Cohen’s death signals good time to notice 87-year-old Hugh Oliver today | 161111Fr | Shows for Fri. Nov. 11, 2016

Screen capture from "The Ballad of Hugh Oliver"

Screen capture from “The Ballad of Hugh Oliver”


He will never be as famous or influential as Leonard Cohen and arguably never as talented an artist —but then, who could be?  But 87-year-old Hugh Patrick Oliver, who returns to his weekly 5 p.m. Friday slot at Tranzac Club today, is certainly a remarkably creative, plucky and interesting poet and songwriter with an impressive pedigree who is worthy of noticing while we can.

Cohen’s death on Monday, which in a way he sort of predicted in recent interviews and even on his latest album, is, while surely wrenching for those of us for whom he formed the lyrical tapestry of our psychedelic coming-of-age in the 1960s and ‘70s, not truly a tragedy. He lived, after all, to a ripe and by all accounts basically healthy 82 years of age and enjoyed an outpouring of acclaim for the past three decades in particular: winning a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2010; several Juno Awards including some in the past decade; being named a Companion of the Order Of Canada; achieving induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame —among many other honours.  On a selfish level, we may miss his reassuringly grisly, dark presence, but it’s not like he left much undone.

Oliver, on the other hand, is just getting started on a “comeback” into an industry that he very nearly helped to define back in the 1950s, co-writing lyrics for producer and then-neighbour Glyn Johns, who found stardom and riches with The Who, The Rolling Stones, Beatles and more, while Oliver emigrated to North America and raised a family.

Screen capture from "The Ballad of Hugh Oliver" of Hugh with Mary Margaret O'Hara.

Screen capture from “The Ballad of Hugh Oliver” of Hugh with Mary Margaret O’Hara.

Twelve years ago, living in Toronto and still a relative youngster at just 75 years old, he decided, after surviving two heart attacks and diabetes and with his family grown, that it was time to pursue an old dream and give music a try, as he recounts in an award-winning documentary about his life, “The Ballad of Hugh”, released in 2013.

The charming 78-minute flick by then first-time director Marco DiFelice (which you can view in its entirety online at contains many performances and wry observations from the dapper, bow-tie-and-bowler sporting songwriter and poet who for me recalls memories of first hearing the inimitable Bob Snider thirty years ago.  There’s also more than an echo of Monty Pythonesque humour and verbal dexterity in this playful and still fun-lovingly chipper composer in creations like “Let’s Look on the Sui-Side of Life” for example.  Another tune, a send up about Facebook, is priceless!

'... And All That Crap" cover

‘… And All That Crap” cover

While many of his tunes are wily and even sarcastic, this wonderful wordsmith also has several utterly charming ditties like “Bluebirds” that anyone has to love even if they may sound a trifle old-fashioned to those not firmly rooted in the Country tradition.

The flick explores his motivations, past life and spirit and describes his attempts to sell tunes to record companies and to land a deal.  But although it doesn’t appear that’s likely to happen any time soon, in the process he has developed a strong following of fans, many of them fellow musicians, who love his material and obviously also admire his tenacity, as should anyone.  The scenes showing him recording with a very talented band of much younger players, who are obviously totally into the project, display Oliver at his playfully bewitching best.  He also shines in a segment performing with a house band for a Mary Margaret O’Hara Christmas show at The Painted Lady in TO West.  Watching him win over the crowd of cool twenty-something hipsters is a total delight!

As an outgrowth or companion to the movie, Oliver did end up producing a 27-track album of his compositions, …And All That Crap, which appears for purchase on cdbaby.

The weekly 5 p.m. Friday shows in the Southern Cross room of the club at 292 Brunswick Ave. just south of Bloor Street in the Annex have been billed for the past several months as being staged by “The Friends of Hugh Oliver” and presumably include some of the players from the movie.  But today’s no-cover affair is being trumpeted on Facebook as “Sir Hugh Oliver returns to the Tranzac” so I would assume this means he’s been on hiatus for a while for medical or other reasons.

Whatever the backstory to that, it’s fairly certain that one of these days there won’t be a Hugh Oliver to go and see and the movie and any recordings will be all that’s left.  Today might not be a bad day to go and pay your respects to this intriguing, indomitable and delightfully engaging future legend while you can.

