Thursday, 20 June 2019

(2 Day Before) First Day of Summer Show!

Although two days before the official start of Summer, it sure felt like Summer in the city. In honour of the season, we dusted off the Wade Hemsworth classic 'Black Fly', his itch inspiring account of being tormented by the pests "up in the woods in north Ontar-i-o". That song was a hit for The Travellers during the 60's Folk Revival.

We also dove deep into our songlist and played some songs that don't make it into the setlists as often as we'd like. With so many, it's difficult choosing which ones to leave out. This is a good opportunity to remind everyone that if you know you are coming to a show and want to hear a certain song from our SONG LIST, please let us know a little in advance and we will do our best to include it for you. Here's what we played last night.

There were some great voices in the audience, some of them diving into beautiful harmonies throughout the evening. It was a treat for us on stage to hear them.

It was wonderful to welcome several first-timers, including some from our hometown of Winnipeg and from Pennsylvania who stumbled upon the club after touring in Kensington Market.

Thanks to Dan at the Free Times Cafe for capturing this post show photo of the band.
Dwight, Sue, and Tony

Have a look at our Upcoming Shows. We have some fun stuff ahead.
Hope to see you soon!

Monday, 3 June 2019

May Dayze!

After our Hootenanny in April at the Eton House turned out so well, it was hard to imagine that anything could top it for awhile. And then came May!

31 days and 13 shows later...including two double headers...May will go down as a musical chapter all of it’s own. That 11 of the shows happened in the first 13 days made it seem like a bit of a blur, or a tour.

It was such a rewarding month musically. We got to play in almost all our musical identities; ‘Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?’, ‘The Greatest Hits of Peter Paul and Mary’, ‘Sue & Dwight’, and somewhat everything in between. We played as a duo, trio, and quartet with Michelle, Tony and or Henry depending on the gig. And if we add the last week of April to the mix we can include our ‘Music of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen’ show with Shelley Coopersmith.

The month took us across southern Ontario to Hamilton, Mississauga, Brampton, and as far as Guelph. We even managed to sneak in a few Toronto shows and an impromptu gig later in the month in Winnipeg where we supposed to be on vacation.

The variety of venues was also invigorating. We played at intimate dinner and birthday parties, our regular clubs, and annual big hall events right up to the Women’s College Hospital Nurses Alumni’s 100th anniversary celebration at the Chelsea. We even witnessed a conga line, not so often seen on the folk scene although surprisingly our second in ‘Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?’ history!

Overall, we performed for about 1200 people, with audience sizes ranging from 10 to 325. And thanks to each and every one of them for sharing the experiences with us! 

May was one of those special months, the kind you wish would go on and on. Next time, we’ll make sure to take along a roadie or two to help carry the speakers, though.

Here are some fun photo memories...









Our next Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone? show is coming up on Wednesday, June 19th. See you there!

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Folk Songs vs Leafs!

We're always happy when the Toronto Maple Leafs are in the playoffs, just not so much when a game coincides with one of our shows, because that means people who love both folk music and hockey have a difficult choice to make. Any attendance worries were unfounded and we were thrilled so many chose to join us last Wednesday night. It was nice to see a few tables of frequent show attendees back with us, after spending much of this tough Winter down south.

We are always interested in how people find out about the show. I was chatting with one first-timer couple who showed me this very cool confluence of old and new technology...

The setlist was stacked with more Pete Seeger songs than usual in honour of his upcoming birthday. May 3rd marks what would have been his 100th birthday. Definitely a hero worth celebrating. Here's the setlist...
Check out the UPCOMING SHOWS TAB to see what's up next!

Monday, 8 April 2019

Putting The Hoot In Hootenanny!

It’s been awhile since Toronto has had a real Hootenanny. The response to the 60's Folk Revival Hootenanny at the Eton House on Saturday night suggests it’s been long overdue. It was a great night of music with so many highlights. Here are just a few!

A few days before the show, Henry, Sue and Dwight dropped down to Zoomer Radio for a fun interview with Eva D and Norm Edwards.  We talked about the era and the music, and did a live performance of a portion of Peter, Paul and Mary’s ‘If I Had My Way’. Here’s a link to the interview if you missed it: ZoomerRadio Interview. The Hootenanny was off to a great start thanks to Eva and Norm.

