NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol. 72 for The Review-Mirror Apr.20.2016

Spring has given way to winter-summer. There really just doesn’t seem to be any more of a transition. At least for the last few years. It’s warm. And people are flocking in droves again. The great outdoors will be filled again soon.
It was such a revitalizing time to lose my musical jazz night partners, Spencer Evans and Rob Radford on Friday at The Cove. Perth Stingrays really managed to raise some funds for their swimmers! Jazz Night with the Spencer Evans trio every Thursday on May 19 by the way!
This week, as with every other week, Mr. Shawn McCullough returns to right the Wings ‘n Tunes ship, picking, plucking and pumping out tunes from The Cove stage. 6-9pm is the time and the party is the story. Join in! You could win a guitar if you play or sing…Every Wednesday!
This Friday at The Cove, another great Montreal chanteuse is coming for an incredible night of blues music! Choose the Blues presents, Blues on the Rideau series with Ria Reece Band. Comparisons to blues legends like Koko Taylor and Etta James abound. Gimme some o’ that! With a couple of albums under her belt, she is hitting The road to promote her new one. Harmonica great Guy Belanger is featured on this one that advertises itself as being classic R&B with an alternative sound like that of Marvin Gaye and Alabama Shakes!¬† Sounds movin’ and groovin’. Buffet and Show 7-11pm $65 Charitable donation to 4-H this month!
This Saturday, Turpin’s Trail are the musical guest of honour at the first annual Westport Arts Council Fiddle Fest! In as much as the Fiddle Off was fun last year, seems the band on band competition was a bit too much. Changes his year? Yes. Turpin’s Trail plays a couple sets of their addictive brand of their East Coast folk sound with songs from their new self-titled release! Following that, barring the fact that the crowd won’t be too spent, will be some crowd participation for amateur fiddlers. Come one, come all with fiddle in hand. Play a tune with the band and with others too! Show us your stuff and most importantly, have some fun getting up on stage! All proceeds to WAC to help the wonderful non-profit’s operation. 1-4pm Matinee at The Cove
Saturday evening will be a special night of acoustic song and dance from John Wilberforce. The man from Kemptville returns. New website and all. from The Police to Jack Johnson, Blue Rodeo to The Who, John boy delivers a show for many tastes. Smooth and engaging. 7-11pm
Coming up is a super special night for me. My annual Songwriters Circle Fri.Apr.29! This time, it’s two men and two women. You know her, you love her. The Miss Emily aka Emily Fennell. A soul singing powerhouse and mother, with love from The Tragically Hip, Gene Simmons and Bruce Speingsteen. And then there is Ali McCormick. An incredible subtle yet soulfully folky strong songwriter and gripping singer from outside Lanark’s line. Tom Savage is up next. A Westport native and father, whose troubadour ways have taken him all across the back roads of North America to sings his Bob Dylan-esque masterpieces in the dark and dingy and wide open. And myself. I’ve been around. Usually on bass, usually not the spotlight. I’ll be there with these three to attempt some magic. 7-10pm $10
Sat.Apr.30 finally brings western boogie and country swing legend from Peterborough, Pat Trmple to our stage. The Cove’s adopted son Spencer Evans has long been a supportive sideman to his shows. This duo should really rock and roll!
This week’s shout out:¬†Just as this column was so orderly about to be printed last week, I was taken by the sheer volume of fire rescue trucks screaming through Westport. Driving up Westport Road, a thick plume of black and grey was gusting into the sky. I stopped my car and got out to chat with a couple of locals about what was ablaze. It turned out to be the home of Cathie and Stan Mantrop, owners of The Village Green. Your heart sinks when you hear this kind of news about friends. Thankfully, no one was in the home so no one was hurt. It goes without saying here that Westport’s heart goes out to the whole family. This type of loss in anyone’s life is devastating. We wish everyone well and want to know that we all show our support to the family. The Village Green opened their doors virtually at the same time as my family opened The Cove’s doors in the late 1980s. Westport was a quiet tourist town at the time but with the business’ dedication, momentum and the cottage country style of its wares, The VG has become a beacon of the area helping Westport become a shopping jewel on the Rideau. Westport truly has so much to thank the Mantrop family for with their continued draw to the village.