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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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
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!
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


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

Henry original called Gentleman for his grandpA.
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.


Another great weekend of music! Festival of Small Halls had it’s first week of shows with great success I hear. Wish I could have caught a couple shows, particularly our friends StringTease opening for two full house nights at Chaffey’s Lock Community Hall for April Verch Band.

Shawn McCullough had another heck of a Wednesday weekly night at The Cove with family and friends and everything in between. Every Wednesday 7-10pm. Shawn will actually be playing with young “Mr. Old Time Country” Henry Norwood Sun.Oct.2 from 1-4pm. Just like old times. Might be around this weekend too…

I received more rave reviews of the John Wilberforce performance at The Cove on Friday. He is really starting to create a name and following in our area. A slick musician who creates easy aura that touches so many.

Jazz Night is winding down for the season…But the shows are wound up. Come out and experience what owner and father Terry Cowan exclaims as “the most fun you will have with your clothes on!” Til Oct.6 8-10pm at The Cove

Sad to think that this is the last weekend of he summer season for Head Over Heels on The Cove. What another great season for them it was. They have never sounded better! Their songs, singing, guitar playing…and the classic banter, cars, white sangria, abscessed teeth, jamming with Sam, September rain checks…we love this duo and thank them for so many months and years of musical pleasure and enjoyment which has created a vibe out there on that patio which has people coming from far and wide for more and more. Catch them this Sunday from 12:30-3:30pm on the Indian summer patio or select weekend nights throughout the off season weekends. “It’s not too late for us, we’ve still got love and trust!”

Hey, catch Kevin opening for Canadian indie icon and guitarist Jim Bryson at the Gananoque Fire Hall Theatre Sat.Oct.1. Jim is a long time North American touring artist/collaborator with groups such as The Weakerthans, Sarah Harmer, Kathleen Edwards and The Tragically Hip!

This Friday at The Cove is the return of Blues in the sticks, BLUE on the RIDEAU for its 13th season! Thanks to the hard work of promoter James Doran from the Ottawa area for giving his heart and soul to Blues. Lord knows with the ups and down of this series, there are an exceptional few that would have stayed with it so long. I think that speaks to the love of the blues that James has. It’s remarkable. It’s rocks and roll love for the blues. With his extended commitment to broadcasting the blues to the Ottawa valley listeners, DAWG FM has aired his Sunday night show Inside the Blues for a few years now. DAWG will only be available online now as their listeners have seem to want more of a rock angle to their playlist. I for one feel that although this is clearly a business decision, it seems that sticking with the blues might have been just as good an idea as there are so few exclusively blues stations anywhere! Alas, nice to see the show will still be out there and nice to know that people will most likely still be listening whether it can be dialled into your traditional radio contraption or hi tech online radio station website transponder. The choice is yours and blues is alright. About the show coming this weekend, one of the stars of Blues on the Rideau David Rotundo was booked for two nights when the series was about to be released. Unfortunately, he had to cancel at last minute but a young gun guitar slinger named Spencer MacKenzie was found for a replacement and a shot at the title. He is only 16 and his licks are seasoned. It’s always been big part of the show to keep some blood fresh flowing through. Series starts this Fri.Sept.23 at 7pm. Buffet and show and charitable donation to both local elementary schools. Be there or like, be square.

Fun to see Chet Doxas playing with his Sam Roberts Band brothers at the opening of World Cup of Hockey. Some funky teams jammed in that tournament!

Thanks to President Barack Obama for delivering such an inspiring speech to the United Nations today. Never in my life have I heard such a positive force at the helm. His message of tolerance, unity and common sense. No one is perfect but striving to put perspective and democratic thought into the world’s greatest challenges is his pressing agenda on his way out.

Thinking about you Ann Savage, Jen Seed and the whole Traynor family.

Thinking about a lot of people…keep listening.


PS. Can I, along with a Seattle stadium filled with Jays fans can say that I was there on Sept.20 when they turned the end of their season around?

PSS. Did you see those out of this world Paralympics?