We knew from advance ticket sales that we were going to have a good sized crowd, but ended up with one much bigger than expected...170 strong! People were enthusiastically arriving as early as 6pm for the 7:30 show, which created a lot of energy along with temporary log jam at the front door. It was literally a rush. Once we got everyone comfortably in, we couldn’t have asked for a better audience. They listened intently through the first 2 sets and then let loose during the singalong part of the night. We were thrilled to meet so many people who shared our love of the Folk Revival music.
Linda Goldman MC’d the event and helped us keep things moving. The first set was The Greatest Hits of Peter, Paul and Mary. Sue’s ‘There Is A Ship’ was a showstopper, and Henry brought the crowd alive with ‘Day is Done’. The mention of the song ‘Puff The Magic Dragon’ elicited it’s usual “Awwwww" from the audience upon it’s mention. 

Next up, the audience was treated to a rare performance by Beverlie Robertson & Klaas VanGraft, formerly of The Chanteclairs folk trio. Their set was quite literally a trip back to a Yorkville coffeehouse, where they first gained fame.  Their intimate approach to songs like ‘Whistling Gypsy’ and ‘Guantanamera’ entranced the audience. This was the real thing!  
The Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone? gang kicked off their set with the lively ‘Walk Right In’ to get the singalong started. As is often the case, the audience began singing the song from the first notes of the musical intro. Their set also featured a rousing rendition of ‘MTA’ led by Dwight, and Michelle’s, always amazing version of Phil Ochs ‘Heat Of The Summer’.

The evening culminated with all the performers on stage together trading off on classics like ‘This Land’ and ‘If I Had A Hammer’. The wonderful audience was with us every step of the way!
Here's the setlist for the evening...
It was such a great night and the audience response has already inspired plans for the next Hootenanny. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

What A Great Way To Welcome Spring!

We had such a fun time, as always at our 'Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?' show at the Free Times Café last week.
The audience was a great mix of regulars and newbies. We are always intrigued at the many different ways people find out about the show. Sometimes it's by word of mouth, social media posts, street posters, online and magazine listings, and sometimes it's just about being in the right place at the right time...One gentleman was passing by the club on Wednesday when he saw the words "60's Folk Revival" on the sandwich board by the front door and decided to come in and see what it was all about. I noticed he was on his phone, alternatively filming and typing from almost the moment he got there. While chatting with him at the break, I learned that he was texting back and forth to his Dad, who he said loves this music, and he was sharing video clips of his fave songs with him. He said he can't wait to bring him out to see the show live!

In honour of International Women's Day, which takes place in March, we stacked the deck with song versions written by and/or done by women during the 60's Folk Revival. Here's the setlist for the evening.
Our next big folk show is the 60's Folk Revival Hootenanny coming up on Saturday, April 6th at the Eton House on Danforth Ave. Advance tickets are selling quickly. Here's a direct link to purchase yours: HOOTENANNY TICKETS

Thursday, 7 March 2019

The Greatest Hits Of Peter, Paul and Mary At The 120 Diner

Tony Laviola, Sue and Dwight, and Henry Lees      Photo by Ori Dagan
One day after yet another storm that shut down much of Toronto, the skies cleared and people made their way downtown to the 120 Diner to enjoy the music of the iconic folk music trio Peter, Paul and Mary.
It was the first PPM show of 2019 and only our third presentation of it. As one longtime fan of the group, there that evening said, "I am so excited to hear a whole evening of their music!"

And what a lovely setting to hear it in. The 120 Diner has a beautiful stage that provides a wonderful backdrop and we were thrilled to be introduced on stage by award-winning jazz singer and recording artist Ori Dagan.

We had such fun with songs we don't get to perform often, like 'I Dig Rock and Roll Music', 'If I Had My Way', and 'Day Is Done?'.  And it was nice to see the audience joining in. Can't wait to do it again!

Our next PPM show will be as part of the line up for a big Hootenanny in April. Advance tickets are already selling...order yours today so you don't miss out on the fun! Hootenanny - Advance Tickets

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Freezin' Rain Folk

Thanks to Phyllis Chan for this action photo!
In spite of the weather's best efforts to thwart our fun last Wed. night with forecasts of freezing rain, our show went ahead with a room full of enthusiastic singalongers and we had a great time. There were lots of regulars and familiar faces in the crowd, and some new people who just learned about our show thanks to our Facebook presence.

