A Man Called Wrycraft Presents a Tribute to Bruce Cockburn

Friday, March 20, 2020 | 8:30PM

A Man Called Wrycraft Presents a Tribute to Bruce Cockburn
Artists TBA
Advance $25 / Door $30 *

Few recording artists are as creative and prolific as Bruce Cockburn. Since his self-titled debut in 1970, the Canadian singer-songwriter has issued a steady stream of acclaimed albums every couple of years. But that output suddenly ran dry in 2011 following the release of Small Source of Comfort. There were good reasons for the drought. For one thing, Cockburn became a father again with the birth of his daughter Iona. Then there was the publication of his 2014 memoir Rumours of Glory.

“I didn’t write any songs until after the book was published because all my creative energy had gone into three years of writing it,” Cockburn explains, from his home in San Francisco. “There was simply nothing left to write songs with. As soon as the book was put to bed, I started asking myself whether I was ever going to be a songwriter again.”

Such doubt was new to the man who’s rarely been at a loss for words as he’s distilled political views, spiritual revelations and personal experiences into some of popular music’s most compelling songs. What spurred Cockburn back into songwriting was an invitation to contribute a song to a documentary film about the late, seminal Canadian poet Al Purdy and he was off to the races.

Bone On Bone, Cockburn’s 33rd album, arrives with 11 new songs, including “3 Al Purdys,” a brilliant, six-minute epic that pays tribute to Purdy’s poetry. Cockburn explains its genesis: “I went out and got Purdy’s collected works, which is an incredible book. Then I had this vision of a homeless guy who is obsessed with Purdy’s poetry, and he’s ranting it on the street. The song is written in the voice of that character. The chorus goes, ‘I’ll give you three Al Purdys for a twenty dollar bill.’ Here’s this grey-haired dude, coat tails flapping in the wind, being mistaken for the sort of addled ranters you run into on the street—except he’s not really ranting, he’s reciting Al Purdy. The spoken word parts of the track are excerpts from Purdy’s poems. After that, once the ice was broken, the songs just started coming.”

Cockburn, who won the inaugural People’s Voice Award at the Folk Alliance International conference in February 2019 and will be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in September, continues to find inspiration in the world around him and channel those ideas into songs. “My job is to try and trap the spirits of things in the scratches of pen on paper and the pulling of notes out of metal,” he once noted. More than forty years after embarking on his singer-songwriting career, Cockburn keeps kicking at the darkness so that it might bleed daylight.

Michael Wrycraft is a Juno-Award Winning graphic designer / art director / photographer who specializes in music. Join us for a night sharing songs and stories behind the irreplaceable Bruce Cockburn.

 

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BluesIn’ Toronto Presents a Tribute to Muddy + The Wolf

Thursday, March 19, 2020 | 8:30PM

BluesIn’ Toronto Presents a Tribute to Muddy + The Wolf
Featuring Eric Schenkman (of the Spin Doctors), Dan McKinnon, Chris Antonik, Dylan Wickens and Danny Marks (Host)
Advance $40 / Door $45 *

Doors: 6:00PM
Performance: 8:30PM

MUDDY WATERS wasn’t just a blues legend; he is an American icon. His time in history was before synthesizers and digital compositions, when music was raw. His music was the place a black sharecropper from the Mississippi could empty all of his pain, talent and intellect and make sure the world remembered his name.

HOWLIN’ WOLF was larger life in every respect. As an entertainer, as an individual, and as a bluesman, he was outsized, unpredictable, and always his own man. He was a great blues singer who possessed that quality of egocentric self-absorption that is the mark of the true showman. To many people this may seem contradictory, but Wolf proved that to its natural audience blues is not all pain and suffering, but is instead a kind of release.