This week made me feel really good about the music we are bringing into The Cove. I was contacted by Larry Graves from Drumhand, who have played here at The Cove and MUSICwestport a few times now, about another project he was involved in. Larry is a studied, zen type of character who has a very cerebral, yet sensitive touch and deep understanding of the rhythms he creates. His sound is heavily influenced by that of Ghana in West Africa. He has made a few pilgrimages there now and brought some of the teachings back that he has put into practice reaching great musical heights. Urban Highlanders from Toronto are the group who have benefited from this. Grier Coppins, a well known Toronto poet/musician/personality was offered a weekly open stage at Cameron House in Toronto which turned into a musical escapade of freedom and expression. It attracted others to be inspired and collaborate and they are now the other experimentalists in his band. Their sense of building sound is like a sun slowly rising and falling on the horizon. It was refreshing, just like if you stretched your arms to the sky in the morning, when about the ups and downs of your daily life then comfortably slipped under the covers and laid your head to sleep. A mélange of Celtic, folk, Mediterranean, jazz and experimental carry this band into familiar territory to them but new sounds to the listener. Their evening started by the five droning and jamming until a melody got them walking from the water, over the patio and through the hotel, for all to hear. And the streams of thought mixed with philosophical prose keeps you listening with a bent ear. Needless to say, Grier, Ayron, Larry, Jim and Chris created an aura in this hall that comforted many. Smiles from ear to ear. 


Thanks to DJ Tunz Sound for a nostalgic, right on the money set of tunes from the ol pop catalogue. I suppose the Yes song “I’ve Seen All Good People” at the end of the night was chosen by Rick the groom but what a way to end a wedding! Psychedelic Music! Congratulations Rick and Catharine!


The Westport Writers Group including Nicole Pchajek, Lucinda (Cindy) Dopson (Bill and Marlene Thake’s daughter), Audrey Ogilvie (Willie Nelson and Bernie Sanders friend), Antony Powell (master carver/sculptor), Susan Elizabeth Radford (Jazz Night drummer Rob Radford’s mother), Carol Lee Riley (my neighbor) and Isidora Spielmann (fashion designer and puppeteer) celebrated the launch of their newest collective writing entitled One Chocolate at a Time at The Cove on Sunday afternoon to a full house! The big surprise for me was to see who secrectly (at least to me) writes in town! Everything was eloquent, fresh, deep and well crafted as each writer read an excerpt. Keep it coming…maybe you can write some lyrics for some local musicians to put to song (Cindy)?


Every Wednesday Rack ‘n Tunes will continue with a night of high-fives, reasonably priced sticky icky ribs, Perth Brewery Beer and Sing song with none other than Shawn McCullough fresh off his stint at the CCMA Awards in London with Brea Lawrenson Band! 7-10pm at The Cove


Thursdays are on tap with Spencer Evans Trio “The Goat Boy Sessions”. Name a song, request a song, hear a song! That’s how it works with this musical robot! Rob Radford sits at the drum kit for the rest of the season too. Thanks to our entertaining and Paul Simon loving/singing drummer Andy Love for filling in for him over the last couple of weeks! NEW TIME 8-10pm at The Cove


John Wilberforce from Kempville Ontario will play the patio at The Cove from 5:30-8:30pm. This man gives a calm to and roll set. His sound is seamless. John is a bass player, guitarist, singer, producer, recording engineer, videographer and devoted dad.


Enjoy some more Head Over Heels duo action at The Cove Patio. Only so many more outdoors but they will be there this coming Saturday night and the next two Sundays for matinees from 12:30-3:30pm. A loveable set list and a loveable pair.


Sunday in the Country is back at the local Westport Legion with Jeff Code and Silver Wings Sun.Sept.18 2-6pm $10 with a Light Lunch. Shuffle it up to some traditional country music! Thanks Faye.


Congratulations to Jim and Judy Pattinson and their 50th anniversary! A full house of family, friends and colleagues filled The Cove on Saturday afternoon. Thanks to Ron Pollard for giving his words on behalf of the community as well! Their kids Glen, Karen and Mary Ellen have all worked here and to be honest, none have them have changed!

Heard the Jeff McCann retirement party at the Beach was just rammed! Congrats to big Jeff for all the years of incredible service to the community! He is a cat, now he can take it a bit more easy. Thanks for taking care of so many…



Festival of Small Halls will take place in a few local halls this week. It’s a cool series run by the people of Ottawa Bluesfest. This is the second year and after a first year of successful turnouts, it’s good to see so many people interested in this rootsy music. Each show is comprised of a relatively established act weather local or from somewhere else in Canada and a local opener. Coming this week is April Verch band at Chaffey’s Lock Community Hall on Wednesday and Thursday with our local buddies StringTease opening. 7:30pm  Darlingside with The Abrams and Miss Emily at Seeley’s Bay Community Hall. 7:30pm Breabach and The Lanark Fiddlers Guild at Maberly Community Hall and April Verch again at Morton Comminity Hall both on Sunday. 3pm All well organized, thanks to Kelly Symes and her team!