With over 80 songs to choose from, creating the set list for the show each month is not an easy task. The problem isn't deciding which songs to include but agonizing over which ones to leave out. One of the songs that is always included is 'Puff The Magic Dragon', which never fails to draw a collective "Awwwwwww" response when we announce it. It also rarely fails to draw at least a few tears from audience and band members alike. This show was no exception.

Here's the set list of all the songs we covered...

Our next monthly show at the Free Times Café on Wed. March 20th. In the meantime, come check out our Peter, Paul and Mary show at the 120 Diner on Thu. February 28th.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

First Show of 2019 Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.

What a wonderful first show of the new year on January 16th. It was a chilly night in Toronto, but that didn't deter a great group of singalongers who joined us at the Free Times Café.
Thanks to Phyllis Chan 
for capturing this action shot!

We celebrated Martin Luther King Day with an emphasis on songs from the Civil Rights Movement, which made for some poignant moments.

Two new songs made their debut. The much requested tribute to the Freedom Riders 'Thirsty Boots' by Eric Anderson and Phil Ochs' wonderful song about the African-American journalist and civil rights activist, 'The Ballad Of William Worthy'.

Our group performs at private events and, a gal whose birthday party we will be singing at in the Spring was in the audience. We'd told her that she can choose whatever songs she wants to hear on her special day from our Song List. It was fun watching her excitement as she jotted down song names. I suspect she will run into the same frustration we do each month when putting together the set list for the show...too many great songs to choose from and not nearly enough time in one show!

By the way, we are always happy to play the songs you want to hear when you attend the show. Just let us know the week before and we will schedule it in. Here's a direct link to the list you can select from WHATFSG SONG LIST.

Here is the Jan. 16th set list...

Our next show is coming up quickly...WED. FEB. 20th, 7:30PM at the Free Times Cafe. It's never to early to call and make a dinner reservation to ensure you have a seat for the show. Call Judy at 416-967-1078. See you soon!

Monday, 7 January 2019

Happy 2019!

We rang in 2019 in style, folk style that is, with a great evening of music and food at The Free Times Cafe on New Year’s Eve.

We started doing New Years Eve shows three years ago when we noticed that there weren’t many options for folks of that era to get out to and celebrate the evening.  Since then, each year has been its own wonderful experience. This year was no different.

A nice full room was there to enjoy Judy’s deluxe buffet (amazing brisket!) and were more than ready to join in singing when the show began.  Folk fans came literally from far and wide including Detroit and Brampton.  We also had some three-peats (perfect attendance of all our NYE shows) which was nice to see. Thanks Aldo, Gord and Joanne!

We started the evening with a set of some of the most popular tunes of the Revival and the crowd was enthusiastically joining in right off the top. To make help the show extra special, we designed the middle set so that we could tip toe outside the era a bit. The set included a couple of original tunes, Michelle’s ‘Nolament’ from her new CD, and Sue and Dwight’s ‘One Song’, and closed it with Michelle’s spectacular version of ‘Both Sides Now’ followed by a group ‘Hallelujah’.

The final set kept things humming as the clock struck midnight. A dance broke out to ‘If I Had a Hammer’ and the wonderful crowd gave us a standing ovation before we all called it a night. What a night!

A big thanks to Judy, Phil, Charlie and wonderful cooks at the Free Times for all their hard work, to our amazing band...Tony, Michelle, Sue & Dwight... and to all those who attended to make it such a great night.

Next show is Wednesday, January 16th which marks the start of our 7th great year! Book your reservation early to guarantee your seat. Details  in the 'Shows' tab above.

Here's a fun little video from NYE!

Monday, 17 December 2018

Celebrating Phil Ochs!

It's been a busy few weeks since our last show so I'm bit late posting about our December 5th show.

Because he was born in December, we decided to stack the setlist with a few extra Phil Ochs tunes in honour of what would have been his 78th birthday. It's always a treat singing his songs, which are so intelligent and insightful.

Speaking of birthdays, a couple of audience members were also celebrating  theirs that night. Here's a photo of us feting them as we headed into the break. Didn't get my camera out quick enough to catch a photo of Judy carrying the cake in on her head while everyone in the room sang our special folk version of 'Happy Birthday To You'. It's sung to the tune of 'Michael Row Your Boat Ashore'

Our set list for the evening...
Thanks to everyone who joined us. It was fun night!

