Archive for Music Matters


Sunday, December 8, 2019 | 8:30pm

$50 Advance / $55 Door

Since their debut in 1993, the four members of Quartette have been both publicly and critically acclaimed for their lush harmonies and delightfully diverse repertoire. Cindy Church, Caitlin Hanford, Gwen Swick, and Sylvia Tyson are seasoned singer/songwriters whose influences range from blues and gospel to folk and country to jazz and pop.

The group’s first appearance, a showcase of Canadian women songwriters, took place at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. What began as a “songwriter in the round” concert of musical friends grew into an inspired collaboration. This initial performance generated an appearance on CBC Radio’s Morningside with host Peter Gzowski. The phones began to ring with requests for a recording, and seven months later in April of 1994, the self-titled album, “Quartette,” was released to rave reviews. This was followed by coast-to-coast tours of theatres, folk festivals, performances with symphony orchestras, and live appearances on radio, including two appearances on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.

In 1995 a second album, “Work of the Heart ,” was released and, following this, CBC’s Adrienne Clarkson Presents profiled the group in an hour-long special.

With the untimely death of original member, Colleen Peterson, in 1996, Quartette elected to continue performing, and welcomed another musical friend, Gwen Swick, to the group. Gwen’s skills as a songwriter and vocal arranger carried the group to a new level as they prepared to record once again, and the result was “In The Beauty Of The Day,” released in 1998.

Quartette has received several Juno nominations, won a Canadian Country Music Award for best vocal collaboration, performed with major symphony orchestras across Canada, and recorded the CMT-TV special, “A Quartette Christmas.” They have also released two Christmas CDs, “It’s Christmas!” in 1996, and “I See A Star” in 2002, both of which are collections of traditional and original Christmas songs, and their Christmas shows have become a tradition with audiences across the country.

Quartette continues to tour and record. In October of 2007, they released their sixth recording, “Down At The Fair,” produced by legendary guitarist, arranger and producer Colin Linden.

An evening with Quartette is always a magical musical journey.

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Patricia O’Callaghan  

Saturday, December 4th, 2019 | 8:00pm

Patricia O’Callaghan  
$35 Advance / $40 Door *

Patricia O’Callaghan is something of a wandering minstrel. Her fifteen-year career has taken her across genres, continents, and a range of disciplines and passions.

Her recording career spans six solo CDs and many interesting guest collaborations. A speaker of French, Spanish, and German, her early recordings focused on European cabaret, and she is considered a specialist in the music of Kurt Weill. Patricia has performed his Threepenny Opera, Seven Deadly Sins, and Kleine Mahagonny with Soulpepper Theatre Company, Edmonton Opera, and Vancouver Opera, to name a few.

This Toronto soprano can sing a 100-year-old German tune so lustily that you almost don’t need a translation to know that someone’s about to get his throat cut or get laid or both. The National Post

One of Patricia’s most unique talents is the ability to blend a variety of languages and musical genres seamlessly together in her concerts, and completely embody whatever style she is singing at any given moment.

O’Callaghan sings her diverse material as if it was always meant to go side-by-side and by the end of the evening, it’s easy to believe her. Chart Attack Magazine

She has sung with some of the world’s great ensembles and artists (Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Don Byron Quartet, Bryn Terfel), and has performed in venues that range from London’s Royal Opera House to New York’s Noho cabaret Le Poisson Rouge.

Patricia also writes and co-writes songs and has had the honor of premiering many new compositions, from both the classical and pop worlds. It has been her great privilege to work with such creators as R. Murray Schafer, David Braid, Dennis Lee, Christos Hatzis, George Aperghis, Steve Reich, and Steven Page, to name a few.

Patricia’s film, theatre and television credits include her own Bravo! special, The CBC produced Ken Finkleman series Foolish Heart, and the semi autobiographical Rhombus / Westwind film Youkali Hotel, which has won several prizes, including a Golden Sheaf Award to Patricia for best female performance. Ms. O’Callaghan has also received other awards, such as a Chalmer’s Grant from the Ontario Arts Council and a Fleck Fellowship from The Banff Centre for the Arts.

