This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

Overlooked last week in my survey of new recordings is a new album, Rollin’ Heavy, by Terry Savage. Aside from ten new tunes, the band has dropped the ‘and the Wonky Honkees’ from their name.

Terry Savage is the stage name Jamie Haffenden uses to front this country quartet. The other band members are Tim Kehoe, Grant Lauer and new drummer Steve Gurr. Without seeing the liner notes, I suspect the fiddle I hear on some of the tunes is by Mitch Ducharme who used to be  regular band member.

If you like old country music, not old tunes, but the style, you will definitely like this. Lyrical lines end in rhymes, the vocals are distinct, the musical arrangements not too complicated and the mood is more Hank Williams, or the kind of music you’d hear on the old Country Hoedown CBC show (the one Gord was a dancer on).

Each of these guys started in other bands playing anything but country. You have guys like Tim who can easily play blues, jazz, rock, and well, some would call it noise, but overdriven, distorted guitar, and Grant who for a time used to be the solo entertainer at Era 67 cranking out pop hits, and Jamie whose old band was Like Animals. As county musicians they display their capacity to assimilate another genre into their musicianship and replicate as art something long ago left by the curb.

And to do it so convincingly. If you didn’t know this was new music, you’d think grandpa put on one his old favourites. That said, the song Eyes Wide departs from the other tunes, Grant is bowing his bass and the lament makes you stop to concentrate on the words. Leaving is similar but moves closer back to the truck stop slop, as Jamie used to call the band’s approach to country music, and I think Jamie’s best singing on the disc.

They have a video out for the single, Full Pull, which along with the title tune are the strongest examples of where this band is grounded. While you are on Youtube you can check out some of the other videos for many of the songs on the disc.

You can get them on Friday night at the Brownstone when the band unveils the music. Bette Smith and the Currie Brothers are opening the show.

Also at the Brownstone this week, see We Make Music (an open mic) Thursday night, The Coyote Kids are in Saturday and every Tuesday is an open mic.

Leacock Medal

Saturday night, Ali Bryan, Mark Critch or Cathal Kelly are going to have to pay an extra fee for heavier luggage on the flight home. One of them will be packing the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. I think they’ll be able to afford it, once the cheque clears.

It’s probably too late to get a ticket for the medal diner at the Mariposa Inn, but if you give the museum a call, 705-329-1908, the Friday night meet the author’s schmoozer likely has some room for you. Tickets for the latter are $20, it’s at 7 p.m. at the Mariposa Inn and you need to get the tickets at the museum.

There’s a change in the dinner plans this year. First the venue, no long drive out to Geneva Park, so don’t auto pilot your way there like I would probably do (that’s why I wrote this sentence, the more I write about it the less likely I’m going to break speed limits turning around and heading back into town).

Last year Dan Needles stunned everyone, including the president of the Leacock Associates, Nathan Taylor, by announcing he was resigning as the Mayor of Mariposa. It was almost as shocking as his sheep story.

His replacement – how do you replace a storyteller like Dan? – was told he’s the new mayor a few months ago. Drew Hayden Taylor took the news in stride and promptly changed the title to Grand Chief of Mariposa. Next thing you know we’re all going to have to smoke tobacco in the meeting room.

Tempering the chief’s unilateral decision making is Ian Ferguson. He’s the emcee for the dinner, and thankfully not the chef. The dinner emceeing duties have never been taken seriously by any of the emcees, joking about, making audience members spew mouthfuls of Screech across tables and occasionally getting names right.

In other Leacock happenings, they have some writing workshops. June 8 is about selling your book with Josh Poitras and June 22 is podcasting with Amanda Cupido. They will draw on Leacock’s work for examples of what still works. Each workshop is $25, or $60 for the works. Call 705-329-1908 or email to register.


A huge, day-long and into the next day music festival is happening at the Coldwater Community Centre Saturday. The ShineBrite Festival starts at noon with local bands The Straight Goods, Shoot The Moon, This Side Up and Liquidcristal. Then tribute bands take over with Crush (Bon Jovi), Early Elton (do I have to say?) Crued (Motley Crude) and headliners Practically Hip and Hells Bells.

Food is being provided by the Coldwater Lions Club and the legion has a bar. It is an all ages event and fundraiser benefitting the Orillia Youth Centre’s Valis Sound Studio, the Coldwater Youth Centre, Cody’s House Youth Mental Health Centre, and Mikey’s Place for Autism

Tickets are $27.50 at TNT Lingerie, Mariposa Inn, Gilbert Guitars or online. At the door day of they are $45.

