let the conversation up until it was settled. I mean that. I experienced it many times. “I’m tellin’ ya!” “I don’t know, I can’t explain it.”
A tormented soul. He was a loner. He rolled along to his own schedule and beat his own drum. We never really talked about it a lot but he recognized his drinking problem. It was a part of him. But in a strange way, it grounded him and kept him somewhat honest and quiet.
He was calm and patient with the young and the elderly. So many local folk hold he and his reliability so dear. His gentle way of listening but still taking the time to give them a snappy comeback for fun was beloved. He always took the time with my little guys as he told me when he looked at me with my little guys he missed seeing his Hendrick regularly. Sam affectionately called him “Mafred”.
A comedian. One of the funniest guys you’ve ever met when he got on a roll. His bright wit and zest for talking to absolute strangers, everyone in town and customers of The Cove was uncanny. People commented on it. It’s almost like the way he was, being by himself so much in his work allowed him to be confident in approaching anyone about literally any issue. “I’m dry!” “Doot dee doo.”
A bright light. He helped me whenever I needed help and never balked at it. We spent a lot of time together working on little things around The Cove. He was dedicated, trustworthy and worked hard for The Cove everyday he was here. He took great pride in his work and had conflict with those who didn’t show the same. “Do you need me to help you with anything cause I gotta go home. Golf’s on.”
He cared so deeply about his Jojo. I remember when their relationship started. It was a time of transition for both of them. They got on track quickly and have lived as a solid duo at their house on North Shore Road for over a decade. That’s a long time. I touch the ceiling here like we did at Ducks in memory of him. “Her food is the best!” Thanks to all the friends and family who have been there for her in support.
He adored his boy Hendrick whom he had planned to have come visit him this summer. He was going to fish with him everyday on the very lake that took him. He talked about his incredible feats in sports, especially pitching. He always talked in a way that was so beyond proud. “Oh, you wouldn’t believe it!”
He loved animals like his family. He knew about the land, the plants, the trees. Ask him a question and you wouldn’t have to whip out your iPhone. It was all stored up there. He could predict and explain. “I’m gonna cut the grass on a higher setting this week.” “You should see my tomatoes!”
To my surprise, he was a ridiculously proficient and avid golfer. Dad and I went with him last year with my uncle and he made the best golf shot I have ever seen on 9 at Evergreen. He said “nice poke eh?!” For about two weeks after. He knew literally everything about what was up in the sports world as he watched it constantly and he loved to bet on them from time to time…as far as I know. He was always “THIS close!” His team was the Vancouver “Canuckleheads”. “That’s it.” He would have been putting a dent in his couch nightly with the NHL playoffs on. He even learned to like the Habs just to side with me for fun. That kid of stuff is hard for a hardcore fan like him!
He was proud of his heritage and loved his parents deeply. He talked about Austria and its wealth and joked about its superiority over German culture! Schnitzel, schnapps and Jojo’s great takes on Austrian food were the keys to a good time for him. A beer or two too. Oh he loved his beer and his cigarettes. There is a joke about smoking. I’ll have to tell you later. He worked hard in many ways maintaining properties for many local folk, the Catholic Church and folks at the apartments.
He was colourful and knew about obscure, sometimes ridiculously heavy obscure rock and roll bands and always loved to stand and chat and have a test of knowledge on some latest rock group. He loved different music and that always appealed to me. “I like the heavy stuff eh.”
He was very grateful to my family for all of the work that helped keep him going and all of the great work he did was extremely appreciated and well executed. “I really care about this place.”
He loved the people here. He loved his dogs. He always out his big hand out to shake yours. He always parked his little truck down in the parking lots in the mornings. He was a true creature of habit. He had a nickname for all kinds of folk. I’m sure you can all name them now.
He was my friend. It sure didn’t start out that way though. Amazing how we figured stuff out and got along. “I love you very much.” I’ll truly miss him very much.
We all have to go, and some go like the way Manfred did but truly no one deserves that.
We toasted some bottles of Molson Canadian to Mumphy today (as Cess Marchand recently reminded me is his eloquent post). It felt good to sit in his seat and have one. Westport lost one of his sons, saving man’s best friend. The ones we meet along the way are the most important part of the journey of each and every one of our lives.
Love you Manfred. We will miss you a lot. As you would say, “keep the faith brotha.”

Come out and have a toast to the life of Manfred.

Wednesday night at The Cove it will be Wings ‘n Tunes for Manfred. Many local folk will be out to show support and give generous donations to the helping pot for Jojo.

This Saturday April 21 at The Cove from 1-4pm there will be an official Celebration of Life for Mr. Manfred De Calvares. There will be friends, families, food, music with Shawn McCullough and friends and an open mic for offering memories. Please come and remember him with us.

Music by Chris Murphy will follow 6-9pm as the originally scheduled Smitty has had to postpone due to his recent successes with his song “Stick Out the Front Door” that he wrote in tribute to the memory of the fallen members of the Humboldt Broncos, which he played solo at the memorial in Edmonton Tuesday. Somewhat ironically, Manfred initiated the placement of the sticks out the front door at The Cove…




Well, life is good. The Blue Jays are playing again. Spring IS coming. There are tonnes of threat events coming up in the area. Everyone is getting excited to have some warm weather events in their calendars. Isn’t it just wonderful?!

Happy to announce the 7th birthday of my great little nephew Sonny from down under! As always with this stuff, it’s hard to believe. Thriving little kid. Super into Star Wars and incredibly gifted athlete. Especially when it puts things into perspective with how long it’s been since brother Jeff and sister in law Kelly moved to Australia. I can’t wait to see their new place. They say hi to everyone by the way. One thing they both agree upon is the people they miss here in Canada. Enjoy the new house folks!

Lots of great tunes still being created by locals and focals at Wings ‘n Tunes and the now famous Open Mic at The Cove weekly on Wednesday. Pretty exciting to hear some real talent being cultivated on a regular basis. Come and support or perform! Planning on some new angles to this night so stay tuned. Hope you’ll all be happy with our ideas! In the meantime, just a reminder that it’s a pound of delicious wings with fries for $14 including top notch talent led by Shawn McCullough and the hardcore house band featuring Bill Parsons steady on drums, Mike Cochrane on guitar and personality and Shawn’s brother Dave on bass and family-band harmony! We can’t thank you lads enough for your jam spirit. Let’s hope to see lots of tourists and folks from the USA this summer. Always fun to throw some new blood into the pot and get some as lib collaborations up and running. Wednesday’s 6:30-9:30pm. Next Guitar prize giveaway: Wed.May.16! Look for new prizes this round as well!

This coming week at The Cove is the return of the smooth soul guitar and voice of John Wilberforce from Kemptville. He April Fooled me the other day. What a guy. Sorry I’ll miss you this time. Always love singing a tune or two with John. He is the only guy I know who has pulled out Lonely People by America besides me and my band! Acoustic rock and folk at its best. 6-9 this coming Friday.

Saturday sees the stage love of Head Over Heels back for your listening super pleasure. Their soulful attack of folk, jazz and blues standards as well as Kevin Head’s own dark horse classic writing is an evenings worth of lounge acting. Catch them live in the musical flesh on Saturday from 6-9pm. Reservations suggested. Announcing that this harmony wonder couple will be playing the patio weekly once again on Sundays from 12:30-3:30pm from May Long Weekend to Thanksgiving Long Weekend (always weather permitting). Looking at 6 years now…

Interesting the way that people’s mistrust with the security of our online presence, particularly on social media, is making so many people think twice about remaining to be online. Between hacking, personal data selling and being against overall time/life inundation, it’s like an exodus is arising. Makes you think twice about how we are going to communicate on a safe and democratic platform in the future doesn’t it? Read Chris Morris’ posts. Very entertaining.

