NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol. 145

Brea Lawrenson did a video shoot at The Opinicon last weekend. Cool that so many local folks were involved as well. Emily Brown on makeup, Joanna Paterson on hair, Brenley-Ann Gillanders on wardrobe and of course Jeremy Barr on event coordinating. Looking forward to seeing it!

Interesting barometer in the music world…Hedley is still being supported by some of their fans for their remaining shows. Of course, the rock band have a huge fan base as well as all kinds of notoriety have been accused of sexual misconduct. This is truly the heart of this story in the sense that this band sets a massive example to all kinds of youth. The actions of the lead singer especially, have shaken the music world. Due to his ow shame, he will be withdrawing from performing shows indefinitely.

Ran into Cove friend Bob Fisher the other night. Loved his beard! We got talking about music back in the 60s and Woodstock came up. Well, turns out that Bob went to Woodstock and it was awful! Scads of people, wet and dirty grounds, rough sound all fed into the poor review of the godfather of all music festivals. However, he loved Jimi Hendrix and saw him in Ottawa before that as well. Insane stuff as it’s so mythical to the rest of us! Rock and roll lore! Do you have any? Send me some if you do!

Congratulations to my cousin Sarah Jane and her wonderfully artistic husband Wojciech for the birth of their second baby, Aspen Olejnik!!! June has a little sister!! We love you!

My first real bass teacher, Zak Colbert was in on the weekend. Friday, he played with You’ve got a Friend, the authentically awesome musical tribute to Carole King and James Taylor with Emily Fennell and Jamie Campbell! Soulfulness! Then after talking with Kevin Head, he decided to keep his gear in house and roll out the rhythmic funk mastery Saturday as well! What a serious treat. I was feeling really proud actually. Can’t wait til his return. Thanks Big Poppa and thanks for sending me that old soul jazz Quincy Jones track, Summer in the City. Also, Miss Emily will be hitting the road again this spring with a string of shows in the eastern Ontario to promote her new record that was recorded with Gord Sinclair and Rob Baker of The Tragically Hip, as well as four April dates doing the Light of Day concert series in support of Parkinson’s Disease and Care. Check her out!

Westport Jr. B Rideaus are doing well! Go Rideaus!

Keep your eye out for the 2nd Annual FOTA NHL Gala in June at The Cove!

By George By Bachman is a reworking of George Harrison chestnuts by Randy Bachman! An interesting take from what I heard on CBC’s Q. Harrison’s All Things Must Pass is undoubtedly one of the most majestically beautiful records ever. Hard to recreate that beauty in another way but…

Thinking about our buddy Darrien Penfold! Stay strong sister! You’re such a great mother!

Sighs of relief for Rheanne McGregor as she had a little scare that has opened some of our eyes to our daily health and stress and made us feels increasingly grateful to have folk like Rhe Rhe around!

Great Gram Vera is taking a break for Vancouver today! It’s been so fortunate to have her here in our lives! 96 years old solo on a trans Canada flight! Stubborn or independent!

Was just having some fun in the snow and one of the cats I was with showed me some of the spiritual organ sounds of Cory Henry. Really special player who has done some with the otherworldly funk of Vulfpeck.

Blues on the Rideau at The Cove with Sean Pinchin is one deck for next Fri.Mar.16! Should be a highlight of the year! Incredible singer, writer and player of the rocked out Blues. Think Lenny Kravitz meets ZZ Top meets The Black Keys. Soaring slide work, Sean really wears his heart on his sleeve. Sounds like things are really rough in Sean’s present day situation but he is channeling that darkness on 2016’s Monkey Brain on a serious stomping blues record. He has 5 other records to his name where he has explored the more traditional side of the stomp slide blues thing as well as his more folky side with the pensive, talkative sounds of the dobro and the intricate mastery of acoustic guitar fingerpicking. Sort of like his natural path to the Blues…Either way, it’ll be of barn burner status on St. Paddy’s Eve!

Coming this week to The Cove:

Shawn McCullough and the Open Mic is back in full effect every Wednesday 6:30-9:30pm.

This Friday will be the return of Mr. Based on Wonder, Tom Watson! Such a great singer and entertainer! Tom boasts an upbeat set of tunes from the East Coast, Ireland, Rock and Roll and more on his acoustic guitar. Free show but worth way more than the price of the admission! 6-9pm

This Saturday, is the main event! Love Classic rock classics and B-Sides? Of course you do! Beatles, Elton John, Hendrix, Steely Dan, Zeppelin, Supertramp…Tony Silvestri Band featuring local guitar phenom Tom Savage. They tore the place apart before Christmas to a full house. Tony and the boys will be out to give you a show that pulls you back in time with every bit of modern virtuosity. 7-11pm $45 + HST Buffet & Show. Show only tickets available too! Call ahead to reserve you seat.

