As I mentioned, I will start to spotlight some information for each of the artists performing at MUSICwestport Festival sponsored by WAC.

The idea of Grace illustrates the concept of free and unmerited love that is bestowed upon us by the source of all existence. The Grace Babies emphasize this idea through their natural, simple, elegant, honest, raw and unaffected approach to music. The 4 seasoned professionals were brought together through happenstance (or Grace, one might say) during an informal Montreal loft jam-session in early 2017. Despite the fact that this particular outfit was formed quite recently, the musical connection and mutual respect are immediately evident upon hearing their contemporary melange of Blues, Rock ‘n Roll, Funk, Punk and R’nB. A musical journey through past, present and future that is guaranteed to satisfy the soul.

Leslie “Snooky” Alston – lead vocals, percussion
Gaetano Frangella – guitars, vocals
Josh Goldman – bass, vocals
Greg Ritchie – drums
Special to me is the connection is have with Greg. He and I went to McGill in the Jazz program together. He is one of the single most intuitive drummers I have ever worked with or heard live! My twin Jeff and I had the pleasure of fronting a funk band with Greg on drums. Let me just say, we felt like the real thing with him at the helm.
And Josh Goldman, former Concordia schoolmate is an incredible musician whom twin and I sang with in an a Capella quartet. I still sing my same “happy birthday” part to this day. Sandals, shoes or barefoot, dancing will happen!
It’s been too long but who’s counting? The much anticipated release of Tavis E. Triance & The Natural Way will available Come June 23. The record is called “A Brief Respite from the Terror of Dying” and will be put out Tonic Records in Halfmoon Bay, BC. Tavis and I and our band Spoon River have been making music for over a decade now. He is in BC but we still keep he family and alive. Notable Spoon River characters on the set are Jeff Louch on Keys, Jason Kent on guitar, me on bass and Brad Barr of the wonderfully enlightened Barr Brothers of Montreal is on guitar. Let it be known that Tavis dove into the Fender Rhodes as his main axe in this record. It’s a hell of a set of completely original music from a legendary original voice. Congratulations on the offering of the final product!
RIP Mr. Chris Cornell. One of the leaders of the grunge sound and that of my generation X clan. Literally a one of a kind, his force, Rage, howl and poetry are hard to conceive of all coming from one person. His is the story of greatness but so sad to know that despite this sheer talent, even that wasn’t enough to save him from himself and his depression. Crazy that I was able to catch him and his otherworldly Soundgarden a few years back at Ottawa Bluesfest.
Congrats to my lovely cousin Brennan Casey who was married in Vancouver on Saturday. The weekend, the weather, the family, the party, the humour and the speeches. Hard to beat! Brittany, you’re a good girl, such a fine girl you will be! Thanks for the hospitality and the musical experience from DJ Sean! #nomorebs
New Riverside record called The New National Anthem is out now! Remember our bud and Sam Roberts saxophonist Chet Doxas? His group Riverside (who have played The Cove a couple of times) with some of the world’s leading jazz voices, Dave Douglas and Steve Swallow and his brother Jim Doxas is the second record by this band. Tunes by Carla Bley are in this one too! Some real opportunities for friends…