She recently completed a six year stint as a Resident Artist at Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company. Her responsibilities there included conducting, teaching, mentoring young artists, producing, curating and performing in festivals, and developing new work.

Recent projects are Broken Hearts and Madmen; a collaboration with The Gryphon Trio, which blends classical music with traditional songs from Latin America and pop songs from around the world…

“Broken Hearts and Madmen is an exquisite piece of work. The result is absolutely breathtaking in its attention to detail, with every note carved from their love of the songs…” – Vivascene and Matador: The Songs of Leonard Cohen

A truly exceptional blend of natural expressiveness and masterful coloration, her tender versions of Cohen’s “Take this Waltz” and “Hallelujah” are revelatory. – Billboard Magazine

She’s one of the best singers ever to come out of Canada. – Vivascene


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The Last Waltz: A Musical Celebration of The Band

Saturday, November 23, 2019 | 8:30pm

Lance Anderson presents The Last Waltz: A Musical Celebration of The Band
Advance $50.00 / Door: $55.00

Players TBA

It has been more than forty years since this legendary concert by The Band. If you missed it in 1976 then this is as close as you’ll get to experiencing not only the music, but the vibe, man.

An all-star Canadian cast of award-winning blues and roots musicians will perform The Last Waltz: A Musical Celebration of The Band at Hugh’s Room Live.

Under the direction of Juno award winning producer and musical director, Lance Anderson, the November appearances will be the eighth year for this crowd pleasing show which has sold out shows in Ottawa, Peterborough, Orillia, Collingwood, Port Hope, Stratford and at Hugh’s Room in Toronto. And headlined the CNE Bandshell, Southside Shuffle, Wasaga Beach Blues Festival and Kitchener Blues Festivals.

The performance will recreate the atmosphere of The Band’s final concert, which was captured in Martin Scorsese’s award-winning concert film, The Last Waltz.

On the American Thanksgiving of 1976 at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom, The Band performed what they called their “Last Waltz,” and invited many of their friends to join in the celebration. These friends included Bob Dylan, Ronnie Hawkins, Van Morrison, Neil Young and others who performed with The Band on this special night.

In this homage to The Last Waltz, Anderson’s special guests will perform the songs played and sung by these artists at the memorable 1976 concert. These shows have become an annual November tradition in Ontario.

Anderson’s production of The Last Waltz has experienced rave reviews at the many festivals where it has appeared over the past few years and has consistently been referred to as the “best of the festival.”

“It wasn’t just the musicianship, which was second to none; it was the energy – these musicians have brought forth a live music gem that is worthy of any stage I know of and probably more that I don’t,” said P. Rellinger of the Kawartha News after seeing Anderson’s show in Peterborough.


For tickets to the November 24 presentation of The Last Waltz, please CLICK HERE.


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Ken Whiteley’s Gospel Brunch

Sunday, November 17, 2019 | 2:00pm

Ken Whiteley Gospel Brunch
$25 Advance / $30 Door *

Doors: 12:30pm
Brunch: 1:00pm
Performance: 2:00pm

Once you have experienced a Gospel Brunch with Ken Whiteley, you will want to savour more. Whiteley, one of Canada’s most respected roots musicians and recording producers, always presents an open-ended range of musical styles and forms of spiritual expression at these Sunday afternoon Gospel sessions.

Artists TBA

* All-you-can-eat brunch ($20) not included in ticket price
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Wolfe Island Records Show

Saturday, November 16, 2019 | 8:30pm

Wolfe Island Records Show
Featuring Hugh Christopher Brown, Stephen Stanley, Chris Bennett, Suzanne Jarvie, Hadley McCall Thackston
$25 Advance / $30 Door *

Hugh Christopher Brown
Chris has been receiving information from an unknown source ever since his “kidney operation” at age six months. He considers himself more or less cellular antennae, and feels the clavinet was removed from him during the original surgery.

Music has been his least disruptive form of stellar communion – predating his days as a St. Michael’s choirboy in Toronto, he would transcribe the Irish Rovers, Sly Stone, songs by The Clash and Booker T and the MGs. Later, he was transformed by Floyd Cramer’s version of fire and rain.

