This week in Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

Feb. 14, 2019

The CBC is running their annual Searchlight contest again. This time three musicians from Orillia have tunes entered, while a Collingwood band which plays frequently at the Brownstone, Must Stash Hat (great band), has a song in the running.

In alphabetical order are Bob Hawkins with Special Kind of Love, the Free Label (Cole Mendez is the keyboard player) with All Night, and Ross Love with Hollywood Blvd.

Bob’s entry is listed as the Bob Hawkins Band (recorded with Ron Hill and Pete Sanderson). The song entered was nominated for a Gospel Music Association of Canada Jazz/Blues Song of the Year; this is the second year in a row he’s been nominated, except this time there was a second tune nominated as well.

Cole’s band played last year at the Mariposa Folk Festival, downtown and in the pub at Tudhope Park. It seemed to me they were a hit with audiences. The song in the contest is a laid back R&B feel. Of course, Cole has been playing at various gigs in town for many years.

Ross has a new album out called Ultraviolet. I only knew Ross as a very accomplished piano player who frequently played the Kiwanis Music Festival’s Stars of the Festival concert, which is where I first saw him when he was just a bit shorter. It’s been a while though, which explains why I didn’t recognize him playing bass in Coconut Navy. When I listened to the song in the contest I was confused because there’s no piano on it. He plays all the instruments on the song and album.

You can vote once a day and voting closes Feb. 26. So set a reminder to do so each day. By my count you could vote for each song 4 times. The CBC website is laid out kind of poorly, so scroll down until you see the vote button, click it; on the next page the easiest thing to do is use the search box and type in the artist name. Give each one a listen before you vote.

For more music by this crew, you can find Bob’s here, the Free Label is here, and Ross’s is here.

Just how terrible is CBC’s Searchlight website? This thing was just about put to bed when I discovered Zain Campbel, aka Alphabreff, has the song U in the contest too. Zain won an ODAC Award in 2018 and he’s the driving force behind establishing the Valis recording studio at the Orillia Youth Centre. Find his videos here. Sorry Zain, had I known, I would have included your picture too.

More On Music

*  It’s not lost on me today is Valentine’s Day. I’ve saved a lot of money over the years, and probably made up for it in others. If you like jazz, you might want to make a reservation right now at Rustica because Paul Brooks is playing there Thursday night.  Can’t get in? Make a reservation at the Hog N’ Penny for Friday night because Paul is there too – with Ed Bickert. Jakob Pearce is at the Hog Saturday night.

The find of the week was getting a message from Stuart Steinhart about two albums he recorded. The first is under his own name called Edification. You can listen or buy it here. The interesting thing, other than the music, is who is playing on the album; Don Grusin, Vinnie Colaiuta, Tom Scott, and Randy Cooke. It was mastered by the legendary Bob Ludwig. It’ simply a quality recording all the way around.

The other album is one he played bass on, and wrote the music, for Nura’s (who wrote the lyrics) self-titled album. It’s an old album from 2002, but it still plays well. What is new is it being available online for listening or download. Again a great lineup of musicians; Randy, Bob Livingston, Bill McBernie, Kevin Briet, Rik Emmet and Bruce Campbell – with Bob Ludwig mastering.

And, if you’ve only heard Michael Martyn play solo, you have to check out his video for Never Look Back. He’s got a band, the music sounds very different, and the video looks very good. It’s on the 112 Records channel, so you can also check out music by VK and by VK and the Narrows.

Orillia Silver Band

*  The Orillia Silver Band has their Valentine’s concert, Falling in Love, at St. Paul’s Centre Saturday night. They aren’t letting a little thing like the calendar lining up stop them.

The tunes on the menu are I Know Him So Well (from the musical Chess), the themes from Out of Africa and Cinema Paradiso and music from the Lion King and My Fair Lady. You should recognize Something, I Don’t Know How to Love Him and Your Song.

You can get tickets ($20 / $10) online or at the door. Their last concert had very few empty seats, maybe their biggest audience in years. I’ve been watching more people taking in OSB concerts every time they have one, so don’t wait to get a ticket.

Lance Does It Again

* The annual Blues and Gospel concert at St. Paul’s Centre last Saturday night was almost beyond description. You have to be in awe that a guy who lives down the street (Lance Anderson) can get a band and singers together that can just keep taking the show higher and higher (hey, there’s a suggestion for a tune for next year Lance).

Lance came down with a cold before the show and sounded a little rough. He switched out a tune he planned, to do some Dr. John, which he said was more in range for the night. He opened the show with Down at the O.H. from his Footwork album, just him, his Hammond B3 and drummer Gary Craig. To start the second half he did something he called Bumble Bee Boogie (Flight of the Bumble Bee, with a detour in the middle with Hall of the Mountain King) but only the way Lance could do it – jazzy/bluesy.