RIP old friend and barfly of The Cove, Ted Watson. There is a celebration of life service. 1-4pm, celebration service 1:30-2:30pm at Chaffey’s Lock Community Hall. His endless lines of humour and inquisition will be regurgitated for years to come.
The bombing at the Manchester Arianna Grande concert is recurrently disturbing. Is it speaking to what I think is a growing problem not only of our public security but our collective sanity and the waning confidence the average person has in enjoying and feels by safe in public spaces. Of course, this is a growing concern in the developed world. Our hearts go out to the families of the decreased as so many were so young and so many were no doubt attending their first concert.
As for local music, lots was on tap lately at The Cove. Fitting and deserving win by Dave McCullough of the Long and McQuade donated guitar for Wings ‘n Tunes! Maybe he will toss the bass onto Shawn now. Wings ‘n Tunes may be on seasonal hiatus in name until Thanksgiving but Rack ‘n Tunes/Open Mic continues every Wednesday from 7-10pm with a Ribs and Fries special. Shawn McCullough foreverrrrrr!
Thursday Jazz Night returned for its 20th season. Ouch! Long day since the first days of Twins and Goat Boy leading the ropes on the bandstand! Spencer will continue every Thursday from 8-10 until Jun.8. Jun.15, the full band comes back and with a special female guest vocalist you know and love so well! Jun.15 is also a major FOTA fundraiser with 5 NHLers in the house!
Friday was cozy Country song circle with Shawn McCullough, Wade Foster and local Country star Brea Lawrenson! Thanks for the full house Westport!
Sunday was the return of our friends and musical confidants Kevin and Vanessa Head! Summer must be back! You can feel comfort knowing they will be on the patio from 12:30-3:30pm every Sunday!
Monday afternoon raincheck was our new acoustic soulsters Logan Brown and Taylor Angus. Such a talented duo! Truly better everytime!
Coming to The Cove on Friday is Graven – Matty McKechnie and Ben Mullin. A poetically raw folkster and prolific songwriter, Ottawa’s Graven has released a slew of independent releases inspired by Matt Mays, Neil Young and Pavement. Offering an off kilter set list of rural heartbreaking rock and roll, the new record and sound is worth a second listen! 6-9pm with guitar style from Ben Mullin.
This Saturday afternoon is the unveiling of Lockwood Park Walking Path (where the ball diamond is in the middle of Westport!). It’s called A Walk in the Park Walk-a-Thon from 2-4pm with a soft opening for seniors at 1:30pm. All ages, live music with Shawn McCullough (Mr. Giving Back to the Community!!!), prizes, health fair, yoga with Sandy Prentice! All Proceeds to Children’s Natural Playground Project. Pledge forms: Westport Town Hall, Westport Library. More info, call Councillor Frank Huth 613.273.9041.
Thanks to Kim Bonner for all of her incredibly hard work done on the project!
Don’t forget about the Westport Colours Colouring Book, fundraiser for Lockwood Park, available at outlets around town! Artwork by Jacky Bonner and Layout by Sarah Bonner.
Chris Murphy’s east coast romp and kitchen party returns for a big Saturday night party 7-11pm!
Coming next Friday to the Cove is the Gordon Lightfoot of Lanark, Terry Tufts. Next Saturday is Young Petty Stones, a nod to rock and roll history from Montreal, Kingston and Westport!
I hear you!


