NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol. 143

News flash:
The Cove Country Inn is open again 7 Days a Week! Thanks for allowing us and our staff a little start-of-the-week break for January and February! Ended it by a little team building excursion. Valuable time!

The one, the only Dan “Elwood Blues” Aykroyd was into The Cove for lunch on Family Day! Had a burger and a margarita. He also had what appeared to be a family with him. Fun stuff. The funny man had not been to The Cove yet to my knowledge. Nice to see these types are still lurking about in our remote locale. My favourite line by him in a movie? “Listen, do you smell something?” Guess the movie and you get to pat yourself on the back!

Really bad, loud and brash Canadian rock band Hedley have withdrawn from this year’s Juno awards. Of course, that’s my opinion. But they released a statement on Facebook in response to the sexual allegations against them that, “there was a time, in the past, when we engaged in a lifestyle that incorporated certain rock and roll clichés. However, there was always a line that we would never cross.” In the wake of the #metoo movement, I honestly can’t believe how bold this statement is. So many cliches are the foundation of rock and roll but to basically admit to exploiting that which is sexual misconduct, and with minors, suggests to me that these guys deserve to made and example of. On top of everything, they decided to continue playing their tour in hopes of keeping their fans on their side and telling them what they want to hear. Things are really coming to a head here for them. Funny, I quickly met these guys when they were practicing naked together in the bottom of the Bell Centre in Montreal when an old roommate was opening for them. I guess they are trying to say something?

Big news: there is a Farewell to Ila Vann show on Sun.Mar.4 at Blu Martini in Kingston. The former Northern Soul great and backup singer to the cream of he crop like Kenny Rogers, Ray Charles and more is turning 80 and is moving back to the US. I have had the pleasure of playing many shows with her over the past few years at The Cove under the leadership of Spencer Evans and our jazz nights. I’m regretting to admit that I’m not sure if I will be able to attend this show but I NEED to try. The show starts 3pm. The soul will go overtime. Love to you Ila!
Kingston cult favourite and unbridled bandleader Reuben DeGroot is returning from Vancouver for a show Friday, March 2 at Blu Martini is well! Great to hear he is keeping close ties with the Limestone buds. No doubt this show will be a free for all!

Happy Family Day! I got to spend some time with mine. It was so bright, blinding and beautiful on Sunday morning sliding in the front yard. Thankfully we are on a dead end street that has virtually only local traffic. And it was definitely a party, a Hoedown, showdown. Shawn and Henry played the ol’ Country Music they know and we know and love. They had an added voice on Sunday with Family Day Hoedown…brother Dave McCullough on bass. Had fun throwing myself into the mix for a few tunes too. Thanks to Rhe Rhe, Kim, Mo, Suz, Dana, Lisa, Dustin, Emily, Sarah, Nora, Mary, Terry and Brooke this weekend.
Pam Cairncross made $370 to put toward funding for the Elgin rink/tennis court/basketball court.

At The Cove weekly is Wings ‘n Tunes and the Open Mic with Shawn McCullough and others every Wednesday from 6:30-9:30pm.

Chris Murphy needs little if any introduction. I mean, he plays in Crooked Wood! Haha, I mean Turpin’s Trail! He is literally one of the most solid players of his east coast folk craft that you can find in eastern Ontario. So much so that Sean McCann of the famed maritime band Great Big Sea has employed him as his partner! I’m calling The this one the Turpin’s Primer. St. Paddy’s with his band Turpin’s Trail have all but sold out The Cove on St. Paddy’s already. Catch him solo on Friday at The Cove 6-10pm. www.turpinstrail.com

Saturday night we pick up where they left off. Michelle Tompkins and Mike O’brien are down from Montreal to serenade their laid out acoustic brand of old time folk and country music. Old fellow musicians of the Plateau scene, these two have been grinding it out for years and have maintained their stature as pillars of the creative community there. The couple will be showcasing their talents in their six-strings as well as their harmony through their voices and their songwriting. 6-9pm at The Cove

Hey fans of the NBA, did you catch the Half Tine snow with Bouncing Around by Pharell at The NBA All-Star Game. I’ll tell you, it wasn’t like his mega crossover hit, Happy! But it was a back street jam! Man, that was a secret weapon with that freestyle dancer. Did anyone hear Fergie’s wonderful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner?

