Archive for Bluegrass

David Essig with Jerry Leger

Thursday, February 20, 2020

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

Doors: 6:00pm
Performance: 8:30pm

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.


*Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees.

* Ticket Price: $20.00
* Service Fee: $4.00
* Sustainability Fee: $5.00
* HST: $3.77

* Total Ticket Price: $32.77

Steel City Rovers

Friday, January 24, 2020 | 8:30PM

Steel City Rovers
Advance $25 / Door $30

The Steel City Rovers perform dynamic and expressive music that is a unique composite of traditional Celtic music and North American styles including bluegrass, folk and roots. Their original works touch on issues of love, loss, celebration and heritage and they also breathe life into newly-discovered instrumental melodies from as far back as centuries ago. Their sophisticated arrangements are inviting for the most casual listener but are rewarding for those who are well versed in the nuances of musical complexity. The Rovers stand out for their powerful, emotive vocals and engaging entertainment. They perform on meticulously crafted replicas of historical instruments that rarely appear on today’s musical landscape. This highly active touring band headlines large festival stages, gives intimate concert performances, educates in a variety of workshop and master-class settings and performs internationally with symphonies. They create, collaborate and work hard to further the love and awareness of music.


* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees

Steve Goldberger + the Gentle Spirits 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 | 8:00pm

Steve Goldberger + the Gentle Spirits 
$20 Advance / $25 Door *

This Hugh’s Room Live show will be Steve’s first performance with his own band here in his hometown in almost 20 years!

Since the early 70’s, Toronto born, Steve Goldberger has been a bandleader, award winning songwriter, producer and freelance bass player/vocalist. Known also for his tenure with RCA recording artists & Genie Award winning alt-bluegrass outfit, Black Creek from 1972-1978. Over the years he’s worked as a bass player backing up hundreds of Canada’s top artists. Today he performs with his Niagara Rhythm Section and The Old Winos at their weekly house-gigs in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

After surviving open-heart surgery Steve released his first indi CD, in 2000. “COME FROM THE HEART ” was recorded live over three nights.

In early 2002 Steve released the “NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE RHYTHM PROJECT”, a collection of original instrumental tunes.

“GUMBO DREAMS”, released in 2002, is Steve’s first album of all original “singer/songwriter” material.

“CLUELESS”  (2005) Steve hits the mark with thirteen new original songs.

“LIVE AT THE ANCHORAGE VOLUMES 1 & 2” Since 2003 Steve’s Niagara Rhythm Section has been backing up a different guest artist every Saturday night at their weekly shows.

“THE GOLDBERGER VARIATIONS” (2009) Studio album featuring a few originals but mostly “variations” on songs by his favourite Canadian and global songwriters.

“COSMIC COWBOY” (2015) Winner of Country Artist, Producer and Songwriter of the Year at the 2015 Niagara Music Awards.

“THE GENTLE SPIRIT” (November 2018) Another album of “variations” with Steve’s unique takes on songs by his favourite songwriters. Songs by well know artists such as Crowded House, Dave Edmunds, Shania Twain, Lightfoot, NRBQ, Tom Petty, Bruce Hornsby and Jackson Brown take on a new life on this project. Also covers of Canadian songwriters David Leask, Mike Lynch and Duane Rutter are featured. There’s even a bonus Christmas song!

After releasing this most recent album, he’s put together a new group to perform songs from his many solo albums.  The Gentle Spirits Band appearing at Hugh’s Room Live features stellar players and singers including:

Andrew Aldridge (Sarah Slean, Wild Strawberries, Rae Billing, Danny Michelle…) on guitar
Greg Brisco (Ginger St. James, Crybaby, Brisco’s Blues Revue…) on keyboards
Dave Norris (NRS, Old WInos, The Satellites, Drastic Measures…) on drums
Laurel Minnes (Minuscule, Laurel & Hulley, Majora, Whiney P, DRFTR…) on vocals and ukulele
Lisa Winn (Gordon Lightfoot, Jacob Moon, Terra Lightfoot, Shannon Lyon…) on vocals
Mike Glatt (Old Winos, River City Rockettes…) on guitar

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees

Claire Lynch

Saturday, October 12, 2019  | 8:30pm

Claire Lynch 
Advance $30.00 / Doors $35.00

Long recognized and praised as a creative force in acoustic music, Claire Lynch is a pioneer who continually pushes the boundaries of the bluegrass genre. Her career has been decorated with many accolades including three GRAMMY nominations, seven International Bluegrass Music Association awards and the prestigious United States Artists Walker Fellowship.

Dolly Parton credits Claire with “one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today.” Her harmonies have graced the recordings of many stellar musicians. Equally gifted as a writer, her songs have been recorded by The Seldom Scene, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, Cherryholmes, The Whites and others.

Blazing her own trail in the mid ‘70s when there were few role models for young women in the genre, Claire Lynch made history when she led the Front Porch String Band which evolved in the ‘80s and ‘90s into “one of the sharpest and most exciting post-modern bluegrass bands on the circuit.” She formed her own Claire Lynch Band in 2005 and has, since then consistently been a top pick of prestigious publications, critics and audiences across the U.S. and beyond.

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and fees.