This has fallen off a bit but I’m reinstating the Shout out of the Week and it goes to Charles Bradley. Charles has an undeniably heartfelt and appealing life story. He lived a life of strife in the shadows and although it seem like every turn I was taking them down a dark alley, he seem to find a way to persevere and make it through to the next step every time. He’s one of those characters who is literally seen it all and unless he knows you, I would rather not tell you the details. When he was 60 years old after touring as a James Brown impersonator, he was scouted by the people of Daptone Records (Sharon Jones), a retro soul label out of Brooklyn. They signed him in three full albums later he is an international star albeit not well known in pop culture. In each note and each word that he sings, he tells the story of tragedy which he turns to poetry. His ability to express his emotions is something everyone can aspire to. Inspired. Listen in.


Listen hard, you’ll hear something.

Seamus Cowan


Six shows in five days to cap off the “summer” at The Cove. Shawn McCullough and friends, Spencer Evans Trio, Dave Balfour and Johnny Richard, Jeff Callery, Kevin and Vanessa Head and Chris Murphy.

I think this is going to be a quintessential fall as we ride off into the warmth of the sunset. I’m going to play a little bit of tennis while I still have some time and keep playing some shows with Spencer and Rob on Thursdays until Thanksgiving Weekend!

Our good buddies and tennis coach Chuck Gobeil has a show coming up with his band StringTease on Wed.sàtSep.14 at Chaffey’s Lock Community Hall as part of the Festival of Small Halls. They are opening for April Verch Band at 7pm for $25. Thanks to Gay Henniger for the reminder. Good luck with the show in your hall their kids!

Check out the rest of the lineup:

Coming this week, at The Cove, is:

Rack ‘n Tunes, with it’s wonderfully vibrant and welcoming atmosphere, thanks to Mr. Shawn McCullough, has a consistently full room coming to his house concerts. 7-10pm

Jazz Night News! Don’t pay attention to the information you’ve heard before…Jazz Night continues for the rest of the season until Thanksgiving Weekend from 8-10pm, new hours! This means you can still hope/hop to work the next day! Andy Love is on funk drums and wicked wild vocals once again this week. Every Thursday with the Spencer Evans Trio!

This coming Friday is, Special. How often do you hear a band fronted by Bag Piper? Well, you have the opportunity to catch one and be a part of history with Urban Highlanders of Toronto. Featuring a lead Bag Piper, the band fuses a mish mash of musical personalities with Americana old-time, rhythm & blues, folk, Celtic and African percussion. Larry Graves of the Westport favourite Drumhand and the JUNO Nominated Mr. Something Something, is on percussion. He is a real force, a rhythmic nerve centre. The leader and Bag Piper Frier Coppins has fronted a plethora of groups since the Toronto seventies including Rare Air, Taxi Chain and the streets of Toronto. Then there is guitarist Chris Bartos on guitar who has some interesting connections to me. Should be like an evening tour through the wilderness, city streets, dusty roads and late light of a dingy bar. Get in the line! 7-10pm $10

Saturday is another traquilizing soiree with Head Over Heels on the patio. It’s still a warm, dry time but it won’t be here for long. Unwind with everything from songs by Head himself to Anne Murray, James Taylor, Lucinda Williams, Tracy Chapman and more. 5:30-8:30pm al fresco. The day after Sunday sessions extend with the acoustic duo to the end of September with that bright light haze in the air. Until Sep.25 12:30-3:30pm. Is it Caesar time?

Back at The Cove next Friday is Kemptville’s best kept secret in John Wilberforce. Smooth sailing music was the velvet man himself. John will grace the patio stage and fill the outdoors with sound. 5:30-8:30pm

Also soon is the return of Blues on the Rideau Series on Fri.Sep.23 with 16 year old blues guitar phenom with a sound beyond his years, Spencer MacKenzie.

How about that Phil Collins theme wafting through the US Open?

Donald who?

See you at a show!

Seamus Cowan