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




What can I say, I fell asleep writing the last column. And you may have noticed hat it didn’t get finished for the last issue of the paper. I’m writing this time and expect it to make it to print…

To recap:

The Tavis E. Triance and The Natural Way Tour I was a part of two weeks ago was a great example of music’s uncanny ability to move you and renew you. I know I speak for a certain fellow band member in particular. The music is alone, incredible. Tavis has been the songwriter of this band whose former moniker is Spoon River which featured four of this band’s current members and my twin Bro Jeff. A lot has happened since then and I think many would agree that the writing is at an all time high. What an absolute treat to play some players who make up a who’s who do Montreal’s finest: the great George Donoso of Sam Roberts and The Dears fame, the otherworldly Brad Barr of his own Barr Brothers and Josh Toal of The Key-Lites and Plants & Animals. Sweet people and deep musicians all around. Thanks to some friends for putting us up too. Made us feel all the more loved! I’m talking about Emilia, Andrew, Liam, Mary and Sharon. The Divan for giving us a slot with Birds of Paradise. Mike for photos in Wakefield. New record coming out soon. Word is the title will be “A Brief Respite from the Terror of Dying”.

MonkeyJunk literally crushed The Cove audience on Aug.19 for the WAC kick Off Party. Christine Jennings came through once again by actively participating in this evening and in the community giving the gift of music to Westport and the WAC! The band have quite literally, a huge and beefy sound now. Maybe more so than ever by my ears. It’s all so slick and party powered. Hard to not get up and dance! And that’s exactly what happened all night. Can’t wait to see them back in Westport and area!

MUSICwestport 10th unanimously went off without a hitch, though there were horse and wagon rides were offered…Condolences to The Soots and their family. They were unable to attend last minute and so were replaced by Tom Savage’s boisterous Foley Mountain Playboys! We hope to have The Soots back sometime soon! The Soho stage was a huge hit to the vein of of the WAC. It provided a true to life and cozy festival market atmosphere! The bands ranged from Bluegrass to Celtic, Swing to Psychedelic, Big Rock to Intimate Folk and Percussively Melodic. Congratulations to WAC, the Volunteers, and Westport for 10 years of festival bliss. I look forward to continuing to give a diverse and high quality roster of artists year after year!

At night, there was a big screen viewing of The Tragically Hip’s last show. It really was quite spectacular with a full KRock Centre, 30, 000 people In Market Square and a tribute to themselves for the ages. It was a salute to Canada’s list wing generation and brought tears to half the country. Even an in-house endorsement to Prime Minister Trudeau capped of a run of shows though out Canada. Thanks to Geoff Chown for all day festival sound AND setting up the audio and visual for The Hip. Love was in the air.

Sending love to our friends The Benners and the loss of Elmer. A calm and rock solid soul. We will meet again!

Havelock was a blast by all accounts of the local travellers who took it in. A few bands who have local connections played the festival: Henry Norwood, Brea Lawrenson and Steve Piticco with his South Mountain. 50,000 listeners intent on listening I hear…

Rio is done. Samba country, the famous Antonio Carlos Jobin. It’s hard to discount music when you witness the rhythm and rhyme of sports highest regarded athletes and events.

Thanks to all of the staff at the Cove for giving their heart and soul to serve another season of tourists! It has been relentless. The staff party last night peaches and live music by none other than Henry, Shawn and yours truly too!

Rack ‘n Tunes comes back at you for another week of relaxing music of wisdom from the mouth and fingers of Shawn McCullough. Every Wednesday at The Cove from 7-10pm

Jazz night at The Cove with the Spencer Evans trio also continues this Thursday. Boy wonder, Andy Love with his Treebot tendencies will be on drums AND vocals for the next couple weeks. Every Thursday from 9-11pm

The calming influence of Head Over Heels will float through the patio of The Cove every Sunday from 1230-3:30pm in September.

It’s shaping up to be a musical weekend on the patio at the Cove! On Friday, let’s all give a big welcome to Dave Balfour who is held down the weekly Wednesday jam at O’Reilly’s in Perth for years now!  On Saturday, the highly entertaining and sing-along style of Jeff Callery returns! Labour Day long weekend Sunday closes out with the wonderful Celtic and East Coast sounds of Chris Murphy!

Next Friday at the Cove is an incredible group of musicians posting at true mix of styles. From Celtic to folk, old time and world sounds, throw in a load lead to bagpipe player and you have The Urban Highlanders. Fri.Sept.9, 7-10pm $10

Let’s do it, music!



