By Stevie Connor
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This week we take a look at the band RootBone, the cool and cozy venue in Burlington, The Black Swan and we look at what Mike Biggar has been up to on the East Coast of Canada in his latest Travel video Blog from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and The Cavendish Beach Music Festival on PEI ....
It was an in between week as I like to call them ... what does that mean I hear you say !? , it's not a Scottish term, it's a Stevie term :)
I had a weekend with nothing to do... well when I say nothing I am talking in the musical sense, there is always something to do either around the house - try blowing dust off shelves that house over 5000 CD's - or jobs at the station, but we normally have a packed schedule !
When my wife says on a Saturday morning ' have a look and see what's on locally ' I do not hesitate, I love live music and quickly set about the task of finding something.
Now, we get invites to go and see bands a lot from all over the place .... Toronto, Mississauga, Burlington, Oakville, Hamilton, heck we even get invites from the UK and Australia, and that's the thing with Facebook invites or reminders that there is a show coming up near you, it does work !! Low and behold when I logged onto Facebook to have a wee look to see, I remembered I was invited to a show this very weekend, clicked on events and there it was ... RootBone, The Black Swan, Burlington !
I have known of the band for a while and wanted to get out and see them perform but timing meant that at each opportunity I was unable to do so. I had corresponded with the awesome Bobbi Richards-Poole by mail and had made their debut album ' The Long Road Home ' our Album Of The Week on the station a few months back shortly after it was released. We decided to make the thirty minute drive west and check the band out.
I used to play Burlington a lot, The Queens Head, The Slye Fox and The Purple Heather, I even played the fringe on the street at the Sound Of Music Festival a few years ago, so I know the area well but had never been to The Black Swan.
Established in 2011 in Burlington’s newest community of Alton Village. They have been open for almost 6 years and include live entertainment. Located three blocks North of Dundas at the corner of Walkers Line and Palladium Way. Sometimes you just know that the atmosphere is going to be to your liking even before you walk in the door, a warm greeting as we pulled up and disembarked from the car from a smiling owner, a lovely dining area and cool separate bar area inside, patio out the back, a great stage set up for the band with the musicians getting ready to perform .... and the best was yet to come !
The menu looked very good, the barman was a very friendly guy indeed from St. John's Newfoundland and when my wife said ' I fancy a drink like a cooler but not sure quite what ' he said ' Leave it with me , I'll sort you out !'.
Ordering some appetizers that were to die for the drinks arrived, no shock, my choice was a Guinness, the drink put in front of my wife looked interesting, when the words ' Oh Yeah, now that's what I'm talking about ' are preceded directly with a second sip ( read more a gulp ) then you know it must be fantastic, a dash of rum, pineapple, orange and a few other secret ingredients, turns out the drink was not on the menu, it had been made to order on the barman's judgement of what he thought might be well received. Two other people who we had only just been introduced to decided to try the same and before you know it a party atmosphere ensues.
I mention all this because when going out to listen to music there are many places to choose from, many bands to consider and The Black Swan have just made an amazing impression on my wife and I, when we are looking for music to go and listen to next ' in between weeks ' it will be a place we would definitely go back to, I normally say Kudos to the sound guy, but in this instance, kudos to the barman and owners for a very warm welcome and memorable afternoon before we even listened to the top class entertainment.... and then there was the band ....
RootBone is the creation of Juno Award winning guitarist Darran Poole, formerly part of the acclaimed Canadian blues band Fathead, and accomplished poet and percussionist Bobbi Richards.
The biography says ' RootBone’s music is focused on inspired songwriting that incorporates elements of rockabilly, funk, rock n roll, and folk into a blues framework. RootBone has created a fresh sound that is immediately recognizable as their own. The name RootBone is a nod to the different styles that fall under the “Roots” umbrella creating a framework that will allow the band the freedom to move and change as they progress. ' .... I like that .... I like it a lot actually, because at Blues and Roots Radio we do not like to be constrained to a genre, we like to be able to mix shows people are listening to around a little, from Blues, Roots, Bluegrass to what Ken Stearns host of HeartBeatTrue Radio out of Florida calls ' Wide Open Country, whatever the heck that is ' !
Their debut album ' The Long Road Home ' was made the station Album Of The Week for just that reason
Bobbi and Darran are extremely likeable people, genuine and very talented, the trio they had at this gig comprised of Darran on lead guitar and vocals, Tyler Burgess, ( The Burgess Brothers, Downchild ) percusiion and the legendary Bass player Gary Kendall ( Downchild, The Gary Kendall Band ) both Tyler and Gary were special guests for the afternoon. We stayed for two very tight sets with music from RootBone's album and songs thrown in from Tyler and Gary making it an extremely eclectic and very entertaining afternoon, matinee performance as well 2 - 6pm, that is a bonus for an old guy like me.
Darran is a former member of the acclaimed Canadian blues band Fathead. He has also played with The Gary Kendall Band, Mark “Bird” Stafford, Phil Guy, Guitar Shorty, Dawn Tyler Watson and The Maple Blues Revue.
Darran has a Juno Award for “ Blues Album of the Year ” from his work with Fathead.
“The Long Road Home” introduces Bobbi who is an accomplished poet and lyricist with an extensive background in percussion. Bobbi has previously contributed lyrics to a Juno Award winning album “ Building Full of Blues ”.
Two of the band members not present at this gig due to other commitments are Omar Tunnock who is currently a member of the Juno award winning band Fathead. Omar has also played in seminal Toronto bands Whiskey Howl and Wooden Teeth. He has shared the stage with iconic blues artists such as John Lee Hooker, Etta James and Paul Butterfield. In addition to Omar’s two Juno Awards, he has also been nominated for several Maple Blues Awards for his bass work and the drummer Jim Casson who
has worked with many notable artists including Downchild Blues Band, Sue Foley, Michael Buble, Dutch Mason and The Maple Blues Revue. Jim has garnered several Maple Blues Award nominations and awards for both his drumming and work with Downchild.
The band have an amazing pedigree behind them and are playing this venue again on August 5th ( Matinee ) and when you can pull on stand in's of the calibre of Gary and Tyler then that speaks volumes for the respect in them .... Find out more at their website
A quick word about fellow blogger Mike Biggar ....
You have to follow this guy ! Honestly it is extremely entertaining ....
I just love the latest travel blogs by Blues and Roots artist Mike Biggar he is such a character and Blues and Roots Radio could not have picked a better person to do this sort of thing from Canada, he has a wicked sense of humour, and a rare raw talent that in my opinion sets him apart as one of the best male vocalists from the East Coast, I think they over planted in New Brunswick as that's where Matt Andersen is from too !!
I'll leave you this week with Mike's latest, Episode #2 ... you need to watch it right to the end, his banter with cows in a PEI field is worth waiting for !!
Blues & Roots Radio wanted to capture the moment by moment adventure of Mike's summer travels as an independent Canadian artist out there following a life in music.
You can read and see more here
Until next week, be safe !