NOTES FROM THE ‘PORT Vol.109

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! www.westportartscouncil.com
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! www.tavistriance.com
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…www.greanleafmusic.com
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! www.reverbnation.com/shawnmccullough
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! www.facebook.com/friendsofthearena
Friday was cozy Country song circle with Shawn McCullough, Wade Foster and local Country star Brea Lawrenson! Thanks for the full house Westport! www.brealawrenson.com http://www.wadefostermusic.com
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! www.kevinheadmusic.com
Monday afternoon raincheck was our new acoustic soulsters Logan Brown and Taylor Angus. Such a talented duo! Truly better everytime! www.taylorangusmusic.com
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. https://graven.bandcamp.com/
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. www.villageofwestport.ca
Chris Murphy’s east coast romp and kitchen party returns for a big Saturday night party 7-11pm! www.turpinstrail.com
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! www.terrytufts.com
I hear you!