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Posts Tagged ‘The Black Sheep Inn’

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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Dan Mangan’s debut at the Sheep: Nice, Nice, Very Nice

October 18th, 2009

So my posts about Dan Mangan are getting numerous, I realize… but if you were at Wakefield’s Black Sheep Inn for last night’s show, you’d understand why I needed to post this too.

Will Currie & the Country French kicked things off — and they were among the most fun and engaging opening bands I’ve ever seen:

The crowd was already in good spirits when Dan and his crew took the stage. This was the first time I’d seen Dan with a band, and the variety of instruments (violin, banjo, stand-up bass, keyboard, trumpet…) were a treat. It’s obvious that all the performers genuinely like each other — it showed in how they each added their sound and interacted.

An added treat was Justin Rutledge’s surprise visit to the stage:

I posted a video of Dan playing ‘Robots’ a few months ago from the BC Scene show at the First Baptist Church… but I couldn’t resist posting this terrific rendition too, which includes a very thoughtful thanks to the CBC’s Amanda Putz as an intro:

For the final song of Dan’s encore, Will Currie & the Country French and Justin Rutledge joined in too, a swell conclusion to Mr. Mangan’s first-ever gig at the Sheep…

I’ve mentioned before that Dan is more mindful than most about the phrasing of his songs; I tell you, it was pretty awe-inspiring when he’d have a pause mid-tune… and you could absolutely hear a pin drop in the Inn. It’s so exciting to see someone who’s this nice and this talented get recognized (woohoo Verge FM’s ‘Artist of the Year’ 2009!) and appreciated. More and more good to come, to be sure.

As a selfish woohoo postcript, I don’t think I’ve yet shared this shot of Dan sporting See how they run — taken the night he did a house concert last year at Amanda and Tim’s:

Something tells me this is a face you’ll see again. Hopefully, you’ll get a chance to hear the voice that goes with it too.

m chen wears, music , , , , ,

Sneaking up on Jill Barber

February 22nd, 2009


Tim, Amanda & Grant with their “moo-ha-ha-we’re-so-sneaky” poses

Jill Barber played a phenomenal show at Wakefield, Québec’s Black Sheep Inn this past Friday. As memorable as the performance, the musicians, and her voice were… what will etch this evening into my brain most definitively was the stealthy sheneniganning that took place leading up to the show.

Jill’s sweetheart Grant Lawrence (from cbc3 radio) swooped in from the west coast to surprise her. Amanda was helping him keep things on the down-low while making pre-show dinner plans with Jill. And finally, John and I provided the wheels to Wakefield. So there was some luggage-hiding, giggling over text-messaging, Grant sitting in the shadows by the bar while Jill arrived to the homey Kaffé 1870 for dinner, then Amanda saying ‘Gee, doesn’t that guy look like Grant???’… then the happy surprise. It was as heart-warming as the comfort food we tucked into.


Jill and four-fifths of her band at Kaffé 1870

And then the show. Jill wowed the packed Inn, she charmed us all with her vocals, humour, and how obviously she was enjoying herself while performing. She weaved between her usual folkier tunes and her more recently released 40’s-inspired pieces — and somehow, everything fit seamlessly. It was astounding that all her bandmates and their multiple instruments fit on the stage — and they blew us away with unbelieveable musicianship, and yet no one competed for attention.

This is the last song of the evening, concluding their second encore:

… performed acoustically and without mics. (Apologies for the lack of picture quality; low lighting makes for dark movies!)

I’m thrilled to have played a part (however puny!) in bringing a happy surprise to Jill that night, because she certainly made my evening with her amazing performance.

good peeps, in the memory bank, music , , ,

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