In the immortal words of Steve Benner, Terry Gillespie “showed us how it’s done” this Friday past. Mr. Groove had his groove on and then some. It’s that blend of hazy slapback vocals with a Blues talking thing, not so much singing. And the back alley reggae vibe with the sunshine of your love stuffed in somewhere on half volume thing too. Really enjoyed having Terry and the boys back in the house and it was so much fun jamming out a few numbers to stitch up the final set too. Thanks once again to all of the wonderful supporters, the always smiling staff Series promoters The Leduc-Doran’s and congrats eh to our winners of the year end grand prizes! Blues on the Rideau at The Cove couldn’t have as successful a series without all these moving parts. See everyone in September with Angel Forrest returns to kick off the 13th season! This woman from Quebec can channel Janis Joplin and Robert Plant. On my knees!!! Some old favourites and tasty surprises are going to be injected too…

So nice to see Jeff Callery back on The Cove stage on Friday. The man can write a song. And he can sing one too! This casual Nashville writer is a force to be reckoned with. One of the things I love about his sets is that he mixes his favourites cover nods to other artists as well as his own tunes. The flow is so great because the quality of his own songwriting is so great. Congratulations Jeffery. Btw, we missed you John Wilberforce!
Local musician and Mr. King of the Swingers, Marty Crapper told me his son Liam Crapper is running an artist collective in Montreal called The Bog. If you’re looking for a musical experience off the beaten path, look them up.
WAC. You know that acronym. If you don’t and you have enjoyed an artistic event sponsored by them, you should! Westport Arts Council is one of the hardest working organizations around. Thanks to WAC, within their boundaries, Westport is constantly pushing the envelope of artistic support. If you see one of the board members on the street, please thank them for all their volunteerism hours! I just finished booking the festival lineup last week and mentioned them all in this column. Next week, I will start to do a weekly feature on each of he upcoming acts so you can all get to know them better!
Venus. Sophie Ogilvie-Hanson is the grand daughter of Westport’s Audrey Ogilvie. Check out their electro art pop! Feels like there should be a well dressed stage back drop to this show. Really liked what I heard from her. Lyrics sound quite naked and the accompaniment suits like a glove. Felicitations. And glad to hear Dan Webster is back with Greenland!
My cousin Ian Tulloch has been on tour right now with Lemon Bucket Orkestra for the last couple years and has been tearing it up on he Sousaphone, a massive tuba-like horn instrument that wraps around your upper body sort of like a boa constrictor. It’s a phenomenal troupe or musicians built on that of eastern European gypsy sounds. So check them out if you can!
Coming this week to the area!
Wednesday: last Wings ‘n Tunes of the winter season…just in the sense that there will be a draw for a guitar from Nathan at Long and McQuade Kingston. What a time these nights have been. Thanks to Shawn McCullough, the best host for the job! Something tells me that Sens game will be televised. A big happy bday party on the horizon too. Next week, the party continues in summer mode with Rack ‘n Tunes weekly from 7-10pm. Mmmm ribs. Ohhhhh tunes! @ The Cove.
Thursday is the return of Jazz Night for the 20th, yes, I know, 20th season. I don’t want to talk about it. Sound like Robbie Robertson on The Last Waltz? Spencer Evans Trio give ‘er another season with what looks like will be a host of a few drummers this year. Some key dates coming with guest vocal divas too including Jun.15 Emily Fennell, Jul.13 Ila Vann and Aug.3 Savannah Shea. 8-10pm in the off season, 9-11pm in the high.
Friday sees local Country star voice Brea Lawrenson exposed and acoustic with her buddies/band mates Shawn McCullough and Wade Foster. Should be intimate, up close and personal. Looking forward to bringing this show to the patio if possible but may be touch and go with the weather. 6-9pm potentially later…www.brealawrenson
Also, at the Chaffey’s Lock Community Hall will be their favs, The Ramblin’ Valley Band! Rough and ready Blues which seems to remind me some different levels of Tom Waits, Alabama Shakes, and Canned Heat. Go ahead, support the hall and their great program! 7pm tickets available in advance
Saturday is an engaging night of idol funky acoustic soul from Kingston Taylor Angus and Logan Brown. Check them out! Go Patio!
Sunday is the return of Head Over Heels to The Cove patio weekly to play some new stuff and some old chestnuts. 12:30-3:30pm. Kevin and Vanessa are soooo excited to be the music for the people agin!
At night. Tom Watson comes to town. Some local connections but the playlist is pretty east cast meets rock and roll.
Graven next Friday and Chris Murphy next Saturday.
Happy May 2-4!
I hear ya,


As I write this today, it’s really hard to decide on what is more entertaining, Trump firing the main prosecutor on his own case or the Senators vs. Rangers game. I call it a tie.

Was an unreal show of reality at The Cove on the weekend! The Beatles were close to reincarnated in the form of a quartet of men from Montreal called A Day in the Life. From the early Liverpool days to the rooftop last show, black suits and wigs, vintage tone, thick cockney accents, absolute tightness and the feeling that the Fab Four were in the house. Even the size of the room, packed dance floor and low ceilings remind me of some of the shots of Kaiserkeller, the place where The Beatles plays for about two months in Hamburg, Germany in 1960 after they were kicked out of the Indra Club for noise complaints! Most enjoyable food I have to say and poor MC, full house for the boys from Liverpool made the night go over the top. All of the members have enjoyed the stage as their home for many years in bands like Sam Roberts Band, Spoon River and The Dears. Thanks to Jason, Pete, Ian and George as George, John, Paul and Ringo! Coming back soon…

Coming this Friday to Westport: 

The final Blues on the Rideau Series show of 2016/17 brings “Mr. Groove” Terry Gillespie and his band to The Cove. 

