Archive for Summer Nights Festival

Johannes Linstead

Thursday, November 7, 2019 | 8:30pm

Johannes Linstead
Advance $25.00 / Door: $30.00

From being named Canada’s “Guitarist of the Year,” to winning eight “Best Album” awards, to seven top-ten US Billboard charting albums, and winning the “People’s Choice” award in the UK, Johannes Linstead has become recognized internationally as one of the best selling guitarists in the Instrumental, Jazz and World Music genres.

Chances are even if you don’t know the name you’ve heard his music. Johannes’ songs have been used in some of the most popular TV shows, such as Californication with David Duchovny, The Following with Kevin Bacon, Burn Notice, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, Pawn Stars, Person of Interest, and others. World champion figure skater Stephane Lambiel used Johannes’ song “Zabuca” as part of his choreography during the Winter Olympics, and recently “Cafe Tropical” was featured in the hugely popular video game Tropical 4 and 5. Johannes is an endorsed “Influential Artist” with Yamaha Guitars USA, the largest musical instrument manufacturer in world, and in 2016 signed an endorsement deal with D’Addario, the largest string manufacturer in the world, and in 2018 partnered with D’Angelico Guitars of New York city.

His group consists of congas, bongos, accordion, bass and Spanish guitars, with each band member lending his own unique charisma, creating a rare on-stage chemistry that moves audiences to their feet, clapping along with the music and occasionally shouting out “ole!” They perform at many of the top music venues in the US and Canada, including the Catalina Island JazzTrax festival in California, which was named the #1 jazz festival in the US. Johannes’ legendary concerts have brought the group as far as the Middle-East, performing for royalty in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Together, Johannes and his group set the stage on fire as they let loose a fiesta of Afro-Cuban percussion and Spanish guitar magic.

When creating new music Johannes derives his inspiration from his many travels, from Spain to the Caribbean, from India to the Middle East. Each new land bringing him a wealth of exotic sounds and rhythms to colour his musical pallet. Having developed a love for the tropics, Johannes now calls the Dominican Republic his home away from home.

A deeply spiritual person, Johannes is a certified yoga instructor and conducts yoga and music retreats when his touring schedule allows. In 2006 he founded Divine Earth (divineearth.org), a humanitarian organization promoting meditation, yoga, holistic living, and the healing power of music.

Johannes states, “I use music as a way to express what words cannot say. Every note contains a part of me and all the love, joy, hope and compassion in my heart. I believe that music has the power to uplift humanity – I see it all the time at every one of my concerts. To be able to bring happiness to so many people is a true blessing.”

* Advertised pricing excludes pricing and fees.

Luke McMaster: Icons of Soul

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 | 8:30pm

Luke McMaster: Icons of Soul
Advance $25.00 / Door: $30.00 *

With Icons of Soul, Luke McMaster has taken his Motown influenced style to a new level. Icons of Soul in concert is the ultimate, authentic musical experience of contemporary blue-eyed soul. A collection of brand-new tunes, created in collaboration with original hit makers, Felix Cavaliere of the Rascals (Groovin’, Good Lovin’) and Lamont Dozier (Stop! In the Name of Love, Baby Love). These songs are so much fun, you’ll feel like you’ve known them all your life. Plus, you’ll be treated to fresh covers of early Motown hits and previously untold stories behind the songs.

Luke McMaster is best known for “Good Morning, Beautiful,” his 2013 Top 3 Billboard AC smash hit with new age pianist, Jim Brickman and his impressive Canadian gold album run as a duo with Rob James in McMaster & James, (“Thank You,” “Love Wins Everytime,”) with media often referring to them as the “Canadian Hall & Oates.”

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Ron Nigrini’s Farewell Performance

Saturday, September 14, 2019 | 8:30PM

Ron Nigrini’s Farewell Performance
Advance: $25.00 / Doors: $30.00 *

Tickets for this final performance are only available through our box office by phone or in-person.

The illustrious career of Ron Nigrini is sadly coming to an end. Fortunately, we can all get together for one last farewell as he returns to Hugh’s Room Live for final his performance. For those unfamiliar, go and read below. We also highly recommend touring his catalogue to understand the significance of this man’s music. This is our last time to catch the real thing and we couldn’t be happier that Ron has chosen our venue to bid a final farewell to his audience. Tickets available right now.

