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Posts Tagged ‘cbc’

A toasty afternoon with The Vinyl Café

December 21st, 2009

For fellow canucks, The Vinyl Café and the sound of Stuart McLean’s voice are likely familiar to you — stories of Dave and Morley and other characters who are practically family members to some listeners by now. Lucky duck that I am, I got to play the role of Amanda’s date yesterday, and we went to see the Ottawa show of the Vinyl Café’s Christmas Tour, which also featured Jill Barber and Matt Andersen. To top it all off, we got to sit in a loge; it couldn’t have been more perfect… unless I’d had binoculars-on-a-stick and a fan.

Seeing the stories being told was a lot more magical than just hearing them over the airwaves. Stuart McLean truly has a gift for storytelling, and watching him made me realize how each word, breath and every decision about timing was crucial to his delivery. The room was full of laughs, some sniffles, and plenty of feelings of nostalgia.

Jill Barber was ever-charming and glamorous:

And I’m thankful for the introduction to Matt Andersen, who got a standing ovation after this performance:

Matt’s parents flew in from the East Coast to watch this show… and Stuart asked Matt’s Mom to come up and help sing this number:

The show’s finale had the room singing along:

For the entire show, I felt like I was tucked in. I’m not someone who feels particularly “Christmassy” during the holidays, but this was definitely the most I’ve felt in a long time. When it was time to go, I was half-surprised to look down and realize that I wasn’t in my pj’s and slippers.

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An intimate evening with Blue Rodeo (and Kitties)

November 7th, 2009

Ever been somewhere and realized, all of a sudden, “Wow… I’m one lucky schmuck to be here!” That’s what hit me a few times on Wednesday while at The Black Sheep Inn. Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor are touring as a duo to  promote Blue Rodeo’s upcoming album (“The Things We Left Behind”, due out November 10th), and they chose just five intimate venues to test out their new tunes. I’ve seen these guys play on a few different occasions in past years, but always with a sea of people between me and the stage and with them looking like little specks; to watch them play at the Black Sheep with a relatively small group was an absolute treat. Amanda did some intros and I went with her to take photos for CBC, above.

Kathleen Edwards opened, with her usual spunk and humour. Here is “Smile” — in tribute to her last show before she gets her braces removed.

Then Jim and Greg took the stage, and were accompanied by Anne Lindsay (violin), Julian Armour (cello) and Julie Fader (flute and vocals), as well as Kathleen. The adoration in the packed room was palpable. This show sold out in 10 minutes, and the woman beside me had flown in from Winnipeg to be there. Here’s a sampling of the evening…

“One Light Left in Heaven” — a new one:

“Hasn’t Hit Me Yet” — with huge audience participation:

“Lost Together”:

[Apologies for the unsteadiness and occasional funky cropping... I was filming these on my point-n-shoot with my left hand while taking photos on my SLR with my right hand.]

As if this weren’t enough for one evening, we also met Black Sheep owner Paul’s recent adoptee — a tabby cat and her six 2-week-old kittens:

A memorable evening, all in all.

The concert will be airing on CBC sometime in the next few weeks. I’ll post here if I find out any details.

Post-script #1: Have you weighed in about your Candy Buffet must-haves??

Post-script #2 (for Ottawa-heads on facebook): I’m giving away two tickets to the Sens vs. Rangers game on November 14th. I’ll be drawing a winner on Monday, November 9th at 9 a.m. EST. Click here for details & to enter.

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Smalltown readings and big heart bailouts

December 14th, 2008

The weekend was a bit of a whir, and I don’t just mean the sound of bald tires spinning on ice…

On Saturday afternoon, we headed up to East Camden — a small town near Napanee. Dear friend Amanda was partaking in a CBC event, the reading of A Christmas Carol, at the absolutely adorable Bookstore Café. The place used to be the town’s general store, and now sells (you guessed it!) books and antiques, amazing trinkets and curios… pipe holders, butter presses, art deco clocks and defunct radios. We’ve vowed to go back, it was so amazing.

The reading itself was terrific, in an intimate and warmly-lit room. The second of five readers was none other than Bruce Cockburn, and Amanda went third:

photo by John Bagnell

Between staves, there were carols sung by a local choir. It was a pretty magical evening, and the cinnamony cider afterwards made up for the Wendy’s that we’d wolfed down before the show.

Amanda with Bruce (who’s really lovely) after the reading:

photo by John Bagnell

At the show we met a fellow named Chris Smith, who turned out to be neighbours with our friend Pascale, whose cottage we’d be staying at that night. We called him Father Chris-Smith (*groan*) for the rest of the weekend… we were feeling that festive.

After the show, Pascale’s cottage was just a meandering drive away… And there, we had a relaxing evening, midnight snack, half-conscious movie viewing, and subsequent lie-in. Sunday a.m., after more and more food, our exit was another adventure. The hill out to the main road proved a little to steep for the rental car’s not-so-all-season’s, and it took Pascale’s neighbour’s ski-doo to bail us out. (Woohoo Colin!)

Hurray for small towns and nice neighbours… and kick-ass snowmobiles!

good peeps, in the memory bank , , ,

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