Host and fan favourite guitarist DANNY MARKS, Maple Blues winner of Blues With a Feeling Award for Lifetime Achievement, was an iconic rocker from the 60s as a founding member of Edward Bear and an esteemed session musician throughout the 70s. He developed a cult following in the 80s known for music and  humor with a house band gig at Toronto’s famed Albert’s Hall. He hosted national TV show, Stormy Monday, was a star of CBC Radio’s hit series the Hum Line and released 2 original music CDs: Guitarchaeology and True, before paying tribute to Toronto’s R&B roots with Big Town Boy in 2005. In 2012 he returned to his roots with the award winning CD “A Friend In the Blues” and a starring turn as host of HiFi ’s celebrated TV series “Cities In Blue”. Well known as host of JAZZ FM’s Saturday night radio show, bluz.fm, Danny continues to perform in to delighted fans of the blues, roots and rock ‘n’ roll.

You may have seen ERIC SCHENKMAN, onstage before thousands of fans worldwide with the Spin Doctors. He is one of the band’s not-so-secret weapons — a vital songwriter and virtuoso guitarist who crafted the ‘90s band and co-wrote all five of their Top 100 hits. He also worked with Chico Hamilton, Carly Simon, Natalie Merchant, Noel Redding, Phoebe Snow and Corky Laing, among many other notable musicians.

Singer, guitarist, songwriter, bandleader and creator of Stone Free Tribute to Jimi Hendrix.  Canadian recording artist, DYLAN WICKENS, twenty years in to a career continues to reinvent and challenge himself.  Whether touring and recording with Dylan Wickens Band, his Hendrix tribute or the latest project, guitar and drums duo, Northern Social, he’s all in ; all the time. Wickens has performed with and/or opened shows for artists including Downchild Blues Band, Pat Travers, Sonny Landreth, Kevin Breit, David Wilcox, Serena Ryder, Shakura S’Aida, and the late Jeff Healey.  Having twice won the Toronto Blues Society New Talent Search, a nominee at The Maple Blues Awards, and with Nationally charted songs to his credit, he continues to create and blur the edges of the traditional blues sound ; never content to rely on tradition.

Toronto-based CHRIS ANTONIK was nominated for Best New Artist in 2011 at Canada’s Maple Blues Awards after the release of his debut album, and has since become one of Canada’s fastest-rising blues artists. Blending innovative, thoughtful songwriting with stunning blues guitar work, some music critics have drawn comparisons to Eric Clapton. In its 2010 year-end review, Chris was named the “future of the blues” by Canada’s Blues Underground Network. In 2013, Chris’ sophomore album Better for You was hailed by critics as “a masterpiece,” “the best Canadian blues-rock album of 2013,” and “the sound of someone taking the blues to a new place”. The album spent three weeks at #1 on DAWG FM (Canada’s only all blues FM station), attained significant airplay across Canada, the US and Europe, including on Sirius XM Bluesville, and was nominated for Best Blues Album by the German Record Critics’ Association. Oregon’s Cascade Blues Association called it “one of the finest releases from the Great White North in many a year.”

Toronto-based blues/rock guitarist DAN McKINNON has been working hard to establish himself as a Canadian Blues artist on the rise. Following the success of his debut full-length album As Sharp As Possible (2013 Canadian Blues Debut of the Year from the Blues Underground Network) and a year where he won the 2017 Toronto Blues Society’s Talent Search and the Amy Louie Grossman’s Music Scholarship, he is back with a brand new album The Cleaner, a ten-song collection of raucous, hard-hitting blues/rock that has pays homage to the music’s greats, all while keeping an eye on where blues can go in the years to come. Esteemed music blog Blues Rock Review once wrote, “With one great lick, a genre can don a new face, a new energy and excitement. Enter Toronto native Dan McKinnon…from the slow and soulful to the edgy solos that really bite, the road ahead knows no limits.”