Beyond the daily tasks of preparation, Chris has recorded his own music, and played (usually organ, piano and clavinet – but sometimes trombone, tuba or other things) for many others. He continues to explore the great nervous system with his doctor, Kate Fenner.

Often distressed by the non-harmonic functions of greed, fear and obedience, Chris finds charity hockey games great places to discuss class wars and the more subtle enforcement methods over beers.

His one allergy is to sincerity contests.

Stephen Stanley
Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist Stephen Stanley is best known from his many years as a lead guitarist/vocalist with the vibrant alternative rock band The Lowest of the Low. After many song hits, years of touring and sharing the stage with the likes of Billy Bragg, Bob Mould, The Violent Femmes, The Jayhawks and Lloyd Cole, a gold record for their “genuinely timeless album” (Exclaim!) Shakespeare My Butt, Stanley is back on the Canadian music scene with a new band, The Stephen Stanley Band, and a new record Jimmy & The Moon, produced by Hugh Christopher Brown.

Chris Bennett

Chris Bennett is a Toronto born and bred guitarist who has contributed his talents to many local bands and recordings. He has piled his trade all over Canada as well as playing in Germany, England, Ireland the US & Botswana.

He is also known for his appreciation and use of vintage instruments and amplifiers which travel with him. Heis currently touring with the Stephen Stanley Band whose latest recording Jimmie & the Moon was just released in Europe.


Suzanne Jarvie
Spiral Road documents the painful journey after her oldest son tripped and fell down a spiral staircase, lapsing into a coma in 2011. “It was a bomb,” Suzanne recalls. “I couldn’t breathe. The doctors said he wouldn’t live, but he did.” The miracle of her son’s survival changed Jarvie’s life. While her son was still at the hospital, she began an intense period of songwriting, never having written anything much prior. “It was powerful and strange.”

Spiral Road garnered rave reviews from the US, Canada, and Europe, comparisons to Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams, and a 2015 nomination from the Independent Music Awards for “Best Concept Album”. No Depression described Jarvie’s voice as “seraphim-pure, reaching out and lifting your spirit often without permission.”

Jarvie’s sophomore record In the Clear, released on January 22, 2019, picks up where Spiral Road left off – delving deeper into the aftermath of her son’s brain injury – and going beyond it. The tunes tunnel into feelings and impressions that are the essence of Suzanne’s artistry, luminous rabbit holes that merge mysticism with reflections on life’s ups and downs that fans of Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan or Lucinda Williams would appreciate. Producer Hugh Christopher Brown keeps the music steeped in mostly acoustic sound, and the mix of dobro, mandolin, guitar, violin and bass.

In the Clear and Spiral Road are poetic journeys that anyone who has dealt with a family tragedy can relate to. “In The Clear is a reverie – where the songs reflect on motherhood, the feminine, addiction, death, dreams of freedom and peace. There is even a song about rape (The Core). The title track has a melancholy irony; In The Clear is where I always want to be. Instead, it is this ephemeral state that never lasts. So, I try to enjoy the peaceful moments completely, knowing that more challenges are on the horizon.”

Some songs are deeply inspired by science fiction. “I find the weird visionary parables to be so idiosyncratic. They give me permission to be highly individualized in my songs. Obscure is okay… trance-like imaginings are okay. ‘Carpenter Bay’ is a journey through neurons and psychopharmacology. But it’s also about realizing you’ve been holding on to an illusion, that at some point a terrible loss will be undone. You want that so badly. It’s very sad. Then you realize the false hope and you give in, or give up maybe. I know my lyrics can be inscrutable, but they mean something real. I don’t think you have to understand everything. It could just be that a melodic line or poetic phrase resonates and moves someone and that’s amazing. The ideas aren’t concrete, and sometimes I have to rush and grab them before they decay. But it’s why I thank John Wyndham, Tolkien and Roddenberry, etc. in my liner notes. Gotta keep weird alive man!”

Hadley McCall Thackston
Born in North Augusta and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, the 25-year old Hadley McCall Thackston’s affinity for vintage style clothes and contemporary tattoos mirrors her timeless brand of Southern folk — kindred with modern sounds and singers come and gone decades before she was born.