Welcome back from the south Mary and Terry Cowan, aka Mom and Dad! That was a solid stint aboard Terryoke. A much deserved break in the land of easier living. Glad to see you back, as well as the other flock of snowbirds on their way up the eastern seaboard.

Next week at The Cove:

The coveted golden syrup of the legendary Garter and and the late/loved Delbert’s Sugar Shack will be generously donated and served once again to help raise money for the Lions Club Mobility Bus at the hugely popular annual French Toast Brunch from 8:30-11:30am! Make a big donation! It ALL goes to the charity…the BUS. We all may need it someday! Thanks to the volunteers and thanks to Garter for your Sweetness! Let’s beat 400 we had last year!

Emily Brown leads the charge with another Handmade Hearts Local Craft and Vendors Market. This Spring instalment will be the second in the series. Much success with the first one at Christmastime. 6-9pm on Thu.Apr.12. Some food is available and the $5 entry fee will be going to Westport Food Bank.

Logan Brown and Taylor Angus play their insanely convincing brand of Acoustic Soul Fri.Apr.13 6-9pm. And Henry Norwood entertains the best of the Jr. B’s and their families and friends Sat.Apr.14 8-11pm.

Just have to mention…Edmonton’s Boogie Patrol on Apr.20 for Blues on the Rideau and fan-fav Smitty is back Apr.21

Man, what an 8th for the Jays tonight vs. White Sox!

Send me your thoughts on music!


First of all, what a great turnout for the WAC East Coast Kitchen Party on Saturday afternoon! Phenomenal dancing by the McGrath Irish Dancers under the direction of Jessica McGrath. So appreciated that she organized her girls, young and older, to come out and put on a show which truly added some movement to the day! Thanks again from Hugh Colton from Hinton Auto Community Group for helping us to spread the word this time and other times! And thanks to the WAC volunteers for getting the Cove dressed like and Maritime bar!

Funds raised were $2192.50 for WAC.

Interesting year this year for me and the Juno’s. I realized that through this wonderful platform called music, I have had the pleasure of meeting so many greats and am happy to congratulate them all! I’m also somewhat humbled by the fact that through performing and hosting great Canadian musicians, I have so many connections to those who won and were nominated for JUNOS at this year.
MonkeyJunk’s newest record Time to Roll won the JUNO Award for Blues Album (Steve Strongman, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne and Downchild Blues Band all previous Cove performers were their fellow nominees!). Kingston’s The Glorious Sons won for Best Rock Album featuring my friend and our former Cove and Blues on the Rideau sound man Geoff Chown for some recording. Knowledge is the key! Montreal’s The Franklin Electric we’re nominated for Breakthrough Group with drummer Kevin Warren formerly of Ladies of the Canyon and played MUSICwestport with his jazz quartet. Montreal’s Arcade Fire won again, NYC’s Chet Doxas’ record “Rich in Symbols” was nominated for Solo Jazz was a former classmate of mine and has played The Cove in many interesting ways with jazz at the heart. Particularly with John Abercrombie, Dave Douglas, Steve Swallow, Brad Barr, Twin Sax and others. The Hip’s Gord Downie and the Sarah Harmer performance was heartfelt. His Hip brother Paul has played The Cove and will return Jun.29! Spencer and used to play music for Sarah’s family party in Burlington. Finally, The Barenaked Ladies’ Andy Creegan is related to my dad’s side of the family. It’s just most evident this year I suppose. Some great messages were front and centre as well. The use of these large stages is being treated with such respect and dignity in the name of positive change.