-Gary 17,

SHOW LISTINGS for Friday, November 11, 2021

161110-support-the-moonListings are organized by area in which the shows occur and within each area field shows are listed chronologically.

Listings preceded by an asterisk (*) are repeating weekly events. (Double asterisk indicates repeating event with different hosts/guest/etc.). Events preceded by question mark (?) usually take place but have not been confirmed. 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, highlighted, include live link to website and also have ad icon included in listings.


*3-7> acoustic jam with John Hutt @ Lola, 40 Kensington Ave., TO

*4-6> Hogtown Syncopators @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz; $

*5-7> Sir Hugh Oliver @ Tranzac Club (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave., TO ~eclectic original Folk/Roots

*5:30> Jazz Generation; Melissa Smeets @ Imperial Pub, 54 Dundas St. E., TO ~Jazz

6-8> Kensington Kitchen Party with Bill Wood and friends @ Graffiti’s, 170 Baldwin St., TO ~Roots Rock

6> David Celia @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO ~Pop songwriter

6-8> Whitney Ross-Barris @ 120 Diner, 120 Church St., TO ~Jazz; $10-20/pwyc

6:30> Fabio Ragnelli Trio @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz; $

7:30> Michael Keith @ Tranzac Club (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave., TO ~songwriter

8> Patrick Brealey @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen Street West, TO ~Country

8> The Elwins; The Kents @ Adelaide Hall, 250 Adelaide St. W., TO

8> Sam Sundar-Singh; Jenn Dash; Michelle Lecce-Hewitt; Isaak Bonk @ Free Times Café, 320 College St., TO ~songwriters; $6/pwyc

8:30-11:30> Joe Sealy Quartet with Colin Hunter @ Jazz Bistro, 251 Victoria St., TO ~Jazz; $

*8:30-12:30> All Star Band feat. Joe Bowden & Brooke Blackburn @ Nawlin’s, 299 King St. W. TO ~Blues

9> Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs; guests Forces; The Del-Fi’s @ Rivoli, 334 Queen St. W., TO ~indie; $15

9> Bud Baxter Band @ Drums N Flats, 1980 Avenue Rd., TO North ~SRV Blues tribute

9> Wounded Warriors fundraiser with 9 Lives and Counting; Hidden Iris; One in the Chamber @ Cameron House (rear), 408 Queen St. W., TO ~Rock; pwyc donations

9> Holy Wave; Mimico; Uubbuurruu; Hugh Pup @ The Silver Dollar, 486 Spadina Ave., TO ~indie; $

9> T Dub Rockers @ May Café, 876 Dundas St. W., TO ~Reggae dub

9> NQ Arbuckle; Skye Wallace; Le Barons @ Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W., TO ~original; $15

9> High Life; Olde; Red Kitty @ Coalition, 282 Augusta Ave., TO ~heavy Rock; $8

9> Possum; Wine Lips; Jean Daddy @ The Central, 603 Markham St., TO

9> Selfoss @ The Cavern Bar, 76 Church St., TO ~indie

9:30> Fleetwood Mac Mania @ Seven44, 744 Mount Pleasant Rd., TO North ~tribute; $

9:30> Jamesking Gyles Band @ Alleycatz, 2409 Yonge St., TO North ~Funk/Soul/R&B; $10

9:45> Ricochet @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz; $

9:45> Dee Dee & The Dirty Martinis @ Reservoir Lounge, 52 Wellington St. E., TO ~60s R&B 7-piece; $

10> Dave Murphy Band @ Orbit Room, 480 College St. TO ~Rock/Funk/R&B; $

10> Fraser Melvin Blues Band @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen Street West, TO ~original Blues

10> Pat Chessell @ Tranzac Club (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave., TO

10> Wasted Measures @ Bier Markt King, 600 King St., West, TO ~Pop Rock

10> Park Eddy Band with feature Emily Raquel @ Grossman’s, 379 Spadina Ave., TO ~Rock/Soul/Blues

10> Gerry O’Kane @ Monarch Tavern, 12 Clinton St., TO

10> Ed Smith and the Even Squares @ The Queen’s Legs, 286 Eglinton Ave. W., TO North ~Country