Shari Ulrich with Special Guest James Keelaghan  

Tuesday, August 6, 2019 | 8:30pm

Shari Ulrich with Special Guest James Keelaghan  
Advance $25.00 / Door: $30.00

Shari Ulrich

Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Shari Ulrich returns to Hugh’s Room to showcase the Borealis release of her 9th solo album. Shari has entertained, moved and enchanted audiences across Canada and beyond for over four decades. Her voice, stagecraft and a musicianship has woven its way through several iconic Canadian collaborations and 25 albums with The Pied Pumkin, The Hometown Band , Ulrich Henderson Forbes (UHF), and most recently withBentall Taylor Ulrich (BTU) and the Juno nominated High Bar Gang.

A consummate artist and entertainer, Ulrich continues to have it all. With 2 JUNO Awards, several JUNO nominations, an induction into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame and the 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award for English Songwriter of the Year, her impact on the music scene is undeniable.

“I can go on and on about my passion for music, how much we need it, how exhilarating it is to play it, and my perennial awe in how it makes us feel. So to have another batch of tunes out in the world makes me very happy. Ironically, after 45 years I feel like I’m still getting just started and there’s so much music to write, sing, play, and share”

Shari will be joined by Kirby Barber on bass & vocals (currently living in Nashville and often touring with Aaron Pritchett), and pianist Cindy Fairbank (formerly of Madison Violet).

Pals since the mid-seventies, Shari’s asked label-mate James Keelaghan to join her for this evening to share his latest batch of songs, and James, despite it landing between two festivals for which he serves at AD (Stewart Park & Owen Sound) said…. YES!  How great is that? This will be a very special evening.

James Keelaghan
Called Canada’s finest singer-songwriter by one of the most respected and lauded music journalists of the last 50 years, James Keelaghan is an artist who has proven to be a man for all seasons.

As the calendar pages have turned, for almost a quarter of a century now, this poet laureate of the folk and roots music world has gone about his work with a combination of passion, intent and intensity, and curiosity.

Fusing his insatiable appetite for finding the next unique storyline Keelaghan also forges his pieces with brilliantly defined craftsmanship and a monogrammed artistic vision, making him one of the most distinctive and readily identifiable voices of not only the Canadian scene, but as a member of the international singer-songwriter community.

Armed with a songbook that has enlightened and enthralled and been embraced by audiences around the world, Keelaghan’s life as an artist is one that is a perpetual journey on so many levels.

Most importantly it’s a journey that has invited fans of literate and layered songwriting to be a part of his artistic expeditions, some that weave their way through marvelously etched stories of a historical nature with underlying universal themes, and others that mine the depths of the soul and the emotional trails of human relations.¨His masterful storytelling, over the course of nine recordings, has been part of the bedrock of his success, earning Keelaghan his share of nominations and awards, and acclaim from  Australia to Scandinavia.The necessity to write has always been a double-edged sword.”

“I’ve always had the urge to write.  Some things weren’t being said in the way I wanted to say them. Then there are the different sides of what I write about. The narrative writing, the historical material, as well as the personal, where you have to take responsibility for what you are saying,” says the Calgary native who has been calling Winnipeg home for the past few years.A disciplined visionary, Keelaghan’s aces have long been a love of language, and history, as he earned a history  degree years ago, his skills as a thespian that he acquired at an early age, that explain his ability to make an immediate connection with audiences in a live setting, and an ear for a memorable melody, and harmonies that make those melodies glisten.

“I’m good for 80 or so books a year, mostly history, non-fiction, but inspiration can come in many forms, I’m always on the lookout for a good story or idea. My sister told me the story that became Kiri’s Piano. It was such an image,” says Keelaghan “that visits a dark chapter in Canadian history, Japanese internment camps in the Second World War.” Not only does his deep catalogue include timeless originals like Fires of Calais, Cold Missouri Waters, Jenny Bryce, Hillcrest Mine, and Kiri’s Piano.  Keelaghan is also a possessive interpreter of outside material, a fine example being his gripping take on Gordon Lightfoot’s epic Canadian Railroad Trilogy on the Lightfoot Tribute disc Beautiful. There are a number of illustrations of his interpretive skills on his 2006 recording A Few Simple Verses. The closing tune on that spellbinding set, My Blood written with Jez Lowe, is one of many examples in Keelaghan’s career, where he has invited collaboration into his creative process.

“I was at the Celtic Colors Festival in 2008 and the producers locked six of us in a house for a week, and the company included Dave Gunning, David Francey, and Rose Cousins, it was an amazing experience. We had to come up with enough material for a show at the end of it.“To go along with a lifelong accumulation of influences, there have been these opportunities to work with equals, whether it be Oliver Schroer, Hugh McMillan, or Oscar Lopez. The sparks of collaboration, batting melodies back and forth, whatever, have produced some wonderful results,” says the artist who ties it all together with a powerful voice, delivery, and a commanding presence where he finds a balance between examining the lighter and heavier sides of life.

For Keelaghan staying at the top of his game comes down to a very clear rule, “never stop accumulating.”

“I want my audiences to know that I am open enough to try new things and push their bounds.”

It was Dave Marsh, the award-winning American music critic and historian who not so long ago stated that James Keelaghan is “Canada’s finest songwriter,” and those few but powerful words of praise say it all about an artist who continues to set the bar at a lofty height.

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees.