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!

Monday, 8 October 2018

We (heart) Hamilton!

There are so many reasons we love playing in Hamilton. The City overall is scenically nestled between the lake and the escarpment. It has James St, a groovy artist friendly stretch full of cafes, clubs and shops. And just off James on Colbourne is the Artword Artbar, generously hosted by Judith and Ron, a mecca for the arts.

So we were very excited to return to Hamilton last Saturday. We knew ahead of time that the show was sold out so the drive down the QEW was like driving on air!

The evening as usual lived up to all our expectations. The audience was a nice mix of our expanding base of Hamilton regulars and many new folk faces.  We were also pleased that Howard Jerome joined us again. Howard is an actor who lived the folk revival in Greenwich Village in the 60’s. We first bumped into him while postering on King St, one of those fortuitous encounters.

The crowd started off in a listening mode which we appreciated and but was a little unusual for our shows. It didn’t take long though before they weighed in with their voices and the night was off and running. I think it was 'Blowin’ In The Wind' that was the turning point. Three songs received their Hamilton premiers, the New Christy Minstrel’s ‘Today’, Pete Seeger’s ‘Banks Are Made Of Marble’ and Malvina Reynold’s ‘Morningtown Ride’. We’ve really come to appreciate Malvina’s work. Our initial exposure to her was to ‘Little Boxes’ and now we do four of her songs. She was a very versatile writer covering important social causes to kids songs and has been somewhat overlooked historically.

It was a wonderful night and we’re looking forward to our return in the Spring!

Here's the set list for the evening...  
Set 1
Set 2
There's A Meetin' 
Green, Green
Walk Right  In 
Where Have All The Flowers Gone
Turn Turn Turn
Four Strong Winds
Blowing In The Wind 
Banks Are Made Of Marble
There Is A Ship
Lemon Tree
Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream
Universal Soldier
A World Of Our Own
When I’m Gone                   
This Land                  
Un Canadien Errant
I Gotta Travel On
If I Had A Hammer
Michael Row Your Boat Ashore
Go Tell It On The Mountain
Puff The Magic Dragon
Morningtown Ride

Our next show is in Toronto on Wed. Oct. 17th at the Free Times Café.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Peace and Social Justice

We are in the 6th year of presenting our 60's Folk Revival show at the Free Times Café on College Street in Toronto. Even after all that time, it continues to be exciting for us as a band. Each show has it's own unique audience make-up and mix of songs, which along with other influences like what's happening in the world news, shape the tone. Sometimes it's a raucous party atmosphere and other times like last night, a "gentleness" prevails. I took that word from the comments of an audience member. That's not to say there weren't lots of upbeat songs and even some passionate commentary on current events, but the overall mood was gentle.

Over the past couple weeks several requests for songs from our repertoire were sent to us by people planning to attend the last night's show. We noticed a trend as the set list developed. There was a decidedly clear interest in songs of peace and social justice. Not really surprising, I suppose, given recent political happenings here in our province and further afield. And, we were most happy to oblige with songs like 'Blowin In The Wind', 'Turn Turn Turn', 'Deportee', 'The Banks Are Made of Marble', 'Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream', and of course 'We Shall Overcome'.

Interestingly, what's happening around us even influenced the meaning of other songs quite unexpectedly. For example, in her introduction of 'A World Of Our Own', Sue mused that while it may actually be a love song about a couple, in the context of tonight's theme it could easily be a wish for a world where people were kinder and looked out for each other more. All in the room seemed up for creating 'a world of our own' like that.

Here is the set list...

Our next show is in Hamilton is Saturday, September 29th, 8pm at The Artword Artbar in Hamilton and then we are back at the Free Times Café in Toronto for our monthly show on Wednesday, October 17th at 7:30pm. See you soon!

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Hot August Night!

Thanks so much to everyone who came out to sing with us on Wednesday night. It was a really hot steamy night in Toronto but in the lovely air-conditioned music room of Free Times Café, the warmth being generated was all from a love of the music and camaraderie of people singing together. One lovely newcomer commented that it was the most fun she's had on a Wednesday night!

We introduced two brand new songs this month. 'There Is A Ship', which is the Peter Paul and Mary version of 'The Water Is Wide', and the very intense 'Cod'ine' by Buffy Sainte Marie. Two very different songs from one another. The latter has been requested numerous times over the past few years by one of the younger audience members who attends the show regularly so we were pleased to add it to the repertoire for her. 

Dwight snapped this photo of Michelle and Sue singing 'Bread and Roses', acapella a la Joan and Mimi Baez.

Another birthday was being celebrated this month, and FT's owner Judy was there, so the birthday girl got the full tradition of Happy Birthday being sung to the tune of 'Michael Row Your Boat Ashore' by everyone while having a slice of cake delivered atop Judy's head. Thanks Colin, for capturing this photo of the delivery.

It was a fun night!
Here's a list of the songs we sang...
Looking ahead to September...we two shows scheduled. The first is on Wednesday, Sept. 19th at the Free Times Café in Toronto and the next is at the Artword Artbar in Hamilton on Saturday, September 29th. It's not too soon to make your reservations for either show. 

Hope to see you soon!

Thursday, 19 July 2018

A Folk Filled July!

The 'Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?' gang took a fun road trip out to Niagara On The Lake on July 8th, where we were invited to kick off Music Niagara's 'Sunday In The Park' Music Series. We performed in the bandshell at Simcoe Park to a few hundred people who came out to enjoy the weather-perfect day. Like last year, Meridian, one of the series' sponsors distributed plastic 'hand clappers' so it sounded like an audience of thousands!

Last night we had a good crowd of singalongers join us for our monthly show at the Free Times Café. There were a lot of first timers in the audience. After the show, one gentleman told me "I didn't know what to expect...but I loved it!" 
Here are some other lovely comments...

We introduced a new-old song that has received many requests at our shows over time called 'Morningtown Ride', written by Malvena Reynolds. Instead of ending the evening with our usual 'Go Tell It On The Mountain' reprise, we sang this lovely lullaby that was a big hit for The Seekers, to send the audience off on their way.

Here is the set list for the evening...

Our next show is at the Free Time Café on Wednesday, August 15th. Hope to see you there!