In the Dead of Winter Festival
Saturday afternoon Brunch at the Company House
In this case, you couldn't go more right! Tomato/Tomato was the best and most innovative new band that I experienced throughout the entire IDOW festival. Pronounced Tom-a-toe Tom-ah-toe, this is a married duo hailing from New Brunswick. He (John) just plays guitar - that's not to diminish his talent at all but she (Lisa) plays the washboard, cymbal, drum and tambourine simultaneously. Have you ever tried to tap your head and rub your stomach at the same time? Try it - and when you have that mastered keep a steady beat marching in place. Now make one foot go double time. That's the energy that Lisa plays with, plus she sings. I don't know about you but I am in awe!
Saturday Songwriters Circle x2 at AlterEgo's Cafe
First up was Amelia Curran. Amelia is a Juno award winner and one of the founding musician of the IDOW festival. Amelia has a comfortable presence on stage and makes the audience feel equally at ease with her strong melodic performance. I was thinking that there is something about her voice but I couldn't quite put my finger on it and then while I was writing this it hit me. It's the "Newfoundland Depth". So many singers from the rock have a depth and power to their voices. Alan Doyle, Sean McCann, Kim Stockwood to name a few. I don't know where it comes from - the cold winters? the salt air? the Screech? A combination of all or none of the above - it doesn't matter because it works. Amelia is a singer/songwriter who has a vast repertoire to select from, she took suggestions from the audience to play San Andreas Fault. An awesome choice, great song.
Willie Stratton is a local musician who I am familiar with by name only. I have seen venues advertising the appearance of Willie Stratton and the Boarding Party and pegged the music as a rock-country style. I was not at all prepared for the intensity and energy that Willie brought to his music. There is a heavy beat that is punctuated by his boot stomping on the stage - this young man need to resurrect Stompin' Tom O'Connors board. He pushes the limit of his vocal chords with such passion that he is able to cover a wide of emotions with each song. Clear the clutter from the top of the speakers because it is gonna vibrate off and come crashing down. Sitting in the front row with Willie beating the same floor I was sitting on was like sitting in a vibrating chair. And I liked it. And I really liked his song Dartmouth!
Pat LePoidevin was the final member of this first circle and was able to comfortably jest about the stark contrast in musical styles between Willie Strattons' hard strumming guitar and his own squeaky 4 string Ukulele. But Pat can hold his own and got heart rates back to normal with his own compositions. Yes, even a sing along of Highway House.
Devin Cuddy and his trusty side-kick the No No piano started of the second Songwriters Circle. If you have seen Devin perform you will understand the No No piano. If not, it's really a Nord Piano with some modifications. Creative and distinctive. Kind of like the artist himself. Tonight this is one artist who had to dig deep to stay awake and find the passion to share his music. The performance was still flawless and I loved hearing the back story on some of the songs he penned like Home and Why Me - which hasn't been on a recording yet. Hmmm...new release in the works perhaps?
A little musical chairs and Alana Yorke took her spot at the No No. With a little tongue in cheek, she moved the bench back to accommodate her long legs. FYI, Devin is probably a good 6" taller than her - that's why it was funny. I am so glad that we were treated to a repeat performance of Anthem which I love. Check out Dream Magic, Alana's debut album which was released about a week ago.
Mike Bochoff was a new (to me) artist in this song circle. Without a guitar in hand this fellow could have been a comedian - at least if his lyrical compositions (and song choices) are any indication of a sense of humour. I like the folk and quirky feel of The Death Song which is NOT a cover of the Marilyn Manson song that shares the title. Mike reminds me of my friend Todd. Looks so serious but has a wicked sense of humour waiting to emerge.
As a side note, only Rachel Ries and Mike Bochoff have any chance of vying for the title of Most Diverse Merch at this festival. Rachel had homemade jams and hand-stitched notebooks. Mike had coasters, growlers (big coasters), buttons, stickers etc etc. Of course all the artists had CD's, EP's, LP's for sale. I'm proud to say that my CD collection is growing. As Rube and Rake put it...one EP is a beer to us! CHEERS!
|Alana Yorke and Ian Bent|
|Andy Maize of the Skydiggers and me|
|Josh Finlayson of The Skydiggers and me|
|Andrew of Rube and Rake|
|Josh of Rube and Rake|
aka Alan Alda or Jake Gyllanhaal :)
|Devin Cuddy of The Devin Cuddy Band|
|Zach Sutton of The Devin Cuddy Band|
|Devon Richardson and Nichol Robertson of The Devin Cuddy Band|
|Zach Sutton of The Devin Cuddy Band|
|Nichol Robertson of The Devin Cuddy Band|
|Devon Richardson of The Devin Cuddy Band|
|The Devin Cuddy Band and me!|
|Lisa and John of Tomato/Tomato|
|1st Song Writers Circle|
l-r: Pat LePoidevin, Willie Stratton, Amelia Curran
|2nd Song Writers Circle|
l-r: Devin Cuddy, Alana Yorke, Mike Bochoff
|The poster I had signed by every artist I saw!|
In The Dead of Winter Festival
The Company House
AlterEgo's Cafe - facebook page
Willie Stratton and the Boarding Party
The Devin Cuddy Band
Mike Bochoff Band