Homegrown Music at Centre 64 January 25 2020

JOHN ALLEN

As always, this was another joyful and incredibly fine evening of music.

First up was Matt Stanyer, his voice and his guitar. Matt was born in Kimberley and recently moved back. He began with the popular Dearly Departed by Texan Shakey Graves. Then came two of his own songs. First was The Calling (…feel like I’m falling…). Second was Cry; for this song, Matt used the full guitar fretboard and a great vocal volume variety to project emotion. Sample lyrics: “It’s not what you got in life, but what’s left behind” and “Go ahead and cry, let it all out of mind”.

Doug Mitchell and the Blarney Pligrims, Rod Wilson and Wally Smith, were next. Doug played guitar, Rod guitar and mandolin and Wally his large tinwhistle, his banjo plus a brush and percussion device. They began with Doug’s “first public performance” of his own Heiden’s Tune. (This Heiden is a maker of fine custom acoustic guitars.) Lyrics included “soothing words and minor chords”. Then came the traditional Erie Canal, with Wally on banjo and next Doug’s Turkey Duck blues, written for his grandson Silas when he was learning to speak. The blues is brought on by the endless chore of plucking those fowls’ feathers. They finished with Doug’s humorous Plumber Trouble on the difficulties of dealing with that trade. (Note to area plumbers: He wrote it, not me!)

Larry Tuck on bass guitar, Bud DeCosse and Sam Hornberger on guitars and Dave Carlson on mandolin (all regulars at Homegrown) performed four swinging country songs. First was It Don’t Matter Anymore (look up the Buddy Holley version) sung by Dave. The group’s When You Fall in Love Everything’s a Waltz came next, featuring Larry’s fine strong voice. Bud then led singing Ravishing Ruby “…doesn’t have time for guys like you and me”. Gordon Lightfoot’s (written for his five-year-old daughter c. 1974) Fine As Fine Can Be, sung by Sam, finished up. Through all these, the quartet (Is a Country group a quartet, or just four guys?) interspersed their picking and strumming and singing together.

The always pleasant intermission in the Gallery followed, with tasty treats, non-alcoholic (Darn!) drinks and conversation.

Daniel Bailey on strong piano and voice was one of the evening’s standouts with three country tunes. He began with Sweet Misery by Hoyt Axton; this had an unusual piano rhythm and the words “Sweet misery don’t need your company. She’s in a crowd when she’s all alone.” Kaci Boll’s Somebody’s Somethin’ “You went from somebody’s daughter to somebody’s wife…Then she was somebody’s mother” was followed by Down at the Twist and Shout by Mary Chapin Carpenter “Saturday night and the moon is out I gonna head on over to the Twist and Shout…”; this one got people clapping!

Struan Robertson stepped out to the front of the stage, complete with his Scottish brogue on poet Robbie Burns day. Burns (1759-1796) penned Scots Wha Hae, A Red, Red Rose, To a Mouse and Auld Lang Syne, amongst many others. Struan recited and sang unaccompanied three of his own “dramatically different” folk pieces. He began with Fernie, properly pronounced “Fairrrnee” of course, about the significant fires in 1904 and 1908. Next was a piece re the Hugh Keenleyside Dam which was completed in 1968, creating the 144 mile Arrow Lakes reservoir by flooding towns, prime agricultural land and indigenous territory. Struan ended with I’m a Hard Rock Miner “up where old Mark Creek flows….”.

The Hurricanes, Stacy DeCosse on guitar and Aly Blake on violin began with Dreams, released in 1977 by Fleetwood Mac (Thunder only happens when it’s raining, players only love you when they’re playing…”. Aly next expertly bowed the intricate fiddle tune Grandpa’s Jig. A little research leads to the fact that jigs can be Irish or Scottish, so perhaps this one was for The Bard? They finished their set with Valerie by Amy Winehouse; Stacy and Aly’s singing is much more appealing than Amy’s.

Kurtis Myers ended the evening with three songs. The first two were his own. He began with ‘Cause I’m Old, written when he turned 30. “You can’t go backwards in time. You gotta look inside your mind.” The second one Vessel Nova (will take us there) was the name of his Dad’s boat, named after his niece Nova. Last was a medley of songs from The Tragically Hip (Bobcaygeon “It was in Bobcaygeon Where I saw the constellations reveal themselves One star at time…), Garth Brooks’ If Tomorrow Never Comes, and Luke Bryant’s Most People are Good “and most Mammas oughta qualify for sainthood”. His pleasantly strong clear voice and soft guitar brought the evening to a gentle finale.

The audience left after generous closing applause commenting what a terrific event it had been.

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