I think a lot of people would be mad at me for jumping to Harrison Kennedy’s contributions (they were a show unto itself), and write about Michelle White second, so here we go.

Michelle killed. Really her take on Natural Woman was fantastic. She followed up with Let It Be – quite a few in my section gave her a standing ovation. Lance’s piano intro almost gave away the tune, until the last 9 chords. In the second half she went into overdrive and got two standing ovations from the whole house.

Harrison Kennedy got some Muddy Waters out of the back of the playbook in the first half, Hoochie Coochie Man . I had a look at the set list for the second half at intermission and couldn’t wait for Georgia and his 70’s hit, Give Me Just a Little More Time. I had my back to the audience for the last one, so I don’t remember of he got a standing ovation, but there sure was a heck of a roar.

They also did the original version of Take Me To The River. One would think the Talking Heads version would fit the concert theme, however – from the I didn’t know that file – Al Green wrote it and recorded it, which is the version the band did.

It’s so very hard to rank the 8 versions of the Gospel and Blues concerts, each has had its own unique moments (and several versions of Georgia), so I’ll just say this last one, being the freshest, was the best.

Lance forgot to mention to me last week the first look, as in video, of Matchedash Parish’s Where is the Love was unveiled last Thursday. You can see it, and others, on Lance’s channel.

The Mariposa Folk Festival, of which this is their baby, has Betty and the Bob’s coming March 30. The band is made up of misfits from other bands – Wendell Ferguson, Rich Greenspoon (Njacko Backo), David Matheson (Moxy Früvous), Soozi Schlanger (Swamperella), Suzie Vinnick, Katherine Wheatley and David Woodhead (Stan Rogers, Valdy and Loreena McKennitt)- no Betty, no Bob. Get tickets online.

Also at the Mariposa website, you can get tickets for Northbound –The Northwest Passage in Song. This is David Newland’s show we saw last year – along with . Sarah Vurma (host), Uncharted Waters (Saskia Tompkins, Steafan Hannigan, Sam Allison)and Inuit performers Siqiniup Qilauta Sunsdrum. It’s a fundraiser for Twin Lakes Secondary School students headed to Clyde River, Nunavut for an exchange program. The Opera House box office, 705-326-8011, also has tickets.

You won’t need a ticket for the annual audition concert at the Mariposa Inn April 14. Plan for the whole afternoon of new music.

The Shorts

*  If you can manage to get a ticket for the remaining performances of MAT’s The Diary of Anne Frank you won’t need a horseshoe – but you can still try. It closes with Sunday’s matinee. It’s very timely and thought provoking. MAT also has a movie night at the Galaxy Feb. 20 with A Private War at 4 and 7 p.m. Get tickets at the Opera House box office, 705-326-8011

*  In art, Zephyr artists Patricia Beecham, Catherine Cadieux, John Jacquemain, Beverley Pearl, Gwen Reilly, Jean Sanders, Gayle Schofield and Murray Van Halem have the feature wall at Peter Street Fine Arts for the rest of February – and at the Community Development Corp. in the Arts District; Gayle Schofield also has a show, Digital Warp, at Tiffin’s Creative Centre; OMAH is opening the annual International Women’s Day Art Show Saturday at 1 p.m. There are 130 artists in it this year. OMAH’s monthly history speaker’s night is Feb. 20 with Ann Harrison telling the story of The Underground Railway for Black History Month at 7:30 p.m.

*  The Orillia Vocal Ensemble has a concert Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. at St. Paul’s Centre. Joining them is the Nai Children’s Choir, a group of refugees based in Toronto who will perform Syrian and Canadian music. Students from the Orillia Music Center will also perform. The concert is a fundraiser for the YMCA Skid Watson Fund. Admission is freeand a collection will be taken.

*  Coming up… The Brownstone Cafe has Havelin and Charlie the Kid with Jeremiah Hill in Friday night; Omar Shabbaar and Mike Legr are in Saturday night… Lake Country Grill has Steph Dunn in Wednesdays… the Geneva has Women in Rock (Gearl Jam, As Is, Sarah Stinson) March 8 for an Elizabeth Fry Society fundraiser; tickets are $25 in advance… Lance Anderson’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen show (with Matt Weidinger and Chuck Jackson) is at Peter’s Players in Gravenhurst March 30… The Orillia Opera House has a Feb. 22 performance of the Vagina Monologues, a fundraiser for Green Haven Shelter for Women; get tickets at the box office… St. Paul’s has an incredible concert with Blair Bailey, Jacquie Dancyger Arnold, Michael Jones, Ross Love, Lidwien Wesselingh and Doreen Uren Simmons on their restored Steinway concert grand piano Feb. 23 at 2 p.m.

(Photos Supplied) Bob Hawkins, Cole Mendez, Ross Love

CORRECTION: Opera House phone number.

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