NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol. 73 For The Review-Mirror Apr.27.2016


A play in Stratford honouring the great Richard Manuel of The Band. It’s called Manuel and will be showing Apr.26-May.1. As many know, Richard is one of the deepest voices in music with luminaries like Eric Clapton wanting to “be like him”. He is one of my heroes personally. When his brother and minister Jim Manuel lived locally with his wife Margaret Fisher, I along with my family had the pleasure of getting to know the couple quite well and even heard some inside stories about Richard from Jim. He was a tormented soul oozing with talent, stifled by Gran Marnier. On Margaret’s wish, I sang his legendary Dylan collaborative ballad Tears of Rage with my brother at his funeral in the Perth Road Village Church. On Margaret’s second recommendation, our band Spoon River played a tribute show to Richard himself on the Stratford festival stage with members of Richard’s musical formative years. Ronnie Hawkins and his otherworldly troupe of rock and rollers were there including his stompin’, singin’ daughter with rhythm machine of The Weber Brothers. I’m sure it will be worth a trip to see this musical live if you can make it down there.

Former McGill U jazz mate, Jean-Phillipe Bouffard just happened to saunter on in to The Cove this past Friday afternoon for the Blues on the Rideau with Ria Reece from Montreal. A tasty little keyboard player, it was, as always, a happy jolt to my system to play some music with the band. Nothing like a little shuffle eh Les Boys! Bon Nuit! Merci!

Thanks to the mighty Turpin’s Trail for donating half of their services to the Fiddle Fest on Saturday at The Cove! And to the relentlessly giving ways of Westport Arts Council for their efforts at the fest! The board and volunteers for this organization are nothing short of amazing and professional!

At night, John Wilberforce gave a great performance sneaking in a moody Purple Rain. Thanks so much for gracing that stage with a proper tribute. Hope you liked my video!

Speaking of McGill alumni, schoolmate and soulful piano wiz Ric’key Pageot is now on the roster with Madonna’s band in L.A. Congratulations man. Hope you get the limelight to wail on the funk with her and those pros!

Coming this week!

The Cove features a man named Shawn McCullough playing guitar and singing songs every Wednesday. Wings ‘n Tunes is a bit of a spectacle and has turned into something of a talent show. Should you wish to join in, starts 6 until 9pm. Free

Friday night at The Cove, the annual Songwriters Circle with host, yours truly features Mr. Tom Savage on guitar, The Miss Emily Fennell on piano and Ali McCormick on guitar. All of us will be offering our songs in an intimate atmosphere. It’s a time to get into each artist and hear some spirited collaborations. It’s no holds barred and heart on your sleeve. 7-10pm $10

Westport Arts Council’s Some Kind of Choir community choir will be performing their final concert Saturday, April 30th @ 7pm now at Westport United Church. Special note, the former location was North Crosby Hall. All proceeds going to Rideau District High School Jazz band for instrument repairs! Donations at the door.

Also Saturday, Canadian troubadour and Western Swing Rock and Roller Pat Temple finally gets in to The Cove to burn up the stage with the one and only Spencer Evans! Pat has a voice unlike any other with just as characterful a delivery. These two have collaborated many years now and Pat has travelled thousands of miles over his storied 30 year career. He is a living Canadian legend! 7-10pm $10.

Rideau Vista Public School clean up day. Way to go! Thanks for helping to show the kids a lesson in civic duty enjoying the great outdoors at the same time.

Soul crooner with a groove, Billy Paul dies at 80 years old. Had great hit in 1972, Me and Mrs. Jones and another called Am I Black Enough For You? which was so brilliantly sampled by late 1980s hip hop renegade, Schooly D. Some nice obtuse pop music info for ya. Twin Jeff just loved to pour the cheese on this one at Karaoke back in the day.

Foley Mountain Conservation Area has a new commemorative sign at the entrance. Hats off to all of those whom over the years have kept it pristine and in all of its glory!

Shout out of the week goes to the meaning of the one and only, Prince. An artist who gave everything an individual can give the industry. A leader on so many levels. His funky mash up of eighties pop, Hendrix inspired guitar shredding, James Brown brand funk and a laser beam of a falsetto. My old band mate and school mate Donna Grantis from the McGill days was donned with the title of being Prince’s guitarists coupe years back. What a connection! I’m so happy she had thIs opportunity as she is fabulous on that PRS she plays! I’m sure those shows she played gave her shivers every night. This past weekend, Prince records sales topped the Billboard charts in one day with 180,000 sales of his Greatest Hits and 69,000 sales of Purple Rain! Main reason is because his catalog is only online through a streaming site called Tidal. People like this just in, long every day. Prince influence a whole generation of people and musicians. His music will live on long.

Long live music ’round here!