Been loving the Olympics! Was cool to see some super Olympics. With the ladies ski half pipe where Manfred’s next-door neighbour Cassie of Comox, BC won Gold!

Next weekend is Miss Emily with local Rideau Vista principal Jamie Campbell as they channel Carole King and James Taylor! Fri.Mar.2 Buffet and Show. Selling fast, thought I’d let you know if you want to come!

Til next week! I’ll tell you about The Barr Brothers show tomorrow in Hull…

Send me local musical info if you got it!

Seamus Cowan


NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol. 142

Sorry I missed last week kids. Happy Valentines Day! This is for all you lovers out there! Remember that from Back to the Future when Marty McFly is about to be erased from history unless his dad George goes to bat for his mom? Music at the dance was to Earth Angel by Marvin Berry & The Starlighters?

Did you see former SNL comic Fred Armisen’s Standup Netflix special, Standup for Drummers yet? Uhhhhhhh!!!! Totally amazing, nerdy drummer jokes form the backbone of his set but most impressive is how this guy has not only his hot drumming chops down but also his sense of grounding and musicology with the history of the drum kit since it’s inception during the autumn years of the 1800s. Fred can play and he got delivery behind the kit and the mic!

Did you hear? The Canadian Senate has passed a motion to change the Canadian national anthem to become gender neutral.

There is a Mercedes Daimler president speech about the prediction and dire warnings of our future. I know it’s good for songwriting but we need governments to start to really lead on the history of our healthy planet.

Lots of musical applications for shows this spring and summer. Impressive amount of acts from all over Ontario and Quebec looking to come to The Cove and Westport…the festival. Too many choices! Keep them coming though!

Nice to run into Pastor Rusty the other day. Chatted about Bluegrass music due to his Grand Ole Opry hat! Turns out he plays and his old buddy Lyle Mayfield was a true Kentucky archival type and heavy picker

Did a video interview local Cottage Coffee  owner John Pringle who has a series going called  “Espresso Shots”. It’s intended to have a little fun and create a relaxed insight to the lives and boughs of local business owners. Great on you John! Thanks for the cameo Manfred!

Listened to the 70s Aerosmith catalogue. Only ever heard their hits! What I love about music is hat you can never know it all. The hits hang around out there with their tentacles of familiarity to reel us in with ease like fish out of season. Well, I got hooked on Aerosmith this week. Take a trip! Then go check out the band Pride Tiger from BC about 10 years ago.

Early this morning, my old Montreal buddy Mark Sabapathy and his wonderful wife Sara Nemati had their second child, Elliott Francis Sabapathy! Exceedingly happy for them! We love you guys! Some of the sweetest people we know.

Thank you Mary Dier for being a guardian angel of sorts last Monday night. You helped me with my meltdown 3 year old and you are a calm, special lady!

Great news update! The lineup is starting to come together for the 12th annual MUSICwestport 2018 free outdoor music festival on Sat.Aug.18! It’s almost confirmed that divinely inspired violinist/fiddle player Jaron Freeman-Fox will play the MUSICwestport Kick Off on Fri.Aug.17!!! Tickets will go fast so I’m letting you locals know in advance!

Have I mentioned that Ric Stoness is an awesome guy, dedicated businessman and wonderful worker! So is his crew by the way!

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics have started! I’ve been a big Olympic fan since I can remember the first one I watched when we just left Calgary in 1988 to move here! Seoul Summer Olympics was the same year…watched a little Shaun White on the half piper and dying to seeing some hardcore alpine skiing asap too!