I’d like to spread the word that I’ll be playing some shows with Miss Emily, aka Emily Fennell over the next few months. She released a new record not too long ago called In Between with the aid of many local Kingston musicians, notably The Hip’s Gord Sinclair and Rob Baker who were both wonderful additions to the band helped amass a record crowd at the MUSICwestport festival last year. Gord will not be able to play anymore so I accepted to do some shows. Looking forward to taking the soul show on the road and being a soul sister myself! Gravenhurst Opera House Apr.21 if you know anyone up there…

Happy to hear about our friend Brianne Sharman and her European travels. Taking a break to clear her head. Hope you see Fungie in Dingle, Ireland!

Coachella? Could it be possible that I will be in Palm Springs down near the fabled music festival when Beyoncé and Fleet Foxes play the same night? Should I pass it up? Should I bring the kids?

Wonderfully sad news that I will be missing seeing one of the greatest, creative reivavlist bands of the last 25 years, Wilco plays Kingston Apr.8 and 11:(. Gush!!!!!

Supremely young talent will be on stage on Friday at The Cove this week. Nolan Hubbard was recommended by fellow youth protege and regular Cove musician Logan Brown. His sound is pure and precise. He flows gentle but holds strong to his notes. His first jam at The Cove happens this Friday from 6-9pm.

Supreme talent continues to thrive in the garden of Wings ‘n Tunes and the Open Mic with Shawn McCullough too. Shane keep that train rolling weekly with some frequent stop through soul town and northern Nashville. Always a highlight of the work week on Hump Day. 6:30 (or 7) to 9:30pm (or 10pm)!

Let’s keep it democratic, even in the digital world.


First off, congratulations to my friend Paul Millar for posting nothing but positive posts on Facebook. He has made it his prerogative lately. I will let you investigate it yourself but I thought it important to give a shout out to him amidst our increasingly Trumatic news driven world. Sometimes I feel like I’m watching the scene out of diehard on CNN, seriously.

So the official schedule has been released…Herbie Hancock at Ottawa Jazz Fest Jun.30 with Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles on a later stage. Absolutely chuffed that I can’t attend but such is life. I’ll never forget the time when I saw Herbie play Metropolis in Montreal about 15 years ago. He would’ve been in his early 60s and he still managed to physically move a full-size the grand piano at the middle of the stage from his sheer intensity. The Festival runs Jun.21-Jul.1. So much to check out, so much incredible world-class talent one and a half hours away. It’s quite a gift some of these festivals give us. Thanks to the year-round backbreaking work and generous donations from sponsors, they’ve managed to attract growing crowds every year.

Have you heard of Suuns? My guess would be no. Honestly, if I was in keeping in touch with some of my old Montreal set, I don’t know if I would know a lot of new groups that are still making waves under the dark radar. However, in the case of his band Suuns, my friend Ben Shemie and former Junk bandmate and McGill classmate has just released another record and is about to tour the pants off of it around North America and Europe. Fully embracing electro with an experimental jazz sensibility and contemplative breathy, enigmatic vocals, Ben has really surprised me with his conviction and dedication to his most personal musical projects. His guitar playing and his quest for the most lyrical, yet puzzling line has never faltered. I’ll never forget Back to Plaster at Main Hall on St. Laurent Boulevard and how much of a stir that created…stay in touch Ben.

Did anyone else hear the team, Put your Money on Me by Arcade Fire on Saturday Night Live thus week? Fun to sing along and see another old McGill classmate Regine Chassagne up there in a red jumpsuit spreading her wings. What a Weekend Update with host Bill Hader!!! This man truly has the gift of just making you feel like busting a gut by looking at him we’re listening to him speak. Do you remember the Vinny the Italian who couldn’t understand what you’re saying or how about last Saturday’s Under Desk Office Potty? Vincent Price? Prince Phillip? Stefon? A master. He is just about to release his new HBO special Barry about a hitman who isn’t very good so he goes to acting school…

St. Paddy’s mayhem happened. Fun time. So great that our towns predominantly Irish heritage is being so heartily celebrated! Seems like the word on the street is the best idea for 2019 is a Matinee being that it will fall on a Sunday. Stay tuned and get yer table now. According to the beloved leader of the pack, Terry Bryan, this year’s parade was the biggest St. Paddy’s Parade yet and Chris Murphy from Turpin’s Trail said that was the craziest St. Paddy’s party he has played yet! Congratulations Westport!