10:30> Flash Rewind @ Amsterdam Bicycle Club, 54 The Esplanade, TO ~retro-Rock


5-7> The Straight 8s @ Castro’s, 2116 Queen St. E., TO East

7-9> Red Jenny & The Boys @ Relish, 2152 Danforth Ave., TO East ~Jazz/Blues trio featuring Jen Cook; no cover

7> Snakeships; Charles Murdoch @ The Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave., TO East

8> Michael Massaro & Don Naduriak @ Hirut, 2050 Danforth Ave., TO East ~original Jazz; pwyc

9> Wayne Neon The Amazing Tubular Orchestra; Chihiro & The Blue Notes @ Black Swan Tavern, 154 Danforth Ave., TO East ~Blues/Pop/eclectic; pwyc

*9> open mic with Matt & Mike @ The Grover Pub, 676 Kingston Rd., TO East

9> Jane’s Party @ Dora Keogh, 141 Danforth Ave., TO East ~original & cover Pop Rock

9> Oliver Mtukudzi @ The Opera House, 735 Queen St. E., TO East ~Zimbabwean icon; $40

9:30> David Macmichael & The $5 Tall Boys @ Relish, 2152 Danforth Ave., TO East ~alt Pop originals and covers

9:30> Riff Raff @ Linsmore Tavern, 1298 Danforth Ave., TO East ~party Rock; $5

10:30> The Better Half @ Bier Markt Don Mills, 7 O’Neill Rd., TO East ~Pop Rock


southside-1611087:30> Irene Atman Trio @ Old Mill Inn, 21 Old Mill Rd., Etobicoke ~Jazz; min table charge

8> Mayday; guests Web Three; Joseph Rose; Team OBM; Sense; more @ The Rockpile, 5555 Dundas St. W., Etobicoke ~original Rock; $

8-2> Whayls @ Placebo Space, 2877 Lake Shore Blvd. W., Etobicoke

9> Low Hanging Fruit @ Blue Goose Tavern, 1 Blue Goose Rd., Etobicoke South ~Pop Rock/Top 40

9> The Brew @ Maple Leaf House, 2749 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Etobicoke ~Rock/Top 40/Blues

9:30> Tom Barlow Band @ Timothy’s Pub, 344 Brown’s Line, Etobicoke South ~Pop Rock/Top 40; $

10-2> Shanya Lynn Dawson @ Southside Johnny’s, 3653 Lake Shore Blvd. W., Etobicoke South ~Country-Rock/Soul; no cover

10> Wild T & The Spirit @ Schuey’s, 1130 Martin Grove Rd., Etobicoke ~Blues

10> Mike Billick Trio @ Bier Markt Etobicoke, 199 North Queen St., Etobicoke ~Pop Rock


9:30> Public Eyes @ McGradie’s, 2167 Victoria Park Ave., Scarborough ~classic Rock/Top 40

9:30> Marc Joseph Band @ Stone Cottage Pub, 3750 Kingston Rd., Scarborough ~Pop Rock

9:30> Johnny Starkes Band @ The Loaded Dog, 1921 Lawrence Ave. E., Scarborough


5-7> Fabulous Thomleys @ The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Folk

5-8> Evan Desaulnier Trio @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Jazz

7-9> Pow Wows; The Above @ Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave., TO West ~indie; $

7> Mark Martyre @ The Emmet Ray, 924 College St., TO West ~songwriter; no cover

7-10> Toronto Fiddle Collective featuring Gerry O’Connor of The Irish Rovers hosting workshop, concert & jam @ West Toronto Baptist Church, 3049 Dundas St. W., TO West; $35

7:30> Tyler Schwende Duo @ Brazen Head Pub, 165 East Liberty St., TO West ~Pop Rock

7:30> Mafa-Tet @ Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. W., TO West ~Jazz; no cover

8> Kristen Violet May @ Drake Hotel Underground, 1150 Queen St. W., TO West ~$7

8> Mikolaj Warszynski & Zuzana Simurdova @ Gallery 345, 345 Sorauren Ave., TO West ~double piano concerto; $25

8:30> “Soldiers of Song” tribute to Canada’s Famous Dumbells of WWI @ Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. W., TO West ~tribute; $32

9> Lizzie Lyon; Mela @ Burdock, 1184 Bloor St. W., TO West ~songwriters; $12

9-1> Sean Bellaviti Latin Jazz Trio @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Latin Jazz

