By Stevie Connor, Blues & Roots Radio
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That week passed quickly !
The second blog and so much to get in, so here we go.
To start we have two venues to highlight this week and both in the maritime provinces of Canada. When thinking about venues in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and even New Brunswick, there is no better person to speak to than the fountain of knowledge on all things East Coast that is the walking music encyclopedia named Craig Mills.
Craig is originally from Lewisporte, NL and is a regular visitor to the maritime provinces where he attends music venues and conferences. He is the host of the long running Blues & Roots Radio show ' The Eastern Passage ' where he showcases East Coast independent artists, he also hosts ' The Lost Highway ' playing Americana, Roots and Country Rock artists from across Canada and the USA exclusively for Blues & Roots Radio..
I have become good friends with Craig since moving to Canada and he always keeps me right on East Coast happenings. I asked him which two venues I should highlight that were well known for great music, and in a later blog I'll give you his two suggestions of lesser well known venues, but first ...
The Ship Pub - St. John's, Newfoundland ( Formerly The Ship Inn )
The Ship Pub is the unofficial artists bar in downtown St. John’s. Nestled down the stairway alley of Solomon’s Lane, just off of Duckworth St., the Ship ( once known as The Ship Inn ) was at one time so infamous that CODCO immortalized the pub in it’s classic “ Ship Inn Men ” sketch. The Ship was a much more rough and ready bar back in the day, but it has since mellowed with age.
The music is always high calibre and .... the Fish N Chips are to be highly recommended - always important to have great food on a night out watching great talent - here is what Craig had to say about the venue
" St. Johns has many upscale and trendy bars. If you are looking for one of those do not under any circumstances go to The Ship. To get to this venue you have to take the alley steps to Solomon's Lane and upon entering the dark, long lived room you immediately sense the tradition and history of its battered stage. From Ron ( Hynes ) to Amelia ( Curran ) this cornerstone of the Newfoundland live music scene has seen it all. " - Craig Mills
So be warned if you take a trip down the well worn steps, the venue is a little dated in decor, but it hosts some of the best artists and music on the East Coast.
No Website Available
The Carleton - Halifax, Nova Scotia
The Carelton was almost gone as a result of a downturn in business due to the massive construction projects in downtown Halifax, but in March and at the 11th hour a buyer was found who wanted to keep it as a live music venue incorporating the restaurant business along side it, and, Mike Campbell ( the previous owner ) is still involved, and while the cities Argyle street is still under construction The Carleton is still open and have great food, fab drinks and fantastic live music. Look out for Gordie Samson in early July and before that shows include Cory Tetford CD Release, The Folk and Country Line, Big Country Ramblers and Steve Poltz.
As with the Ship in Newfoundland's St John's the Carelton is an iconic venue and if you get the chance to visit the city it's well worth a visit.
The last word on this weeks recommended venues from Craig
" The Carleton in Halifax is one of the rare rooms that was born out of a love of music ahead of food and beverage sales. It's incredible sound system, intimate sightlines and the quality control of the world class artists that grace its stage make it the finest listening room in the country. " - Craig Mills
Three festivals I will mention coming up very soon are the fantastic Hillside Festival, Guelph, The Mariposa Folk Festival, Orillia both in Ontario and Tremblant International Blues Festival in Montreal, Quebec.
Mariposa Folk Festival
July 7 - 9
Mariposa Folk Festival is a celebration of music, dance, storytelling and crafting, all set along the lakeside in Orillia. Catch some renowned folk-roots artists and over 150 performances on 12 stages from July 7-9. Artists appearing are Bruce Cockburn, Bare Naked Ladies, Whitehorse, Matt Andersen and more.
July 14 - 16
The Hillside Summer Festival and Hillside Inside are three-day, multi-stage events with a broad artistic vision that emphasizes diversity: of culture, of musical heritage and style, of age, geography and influence.
I am very honoured that Blues & Roots Radio have received accreditation for the event, our first time attending, a spectacular lineup awaits from July 14th - 16th, including Canadian artists Sarah Harmer, Irish Mythen, The Jerry Cans, William Prince, Lindi Ortega, NEFE there will also be an artist I have been a long time fan of ( and he is a fellow Jam fan ) Lucas Stagg who I will mention further down this column along with a very special performer from Australia by the name of Xavier Rudd.
Festival International Du Blues De Tremblant
July 8 - 17
One of Canada's premier Blues Festivals, renowned for the quality of its programming, its enchanting surroundings and the proximity it offers to the artists. There are more than 100 shows, most of them free, presented on 4 outdoor stages and in the 9 participating resto-bars of the pedestrian village.
Ten days of music featuring blues legends, aspiring stars and emerging artists following today’s musical trends.
Over the years, the Festival has welcomed numerous international blues, rock and rhythm and blues legends such as Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy, Keb Mo, James Cotton, Bob Walsh, Jimmy James, Koko Taylor, Blind Boys of Alabama, Mavis Staples, Bettye LaVette, Steve Hill, Jonny Lang among others.
The Tremblant International Blues Festival is one of the largest musical events in Canada.
Year after year, the Festival attracts over 100 000 festival-goers.
Artists To Watch For
Two artists I am highlighting this week are the aforementioned Lucas Stagg and Xavier Rudd who will both be appearing at The Hillside Festival in July.
Lucas is a prolific writer and performer and the Kitchener, Ontario native, now based in Toronto, has released ten albums. Lucas is a true troubadour and will be appearing at the Hillside Festival in July on his home turf.
It is rare indeed when Lucas Stagg isn’t performing somewhere in some guise on any given night.
“I don’t really think about genres anymore or how that translates into my own writing,” he says. In the last couple of years, I’ve become very comfortable living in Toronto’s west end. The city has become my muse, so if I have to describe my sound as anything, it’s really Toronto music.” - Busted Flat Records Website
Can't wait to see him perform again.
Xavier Rudd - Live In The Netherlands
With the annoucnement of the new album ' Live in the Netherlands ' comes the news of Xavier's next journey to Canada.
‘ Live In The Netherlands ’ is a recording of the final show on their most recent European tour capturing the magic of those performances. The 18-track double live album consists of Xavier Rudd’s most loved songs including ‘Come Let Go’, ‘Spirit Bird’, the global hit ‘Follow the Sun’ and a brilliant cover of crowd-favourite ‘No Woman No Cry’.
Today Xavier reflects on this memorable concert event:
“ Live in the Netherlands kind of just fell together pretty organically. The tour in Europe was sold out and pumping and Bobby, Ant and I were really on top of our game. The energy at the shows was huge and there was a really strong thread of positive intention running through the communities. We had an opportunity to record the last two nights in Utrecht, which I thought would be a good idea mainly for a reference for us to document where we were at. When I listened back to it I felt like we captured some magic particularly on the last night and I’m happy to share, what I feel is the best live product I’ve released to this point in my career. ”
Emmanuel Jal and Christina Holmes will be joining Xavier on his headline dates on his forthcoming USA & Canada tour. After 6 weeks of shows through Europe, Xavier and his team start in NYC before heading north to Canada, where they will appear at The Evolve Festival, New Brunswick, Sherbrooke, Quebec, The Ottawa Blues Festival, Hillside Festival and a number of other dates including the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto.
A reminder that June 29th is the Four Chords and The Truth Quartely Songwriter Series at The Dakota Tavern in Toronto doors open at 6pm, Tickets HERE , It also happens to be my good friend Richard Flohil's birthday that night and he'll be there at Sarah Jane Scouten's new Album Launch straight after at 9pm, tickets HERE
That will be a wonderful evening and I hope to see you there if you can make it !
Until next week