Van Halen is celebrating the 40th anniversary of their first self-titled record this week. It debuted at 19 on the Billboard Top 100 and it sold over 10 million copies making it the 10th best selling rock record of all time. I admit, I’m not versed in their other records but I remain convinced that 1984 is their artistic behemoth.

The now annual Friends of the Arena Skatathon happens this coming Mon.Feb.19 2-4pm, Family Day! It’s truly becoming a real holiday for Canadians. A valuable holiday for families. FOTA is an integral group of Cali trees essentially. These folk who have some lots invested in the Arena are one of the main reasons the rink is still operational. Congrats to Folk like Bob Scott, Mark Herlehy and more FOTA folk for continuing this tradition! Don’t miss the Skatathon! Look for upcoming FOTA events!

This week’s music at The Cove is:

This Wednesday is Valentine’s Sweetheart Night with country and rock balladry from Shawn McCullough! There is a 3 Course Table d’hôte Menu with the lovely music you know by Shawn. $50 + HST and is open 5:30-9:30pm! Celebrate love!

This coming Friday is Blues on the Rideau with Harpdog Brown and the Travelin’ Blues Show with Sugar Brown. Some barrelhouse Blues for sure with honking harp and raps from Harpdog himself. Love to play a tune with these lads! Fri.Feb.16, 7pm buffet, 8pm the music hits! $65 + HST Buffet, Show and Charity. www.harpdogbrown.ca www.bluesontherideau.ca

This Sunday will be the annual Family Day Hoedown with Henry Norwood and Shawn McCullough from 4-8pm $5! Pam Cairncroaa will also be collaborating with The Cove for a South Crosby Outdoor Rink Fundraiser.

The Jr. B Elimination Draw was a blast! Nice to hear that the winner donated the $5000 back to the Rink! Holy moly!!!

Talk to you soon,
Seamus Cowan


NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol. 141

Ok. Busy week. Verging on point form here. Deet doot.

First off, changes in a band dear to my heart.  Though an amicable split, harpist Sarah Page from The Barr Brothers has decided to part ways and move forward in a different direction working on a creative new project. Her towering harp weaving a dreamy soundscape has been one of the true hallmarks of their sound. It will be a huge change but evolution always strikes a band, no matter how it rears it’s face. I plan to see them when they come to Gatineau again on Thu.Feb.22 to play some inspired work of their newly released record “Queen of the Breakers”.

Next, ski video guru Warren Miller dies at 93 years old. I haven’t even read one single eulogy or memoir of his work because all I need to know is how he pushed the boundary of capturing the out-of-bounds skiing experience on video like no other! I used to cram those Glen Plake videos with my bro watching the crazy pioneer jump off with his 240cm K2 extreme skis, shirt off and multi-coloured, fluorescent, foot high spiked Mohawk hair which he ironed with wood glue! Matty Dubs, ya hear? RIP Warren

Funky dude Bruno Mars cleans up at the Grammy Awards. The man has melody and soul. I mean, pop music is what it is people! The kid has stamina, can dance and loves to smile and have some simple fun when he is entertaining. Maybe that’s old school, I don’t know but it sure seems out of the norm these days with song on the big stage.

Cool to hear my cousin Lana’s co-worker and friend, filmmaker and and documentarian Nicolina Lanni on CBC speaking the other day about the shift in Hollywood toward more female filmmakers! Check out her doc called Lost & Found. A profound insight to the journey of Japanese mementos from the earthquakes that floated across the Pacific to North America.

Muppet drummer Animal dies. Nuff said. Listen to Merry Christmas Santa on The Muppets Christmas Carol and you will know why this is so monumental. My cousins, the Casey’s of Vancouver opened my ears to his brilliance. Thank you Uncle John for channeling this furry entertainers.

Went down some Spoon River memory lane last week. Our band created some classic sounds and ferocious grooves. Found some great video online. Worth a word search.