9> Hodera; Secret Stuff; Sweet and Lowdown; Beige; Pfloog @ Smiling Buddha, 961 College St., TO West

9> Rel McCoy; CQUEL; guests @ Smiling Buddha lounge, 961 College St., TO West

9> Fresh Snow album release; guests TRAITRS; Yoo Doo Right @ The Baby G, 1608 Dundas St. W., TO West ~indie; $10

9> The Dreamboats @ Junction City Music Hall, 2907 Dundas St. W., TO West ~$10

9> Heavy On The Willie @ The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Country

9:30> Richard Malouin @ Amico’s Pizza, 1648 Queen St. W., TO West ~Roots/Blues songwriter; no cover

9:30> Blues & Troubles @ Axis, 3048 Dundas St. W., TO West ~Blues

9:30> Fergus Hambleton & Julie Long @ Dave’s Pizza, 730 St. Clair Ave. W., TO West ~Jazz originals & covers

10-2> The Mercenaries @ Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave., TO West ~retro Rock/Soul $10

10> Café Cubano @ Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. W., TO West ~Cuban Salsa; $15

10> The Jammed; The Gabba Heys; Blondee; Amy Gabba @ 3030 Dundas West, 3030 Dundas St. W., TO West ~80s New Wave tribute; $


7-11> Levi Cuss @ The Rabbid Fox, 58 Beech Ave., Cambridge ~Roots/Blues

8> Bif Naked I, Bificus book tour @ Maxwell’s, 35 University Ave. E., Waterloo ~art-Rock songwriter, author; $25

8:30> Jesse Webber @ Fionn MacCool’s Kitchener, 4287 King St. E., Kitchener ~Pop

8:30> Ross Burant @ Fionn MacCool’s Orangeville, 75 Fourth Ave., Orangeville ~Pop

*9-2> jam night @ The Cave, 105 Shade St., Cambridge

9> Libby McGrath @ The Brownstone, 39 Queen St. E., Cambridge

9> Pocket City Trio @ Kiwi Gastropub, 47 Dickson St., Cambridge

9-1> Limestone Chorus; Redsteps @ Dstrct, 10 Wydham St. N., Guelph ~indie; $7

9> Hank Gets Dusted @ Brando’s Beach House, 135 Market St., Brantford ~Blues-Rock

10> Kazoo! #240; Diana Bernice @ E-Bar, 41 Quebec St., Guelph ~indie; $12


5> Rick & Gailie @ Black Horse Pub, 452 George St. N., Peterborough

8-11:45> Clean Sl8 @ Harbour Street Fish Bar, 10 Keith Ave., Collingwood ~Rock/Top 40 covers

8:30> Tammy J. Wilde @ Black Horse Pub, 452 George St. N., Peterborough

9> The Honeyrunners @ The Huron Club, 94 Pine St., Collingwood ~original Pop

9> Ian K; Present Tense @ The Spill, 414 George St. N., Peterborough ~hard Rock

9> The Balconies; Broken Harmony @ Red Dog Tavern, 189 Hunter St. W., Peterborough

9:30> The Dirty Little Swing Thing @ Sticky Fingers Dunlop, 150 Dunlop St. W., Barrie ~Swing/R&B/Pop

10> Sun Ra Ra Ra; Venisons @ The Garnet, 231 Hunter St. W., Peterborough

905 EAST

9-1> Jack de Keyzer Band @ Simcoe Blues & Jazz, 926 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa ~original Blues

9> Renegade Riders @ The Corral, 433 Simcoe St. S., Oshawa ~Country

9> Velvet Bison; Citizen Red; Tijuana Jesus; Sister Ray @ The Atria, 59 King St. E., Oshawa ~hard Rock; $

9> Crown Lands; Cleopatrick @ The Moustache Club, 15 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa ~indie

*9:30> Karaoke with Rob MacArthur & Lorraine @ Royal Canadian Legion #322, 112 Hunt St., Ajax