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Dr. Mike Daley Presents The James Taylor Story 

Monday, March 2, 2020 | 8:00PM

Dr. Mike Daley Presents The James Taylor Story 
Advance $30 / Door $35 *

Dr. Mike Daley and Jill Daley present another instalment of their popular lecture/concert series at Hugh’s Room Live with The James Taylor Story. Taylor’s music embodies the art of songwriting in its most personal and universal forms. He is a master at describing specific, even autobiographical situations in a way that resonates with people everywhere. In 1971, Taylor was on the cover of Time magazine, heralded as the harbinger of the singer-songwriter era. Over four decades later, his introspective lyrics and unique guitar playing still blaze a path to which young musicians aspire. He has sold over 100 million albums throughout his career and has earned 40 gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards, multiple Grammy Awards and has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the prestigious Songwriters Hall of Fame. His songs have had a profound influence on songwriters and music lovers from all walks of life.

Mike Daley is a musicologist and sought-after lecturer on popular music history and his wife Jill is a full-time pianist at Canada’s National Ballet School and Musician-In-Residence at Church of the Redeemer. Other musicians TBA.

These performances typically sell out quickly, so advance tickets are STRONGLY recommended.

website: https://mikedaleymusic.com
website: https://jilldaley.ca

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Miss Emily

Saturday, February 29, 2020 | 8:30PM

Miss Emily
Advance: $25.00 / Doors: $30.00 *

In the 1990’s a 12 year-old Emily Fennell was making her way around Southern Ontario, singing at county fairs and winning competition after competition. She was literally finding her voice. While the other young vocalists were dazzling crowds with standards like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” or “I Will Always Love You,” Emily was stunning judges and audiences into silent amazement with K.D. Lang’s version of the Patsy Cline song “3 Cigarettes and an Ashtray”. That song choice and her spellbinding performance of it, says almost all you need to know about the woman who would become Miss Emily. She is never predictable and always willing to take a risk.

Her music spans genres, crosses barriers and creates bridges. Her voice soars to emotional heights and reaches down into the grittiness of the soul. Her performances are foot-stomping, heart-wrenching adventures in rhythm, blues, jazz and rock and roll. For 15 years Miss Emily has captivated listeners across Canada, the US and the United Kingdom with her unique combination of passion and talent.

That passion and talent was cultivated by an unparalleled work ethic. It began with playing night after night after night in bars and nightclubs where she learned her trade and gained a loyal following. Later, she graduated to regional theatres and starred in several Broadway-style shows. This willingness to step outside her comfort zone and learn new techniques paid off by giving her opportunities to become a regular at large outdoor venues like Ottawa Bluesfest. Then, in 2011 in front of 25,000 people outside the tiny town of Bobcaygeon she opened for The Tragically Hip and began a relationship that would change the direction of her career.

Miss Emily’s new record takes the listener on a tour of her experiences and musical influences under the guidance of The Hip’s Gord Sinclair as producer/co-writer/bass player and bandmate Rob Baker as lead guitarist/co-writer.

In Between featuring Gord Sinclair and Rob Baker is the fifth album from Miss Emily. It’s a record that beckons the listener to walk with her as she soulfully strolls the humid streets of Memphis, wanders across the jazz-cool avenues of New York City or dances through raucous and funky block parties in Motown.

One listen and you’ll be compelled to join Miss Emily, Gord Sinclair and Rob Baker on a journey that reveals the vast emotions of love, loss, joyful redemption and everything In Between.

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Jim Beard and Jon Herington of Steely Dan

Sunday, February 23, 2020 | 8:30PM

Jim Beard and Jon Herington of Steely Dan
$75 Advance / $80 Door

It’s only natural that pianist Jim Beard and guitarist Jon Herington would strike the kind of special accord heard throughout this intimate duo encounter in their latest release, Chunks and Chairknobs. They’ve shared countless hours in the studio over the years playing on each other’s albums, beginning with Beard’s 1990 debut “Song of the Sun” and continuing through to Herington’s 2016 album “Adult Entertainment”. They’ve worked together as sidemen on recordings by bassist Victor Bailey, saxophonists Bill Evans and Bob Berg, drummer Dennis Chambers and brothers Michael and Randy Brecker. And they’ve shared the bandstand on tour with Steely Dan for the past several years — 20 for Herington, 11 for Beard. “There are many, many records and gigs and times of our lives,” said Herington, reflecting back on their musical partnership. “Not only that, we’ve been sharing a studio ever since we got to New York, which is probably since 1987.”

