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I only attended the weekly “High Lonesome Wednesdays” residency of Bluegrass tyros Crazy Strings a couple of times during its 20-year residency until shortly after the unexpected death of co-founder Stef Fantin in 2015.
But when I did go I enjoyed a thoroughly entertaining weekly showcase that maybe I just took for granted until suddenly it was over —just as many of us perhaps have taken the room in which it was held at 486 Spadina Ave. for granted over the past few decades.
So it’s highly appropriate that the amorphous Crazy Strings collective, led as always by founder Dan Whiteley, will be appearing tonight as one of the final shows to be held in the room before it closes at the end of this month. The Band had its “Last Waltz” and the Strings will have their last hoedown —what basically amounts to a mini-Bluegrass festival— this evening to celebrate the remarkable run they had there and its subsequent fertilization of many successful careers.
(Before you shed too many tears about the Dollar closing, btw, keep in mind that sometimes when venues close they also end up resurrecting before we know it. Two cases in point are Hugh’s Room, which last week resumed operation after closing suddenly in early January —albeit on a reduced schedule for now—and which also has a show on tonight; and The Hideout, which re-opened earlier this month at 423 College St. after being forced to close the Queen St. location last November, and has resumed daily presentation of live shows with a happy preference for indie Blues/Rock acts.)
There have been murmurings about the Silver Dollar —the scene of more now-legendary shows and acts than can be recounted here— being preserved as part of the new development going in on the block and if that does happen hopefully it will also include some live Blues music, but it’s more likely to be on the pricey concert-style formula of Hugh’s than the dirt-cheap indie shows that have taken place in the Comfort Zone basement space there for several years.
(I actually lived in —and produced seven issues of to-nite magazine from— a room above the club in the seedy, infamous Waverley Hotel for three-and-half months from December 1994 till late March of 1995. The Dollar was also a regular advertiser for many years, so I spent a lot of evenings there back then, but this was just before the High Lonesome Wednesday shows began.)
Regardless of what the future holds for the Dollar, the past will always shine brightly and the Wednesday night sessions, which were a catalyst that basically allowed a generation of young Bluegrass and Country pickers to find their voice and hone their chops —and indeed was the crucible for formation of the entire local scene of young artists in the genre— will be a key part of that legacy.
In addition to Whiteley, who’s prominent in a number of bands and projects, the sessions also helped spawn the careers of his sister Jenny Whiteley —a Country singer of some renown these days— and banjo titan Chris Coole. These events also included participation by diverse artists such as Jazz man Victor Bateman, Joey Wright, Brian Baron, Dottie Cormier and Marc Roy among many others and also basically were the birthplace of Coole’s Foggy Hogtown Boys (which also includes Chris Quinn —two banjos, what is the world coming to!?) and fiddler John Showman.
The Boys, basically a touring and festival band these days, will reunite with many old friends for this 9-2 show tonight and there are four other top-shelf Country Roots/Bluegrass bands on deck: The Hit Pickers, The Unseen Strangers, The Barrel Boys and Houndstooth, with no doubt a raft of special cameo appearances by various alumni of the event.
Cover is listed at $15 advance so could be a little more at the door and you’ll need to arrive early to get it, as this is likely to pack up and stay that way from the first banjo diddle to the last plaintive violin stroke.
-Gary 17, TorontoMoon.ca
SHOW LISTINGS for Wednesday, April 26, 2022
For KEY to listings codes and schemata see note at end of shows list.
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ON AIR / ONLINE
*6-8pm> The Rock-A-Round with Slim Tim @ www.rockabilly-radio.net ~ Rockabilly tracks (from UK, repeat show from previous Friday)
416 – TORONTO CENTRAL
5> Gordon Shawcross & Burke Carroll @ Graffiti’s, 170 Baldwin St.
