Whenever I’m asked to describe the LIVE music scene in the Georgian Triangle, I always crack the same joke. "Well we’ve got a about 70 bands but only 30 musicians!"
A lame joke I know but It always gets a reaction from, promoters, club owners and musicians who have never spent time in the region You see I’m only half kidding!
Blessed with a vibrant local community and a huge all season influx of tourism the region holds unique opportunities for clever and hardworking musicians who know how to entertain. A growing number of live venues in the area and the increasing demand for a variety of acts have developed a strong interconnected music scene that sees many performers mixing and matching personnel to create a wide host of offerings along the musical spectrum.
It is not at all unusual one night to see the guitarist for a 50’s 60’s show band in a Resort ballroom, the next night fronting a three piece power trio at a downtown club with the bass player from the local Celtic band and a drummer from tomorrow nights blues band.
The area boasts some of the most successful and longest running “Jam Nights” which is probably pivotal to the great amount of variety of material and mixing and matching of musicians from band to band. Venues like Wasaga Beach’s The Beacon, Teds Range Road Diner in Meaford, Pipers Restaurant and Tavern in Thornbury, and Molly Blooms Irish Pub in Collingwood each have a long tradition of hosting “Jam Nights”which are each well attended by both up and coming as well as established performers.
The region boasts a number of great local musical acts one should try to take in.
A bevy of talented vocalists/guitarists make their home in the area. Performing both as solo acts and also with full fledged bands, look for names like Shane Cloutier, Jason Redman, Drew Wright, Peter Anthony, Whitey Somers and Jeff Cunningham, Fran Webster, John Marshall, Adam Webster. Each of them covering a wide variety of musical genre and styles are performing most often in venues like Collingwood’s Huron House, Molly Bloom’s, and Moguls and Blue Mountains The Skool, Windy O’Neil’s, Firehall Pizza, Copper Blues, and Jozos.
Some solid cover bands performing in the region include, Malleus, Klaws, Steve Hanmore Band, and Lemon Pepper Pickerel although each with very different core influences they like most Georgian Triangle groups each are ready to perform a myriad of different styles and genres of music to maximize their ability to “work” the audience.
Being in the midst of a resort town a number of excellent show bands have developed ready to fulfill needs of conferences, weddings, ski clubs, golf clubs, yacht clubs, festival events and community group fundraisers. Frankie and the Favourites has long been the premier choice for "Oldies" music fans with their 7 piece tribute to the music of the Golden Era of Rock’n’Roll. A well respected blues band that features many local talents and can be seen in performing in the area is Cordon Blues who take a rockin’ approach to their blues and R&B classics. Although, I may be somewhat biased, (you see, I play bass in the group) but it’s often been said that one of the areas best party bands is Strange Potatoes…this three piece and sometimes four piece band take traditional Celtic instrumentation and bend it into a high energy tour de force of every genre from rock to reggae, bluegrass to blues, and salsa to swing.
In coming months I hope to profile some of the performers I have so quickly mentioned here to give you a closer look at the wealth of talent and the unique abilities of our areas local musicians. Until then visit your favourite venues to catch some of this great local talent for yourself.
Submitted by John Eaton