“This is definitely my last life for sure… I was born tired,” she jokes with a serious edge to her voice. “My mama said I came out a couple months early… kickin’ and screamin’ and hollerin’… and she thought to herself: ‘ooooooh… she mad at something!’”

A self-described “porch sitter”, Hadley’s upbringing in a house where her parents were in the arts and “total music heads” had her immersed in music all her life. She began teaching herself basic guitar chords when she was 10 years of age and started playing stand-up bass in orchestra at 12. When she was younger, she sang all the time (her mom swears Hadley sang before she even spoke) but in her teenage years struggled with anxiety & depression and lost that part of herself.

Fascinated by all things Irish, Hadley decided to move to Ireland in 2011 to become an au pair and then studied theatre at the University of Cork for a year, with the idea that focusing on theatre might be a way for her to escape and be someone else. The theatre immersion didn’t take, however, but her desire and passion for songwriting and singing returned and morphed into another dimension.

It was a complete act of ironic social media fate — as Hadley was not exactly a social media maven — but her best childhood friend, Wyeth Wood, pretty much insisted Hadley finally post a short clip of her singing and within minutes, the formidable, critically-acclaimed Indiana singer-songwriter David Corley — a friend of Hadley’s mother — saw and heard it and sent the clip to his producer Hugh Christopher Brown. Before she knew it, Hadley landed on Wolfe Island, Ontario, where Brown’s Post Office studio was and started recording her tunes.

A little icing on the island turned out to be that Toronto singer-songwriter Stephen Stanley was recording with his new band at Brown’s studio around that same time. Stephen was blown away by Hadley’s voice and asked if she would sing the duet, “Next To Me” with him, one of the tracks on his album Jimmy & the Moon. “Next to Me” was also chosen for Stanley’s first official video, premiered by Exclaim! and has many music writers exclaiming about Hadley McCall Thackston’s exquisite voice.

Hadley’s debut eponymous record (with all songs written by the porch sitter on various porches from Atlanta, Georgia to Cedar Mountain, North Carolina to Wolfe Island), fuses lots of sounds that might be called alt-country, southern folk, or contemporary. As for the latter, well in this chanteuse-songwriter’s mind, timeless is always contemporary.

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Dayna Manning CD Release

Friday, November 15, 2019 | 8:00pm

Dayna Manning CD Release
$30 Advance / $35 Door *

Juno nominated artist Dayna Manning exemplifies the very best that Canadian Folk music can be. Her cool clear voice along with her insightful songs represent a history of Canadian musical art that goes back to the early 60’s and sounds just as vital today.

Originally from Stratford Ontario, Dayna Manning grew up in a musical family and launched a professional songwriting career at 18, releasing two self-penned albums with EMI Music Canada and Nettwerk America. Her songs drew praise from countless industry tastemakers, including Billboard Magazine and led to working with Sean Ono Lennon, as well as luminary LA-based producer Jim Scott. Manning toured North America extensively as a duo with cellist Kevin Fox, performing with Great Big Sea, Jann Arden, Spirit of the West, and Radiohead, toured nationally with Burton Cummings and Joe Cocker, and was part of the original Lilith Fair.

After six years in the major label music industry, Manning took some time to reflect and reconnect with her musical heart. She then released FOLKYO, a refreshingly independent album that showcased her wide range of writing styles, and further demonstrated her acumen as an arranger, producer and engineer.

In 2011 Manning, along with Emm Gryner, formed the Canadian folk trio Trent Severn, penning all original songs about the land and people they love. In a few short years the fiercely independent group’s unique “Canadiana” approach and stage show landed festival appearances, a feature article in MacLean’s,  a CBC live recording, two Canadian Folk Music Award nominations, the honour of singing the national anthem on Parliament Hill for the Canada Day flag-raising, and musical guest appearances at their shows by none other than Commander Chris Hadfield.

Most recently, Manning completed producing and engineering Trent Severn’s third album “Portage”, (June 2017). Her full-length production debut, Trent Severn’s “Trillium” (Oct 2015) reached #1 on the Earshot! Canadian Campus Folk/Roots/Blues chart, and made the 2016 Polaris Prize Longer List. She has national commercials and radio brands to add to her production and engineering credits, and her insightful ballad, “I Know How the Moon Must Feel” from the feature film Thomas and the Magic Railroad still helps young fans find Dayna today.