“Rambling through his fifth decade on the music scene, Ron Nigrini still plays for the love of the music, and it shows. A singer, songwriter, guitarist, craftsman, poet and performer, he’s on a life long musical odyssey. He opened for The Mamas & The Papas in 1967, had a hit with I’m Easy in 1976, had the most played Canadian single with Baby I’m A Lot Like You in 1983 on his own Oasis Records, acted in movies and on TV and entertained in countless coffee houses, bars, auditoriums and music festivals across Canada, the United States and Europe.

The sweet style of this “worker in song” is reminiscent of Jim Croce and Harry Chapin but, in the end, it’s his own beautiful melodies and poetic lyrics that create a unique artistic voice. His new CD, “Directions Home” explores where we are and how we are in this increasingly fractured and troubled world.”

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Red Zeppelin

Friday, August 16, 2019 | 8:30pm

Red Zeppelin
Advance $25.00 / Door: $30.00

Dancing days are, indeed, here again. Experience the power and fury of a Led Zeppelin live show through the artistry of Red Zeppelin as they shine a light on classic hits. For years, Red Zeppelin have swung the hammer of the gods, wowing crowds across Ontario by selling out the likes of the Great Hall, the Mod Club, and Q107’s Canada Day festival. Featuring fiery vocals from Joan Smith (Serena Ryder, Little Foot Long Foot, Joan Smith & the Jane Does), Red Zeppelin delivers an electrifying experience. While the look may be a little different, the swagger and the song remains the same.

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees

Ori Dagan’s The Rat Pack Tribute Show

Thursday, August 8, 2019 | 8:30pm

Ori Dagan’s The Rat Pack Tribute Show
Advance $25.00 / Door: $30.00

Award-winning jazz singer, songwriter and recording artist Ori Dagan is taking jazz to new and exciting places. His rich baritone voice and impressive abilities as an improviser produce an instantly recognizable sound. In live performance, he surrounds himself with Canada’s finest musicians, performing an engaging mix of material which is always fresh and in the moment. Dagan’s latest recording and visual album “Nathaniel: A Tribute to Nat King Cole” has taken him to festivals across the world including an official showcase at SXSW in Austin Texas, headlining the TanJazz festival in Tangier, Morocco and a performance at the inaugural Public Diplomacy Week in Seoul, South Korea.

Vintage pop, swing, and jazz singer and composer/lyricist Steven Taetz is based in Toronto.  He has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Bitter End and Rockwood Music Hall (NY), The Rogers Centre (Toronto), Blue Room (Korea), Capital Pride (Wash DC), Hotel Café (LA), World Pride, House of Jazz (Montreal), Ironwood (Calgary), and Toronto landmark venues including Jazz Bistro, The Rex Jazz & Blues Bar, Hugh’s Room, Koerner Hall Galleria for Sinatra’s 100th, and leading music festivals.  As a lyricist and composer, Steven Taetz has written for many internationally renowned artists, attracting the attention of Big Management NYC, and resulted in a co-publishing deal through Universal (Europe) and Shapiro Bernstein (US).

Having started singing in church at a very early age, Donovan Locke is a multi-talented vocalist based in Toronto. He joined the Toronto All-Star Big Band in his teens, with whom he’s performed across Ontario and also in the USA. Donovan received his Bachelor’s Degree in Arts from Wilfrid Laurier University and went on to finish his Bachelor of Education from Nipissing University. Performing a variety of music regularly across the GTA, Donovan has had the honour of singing with Cleo Laine, John Dankworth and Jackie Richardson among many others. In addition to performing and teaching music privately, Donovan is also a teacher with the Peel District School Board.

Don’t miss the debut of this brand new show, set to echo the swing and swagger of “the coolest cats of all time.”

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees

Debi Botos

Saturday, July 27, 2019 | 8:30PM

Debi Botos

Advance: $20.00 / Doors: $25.00 *

From an early age, Debi Botos has cultivated an interest in Hungarian Gypsy music (where she was born). Now 23, as a self taught musician, Debi continues to explore and experiment with the sounds of the Legendary Django Reinhardt. Through gigging around the Toronto Circuit and growing up in a very musical Botos Family, she has found a sound that is both contemporary and an homage to the Greats. Debi has had amazing opportunities to meet and play with some of the most influential musicians in this style. Incorporating colourful and inventive sounds from her Hungarian Gypsy roots to the music of Django Reinhardt, she is creating a beautiful fusion of swing and free improvisational music. She will be joined by her family and good friends on stage singing and playing authentic Hungarian Gypsy folk music as well, all with a jazzy twist. Ever-evolving, Debi has written multiple compositions (that she will be debuting) infusing both these styles and creates a moving yet very enjoyable atmosphere that feel electric, traditional yet modern and continues to amaze her audiences at venues and concert halls across the country.