Celt music brothers Turpin’s Trail gave a solid soundtrack to the first Robbie Burns night at The Cove. What a success for the Friends of Lockwood Park committee. After the silent auction, 50/50 Draw and portion of tickets, $2750 was raised! Thanks again to Kim Bonner and her committee for all of the hard work and all of he donors for the gift baskets. MC Dave Balfour, you have many new fans. Let’s do it again next year!!! ACH, to the Haggis!!!

Fun fact: musician Rich Aucoin texted his latest album to his iPhone’s contact list! First to do it? Good idea? Discuss.

February is Black History Month. Don’t forget this. Since I first started watching Rap City on MuchMusic, I have been educated on this important time of recognition. It’s a serious time but a joyful time. What better way to recognize than listening to some great music!

Coming this week to The Cove:

Wings ‘n Tunes every Wednesday! Shawn McCullough in the house, with house band. Sing and you could win a guitar! Skidooers!!! Please be careful out on that ice! With the temperature going up and down, things can be tricky out there. Love to see you though! 6:30-9:30pm Oh, and try the steak or chicken fajitas on Thursday nights!

Honey and Rust return this Friday. I’m happy to announce they will be here. Some local folk are definitely excited as well! Jo and Cristy are a strong duo vocally and instrumentally. They play piano and drums and they play them hard! The ladies from Ottawa play 6-9pm. No cover. www.honeyandrust.com

Ducks Reunion this Saturday! Seating is almost full up! Great to hear the word for our with such a tabloid of a poster. Magical place, looking forward to a magical night with old friends and stories. It’s gone forever physically but hey, it holds some huge real estate in our hearts. Musical guest, Smitty! Remember? The man who would be singing his lungs out after Jazz Night? The migration was real. Smitty has just freshly returned from Nashville on a pilgrimage  to the homeland.

Coming soon to The Cove:

Re-Opening 7 days a week on Valentine’s Day Wed.Feb.14! Been a short winter already with the reduced hours. Start your engines…

Valentine’s Sweetheart Dinners will be going down on Fri.Feb.9 with the acoustic soul of Logan Brown and Taylor Angus and Wed.Feb.14 with country/rock balladeer Shawn McCullough. FYI, Pub Fare is available both nights but try the 3 Course Table D’hôte as a special deed to your loved one. Reserve your spot!

Sat.Feb.10 the annual Jr. B Elimination Draw with Jeff Callery’s music. 6-10pm

Check out Jeff Code & Silver Wings at The Westport Legion Sun.Feb.11! Great Sunday in the Country band!

Aussie guitar master Lloyd Spiegel is doing a large theatre tour of the Maritimes in the fall. NAC in Ottawa and Octave in Kingston after. Tried to get him back and still might have the chance. Stay tuned.

Enjoy your freedom. Let me know of your musical happenings.
Seamus Cowan

Ps Joe Kennedy III speaks! #wechooseboth


NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol. 140

Another one of the sides of my family was observed this weekend. Sadly, it was because one was lost but looking around that room, incredible how much was gained. Full of kids screaming like a miniature world out of its mind, I had a great feeling in my heart leaving a celebration of life. It might be me but it seems like life around me has been bombarded by life being lost. I can’t put my finger on it because let’s face it, this happens all the time, everywhere. I guess maybe you notice more as time ticks away in your life but the long and short is that we are constantly reminded of how fragile life is, how wonderful the world is in which we live and how important our loved ones are to us. Beautiful slide show by Michelle and Carly. RIP Aunt Barsie. Daily reminders are good.

On the same note, sorry for the Reddick family’s loss of their Grandpy. He was always a docile, nurturing man who really gave his grand daughters Kaileigh and Michelle. He was loved so much. Losing a patriarch like that really hurts but the quality time spent with such a loving character helps you to smile the rest of your life.

Blessings to the family and friends and fans of Dolores O’Riordan of Irish 90’s pop rock group the Cranberries…Did you have to let it linger, one of their great hits. Dolores was a tormented soul from childhood but found great strength in her siren like voice.