At the time of this latest recording, Beard and Herington had just come off a three week residency with Steely Dan at the Venetian in Las Vegas, so their Dan chops were polished to a bright sheen. But they were also basking in the after-glow of having recently recorded this superb duet album. And though guitar and piano are not generally regarded as ideal mates in a duo setting, the two kindred spirits found a way to seamlessly blend in the studio, divvying up duties on eight tunes, easily alternating roles, comping for each other while delivering melodic gems and brilliant solos along the way.

“Not all of that happened right away spontaneously,” Beard pointed out. “We did have to think about who could do what where, because it’s not the most natural duo instrumentation. It’s so much different than if it were piano and bass or guitar and bass, piano and saxophone or guitar and saxophone. Because the two instruments are so similar in the way they function and behave in a group, particularly the chordal aspect of it. So it did take a little bit of think-time to figure out what would be best.”

“It’s two instruments that do not necessarily cooperate too well,” added Herington. “And because the role of each instrument is similar, it kind of presents a real problem — Who’s going to play the bass part? Who’s going to keep time? So we had to hunt for different tunes and figure out what we could do to them to make them work. And it took quite a while.”

In the dead of winter at Hugh’s Room Live, Jim Beard and Jon Herington of Steely Dan presents an eclectic evening of instrumental music performed on guitar and piano in celebration of their latest release, Chunks and Chairknobs. Join us for the magic. Tickets available right now.

website: http://www.jonherington.com/
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euklbIfq414

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Glendale One

Saturday, February 22, 2020 | 8:30PM

Glendale One
Advance $20 / Door $25

Glendale One pays homage to the Lennon/McCartney catalogue through unique arrangements in styles ranging from Texas Swing to Jazz Rock/Fusion. Proof positive you can go anywhere with a well written song.

They are five childhood friends who met again after 30 years to spend the next 13 years, every Tuesday night, sharing their love of playing, arranging and recording music together. Their name is the phone exchange they all shared in grade school. Add the B-Town Horns, a stellar five-piece brass section, featuring trombonist-arranger George Guerrette and lead-trumpet Dave Harmsworth, and the results are exciting new arrangements captured in the band’s latest recording “Live at Asylum Artists”.

Glendale One is home grown Canadian talent giving, “jump to your feet and dance” performances to audiences throughout Ontario, at festivals and outdoor events and in Toronto at Hugh’s Room, the Cadillac Lounge and the Dominion on Queen, to name a few.

Lead vocalist & guitarist, Gordon Smith has a film career in special effects stretching from Platoon to X-Men but today explores enhanced live amplified music performance and recording environments with Asylum Artists.

Lead guitarist & vocalist, Brian Gibson, has a television career ranging from Nikita to Rookie Blue. A vintage guitar collector, his collaboration with Smith goes back to the grand old days of the Riverboat.

Rhythm guitarist & vocalist, Frank Reid, is an accomplished pianist, acoustics specialist and co-founder of Progressive Interiors, whose clients include most of the professional sound recording studios in Toronto.

Drummer & vocalist Kevin Frank, is an actor and the artistic director of Second City’s training and education program. He also lectures around the world on how improvisation applies to corporate relationships.

Bass guitarist & vocalist, Craig Ryan, is also a talented drummer, graphic artist, and a professional organizational effectiveness “guru” with clients in both the public and private sectors.

Together they are GLENDALE ONE … nothing but FUN!

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Western Swing Authority

Friday, February 21, 2020 | 8:30PM

Western Swing Authority
Advance $25 / Door $30

The Western Swing Authority is Canada’s most recognized and awarded authentic Western Swing group. Made up of a collection of some of the country’s finest touring and studio musicians, they came together to play the timeless style of music they love. Seamlessly combining stellar musicianship and vocals with traditional country and jazz standards and their own “new vintage” originals, they have created a sound that is truly their own.