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and fees.

Folklife

Friday, July 26, 2019 | 8:30pm

Folklife
Advance $20.00 / Door: $25.00

Jayme Stone’s Folklife treats old field recordings not as time capsules, but as heirloom seeds passed down from a bygone generation. Planting these sturdy seeds in modern soil, this versatile gathering of musicians has cultivated vibrant Sea Island spirituals, Creole calypsos, and stomp-down Appalachian dance tunes for contemporary listeners. Their concerts and educational programs are moving, inventive, and participatory experiences that prove folk songs are indeed perennials for the people.

*Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees

Eilen Jewell

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 | 8:30pm

Eilen Jewell
Advance $25.00 / Door: $30.00

Eilen Jewell laughs when told her label’s president called her a musicologist. But she confirms she and her husband and bandmate, drummer Jason Beek, have a passion for studying American music.

“We really love to uncover the past. It’s almost like digging for buried treasure,” she says. “For me, that’s where music is at. I like all kinds of music as long as there’s the word ‘early’ in front of it.” For her new album, Down Hearted Blues, released Sept. 22, 2017 on Signature Sounds, she and Beek unearthed 12 vintage gems written or made famous by an array of artists both renowned and obscure, from Willie Dixon and Memphis Minnie to Charles Sheffield and Betty James. Then, like expert stonecutters, they chiseled them into exciting new shapes and forms, honoring history while breathing new life into each discovery.

Known for what allmusic.com describes as a “country-flavored and blues-infused version of contemporary folk (which also can include healthy doses of rockabilly and surf),” Jewell’s discography includes several albums of original material and one of Loretta Lynn covers. Jewell has also recorded two albums with her eight-piece gospel-group side project the Sacred Shakers. But this latest effort, which she and Beek co-produced, with engineering by pianist/banjo player Steve Fulton and Pat Storey, is her first collection of blues — despite the fact that she credits the genre for igniting her musical curiosity in the first place.

That’s because, even though she’s dreamed of recording a blues album since discovering Howlin’ Wolf as a Boise, Idaho, teen, Jewell had to convince herself she could — and should.

“I’ve always had this sense of self-doubt about it,” she admits. “Like, who am I to sing the blues? I’m a white girl from Idaho. I don’t know if I have a right to do that.” But she also remembers an old friend’s advice: “Everyone has the right to do what they love in this world, regardless of who they are and what background they come from.”

Finally, she tired of waging her internal battle and decided to let the “do what you love” side win. It was a wise choice — particularly because she’s hardly appropriating or imitating anyone’s style; on the contrary, Jewell makes each song her own, while paying homage to her beloved inspirations. It also should be noted that American blues music, like its country of origin, is a melting pot of influences, and that all music evolves from what came before — and that, by recording these songs, she’s helping to strengthen the legacy of those who created and popularized them.

Some of them she heard while listening to her husband’s Radio Boise show, Spoonful. The pair also cite John Funke’s Backwoods, on Cambridge’s WMBR-FM, as a source of discovery. In fact, the couple’s mutual attraction to musical obscurities led directly to their relationship. A friend who knew of their common interest made the introduction, correctly guessing they’d hit it off.

That happened in Boston, where Jewell lived for nine years after leaving Boise to attend college in Santa Fe, New Mexico, then migrating to Los Angeles and finally, to the East Coast. Jumping into Boston’s roots-music scene, she began hunting for a guitarist. Beek pointed her to Jerry Miller, a bona-fide Boston legend known for his versatility. They’ve been playing together ever since; she chose some Down Hearted Blues tracks, such as “Crazy Mixed Up World,” a Dixon tune recorded by Little Walter, and Albert Washington’s “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” to showcase Miller.

On the latter, his notes bend around her supple, dramatic minor-key vocals, which slide in after a punchy sax and bass intro. Jewell, who titled a previous album Queen of the Minor Key, says its “scary, creepy” tone fit right in with so many songs they’ve done, it already felt like an old friend the first time she heard it. That horn, by the way, comes courtesy of Curtis Stigers, a fellow Boisean who had several soul hits before segueing into jazz. A fan who pumps her music through the PA before his own shows, he also sits in with her band when they’re both in town. (Jewell and Beek moved to Boise in 2012 to be closer to her family and start their own.)