9:30> North of 7 @ The Edge, 250 Bayly St., Ajax ~Rock

10-2> Fourfit @ Whisky John’s, 843 King St. W., Oshawa ~Rock/Top 40


8:30> Kevin Foster @ Lake Simcoe Arms, 21089 Dalton Rd., Jackson’s Point

9> The Kingfishers Band @ King Richard’s Pub, 15570 Yonge St., Aurora ~Pop Rock

9:30> David Love Band also featuring Darrell McNeill celebrating band’s 4th birthday @ Spot One, 289 Rutherford Rd. S., Brampton ~melodic 60s Pop Rock dance faves

9:30> Skip Tracer @ Jake’s Boathouse Brampton, 59 First Gulf Rd., Brampton ~Pop Rock

9:30> The Hit Disturbers @ Oscar’s Roadhouse, 1785 Queen St. E., Brampton ~Top 40/Rock

*9:30> open mic @ Big Daddy’s, 460 Elgin Mills Rd., E, Richmond Hill

10> Pop Machine @ Aw Shucks, 15230 Yonge St., Aurora ~Pop Rock


6-7:30> Asa Berezny & Brighid Fry @ This Ain’t Hollywood, 345 James St. N., Hamilton ~13 year old songwriting phenoms; pwyc

6:30> East Coast Kitchen Party @ Corktown Pub, 175 Young St., Hamilton

8> “MacBush the Musical” @ Artword Artbar, 15 Colbourne St., Hamilton ~musical theatre

8> Ugly Dog @ Pub Fiction, 1242 Garner Rd. W., Ancaster ~Rock/Top 40

9> Hachey the MouthPEACE; Chewy Beatz; Daimon Miles; Ace Bailey @ This Ain’t Hollywood, 345 James St. N., Hamilton ~art Pop; $10

9> The Lad Classic; Sun Kings; Quarter In The Bag; Kandy Face; Between The Sunbeams @ The Casbah Lounge, 306 King St. W., Hamilton ~indie; $10

9> Conor Gains & The Ramblin’ Moon; Altobeelays; Must Stash Hat for Art Craw afterglow party @ The Baltimore House, 43 King William St., Hamilton ~eclectic indie; $10/pwyc

9:15> The Old Winos & guest tba @ The Old Winery Restaurant, 2228 Niagara Stone Rd., Niagara-On-The-Lake

9:30> Whitespace @ Corktown Pub, 175 Young St., Hamilton ~indie; $

9:30> Soul Shaker @ The Gladstone Hamilton, 1385 Main St. E., Hamilton ~Blues

9:30> Stone The Radio @ Stonewalls Hamilton, 339 York Blvd., Hamilton ~Rock/Blues

9:30> Rosevelt @ Doc Magilligan’s Irish Pub, 6400 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls ~Rock/Blues

905 WEST

*5> Adam Ostrosser & Joel Guenther @ Carrigan Arms, 2025 Upper Middle Rd., Burlington ~Pop

*6-9> Matt Zady @ Roc’n Doc’s, 105 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~Pop Rock

9:30> Glenn Groves @ Shore Grill, 71 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~Pop Rock/Top 40

9:30> Southern Cloud @ The Franklin House, 263 Queen St. S., Streetsville ~Country Rock

9:30> Kenny V @ Cuchulainn’s Irish Pub, 158 Queen St. S., Streetsville-Mississauga ~Pop Rock

9:30> Side B Vibe @ Abbey Road, 3200 Erin Mills Parkway, Mississauga ~Rock/Top 40 covers

9:30> Think Freud @ Boston Manor, 4460 Fairview Ave., Burlington ~Pink Floyd tribute; $

9:30> The Dirty Pioneers @ Jersey’s Bar, 1450 Headon Rd., Burlington ~Rock/Top 40

9:30> Hellbent Rockers @ Black Swan Pub Burlington, 4040 Palladium Way, Burlington ~Pop Rock

9:30-11:30> Lloyd Banfield @ The Purple Heather, 3600 Dundas St. W., Burlington ~Rock/Pop

10-2> Kimberley Wetmore Band @ Roc’n Doc’s, 105 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~Rock/R&B/Pop

10> Boom! @ Bier Markt Mississauga, 55 City Centre Drive, Mississauga ~Pop Rock

10:15> Red Velvet @ Failte, 201 City Centre Dr., Mississauga ~Pop Rock

10:30> Tom Anthony & 5th Ave. @ The Dickens, 423 Elizabeth St., Burlington ~Country

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