Terry Gillespie is one of those unsung heroes of the Canadian Blues scene. A man who was born in Detroit who literally forced himself backstage to introduce him to greats like Howlin’ Wolf and Junior Wells. Thankfully he did as we all benefit from his deep rooted funkiness and Reggae tradition mixed with the Blues. Through his experimental days with the melting pot sound of Heaven’s Radio to his current days resetting to his roots Blues, Gillespie has always been revered by a huge cross section of musicians and critics for his faithfulness to the true heart and sound of the music and its simplicity and soul. Catch him Friday as he releases his newest record and performs some of those tracks alongside great Blues classics and other originals. It’s also the last show of the season so here will be some sweet draws for show and overnight at The Cove prizes. Thanks to James and Diane of Choose the Blues Productions for the continues work to bring the best of Blues to the Rideau masses! Buffet, Show and Charity 7-11pm $65 + HST.

Also, country rock cover band Picket Fences rattle the Legion on Friday. Local boy and former bass player of The Cronies Jim Jones will most likely be rockin’ out on guitar singing some of your favourite classic rock and classic country tunes! 9pm-1am. I think it’s about $10-15 with maybe a light snack? 

John Wilberforce is back for your absolute listening pleasure. This man is smooth, soulful and has a great set list of tuneage. We are always so happy to have him warm up the room and accelerate that evening sense of enjoyment throughout the night! The Cove 6-9pm

Next week is the last Wings ‘n Tunes of the winter and so it will transition to Rack ‘n Tunes from 7-10pm for the summer months from May.17 until Oct.4. Shawn McCullough has been unreal. Giving it every week. Just giving it all! And he is the best at welcoming all musicians of multiple calibers to the stage to showcase their talents by performing a song with the chance to win a guitar courtesy of Long and McQuade music of Kingston. The draw happens next week and you have to be in the club to win it! 6-9pm

First Jazz Night of the season at The Cove! Wow. Oh my. Oh no…20 years later? Why does this mean so much? Because we are still doing it? Because it’s the single longest running gig of my life? Because I use my ears and fingers and rarely my eyes to follow a man possessed? (That man, one part goat, one part boy) I can’t believe how it’s all happened. Rock and roll, jazz, blues, funk, soul, polka, country, comedy, Arrogant Worms, jingles, commercials, whatever. Spencer Evans and I have managed to keep it together all his time and will probably continue to do so for more to come! Thanks for contributing to the Cove music scene for for so long! Jazz Night as a band name and a show is now an institution of The Cove, Westport and the Rideau! This year will see some more special guests and and a mix of drummers. See you next Thursday of the first of the season! 8-10pm in the shoulder season, 9-11pm in the high season.

Brea Lawrenson, Wade Foster and Shawn McCullough will create a Country Song Circle to remember in that they will out their songs out for all to hear, around the circle. Brea is our local Country songstress superstar with two of her band mates. Wade’s sounds like a voice and Shawn’s voice and guitar sound like the real thing! 6-9pm hopefully on the patio.

Congrats to the young opera singer from Rideau District High School who is heading to Italy to study! What a place for inspiration. Front cover news feed too!

Congrats to the aspiring young musicians Ron Steeves and Evan Carlson who are planning on going to College to study in a multidisciplinary way. Put your mind to it and you can accomplish anything. 

Head Over Heels are back to gently entertain your eardrums on The Cove patio come May.21. Incredible to have them back for the weekly slot! 12:30-3:30pm

Tom Watson from Perth. One man band. Can’t wait to hear how he rocks The Cove patio with his newer rock/east coat sound next Sunday night from 6-9pm. 

Mother’s Day. Don’t forget. Love your mother and wife and recognize them!

Tom Savage recording sounding rough and ready. Stay tuned!

Hear you soon!


#covemusic #Rideaumusic #bluesontherideau #wingsntunes #rackntunes #shawnmccullough #jazznight #spencerevans


Good to know there is music with this wetness all round! When will be able to open up our patios with these open skies? Coming this weekend to The Cove!…The Beatles Tribute you want to see. A Day in the Life is from Montreal and is  made of some of my old Montreal musical buds, Jason Kent of Sunfields and formerly The Dears and George Donoso formerly of Krief, The Dears and Sam Roberts Band, to mention just a small few. They have been through before but make no mistake this time will be phenomenal as they have been absorbing this sound through their veins. will give you a snapshot. This Saturday 7-11pm Buffet and Show $65.