“He played with us at a local festival and we loved what he did so much we asked him, very spur of the moment, to come to the studio and record with us. He literally dropped what he was doing and said, ‘I’ll be there in 15 minutes,’” she recalls, marveling about how he created a horn section with overdubs — chartless, on songs he’d never heard.

He’s also on “You Know My Love,” another Dixon tune popularized by Otis Rush. Jewell’s torchy rendition emphasizes its spooky message: “You think you’re gonna get on with your life, but there’s this thing between us that will never die; it’s always gonna come back and haunt you.

Laughing, she says, “I can definitely attest to that being a real thing in life.”

Other picks, such as Dixon’s “You’ll Be Mine,” have a more personal connection. She came to it through Howlin’ Wolf, whom she found while rooting through her dad’s garage-stashed album collection. The minute she heard him, she says, “I knew what I was supposed to be listening to.”

By then, she had absorbed the classics — Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Doors — and noticed her favorite rockers had something in common: they were influenced by early blues artists. Down the rabbit hole she went, finding Bessie Smith, represented here via the Lovie Austin and Alberta Hunter-penned title tune Smith turned into a hit, then Memphis Minnie (“Nothing in Rambling”) and “Big” Maybelle Smith (“Don’t Leave Poor Me”).

“I’m always drawn toward anything that women accomplish in the musical world, especially of previous eras,” Jewell says. “It was amazing that women could do anything back then, when it was so frowned upon.”

Jewell, who also plays guitar and Hammond organ on these tracks, claims she’d be happy singing nothing but Big Maybelle songs — if they weren’t such a heavy vocal workout. On the propulsive “Don’t Leave Poor Me” she practically dares her voice to leap up high and swoop down low before stepping aside for the pulsating guitar-and-percussion bridge.

Her easy glide from note to note on the back-porch picker “Nothing in Rambling” contrasts with that style — and with lyrics expressing the difficulties of life on the road (a life that now includes daughter Mavis, already a world traveler at age 3) — further highlighting the smooth/raw dichotomy inherent not only to this album, but the genre itself.

While Jewell doesn’t exhibit whiskey-scratched vocal tendencies, she can certainly make a gutbucket lose some splinters — or beguile with silky sexiness. It’s as if she’s doing a one-woman play, slipping into a different persona with each song — a feat that becomes even more impressive when she reveals these tracks were recorded in only two days, live, and that Miller and upright bass player Shawn Supra hadn’t even heard some of them beforehand. That’s how spontaneous it actually was. They just happened to book some studio time during a free day in Boise, and had so much fun playing these songs they decided to make an album.

“It really felt serendipitous, like what was supposed to happen was happening,” Jewell says. “I finally gave myself permission to do what I wanted to do, and the universe supported me.”

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees

HRL Guitar Week Presents: Colin Linden

Monday, July 15, 2019 | 8:30PM

HRL Guitar Week Presents: Colin Linden
Advance: $30.00 / Doors: $35.00

Colin Linden is a genuine renaissance man of roots music. He’s a member of the highly successful trio, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, a singer and songwriter, an in-demand and prolific record producer, musical director on the hit TV show Nashville and sideman to the stars as guitarist for the likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Cockburn, Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.

As part of our ongoing celebration of Guitar Week in Toronto, we are very happy to present Colin Linden.Tickets available right now.

*Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees.

 

A Midsummer Night Theme with Wintergarten Orchestra

Friday, July 12, 2019 | 8:30PM

A Midsummer Night Theme with Wintergarten Orchestra
Advance: $25.00 / Doors: $30.00

Wintergarten Orchestra
Wintergarten Orchestra is known and loved for delivering popular songs from the USA, Berlin and Paris during the roaring 1920’s and 1930’s. Their influences include Cab Calloway, Paul Whiteman, Pasadena Roof Orchestra, Palast Orchestra.

Needless to say, you’ll love this band if you’re a fan of  movies like: The Great Gatsby, Some Like it Hot Television series: Downton Abbey, Jeeves & Wooster, Boardwalk Empire.

This big collection of seasoned Toronto musicians are coming back to Hugh’s Room Live this July with gems of early swing, cabaret, latin, and salon music. Brash horns, crooning vocals and soaring violins take us back nearly a hundred years to the dawn of The Jazz Age!

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees.