Feb 20 2004

Winterfolk 2004 -Toronto-In Review

ASBannerHeld January 30-February 1/04 By Angela Boudreau, Tuesday, February 03, 2004

This was the second year for this indoor folk festival. Held in 5 venues in the Spadina/College area of downtown Toronto. Friday evening at the Thymeless Bar & Grill I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing one of my favourite singer/songwriters David Leask. David is originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, but has been living here in Canada for 12 years now. His latest CD is called Tightrope of Dreams and I highly recommend it. Every River is included on the CD along with Caledonia. You can check out his website at http://www.davidleask.com and hear clips of the songs. The same night we heard Michael Laderoute, Doug Doughty, Michael Troy, and then we had a show titled Guitar Aces – High Speed Pickers which included David Gillisas host (neat man), Shane Simpson, Norman Liota, and Noah Zacharin. If that wasn't enough for one night we went onto a Song Writing Workshop which included the amazing Norm Hacking as host, David Bradstreet, Joe Hall, Tony Turner, Sam Larkin, and Norman Liota, and Michael Laderoute again. This was a neat session as each one talked about where their inspiration comes from to write. Saturday got off to a later start then I would have liked.

I slept in a bit too late, and Jen was joining me for the day as well. The party animal she is didn't get in until 5:30am was it? Anyway lol we started off at the Swallow Lounge and Deli (new place for me!) We managed to catch the end of the Ballad of Phil Ochs. I'm just going to post what it says in my program about this show. Zachary Stevenson as protest singer Phil Ochs – A riveting one-man folk musical set against the backdrop of the political and social unrest of the 1960's. I would have liked to have seen this as it was raved about the entire weekend. What we did see was interesting. Trevor Mills was next up, and very entertaining. I think I'll have to check him out around town more often as he often plays at Hugh's Room, and with other musicians around town. Ron Nigrini who has over 35 years of experience performing and recording, took the stage next. Then there was a break in the schedule so we went for a quick bite to eat before heading over to the Thymeless Bar & Grill to hear Toronto native, Peter Verity belt out tunes, play his guitar and harmonica. We sprinted back over to the Swallow Lounge and Deli for the last few songs from SisterLune. Amazing vocals, harmonies, and beats on the drums. Next was a show I was really looking forward to as it included one of my favourites… (yes another) Wendell Ferguson as host to Master of the Acoustic 6 String. Joining Wendell was the great David Gillis, Manitoba Hal, Normal Liota, Brian Gladstone (director of the festival), and the amazing Tony Quarrington.

There might have a couple more folks in there as well. Lots of instrumentals played during this 2 hour session, but I was kept awake by the few vocals snuck in here and there. Yes it's no secret… I am not a fan of instrumental music. I think I know talent when I see it (hear it) though, and all the musicians were incredible. Next was my favourite of the whole festival… Jory Nash. Some of you have seen him before. His set was cut a bit short when someone in the audience passed out, fell, and hit their head pretty hard on the floor. They were out cold for sometime.. 911 was called and they took him away in the ambulance… or I assume he was taken away. We left before that. So the night didn't end on a very high note. Sunday I was working the door at the Free Times Cafe. It's one of my favourite venues in the city as it's very quaint. First off we had a workshop titled Submitting Successful Showcase Applications which was intended for up and coming artists of course. Tony Quarrington was the host. He's actually the one who goes through all their submissions looking for showcase artists for this festival. It was an interesting hour even for those of us non-artists. If I ever by some miracle become a musician…. I bet I could get a showcase spot for Winterfolk! Next up was Gregg Lawless who was fantastic!!! very funny, talented, and funny.

He had his merchandise person put a CD in front of everyone, and it was pay what you can lol he joked around a lot on stage. It was great. I'm definately going to keep my eye open for future Lawless dates. David Gillis and Jason Fowler took the stage next for many instrumental tunes, stories, ballads, and instrumentals. The crowd was very into which makes a big difference. I found during the other shows you could always hear too many people talking in the background, and it was annoying. You don't have that at Free Times. Last up for the evening was once again Ron Nigrini. My shift was over so I only stayed for half his set before heading back over to the Swallow Lounge and Deli where Ray Materick from Hamilton was playing. He's a singer/songwriter who definately has lots of stories to tell. Well that was Winterfolk for this year. I'm already looking forward to next years. It's only in its second year so it's still growing. I'm sure next year will be even bigger and better. Take care all, Ang .  www.AtlanticSeabreeze.com

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