Arty Stuff

Saturday is the Spring Boat and Cottage Show at the Port of Orillia. The pavilion o the boardwalk will be home to Art Park Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Paul Baxter always puts a lot of work into creating a unique venue for several artists to display their work. Craig Mainprize, Xavier Fernandez, Marlene Bulas, Linda Plourde Gayle Schofiled will have stuff hanging around, and some new people – Carole Burdon, Cheryl Montague, Dani Lynn Redgrift-Berthelot, and Courtney Wassell will join them.

And mark your calendar for June 15 because you’re going downtown early in the day. That’s when the latest version of Streets Alive kicks off. This year the public art project’s theme is Pedal Powered. The artists put their skills to use remaking bicycles.

I missed the opening for the Orillia Fine Arts Association’s show opener at Pete Street Fine Arts last Saturday. Their Postcard Project – postcard sized art by 56 artists – was a fundraiser for Mariposa House Hospice and they raised $665. The exhibit is up to the end of the month.

Elsewhere, Lee Contemporary has new paintings by Wes Trinier up. Hibernation Art’s next show, Dads and Grads has room for your work; email for details. There’s an opening for the show June 11 at 3 p.m. And, Raune-Lea Marshall’s work is featured with an opening June 8 at 1 p.m.

By Stephanie Whalen

OMAH, first the money. They have signed on to the Great Canadian Giving Challege and every dollar you donate to OMAH gets an entry to a draw for $10,000. You must donate on the challenge website or at Canada Helps. Omah has a new show of Stephanie Whalen’s art, Reverie, and Scott Sawtell’s Playful Banquet: An Anthropomorphic Apocalyptic Feast, and Mnjikaning: Mapping the Life of the Gaudaurs are still up. OMAH is auditioning pieces for the annual Carmichael Canadian Landscape Show. The deadline for submissions is July 26. Check out the rules online.

The City is still looking for some artists to come up with a design for a couple pianos (one at the Port, another at Tudhope Park). There is an honorarium of $500 for each. See the details for submission online.

The City is also involved with two important events June 18 and 19. On the 18th an information night at 5:30 p.m. for the County of Simcoe’s Artreprenuer program is happening at City Hall. The purpose is for artists to find out what’s involved in a 15 week ($150) course in all the business kinds of things artists need to know to run the mundane side of their business. RSVP at On the 19th at 5:30 p.m. they have, with the help of the Cultural Roundtable and ODAC a public forum at the Opera House. The subject is creative hubs. You’ll learn more about them and get to chip in your thoughts. Consultants from the Arts Build Ontario organization will be there too. As always there’s a half hour schmoozing beforehand with Zachary Lucky playing some music.

The Shorts

* Just to show some of you just how conservative I can be (stop sniggering, I’ll wait while you get something to wipe the monitor clean) the story earlier in the week about Building Hope’s Country Gala at Casino Rama had an estimate prepared by SUNonline/Orillia’s crack team of estimators (me) arriving at a potential $25,000 raised. Well, Wednesday it was announced they raised $75,000, plus the $10,000 donated by the Chippewas of Rama. Building Hope has another fundraiser happening June 10 at the Opera House. The Orillia Spirit of Hope Art Show features 25 streetscapes created by local artists and some of them will be available by silent auction. It’s from 7 to 9 p.m. While you are at the Opera House you can get season tickets for summer theater. The lineup includes Kristen DaSilva’s comedy, Where Are You; Norm Foster’s newest, The Gentleman Clothier; and Bernard Slade’s Same Time, Next Year

*  MAT is having auditions June 22 and 24 for Unrinetown: The Musical at the Brammer Drive warehouse. For info on the roles or to book an audition time email

*  The Orillia Centre for Arts and Culture has a dance program happening June 28 at the Opera House. Looking for Elvis, and The Man in Black are choreographed by James Kudelka and Laurence Lemieux. Get tickets online.

*  Coming up… the Hog ‘N Penny has Jazz Trio (Suds Sutherland and Randy Hoover had a late night coming up with the band name) in Friday night; Don James and Jack Nicolle are in Saturday (expect them to do a Gord tune or two)…  the Geneva has the Rush tribute band My Favorite Headache coming June 15 and Eric Gales July 13; get tickets here… Chris Lemay is at Lake Country Grill June 5; Steph Dunn is in June 12.

(Photos and Images Submitted)

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