There was a huge outpouring of love from the music and arts community in Toronto and beyond last Sunday evening ... artists came in from far and wide to perform for the man that creates the art behind the music.
' Gifted ' doesn't quite give Michael enough justice, to see how he goes about creating the artwork for album covers - and he has created over 700 for some of the most respected artists from Canada and beyond - is indeed watching a master at work, he completely immerses himself in the music before he starts his work. like an album reviewer, he dissects the tracks, pulls out his interpretation of the message contained within, discusses with the artist and finalizes details, before creating his art, and that is just too simple of a description to sum it all up.
A fundraiser organized by Grit & Judith Laskin, George Koller and Hugh's Room live was put together to raise money to help Michael with his medical bills, you see, Michael recently underwent a double amputation of his legs, unbelievably he has continued to work and remain the same upbeat character that he always was - even from his hospital bed he was working on radio shows for Blues & Roots Radio and doing artwork for clients - he has undergone so much over the last year, the music and art community came together to let him know how much he means to all.
you had to be there as the saying goes, I was, and I was completely mesmerized as artist after artist took to the stage and related their thoughts on what Michael meant / means to them and their music .... two words shone through ... LOVE and RESPECT !
To be at Trinity St Paul church in Toronto on Sunday evening was like being at a weekend festival, you just don't get that many top class performers under the one roof performing on the same stage, well, you do if your name is Michael Wrycraft ! Hats off to the organizers for pulling it all together and lining up the artists schedules to make it all happen.
A huge shout out to everyone that attended, friends from far and near were there to show support, Borealis Records and Canadian Folk Music Award Founder, world renowned Luthier and musician Grit Laskin had an exhibition in the entrance hallway of some of the album artwork produced by Michael for artists such as Lee Harvey Osmond, Andrea England, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, Jon Brooks and many more.
Treasa Levasseur kicked off the evening's entertainment and set the bar as high as it could go, every artist after that hit the mark in a glowing tribute that we will rarely see the likes of again ....
A who's who of performers that Michael has worked with followed .... and the emcee Jaymz Bee moved the evening along very smoothly
Katherine is a member of the Toronto super group "Betty and The Bobs", plays regularly in the hilarious and moving duo "Wendell and Wheat" (where "she doesn't leave a dry eye and he doesn't leave a dry seat") and tours every winter with Jude Vadala and Tannis Slimmon in the trio "Boreal". Katherine is in high demand for her innovative songwriting and music workshops. She's written and recorded over 200 songs with kids through her Youthsongs program and has produced over 30 CDs with schools across North America. She works as a singer and zodiac driver on board the ship The MS Expedition as it plies the seas of Antarctica and the Norwegian Arctic
Katherine was joined onstage by Wendell Ferguson
Wendell now makes his living splitting his time between performing his own hilarious act and being a sideman/session player for everyone and their aunt. Wendell Ferguson was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014. To quote Ferguson, “Not bad for a guy who hasn't worked a day in his life”.
Tom Wilson was there ....
He of Junkhouse, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings and Lee Harvey Osmond fame, reading from his autobiography ' Beautiful Scars ' and performing a track from the album accompanied by Jesse O'Brien on piano and his bandmate from Blackie Gary Craig on drums, amazing is the word that comes to mind ....
James Keelaghan sang a very emotional and heartfelt song for Michael, you could have cut the atmosphere with a knife ! He was accompanied by David Woodhead who also performed a stellar solo piece.
A Juno award winner and nominee along with many other awards for his songwriting and performance, Since 2011, he has been the Artistic Director of the Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival in Owen Sound, Ontario.
Richard Flohil took to the stage and related a pretty funny story about a journey to the USA with Michael ... it was probably the only one of many through their years of friendship that could be mentioned inside a church !
The list is endless Jaron Freeman-Fox ... Kevin Fox ... Carlos Del Junco ... Jon Brooks and Alec Fraser .... Blair Packham ... Sarah Harmer .... Sharlene Wallace ... Gary Craig .... George Koller ... Tyra Juttai ... Chloe Charles ....
and a brilliant performance by 6 x Juno winner, numerous other awards, gold and platinum recordings Russell deCarle ( Prairie Oyster ) accompanied by whiz guitarist Steve Briggs ....
It was a night not to be forgotten soon ... the last word came from Michael Wrycraft himself ... until someone managed to pry the microphone from his hand and we were allowed to go home to take the enormity of the evening in !
We all love and respect you Michael !
Under The Radar
Before I leave you for this week, don't forget to check out my radio show which airs on www.BluesandRootsRadio.com every Thursday 10pm EST and Sunday 9am EST
The playlist for this week ....
Under The Radar Episode 4
Russell deCarle - Alone In This Crowd ( Canada )
The LYNNeS - Heartbreak Song For The Radio ( Canada )
Newton Faulkner - Smoked Ice Cream ( UK )
VK - Terms & Conditions ( Canada )
Ken Whiteley - Freedom Blues ( Canada )
Myles Goodwyn - I Hate To See You Go.... ( Canada )
The Mellowship - Northwest Passage ( UK / Canada )
Melanie Dekker - Ginned Up ( Canada )
Raine Hamilton - La Plaine ( Canada )
Crayon Angels - The Last Leaf ( UK )
Kelly Vaughn - 1000 Times Before ( USA )
Next week I will be bringing you some great news on additions to our website...