A year later, James Gray’s memory shines at concert tonight
It is hard for me to grasp that not only has it been over a year since the sudden and sad passing of incredibly versatile keyboardist and accordionist James Gray, but that the anniversary of the first annual tribute concert to his memory is tomorrow.
As I told you a year ago today, that original memorial tribute show, at Dakota Tavern in west TO, ended up being extended to two nights because of the outpouring of interest in being part of it by a very diverse range of musical talents representing Roots, R&B, Rock, Country and Jazz genres.
There’ll just be the one show this year and it takes place tonight, but it’s been moved to a much bigger room, Horseshoe Tavern at 370 Queen St. W., to accommodate what is expected to be another outpouring of love for a player who never would have believed how his death has affected his fellow performers.
Gray wasn’t always the easiest guy to deal with on a personal level and had more than a few quirks. But that was pretty quickly overlooked when he was on stage, where, whichever instruments he was using, his music was supple, interesting, and seemingly effortless and he had no problem blending seamlessly with and enhancing the music of other performers even when they played originals he’d never heard before. That’s why he was so much in demand as an accompanist and why he’s basically impossible to replace.
Among those paying tribute with sets at tonight’s 8 p.m. show (with an unbelievably paltry cover of just $12.50) are: Jim Cuddy & members of Blue Rodeo; Sugarlips; Gray Brothers; Tom Waits Appreciation Club; Travellers; Gypsy Rebels; Druckfarben; Brainfudge; Hey Stella and NQ Arbuckle.
-Gary 17, www.torontomoon.ca
LISTINGS for Monday, August 18, 2021:
Listings preceded by an asterisk (*) are repeating weekly events. (Double asterisk indicates repeating event with different hosts/guest/etc.). Admission prices followed by a slash and minus (/-) after the amount indicates door charge with availability of cheaper rates for some purchases. /+ indicates stated price is minimum.
Names of subscribers appear in bold, are underlined and, where applicable, include a live link to their websites. Advertisers’ listings are in larger type, include live link to website and also have ad icon included in listings.
3 (and 6)> Melvin Colacino Band @ CNE Midway Stage, Canadian National Exhibition Grounds, Lakeshore Blvd. West, TO ~Rock
5-8> tba @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Jazz
*5> The Cosmotones @ Castro’s, 2116 Queen St. E.. TO East ~Rockabilly
6> tba @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO
*6-9> Calliope’s Nest open stage/jam for women @ Lola Pub, 40 Kensington Ave., TO
6:30> Jake Koffman Group @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz
*7> Hard Time Mondays with Rick & Gailie @ Black Horse Pub, 452 George St. N., Peterborough
**7:30> M Factor Mondays with host Elana Harte & features Kenny Butterill; Sarah Hiltz @ Old Nick, 123 Danforth Ave., TO East
7:30> Mike Smith Presents Mellow Motel with Michael Davidson & Matt Newton @ Tranzac Lounge (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave., TO
7:30> George Lake Big Band @ Seven44, 744 Mount Pleasant Road, TO North ~R&B/Swing
7:30 (and 11)> Paul James Band @ CNE Midway Stage, Canadian National Exhibition Grounds, Lakeshore Blvd., TO West ~Rockabilly Blues
8-12> open stage with Julian Taylor & 9:30 feature by Dora’s Explorers @ Dora Keogh, 141 Danforth Ave. TO East
8> 2nd Annual James Gray Memorial Concert with Jim Cuddy & members of Blue Rodeo; Sugarlips; Gray Brothers; Tom Waits Appreciation Club; Travellers; Gypsy Rebels; Druckfarben; Brainfudge; Hey Stella; NQ Arbuckle @ Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W., TO; $12.50
**8-1> open stage with host Alex Zdravkovic @ Free Times Café, 320 College St., TO
*8-11> open stage @ McGradie’s, 2167 Victoria Park Ave., Scarborough
**8-12> BBQ & jam night with Carolyn Mark @ Moonshine Café, 137 Kerr St., Oakville; ($8.95 with BBQ dinner special starts at 6)
*8-12> open stage @ Simcoe Blues & Jazz, 926 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa
**9-1:30> jam with No Band Required & host Yoshino Momii @ Grossman’s, 379 Spadina Ave., TO
*9-1> Hamstrung Stringband @ The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Bluegrass
9> blueVenus @ Castro’s, 2116 Queen St. E.. TO East ~original Pop
9-1> tba @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Jazz
*9-1> eclectic open stage/jam @ The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave., TO West
*9-1> jam with Tom Barlow @ Shore Grill, 71 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit
*9:30-2> Sebastian Agnello & friends @ Black Swan (ground floor), 154 Danforth Ave., TO East
9:30> John Cheesman Orchestra @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz
*10-2> jam with Kimberley Wetmore & Company feat. Dave Girdlestone of Soul Funkshun @ Roc’n Doc’s, 105 Lakeshore E., Port Credit
10> Jordan John @ The Orbit Room, 580 College St., TO ~R&B/Blues
*10> open mic (2 songs; signup starts 8p.m.) @ Tranzac Lounge (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave., TO
10> J Swinnerton Band @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO
10:30> Big Otter Creek Unplugged @ The Hideout, 484 Queen St. W., TO ~indie Rock
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