6-8> Centennial College student showcase @ 120 Diner, 120 Church St. ~Jazz; $10-20/pwyc
6> Golden Country Classics @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W. ~Rockabilly/Country/Roots-Rock
6> Comhaltas Irish Slow Session @ Tranzac Club (Tiki Room), 292 Brunswick Ave. TO ~folk dancing
6:30> Justin Gray Trio @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W. ~Jazz; $
*7> Jim Heineman Trio @ Nawlins, 299 King St. W. ~Jazz
7-10> Bernie Senensky Trio Orbit Room, 580 College St. TO ~Jazz/R&B; $10
7> Melissa Bel recording release for In The Light opener Brooke Palsson @ Cameron House (rear), 408 Queen St. W.
*7-10> Blues jam with Mark Stafford & Ken Yoshioka @ Alleycatz, 2409 Yonge St.
**7 (7 p.m. sign-up open stage at 8) with 9 p.m. with feature by Zoe Henderson @ Fat Albert’s, 25 Cecil St. (Steelworkers Hall) ~songwriters
7-10> Youth Poetry Slam @ May Café, 876 Dundas St. W. Central ~spoken word
7:30> Toronto Symphony Young Orchestra spring concert @ Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W. ~Classical; $
7:30-11> SongStudio hosts open mic @ Free Times Cafe, 320 College St.
7:30-11:30> Carlos del Costa @ The Cavern Bar, 76 Church St.
7:30> Piano Party @ Tranzac Club (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave. TO
7:30> Stacey Dowswell; Evan Pang; Marcus Walker; Dame Alexander @ Graffiti’s, 170 Baldwin St. ~songwriters; pwyc
7:30> Asia; Miyavi; Slot Machine; Kiha & The Faces @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, 410 Sherbourne St. ~contemporary original; $
**8-12> Girls Night Out Jazz singers’ jam with Lisa Particelli, Peter Hill et al @ 120 Diner, 120 Church St. ~$10-20/pwyc
8> Skepta @ Rebel, 11 Polson St. ~contemporary original; $
8-10:30> John Macmurchy @ Jazz Bistro, 251 Victoria St. ~Jazz; $
8> Crazy Strings reunion and finale show @ Silver Dollar, 486 Spadina Ave. ~Bluegrass; $20+
8> Cryptic Wisdom; Prada West @ Nocturne, 550 Queen St. W. ~indie; $
?> Chris Antonik @ Rivoli, 334 Queen St. W. ~contemporary original; $
9> The Digs @ Reservoir Lounge, 52 Wellington St. E. ~Funk/Jazz/neo-Soul; $
*9 (signup at 8:30)> open mic with Alan Carter @ Lowdown, 276 Augusta Ave.
9> Kendal Thompson; Kevin Moster; Mela; Sophia Danai @ No One Writes to the Colonel, 460 College St. ~songwriters
9> Do It For The Gram @ Set on King, 333 King St. W. ~indie
9> The Dirty B-Sides jam @ Studio Bar, 824 Dundas St. W. ~Freestyle/Hip Hop; 0$
*9-2> What’s Poppin’ indie jam @ Sneaky Dee’s, 431 College St.
9> Shooter Jennings; Kelly Prescott @ Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W. ~original Country/Rock; $27.50
*9:30> After Funk @ Nightowl Toronto, 647 College St. ~Funk; 0$
*9:30-2> The All Nighters open jam @ Lola, 40 Kensington Ave.
9:30> Kite Trio @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W. ~Jazz; $
10> The Dreamboats @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W.
10> Bellwether 4 @ Tranzac Club (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave. TO ~Jazz
10-2> Jerry McCabe Duo @ The Hideout, 423 College St.
*10-2> Blues-Rock jam with Al Webster Band @ Grossman’s, 379 Spadina Ave. TO
*10:30> The LMT Connection @ Orbit Room, 580 College St. TO ~Funk/R&B; $10
416 – TORONTO EAST
6> Aimee Mann; Jonathan Coulton @ The Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave. ~contemporary original; $
*7:30-10:30> The BTBs @ Relish, 2152 Danforth Ave. ~Jazz; 0$
8> PSS presents “Improvised Creations” @ The Only Café, 972 Danforth Ave.