As I have spouted on social media, post-show, Sean Pinchin is without a doubt one of the greatest guitar players to have ever played Blues on the Rideau at The Cove. It’s unanimous. And his band of Peter and Dennis was super solid as well! We are so grateful to be able to host such high powered talent on such a regular basis and it’s always a bonus when you get to play an inspiring jam with them too. Come again ok Sean! Contact him if you have any old Marvel Wolverine comics too.
Next up for Blues on the Rideau is a phenomenal throwback soul blues band with an gravelly Otis Redding-voiced front man. Boogie Patrol will be hopping on a flight from Edmonton for the BOTR, their only show east.

To all you parents out there, do you ever tuck your kids in at night and wonder how it happened so quickly? Happens frequently with my eldest these days. As our daily lives get tighter and tighter and full of more regularity, it’s easy for the week to shuffle by like contact pages in a Rolodex. Holding on for dear life while watching the show fly by.

This week at The Cove, the music is always happening but maybe not quite as much. Wednesday is as always, a musical night for the people. Can we get a witness? Can I, get a, witnessssss? Shawn McCullough and his weekly Wednesday party happens 6:30-9:30pm. It’s a great time. It’s like church for many. Come out.

Saturday is a great event for post-St. Paddy’s Day. The annual spring fundraiser for Westport Arts Council this year, the East Coast Kitchen Party features the music of first timers at The Cove, The Fiddleheads from Belleville. Show goes 1-4pm with a surprise late addition in the McGrath Irish Dancers troupe around 2pm! $10 admission, kids under 10 Free and 50/50 Draw! Erin go Bragh! Not literally but let’s have a time!!!

Henry Norwood plays the soundtrack to The Young Timers Hockey Banquet on Saturday night.

Coming up next week:
Fri.Mar.30 young acoustic soul phenom, Nolan Hubbard. A Logan Brown recommendation.
Sat.Mar.31 Spencer Evans Trio plays the Old Timers Hockey Banquet!

Wrote this while listening to Black Mountain. Fun and friendly Vancouver psych band…

Don’t forget to stop into your friendly local sugar shack and see the magic happen creating the golden liquid!

God Bless the Farmers!