WSA have been recognized with awards and nominations in both Canada and the United States and are reintroducing the Western Swing sound to an entire new generation of music lovers with every performance.

Recently, they caught the attention of a few of the music industry’s most legendary icons, receiving an invitation to play a private party in Nashville in March of 2018 for none other than Garth Brooks and his manager Bob Doyle. In October the WSA released their 4th studio album, “BIG DEAL”, which includes guest appearances by 9x Grammy winner Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, Grammy nominated Jazz sensation Jane Monheit, Canadian Country Stars George Canyon and Jason McCoy, along with many more amazing artists who have added their support and talent.

“The Western Swing Authority is taking our music into the new millennium. With exceptional musicianship and knock your socks off vocals, they’re everything a swing band should be!” – Carolyn Martin/Western Swing Hall of Fame inductee

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David Essig

Thursday, February 20, 2020 | 8:30PM

David Essig with Jerry Leger
Advance $20 / Door $25 *

David Essig
I was born in Frederick, Maryland in 1945 and spent the early part of my life in the Washington, DC area where I became immersed in two intense musical traditions: bluegrass and country blues. I had the good fortune to work at the Arlington Music Company where I learned to play the guitar and mandolin from John Duffey, founding member of the Country Gentlemen and the Seldom Scene.

While I was absorbing the high, lonesome sound of bluegrass, I was also blessed to meet and learn from two of the masters of the Delta Blues tradition: Mississippi John Hurt and Neamiah Skip James. Well-grounded in those roots, I came to Canada in 1971 and have been here ever since – living for the past 28 years on the Gulf Islands in British Columbia.

The most important lessons I learned from my musical mentors were, first, to be true to your own vision and second, to create your own music that extends the boundaries of tradition.  When I arrived in Canada, I had the extreme good fortune of being taken into a group of young folk artists in Ontario who were growing and evolving the folk music process, primarily through the songs they were writing.

With the encouragement of new musical friends like Willie P. Bennett, David Bradstreet, Doug McArthur and Stan Rogers, I started to write my own songs, creating a landscape of the imagination, set mostly in rural Canada and populated by characters inspired by my new life in the Almaguin Highlands of Ontario.

I began to perform in the coffeehouses and folk clubs across the country and was fortunate to be part of the emerging Canadian folk festival scene in mid-70’s, appearing at festivals including Mariposa, Winnipeg, Edmonton, London, and many more. I have performed at every major folk festival in Canada and continue to do so.

Now, in 2018, I have experienced the most wonderful realization that I am presently about the same age as many of the musical mentors I learned from back in the 60’s and 70’s. Our musical traditions continue to evolve  and I am very pleased to be part of that process.

Jerry Leger
Time Out For Tomorrow continues Jerry Leger’s run of consistently high output and displays the finely honed artistic vision that has been evident since 2005 when, at age 19, he released the first of nine studio albums, along with three more with his side projects The Del-Fi’s and The Bop-Fi’s. It’s added up to a body of work that was recently celebrated with the European-only compilation Too Broke To Die, aimed at Leger’s growing fan base in Britain and the EU.

Most of those listeners didn’t discover Leger until his 2014 album Early Riser, his first with Michael Timmins of Cowboy Junkies handling production duties, as well as the first to be released on the Junkies’ label, Latent Recordings. The combination of Timmins’ capture-the-moment production aesthetic and the Rolling Thunder-esque chemistry of Leger’s longtime band The Situation (plus a few special guests) now appears unbeatable. And although Time Out For Tomorrow may not be as expansive as Leger’s previous Timmins-produced effort, the acclaimed (Polaris considered) 2017 double album Nonsense And Heartache, its more concentrated dose of everything Leger does best is just as potent.