Fully engaged in the greater music community, Dayna also mentors 20 young women through her Folk Army program in Stratford Ontario, and lectures on writing and recording, making annual lecture stops at OIART recording school in London, ON. In 2017 alone she lectured and performed at the Stratford Writer’s Festival, Dave Brosha’s acclaimed Land and Sea Conference in PEI and was a panelist at the Jack Richardson Music Awards. This summer, (2018) Dayna is a faculty member of SongStudio at The Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, ON.

Dayna has it all to be a modern renaissance artist. She writes, produces, engineers, arranges, conceives, designs, organizes, engages, envisions, connects and plans. Above all, her musicianship is striking, her stage manner seasoned, and her songwriting is simply skilled.


*Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees


Wednesday, November 13, 2019 | 8:30pm

$15 Advance / $20 Door *


In a world where hyphenated genres are becoming the norm, all kinds of monikers are available for a contemporary folk band – post-folk, trad-core, alt-roots. File under World, or file under Celtic? Aerialists fits best with the beautifully contradictory term prog-trad, melding their ferociously creative harmonic sensibilities with a deep love for folk traditions. The transatlantic quintet draws from the wells of Nordic and Gaelic music, adding expansive post-rock textures and meticulously sculpted arrangements to create captivating, genre-defying new music.

Nominated for a 2019 JUNO Award for Instrumental Album of the Year and a 2018 Canadian Folk Music Award for Emerging Artist of the Year, their new album Group Manoeuvre is a powerful collection of neo-folk compositions and imaginative arrangements of traditional material, with haunting guest vocals from Emily Millard.

“Group Manoeuvre is a dazzling display of stellar musicianship, inventive arrangements, and genre-melding music inhabiting a world of its own.” – Folk Radio UK


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Jessica Rhaye Presents The Dylan Project

Sunday, November 3, 2019 | 8:30pm

Jessica Rhaye Presents The Dylan Project
Advance $20.00 / Door: $25.00

Nice work with the Dylan tunes… Especially liked hearing Lay Down Your Weary Tune” – Ron Sexsmith

I like it a lot. Very cool project.” – Dr. Rob Bowman, Grammy Award-Winning Professor of Ethnomusicology

Come celebrate the release of Just like a Woman – Songs of Bob Dylan Jessica Rhaye’s sixth full-length album, and first with backing band The Ramshackle Parade.  This rollicking folk-rock interpretation of Dylan’s classics and hidden gems transcends the concept of a simple tribute album. The result is a fun folk-rock album with psychedelic undertones, with folkie ballads, a conversation between rockabilly and swing, and engaging new interpretations of the Master’s works.

Just Like a Woman will be an evening of professionals performing live together – – true to the recording style of Dylan’s earlier work.  Members imagined working in the style of Dylan in Woodstock, the days of the Basement Tapes.

Jessica Rhaye is an award-winning singer/songwriter/graphic artist with a career spanning 20 years, and a list of accolades including a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination, multiple East Coast Music Award nominations, and Music New Brunswick awards. Jessica has graced many prestigious stages including the National Arts Centre, Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Mariposa Folk Festival, Canadian Music Café, Hotel Café, Half Moon Putney and many more.

*Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees.

Shrinehouse and Stardust

Thursday, October 31, 2019 | 8:30pm

Shrinehouse and Stardust
$25 Advance / $30 Door *

On Halloween, you’re invited to get dressed up and pay tribute to a couple of music icons, the music of whom will haunt our stereos for generations to come. On October 31, we’re celebrating the life and music of David Bowie and Amy Winehouse. There will be a big group of people contributing to the night, and we hope to count you among them.

Shrinehouse is an eight-piece sonic shrine to Amy Winehouse; an artist whose undeniable contribution to music can be felt here after her death. Shrinehouse delves deep into Winehouse’s music to recreate and pay the deepest of all respects to her, her songs, and the energy and soul that drips out of each track. From Frank to Lioness, Shrinehouse lovingly presents her work as we feel Amy would have intended; intense, soulful, and real.