Shawn McCullough was off for Wings ‘n Tunes last week as there was work to be done at The Cove. Well he is back this week and it will be with a vengeance! Come feel the wrath of Wings ‘n Tunes on Wednesday from 6-9pm. Shawn will be back from 6-9pm on Thursday as well. Partly just cuz we luv him, partly because there are some folks coming though with some video cameras en route to Ottawa.
Head Over Heels will be back Friday. Such a comforting feeling. Everything is alright in the world when the love couple are in town and on stage. 6-9pm
Soon they will be out on the patio on Sunday afternoons come May Long Weekend.
Coming Fri.May.12 is the last show of the 2017/18 Blues on the Rideau Series…already!? “Home Boy” Terry Gillespie will be in house with his Blues Band. Actually, you might say blues reggae band as that’s the amalgamation he has been striving for over the decades since his Detroit beginnings and his Toronto days with the eclectically soulful “Heaven’s Radio”! “Mr. Groove” was one of the first to really import the Blues into Canada in the late sixties literally soaking everything up from the likes of the gods: Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker and Junior Wells. Just releasing his new record on Friday, “Live at the Granary” Terry I’ll bring the groove in and beats down. James Doran has done such a great job on he series once again! We look forward to yet another sellout year of shows which feature some of the best Blues music acts of Canada and the US. Buffet, Charity and Show 7-11pm $65 + HST.
Oh yeah, this just in! Finally finished the roster for 2017 MUSICwestport, the Annual Free Open Air Festival! And I just have to share it with you all!
Fri.Aug.18.2017 is the Kick Off Party @ The Cove. It’s from 7-11pm. $50 Buffet & Show and $20 Show Only. Band is The PepTides who are a nine-member band with a distinctive larger-than-life pop sound. The five vocalists and four instrumentalists draw on funk, electronic and disco influences. They have been described in the press as “the B52’s crossed with The Manhattan Transfer backed by Arcade Fire.” Always an eclectic night!
 Rideau’s Got Talent Contest in the morning. Sat.Jun.3 Applications Deadline

Sat.Jun.10 Rehearsal & Auditions 

Kingston Ceili Band (East Coast Folk, Kingston) Casual like down east kitchen party, and picks up like one too!

Brea Lawrenson Band (Country, Carleton Place) Star Country front lady with a band ready to battle Nashville and a track record of hits.