Our next show is our big New Years Eve celebration. Seating is limited so don't wat too long to make your reservations...

Monday, 26 November 2018

'Greatest Hits Of Peter, Paul and Mary' Show Free Times Cafe Debut

What a great night! We learned the show was sold out almost two weeks in advance. Even so, a few last minute cancellations allowed some walk-ins to be accommodated. The audience was wonderful...a nice mix of 'Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?' regulars and new singalongers.

We were all very excited but a little nervous heading into the evening as this is still a new show and the first time performing it with Tony on bass. But our nervousness evaporated once we hit the stage and we all had a great time.

In this show we include songs from throughout Peter, Paul and Mary's 50 years together. A particularly moving moment of the evening was singing the poignant anti-bullying 'Don't Laugh At Me', a song that inspired Peter Yarrow to create a program in U.S. schools called Operation Respect.

We all love singing 'I Dig Rock N' Roll Music' can't help but have fun with that one. And 'Day Is Done' seemed to get an extra-enthusiastic response from the audience.

While preparing for the show and marvelling at the complex arrangements that define their unique sound, I (Sue) wondered out loud how Peter, Paul and Mary might tackle a certain song I wrote. The guys were kind enough to indulge me and we presented 'One Song' employing some of their techniques. That was a such a high for me!

Here we are, tired but happy folksingers at the end of the evening...
(L to R: Henry Lees, Tony Laviola, Sue and Dwight)
And here is our set-list for the evening...
The 'Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?' gang will be back at the Free Times Cafe on Wed. Dec. 5th. Here are all the details...
And, it's not too soon to make your reservations for New Years Eve...

Monday, 29 October 2018

Next Show - The Greatest Hits Of Peter, Paul and Mary

In place of our regular monthly ‘Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?’ show, we will be presenting ‘The Greatest Hits Of Peter, Paul and Mary’, with songs spanning their 40+ year career. Singer, Henry Lees joins Sue and Dwight as the third voice to recreate the group's innovative harmonies, and Tony Laviola will accompany on double bass. Songsheets will be provided. 

The ‘Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?’ gang will return on Wednesday, December 5th when Michelle is back from touring out west.

Iconic 1960s folk music trio Peter, Paul and Mary created anthems of social change, and their unique harmonies ushered them to the top of the charts. Prominent in the civil rights and anti-war movements, their repertoire included such top 10 hits as 'If I Had A Hammer', 'I Dig Rock 'N Roll Music', 'Blowin’ In The Wind', 'Leavin On A Jet Plane' and 'Puff The Magic Dragon'.
A short video clip from our first PPM show at Miles Nadal JCC on Sept. 27th, 2018: 'If I Had My Way'

Friday, 19 October 2018

Folktastic Singalong!

As if performing the show isn't fun enough already, reading comments like this the morning after is icing on the cake!

Wednesday night was Toronto's first really chilly evening of the season, but it was warm and cozy inside the Free Times Café as we all sang along to these great songs...

Set 1
Set 2
There's A Meetin'
Green Green                         
Walk Right In            
The Banks Are Made Of Marble
500 Miles      
Pack Up Your Sorrows
Little Boxes
To Morrow
Until Its Time For You To Go
Ramblin' Boy
The Times They Are A Changin'
Open Up Them Pearly Gates
Early Morning Rain
Un Canadien Errant
Four Strong Winds 
When I’m Gone
Union Maid             
If I Had A Hammer               
Michael Row Your Boat
Tell It On the Mountain
Puff the Magic Dragon
Morningtown Ride

Something a little different coming up next month. While Michelle is away on tour, we are going to present our new 'The Greatest Hits Of Peter, Paul, and Mary' show in it's place on Wed. Nov. 21st at the Free Times Cafe. It's a fun evening of songs spanning their 40+ year career. Singer, Henry Lees joins Sue and Dwight as the third voice to recreate the group's innovative harmonies and Tony Laviola will accompany us all on double bass. Cover is $15 cash at the door. Songsheets will be provided. And as usual, dinner reservations are recommended to ensure a seat 416-967-1078. Hope you can join us! Here's a short video clip of us in action at our first PPM show 'If I Had My Way' at Miles Nadal JCC, Sep. 27, 2018

The 'Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?' gang will return to the Free Times Café on Wed. Dec. 5th, a little earlier in the month than usual to avoid any holiday party conflicts.

See you soon!