Five shows in five nights proved to be a winning combination at The Cove this weekend past. The week started out with another ram packed evening for Rack ‘n Tunes and Mr. McCullough. Shawn had the pleasure of playing the now infamous Boots and Hearts country music festival in Barrie with the Brea Lawrenson Band. I hear that festival was so full that people created their own porta-potties so as to not lose their so previously gained real estate. Aside from that, for country music fans, this is seventh heaven! Back to Rack, the level and mixture of talent is so much fun and really keeps on growing a life all its own. Shawn returns for be masses every Wednesday 7-10pm. Reservations are becoming necessary.
Thursday was once again Jazz Night at The Cove but this  week was with a special guest. Ila Vann was back in the house! She is a soul survivor and legendary backup singer to the likes of Kenny Rogers, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Mavis Staples and many more. This woman has so much character and voice, it was a joy to play with her again! Mike Sakell was on the kit too. He is her man when it comes to the drum beat now. Ila just had her autobiography released this past week too. It’s called Encore and is a great snap shot of one of Northern Soul’s unsung heroes. The night was also Kaileigh Reddick’s birthday and saw Henry Norwood pull out the Renaissance donated Gibson guitar Jazz Night with Spencer Evans Trio (another master musician who should have a colour biography written about him as well) gets back on track with the trio featuring Bad Daddy drummer Rob Radford! 9-11pm Thursdays.
I hear that Driftwood Theatre production )care of Westport Arts Council), The Taming of the Shrew was off the charts this past Thursday! There has been a solid
Friday, the skies opened up. It’s been drought like conditions in our area so much that there have been fire bans, water conservation warnings and dangerous draft levels on the Rideau Canal. Needless to say, the water and wind pounding from the sky had people thanking the heavens. John Wilberforce was literally in the house for this one. Snug like a bug in a rug, it’s been the first night in almost two months The Cove has had to move the show inside. Miraculously contrasting to the precious year. John’s signature is the ability to convert any tune to a relaxing one. His song list lends itself to that style too though. Then on Saturday John teamed up with the kid himself, Mr. Energy, Jeff Callery. The patio was set at the night was classic mid summer. The synergy is so obvious with theses two musical brothers it’s laughable! So much fun was had and such a great mix of tunes you know so well but hear so few times.
This coming Friday at The Cove it’s the original Shores Kid, Chris Murphy from Perth Road Village. Known famously in these here parts as the leader of the pack of Turpin’s Trail, formerly who? They have become the kings of the East Coast sound out here. Chris will wow you with his possessed sense of lyrical memory and enunciation. His songs are spritely and his voice pure and true. The patio will be the planned location. 6-9pm
Saturday brings the lovely couple of Kevin and Vanessa Head back to The Cove. They play their weekly stint on Sunday as well.
Saturday 6-9 and every Sunday 12:30-3:30pm
Good to run into Norman Peterson who reminded me that the Annual Writers Reading at The Westport United Church will be held from 1-5pm on Sun.Sept.24. Tickets available at The Cove.
I don’t know about you but I’ve become addicted to tennis. It’s kind of timely since the onset of Rio 2016 Olympics. So much fun to have a sport to challenge you. Incredible courts and welcoming group of folk at the North Crosby Tennis Club too!
Coming next weekend, the powerhouse that is MonkeyJunk has sold out! The next day is the 10th annual MUSICwestport Free Open Air Music Festival!!! The lineup is as follows:
10th Annual MUSICwestport 2016 Schedule
Little Rideau Farm Maple Syrup Stage
@ Soho’s Storage, 43 Bedford St.
12:00-1:00 Turpin’s Trail (East Coast/Folk, Kingston)
1:30-2:40 Bob Burtch Bluegrass Band (Bluegrass, Seeley’s Bay)
3:00-4:10 Drumhand (World/Percussion/Folk-Jazz, Toronto)
4:30-6:00 Russell DeCarle Trio (Western Swing/Blues/Country, Peterborough) ex-Prairie Oyster
Westport Village IDA Pharmacy Stage
@ The Cove, 2 Bedford St.
12:30-1:40 The Soots (Old-time/Bluegrass,  Montreal) (
2:00-3:10 Tavis E. Triance & The Natural Way feat. Brad Barr (Psychedelic Rock, Vancouver/Montreal)
3:30-4:30 Krief (Indie Rock, Montreal) ex-The Dears
5:00-6:30 Oh Susanna (Folk/Pop, Toronto)
We are so excited about this festival! Thanks to all of the Westport Arts Council and the Volunteers without whom it would not be possible!
Love and music! Send me you events.