Songwriters such as Ron Sexsmith, Doug Paisley and outlets such as Rolling Stone, PopMatters and the Toronto Star have sung Leger’s praises. He’s also shared stages with Sexsmith, Paisley, Jim Cuddy, The Sadies, Justin Townes Earle, the late Jesse Winchester, Tift Merritt, Dawes, labelmates Skydiggers and others.

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Tom Allen

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 | 8:30PM

Tom Allen
$30 Advance / $35 Door

“Beautifully punctuated… brought the songs to vivid life.” – Now Magazine

What happens when a poet, an author, a composer, his lover, and a book-loving stripper all move into the same house in quiet, wartime Brooklyn? Arguments, indulgence, infestation, questionable relationships of every description, a murder mystery, plenty of reasons for the neighbours to bang on the walls and, just possibly, some truly wonderful art. Join singers Patricia O’Callaghan and Bryce Kulak, harpist Lori Gemmell and storyteller Tom Allen for an evening in the house that once held WH Auden, Benjamin Britten, Carson McCullers and Gypsy Rose Lee – a potent mix of cabaret, social history, very juicy gossip, glorious music and all parts fun.

Tom Allen – narration & trombone
Lori Gemmell – harp
Bryce Kulak – piano & voice
Patricia O’Callaghan – voice

website: https://www.tomtomallen.com/welcome.html
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G00FSNNM2jM

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Alfie Zappacosta

Saturday, February 15, 2020 | 8:30pm

Alfie Zappacosta
Advance $50.00 / Door $55.00

Alfie Zappacosta is undeniably one of Canada’s premier songwriters and performers with chart topping hits and a recording and acting career that has spanned 40 years. He continues to evolve as an artist by “doing it his way”, an effort that has been rewarded with an impressive song catalogue and a discerning loyal fan base.

Alfie Zappacosta decided on a music career in his teens and set his sights upon being a guitarist. When his vocal dexterity and song writing proficiency were uncovered by a publisher while writing for his first original band “Surrender”, events would be put in motion to champion Zappacosta (dropping his first name) as a solo artist and bring him to the world’s attention. “Start Again”, “Passion”, “When I Fall in Love Again” and “Nothing Can Stand In Your Way” became staples on Canadian adult contemporary radio and Zappacosta became a personified Rock Star.

In 1987, Walt Disney’s Danger Bay would bring Zappacosta an episode written specifically for him titled “Rock Star”. In the same year, he penned and sang “Overload” exclusively for the multi-platinum soundtrack “Dirty Dancing” and Loverboy would record Zappacosta’s “That’s Where The Money Goes” for their Wildside album. In 1988, he was awarded JUNOs for “Album of The Year’ and “Most Promising Artist”, an American Music Award for “Most Popular Album of The Year” and named the Canadian Publishers Music Association’s “Best Rock Star”.

Zappacosta’s distinctive baritone voice did not go unnoticed by artistic directors and in 1990, he was called to deliver his greatest challenge of his career – singing Andrew Lloyd Webber. Alfie’s portrayals of Christ in Jesus Christ Superstar and Che Guevara in Evita would bring a new audience and support his efforts to delineate his pop/rock image – a moniker that never reflected his authentic personality. The release of “Innocence Ballet” in 1996 would introduce Alfie Zappacosta (taking back his first name) and give center stage to his true rich vocals, his mastery at romance, his astute take on relationships and his advanced knowledge of music. Alfie is rewarded for his efforts with numerous award nominations in the Smooth Jazz genre and a performance with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra in 2005.

Zappacosta has polished his live concert performances exposing his sophisticated, intimate and intense personality. His performances deliver a blend of acoustic, jazz and pop music prompting the listener to engage soulfully.

And the hits that originally brought Zappacosta to the world’s attention? – Alfie hasn’t turned his back on any of these songs. You will hear them in his program performed the way they were originally written and meant to be heard.

website: https://zappacosta.ca/
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWL-xpYRATM

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and fees.