 Tom Savage band (Rock, Kingston) Masterful songwriter equipped with heart wrenching stories and soulful band that slinks and pushes.
 The Barrel Boys (Bluegrass, Toronto) Stellar chicken pickin’ and soul contorting harmonies with a sound out of Virginia born out of Queen Street West!
 A Fellow Ship (Indie Folk, Toronto) Think Mumford and Sons with a lighter romantic feel.
 The Grace Babies (Funk, Montreal) Hardcore funk, soul, rock and roll with feel for freedom.
 Miss Emily feat. Rob Baker & Gord Sinclair of The Tragically Hip (Rock, Kingston) What a collaboration huh? How lucky are we to have them here when The Hip played their last concert a year ago to the day!
 Kasador (Indie Rock, Kingston) Offspring of The Tragically Hip Touring and turning heads everywhere. I wonder why!
There will be some Wandering Minstrels in Downtown Westport as usual too. King of The Swingers (Upbeat Dixieland, Westport) featuring our own Marty Crapper and Dawson Willsey!
That’s it for now but keep an eye on and their Facebook page which will have more info being fed to it as we get closer to the big game day.
Bob Burtch is back performing and will be playing at the Spring Fling Concert, along with other local talent, Sat.May.6 7pm at Lyndhurst United Church. Tickets are $10 to support the Pastoral Charge. Everyone is thrilled to have Bob back in the local music scene and he is donating his tremendous talent to this event. Thanks to Barb Donaldson for the info.
Not a completely musical note here but my uncle is a drummer, Will Gorlitz will be exhibiting his latest collection of work entitled “Lay of the Land”. The works are acrylic on canvas and quite sizeable. What I’ve seen has floored me and I couldn’t be more proud to call him my family. This deep artistic connection in my life is really profound and the influence either direct or subliminal is strong and permeates so many different artistic disciplines. Opens Fri.May.5 at the Michael Gibson Gallery in London, ON and Will will be there for a reception from 8-10pm. Go see it!
There is a Dance Concert coming to Chaffey’s Lock Community Hall Sat.May.20 with the off kilter, blues jangle of Ramblin’ Valley Band. Tickets are $20 available at’s Marina in Chaffey’s Lock and $25 at door if available. Show starts at 7:30pm. Thanks to Cindy Crank of the Chaffey’s Lock & Area Heritage Society on the Events Committee. 
Really dug the way things turned out recording on the new record of my old musical buddy Tom Savage last week. Was done at Zane Whitfield’s incredibly stylish, comfortable and functional studio downtown on Pine near Spencer’s at his North of Princess Studio. He has just finished working on new works with Rueben DeGroot, Jim Bryson, Oh Susanna and many other locals. Tom is a songwriting maniac. He has written so many and has such depth to his storytelling. The band was put together for this recording specifically with a new, more  pop type of direction. Something a bit off the track of the rough folk howlers and country bangers he has been running with for the last while. The results of the performances were quite satisfying but he songs were there so they almost played themselves! The band was composed of progrock-loving keyboard whiz Tony Silvestri, the spirited Bonz “William” Bowering, myself on bass and Tom on ISO booth guitar. The record will be out sooner than you know it as it really didn’t need much editing or overdubbing. Hard copies will be available at The Cove I’m sure but iTunes will have it too.
Can’t wait til the next time!


Karaoke, Dj’s, Dominican Dancehall, Bruno Mars on the big screen and tourists packed in around the pool bar so tight they sound like a flock of birds! Another great trip to the Caribbean with family this time on my wife’s side. Congratulations to cousin Robyn on her marriage to Rusty! Great to get to know some extended family and rehash some relations with the immediate ones. The boys were a hit and kept us in line, for sure. The Mama Juana shots on wedding night with the old school classic wedding playlist and vintage hip hop were a perfect backdrop.

This just in…Vote for the song “There But For The Grace Of God” by Henry Norwood in The Canadian Songwriting Competition. He has been in this type of position before and done super well! Henry and friends enjoyed performing for family at The Cove on Saturday. They have so much pride for him! 

Spencer Evans Trio and Jazz Night returns for a one off soirée of Off kilter rock-Jazz-Funk-soul-r&b-reggae-country-folk-comedy medleys as an annual event in support of Perth Stingrays Swim Team! 7:30-10:30pm at The Cove
John Wilberforce comes back to The Cove on Friday for 6-9 coupled with a Fajitas Special and Head Over Heels closes out the weekend with 6-9 show of some serious lullabies of folk, jazz and blues’ greatest. Coming down the road is Jerome Godboo Band for Blues on the Rideau Series. Featuring a double trouble threat of guitar mastery with the intensity Shawn Kellerman and Eric Schenkman formerly of the Grammy  nominated and early nineties pop-rock-jam band who had two major Billlboard hits, Two Princes and Little Miss Can’t be Wrong from their debut record Pocket Full Of Kryptonite! Godboo is s party that can’t be contained with a smile the width of the front of his tour bus. His spirited harp playing continues to elevate his status to that of Rotundo, del Junco and the rest of Canada’s best. Fri.Apr.21 7-11pm and resos only. $65 + HST for Buffet, Show and Charity.
The legendary Beatles tribute from Montreal who have been wowing the Cove faithful will be back Sat.May.6! The quartet called A Day in the Life feature members of Sam Roberts Band, The Dears, Spoon River and more. $60 + HST Buffet and Show.
Thanks for reading and thanks for supporting the Lions Club Mobility Van Fundraiser this past Sunday at The Cove!!! $6027 with 460 people through, another record! Thanks for coming together as a community once again!
Esta mañana con musica,