Well, I gotta hand it to you Diane Magee. When you came to me about 5 years ago with your idea/complaint about there being no official St. Patrick’s Day celebration in our predominantly Irish settled area, I thought to myself, “yeah, so.” But here we are some years later with a momentous situation where we literally have to turn people away for seating at The Cove. It started as a harmless, classic night stoked with the token limerick contest, Irish menu, Irish band green beer, revelry. Now, it’s a full on parade from the Beer Store and stretch of mayhem in The Cove with local Irish/East Coast music channelers Turpin’s Trail, thanks to folk from the area coming to pay their respect to good ol St. Patrick! Catholic Church Service starts 11am with some Fiddle entrance music from Catherine Walsh…so I’m told. The Parade starts from The Beer Store at 5pm led by Kim Kelly, Terry Bryan and the crew! Sara Mclean is taking a bus to The Keystorm Pub for breakfast and back to make the parade! Music is from 6-10pm. Sorry, all seating is reserved at The Cove.
Sunday, the annual St. Patrick’s Day hangover party hosted by Shawn McCullough happens on Sunday from noon to 3pm! This time we have Wade Foster coming to Fiddle around and then, you know what? If your head was too big to make it to that, come on out to the Legion for and late afternoon soirée with some residual green activity before the book is closed on 2018. Have a safe weekend everyone, our little piece of Ireland!
If you have it in you, come see an unreal Blues band from Kitchener this Friday! Wrote about Sean Pinchin and his band last week. Serious slide, fingerpicking, songwriting, singing from a young and hungry bad boy. Looking forward to this show as much as any this Blues on the Rideau season! 7-11pm $65 + HST
Do you ever sit back and think about your life and the music you’ve heard? Hey, maybe you’re not like me. I sit back and think about this kind of stuff all the time. The range of sounds that have run across the field of my mind astound even me. And to be honest, I really love every last second of it. Even if I don’t like it. It’s all been a process. And it’s certainly been a journey. I’m constantly reminded of the sheer creativity and vulnerability of the art and how humans give themselves to it. It really is truly a happy thing to me. How comforting is it to put on some music you love? I keep finding more and more. I’m going to try to keep introducing you to some music which I’m not certain will be music you have never heard before but am certain most haven’t. I have always loved Plants and Animals since I saw them play one of the Mandatory Moustache Tuesday’s at Divan Orange in a snow storm. No biggie to a street walker like me looking for a mind blowing end of the tunnel experience on a Tuesday. Their symmetric looking guitar flanking drums approach was magnetic. Their psychedelic meandering took us all for a ride that night. Sadly, I haven’t seen them much since but have been active touring internationally with much underground tastemaker success. Planning to see them again soon.
Speaking of Divan Orange, I have played in 5 different bands who have played there. Spoon River, The Natural Way, Bullmoose Album Release, JP Houston, The High Dials. Sad of this news.
From Exclaim! Magazine November 2017:
Montreal Venue Divan Orange to Close Next Year.
Montreal music venue Divan Orange has announced plans to shutter its doors by next spring.
In a statement via Urbania (translated by Google), the venue cited its “untenable” financial situation as the reason for closure.
The message also outlined previous attempts to rescue the business, including internal evaluations and reaching out to political players, but ultimately the venue concluded that it had run out of time and resources.
The venue’s financial struggle became apparent a few years back, when they launched a fundraising campaign to help pay off noise complaint fines.
The Divan Orange team estimated that more than 10,000 acts have graced their stage since opening 13 years ago, and prided themselves on creating a “unique, authentic, accessible” space to foster experimentation and success for a wide range of artists.
A final date has yet to be announced for Divan Orange’s closure, but you can track the remaining upcoming events on their site.
Sorry to my aunt Judy, uncle Paul and the Saabas clan for the loss of their dog/son/Friend/sibling Jack.
Shawn McCullough’s daughter Taylor was engaged to boyfriend Zach last Wednesday  at Wings ‘n Tunes while a knowing father, Taylor’s dad Shawn McCullough hosted the night! Haha! More wedding proposals, musical epiphanies, all around buddy good times to come weekly at Wings ‘n Tunes every Wednesday at The Cove! House band, just come and sing or play and you could win a guitar!

Should be a hammer of a party on St. Patrick’s Day Dance with rocker band, RoarShack. It’s another fundraiser for the Elgin Outdoor Rink. Remember there was a fundraiser at The Cove headed by Pam Cairncross mid February? I suspect she will be in the mix somehow too. Great fundraiser efforts to all of those involved, kudos to you. Fun time happens Sat.Mar.17 8-11pm at Elgin Lions Hall! Contact Claire Klein Gunnewiek or call the Hall!

The spring time WAC East Coast Kitchen Party will be spearheaded by a new group, The Fiddleheads from Belleville on Sat.Mar.24 1-4pm. Might be some Irish dancers too!!! Nice way to elongate St. Paddy’s.
My friend Christine Jennings has graciously taken on the volunteer position with the Westport & Rideau Lakes Chamber of Commerce as “Visitors Centre” co-ordinator. The WRLCC is seeking volunteers to help in the Visitors Centre this year. Please call Christine Jennings, Visitors Centre Co-ordinator at 613.453.7063 to be included as a volunteer and/or for additional information. Thank you to all of the hard working individuals who constantly volunteer there time to the service of their communities!
Go Blue! Go Green! Go Red! Go Orange!