How about that Facebook question someone posed. Does Westport need more entertainment? Uhhhhhh

Our hearts are heavy today. Our friend Larry Miles who has lost his wife Gail to Cancer. Gail was such a joyful soul who had a caring, inquisitive and helpful spirit. They had been coming to the area from Pennsylvania for years until she was diagnosed with Cancer. It was a battle over the last few years. It always is. They were strong but of course a daily struggle trying to get over it. We send our deepest love and support to our beloved Gail.


NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol. 144

Welcome back to the progrum! Been a busy couple of weeks in Westport and area despite the crazy, up and down weather…like a mid spring melt today. Looked out on the Rideau and I thought pastels boats with wake trails. The sky was lush. It felt like it was just stretching its arms from the winter hibernation. It’s that close.

Forgot to mention about the Friends of the Arena fundraiser that happened Sunday of last week. The second annual skate-athon is the over $2500 in repairs and renovations to the arena. Thank you to Bob Scott, Mark Herlehy and Marty Hawkins as my knee well as many others are continuing to push forward with making the rink a better, up-to-date place!

Also, congratulations to John Bongers and Portland Outdoors for a successful skate the lake events this past weekend in Portland! More and more skaters as well as vendors come out and it really makes for a great outing with the family and friends. Banner year. Lots of orange too! Go Dutch. Seriously, lots of skating to report this time of year huh?

Nephew Braydon and the RDHS boys played the LGSSA final and despite a seriously valiant late game push, they were just short. They got a wild card to the EOSSA game Wednesday in Renfrew though!

Bluesfest is chock full of some retro live affairs with alternative rock music. Beck. Sturgill Simpson. Foo Fighters. Dave Matthews Band. Even THE Matty McKechnie! Great stuff. Go check out the outdoor music madness. Something MUSICwestport can only aspire to be like.

The Barr Bothers played a show at The Museum of History in Gatineau that is now quite well burned into my memory as one of my top ten. Seriously great band that I’m so happy for. Creating wonderful sound as well really going for theirs! Helena Deland opened with a set of pensive song writing that exhibited delicacy, intensity and focus. Carousing the Byward Market I could help notice that Zaphod Beeblbrox and Maverick’s/Cafe Deckuf, former venues of many a Canadian rock and roller including myself, have hung up their skates.

Thank you for Sin and Swoon. Thank you for the extra Swoon they put into the show. Really beautiful flight of Acoustic throwback Appalachian picking and down home two-part harmonies. Extra special they are a duo in love and have a love child named Sonny! Mike O’Brien is Leonard Cohen’s son’s go-to now. Quiet but Heavy pedigree on this guy. Together they are a classic duo. Maybe a couple of decades off but that doesn’t matter. Quality always remains.

High School Musical was insane. You know the REAL one? The one that all those masters of the stage out together on the weekend? Scheuermann kids everywhere! It was so funny, real, frank, heartfelt, funky! I was so impressed AND it was a matinee that my wife and I could attend. “Congratulations to all students involved in High School Musical. Your hard work resulted in a Wild(cat) Success! Thanks to Mrs. Satchow, Mrs. Carlson, Mrs. McCreary, Mrs. Horne and all supporting staff for the time and organization put into this production. Thanks to the families for your support of the students.  Another incredible Rideau show!” Donna! (Said it well!)

Coming this weekend to The Cove:

Wings. You know Shawn is doing something right by just being the man, the myth, the picker when fiddlers like Wade Foster come out to join in the fun. It’s time to rock and roll, week after week. Bring out your friends! There will be a guitar to give away in a couple months before Victoria Day weekend.

Friday is the return of You’ve Got a Friend: A Musical Tribute to Carole King and James Taylor featuring the incomparable Miss Emily (Fennell). She is something and she really channels Carole in this show. Piano and all! Congratulations to all those who have decided to plunge into the water and wade around in The Cove on Friday. Fun fact: Jamie Campbell, one part James Taylor, is the Rideau Vista Principal! He used to co-write tunes with massive Quebec rock/pop icon Roch Voisine! How is this possible! He also duos with fellow Ottawa Valley Principal Dave Balfour doing bonafide renditions of tunes like Bridge Over Troubled Water and America! Ok, so the rest of the band is all Kingston area heavy hitters. But my personal favourite is the fact that my former funk bass teacher Zak Colbert is pumping the tires in the back on electric bass. A few seats remain! 7-11pm Buffet & Show. Call for Reservations (I hear)

Saturday is sweet soul blues of Head Over Heels. Such a comforting thought to know they will be providing the soundtrack to the night. Kevin and Canessa actually call this place their home away from home. Come to the house party! Singing tunes by Lucinda, Prine, Raitt, Head and more. 6-9pm

Next weekend at The Cove:
It’s a classic and prog rock showdown with Tony Silvestri Band feat. the masterful Tom Savage. Tony simply stopped me to watch with a jaw on the floor with his burning rhythmic solo on Hendrix’ Fire! 7-11pm

Black Panther!
Growl!!!


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