David Bowie
David Robert Jones was born in Brixton on January 8, 1947. At age 13, inspired by the jazz of the London West End, he picked up the saxophone and called up Ronnie Ross for lessons. Early bands he played with – The Kon-Rads, The King Bees, the Mannish Boys and the Lower Third –provided him with an introduction into the showy worlds of pop and mod, and by 1966 he was David Bowie, with long hair and aspirations of stardom rustling about his head. Kenneth Pitt signed on as his manager, and his career began with a handful of mostly forgotten singles and a head full of ideas. It was not until 1969 that the splash onto the charts would begin, with the legendary Space Oddity (which peaked at  #5 in the UK). Amidst his musical wanderings in the late ’60s, the young Bowie experimented with mixed media, cinema, mime, Tibetan Buddhism, acting and love. A first rock album, originally titled David Bowie then subsequently re-titled Man of Words, Man of Music and again as Space Oddity, paid homage to the kaleidoscopic influences of the London artistic scene, while hinting at a songwriting talent that was about to yield some of rock n roll’s finest and most distinctive work–even if it would take the rest of the world a few years to catch up.

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* Costumes encouraged

Russel DeCarle with Paul Pigat and Steve Briggs

Sunday, October 27, 2019 | 7:30pm

Russel DeCarle with Paul Pigat and Steve Briggs
$30 Advance / $35 Door *

It’s late, and the bar is crowded. The music is loud, and people are dancing. The bartender needs a smoke, and you could use a smile, a conversation, a moment of recognition…

But you are alone in this crowd, along with the singer Russell deCarle. Like him – and his music – you are holding it together with equal measures of heartbreak and hope.

So join Russell; sink into his third album of songs that touch the heart, celebrate the truth, and provide warmth and company in the noise of the crowd.

Alone in this Crowd is the title of Russell deCarle’s third album; it feels like the soundtrack of a movie in the days just before they invented Technicolor.

And, even more than his two previous albums, it may surprise those who remember deCarle as the lead vocalist and bassist of the iconic Canadian country roots band Prairie Oyster. He is no stranger to awards and accolades — his “Oyster years” were rewarded with six Juno Awards, more than a dozen Canadian Country Music Awards and enough gold and platinum records and #1 singles to fill a living room wall.

The truth is, though, that Prairie Oyster was always more than a “country” band, and deCarle’s warm, burnished and intimate voice has always honoured an eclectic range of songs.

True to form, Alone in this Crowd offers a fluent collection of songs that mix southern soul and restrained balladry, with obvious touches of jazz, blues, old-school country, and western swing.

For some artists, the urge to make solo records asserts itself almost as soon as they start to gain attention as part of a successful band. Not so for deCarle: “For decades people were asking for a solo record,” he says, “but I never thought I was ready and the band always satisfied the musical part of my life.”

But that was then and this is now.

This third record is a perfect example of what you get when you hear this artist live – in a club, in a concert hall, or at a festival.

“I want people to be emotionally invested in these songs, whether I wrote them or whether they were created by others,” he says. “If they touched audiences in some way – well, that would be the best thing that could happen.”

It’s his personal objective whenever he performs. “I’m a music lover first and foremost — a product of all the stuff I’ve ever listened to – and my tastes are very broad.”

“To me, this is a torchy, bluesy record more than anything else. And I know in my heart that it’s something that people who hear it will understand immediately….” – Richard Flohil



Paul Pugat
“I think it is unlikely that I’ll review a better CD than “Jukin’” this year. It’s simply terrific and virtually every track is a highlight. Pigat is a ballsy, confident vocalist, at home equally with the forceful rockabilly that accounts for half of the CD, a trio of more laid back Western Swing tunes, a couple of unusual covers and the collection’s only slow ballad, “Louisa”. His lead guitar is stunning and the generous breaks bristle with invention and at times are lightning fast.” – Harry Dodds, Now Dig This magazine (UK)

“Cousin Harley plays a mean guitar” – Michael Kissinger, Pier magazine

“This collection could fit into any of Quentin Tarantino’s films… if you get a chance to hear Cousin Harley, you will dig it!” – Monte Nordstrom, Cosmic Debris


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