Wow. Just as you would expect, on mid winter weekend in rural Ontario, one of the undisputed Kings of Canadian Blues come to Westport. Jack de Keyzer came in to The Cove on his horse this weekend. A somewhat new band lineup was hot. Jack plays a style that is classic, clean and in the pocket. But some of those grooves get good and searing as the hypnosis sets in. His guitar tone paints a pictures like electric feathers. Great to have a full house for two nights as it was the first show since producer James Doran lost his wife Diane. This was a sign to me that she was watching down on Blues on the Rideau. Special thanks to drummer Ricky for the stories and jokes. From Chicago, Ricky cane to Toronto with Blues Legend Otis Clay and never left. He got his way into the local scene and quickly became the Toronto Blue Jays’ drummer inside and outside the the stadium for the fans for almost 30 years. He has his picture in 2 World Series photos! Other stories include finding a full electric car set in a bucket in Value Village, but that’s for another time. As Al Duffy says, “See you soon baby”. On deck for the next BOTR show on Fri.Feb.16 is Vancouver’s big blower, Harpdog Brown and The Travelling Blues Show with Sugar Brown on guitar. www.bluesontherideau.ca

Sounds like Ali McCormick’s show with country picker Bradley D. Scott was a super success from a family and musical standpoint. Glad the venue was able to play the part…

Have you watched English Comedian James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke? I just burned two hours of viewing with my wife last night. It’s fun. I watched it with my mouth open like when I was a kid. Worth a glance.

Coming this week to The Cove:

Wednesday Wings ‘n Tunes and the Open Mic. When is this night officially going to be called Wednesday Wings ‘n Shawn? Without Shawn, there is no doubt in my mind it would be anywhere near as popular with you wonderful folks out there. Thank you for continuing to be the reason it exists. 6:30-9:30pm www.reverbnation.com/shawnmccullough

This Thursday is the first ever Robbie Burns Day! The day for Scotland hasn’t been celebrated in town yet really but this year looks promising in many ways. Tradition will be at the centre of the evening with a piper piping in the Haggis; a true Scot MC in Dave Balfour who is versed in the tradition as well as the fun of it all; the Robbie poetry; Scotch Toast; the Toast to the Lasses; a buffet prepared by the creativity of The Cove Kitchen respectful of the culinary tradition; more Scotch; a Celt band in Turpin’s Trail and a great cause in raising more funds for the revitalization of Lockwood Park with some astounding silent auction prize baskets and 50/50! Getting close to sold out! Come on down and be with us in this momentous Burns Nicht! 6pm sharp start!!! www.turpinstrail.com

On the subject of Scotland, congratulations to the Review-Mirror editor Howie Crichton and his marriage to Madam Soho Tracy Ferguson! We who know you both couldn’t be happier for you tying the knot down by the river in Scotland!

Friday will be a comforting night of Chinese Buffet paired with all-you-can-eat music by John Wilberforce. John’s smooth sound will keep everyone smiling with their plates over full…6-9pm www.johnwmusician.com

Saturday, Spencer, Andy and I will play the hits for a wedding…

Might as well tell you all now, The Cove has taken a break weekly from Sunday at 3pm to Wednesday at 5pm. That will be changing Valentines Day when The Cove will be re-opening 7 days a week! Check out the site for all upcoming events. www.coveinn.com

Did you see that Chung/Sandgren match at The Australian Open? Go Eagles…

Coming next weekend to The Cove:

On Friday March 2, Honey & Rust, the folk/rock duo of Jo and Christy from Ottawa who blew the rust right off it in the summer on the patio!

On Saturday March 3, Ducks Roadhouse Reunion with all the former characters, provided they are still in the biz. If they aren’t they will be brought back from retirement. All things must come to pass. 8-11pm with music by Smitty!

See you all soon and let me know when the next big musical event is happening in our area. Ok?!


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!