8> Thomas McCallum and Transfiguration Day; Blue Lobella @ Dora Keogh, 141 Danforth Ave. ~original Folk trio; $10
8> The Throwdown @ Linsmore Tavern, 1298 Danforth Ave. ~Funk; 0$
8:30-10:30> Fraz Milne Trio @ Castro’s, 2116 Queen St. E. ~acoustic Pop covers & originals
9> karaoke with Vance McCullough @ Firkin On Danforth, 2057 Danforth Ave.
*9:30> open stage with Nicola Vaughan @ Black Swan (downstairs), 154 Danforth Ave.
416 – TORONTO ETOBICOKE
7> L.A. Guns reunion tour with Phil Lewis & Tracii Guns; guests Diemonds; Born Again Sinners; more @ The Rockpile, 5555 Dundas St. W. ~contemporary original; $
8-1> Phil & John @ Timothy’s Pub, 344 Brown’s Line ~acoustic Pop covers & originals
*9-1> open mic with Daniel Gagnon @ The Old Sod, 2936 Bloor St. W.
9-12> Space Jazz jam with singer Meagan Luchko & guitarist Kevin Bolger & band with weekly guest @ Placebo Space, 2877 Lake Shore Blvd. W. ~Jazz; $5/pwyc
416 – TORONTO WEST
5-8> Mr. Rick solo @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave. ~Roots/Blues
6-8> The Layrite Boys @ Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave. ~Bluegrass; 0$
*6:30-9> Carl Bray & guest @ Fat City Blues, 890 College St. ~solo piano
7> Leanne Betasamosake Simpson; Ansley Simpson @ Drake Hotel Underground, 1150 Queen St. W. ~songwriters
7-11> Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboy; Lee Watson @ Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W. ~Rockabilly/Country/Roots-Rock
8> “Folk/Roots Writers In The Round” with Duane Rutter, Craig McEvoy, Bill Simms, Gillian Nicola @ The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave. ~songwriters; $10
8> Lydia Ainsworth @ The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St. W.
*8> MFA open mic @ Remix Lounge, 1305 Dundas St. W.
*8-11> Fraser/Daley @ Inter Steer, 357 Roncesvalles Ave. ~original Rootsy Blues
8-12> Jason James; Tyler Harp @ Junction City Music Hall, 2907 Dundas St. W. ~acoustic Pop covers & originals
**8:30-10:30> Hump Night Blues with Dave McManus, George Baumann, Cleave Anderson + special guest Tom Robertson @ On Cue Billiards, 349 Jane St. ~Blues
8:30> Amberwood; Basic White @ Smiling Buddha, 961 College St. ~indie; $
8:30> Paul DesLaurier Band @ Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. W. ~Blues-Rock originals; $30
8:30> Parker Abbott Trio; Gordon Hyland Group @ Burdock, 1184 Bloor St. W. ~original Jazz; $12
**9-12> Blues Night with Julian Fauth & guests @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave. ~original Juno-winning Blues
9> Noah Zacharin; Peter Boyd @ The Emmet Ray, 924 College St. ~songwriters; pwyc
9> Jonno Lightstone & Brian Katz @ Mezzetta, 681 St. Clair Ave. W. ~Jazz
9> Smileswithteeth; Southern Shores; Leucrocuta; Lillian King @ Smiling Buddha stage 2, 961 College St. ~indie; $
9> Kalyna Raken @ The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Ave. ~Roots/Blues
*9:30> Spy vs Sly vs Spy @ Reposado, 136 Ossington Ave. ~Jazz; 0$
9> Dead Flowers @ Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave. ~Rock/Top 40 covers; $10
*10> Tanya Philipovich & Lucas Stagg @ The Hole In The Wall, 2867 Dundas St. W. ~original Roots/Blues
*10:30> Luke Vajsar @ Motel Bar, 1235 Queen St. W. ~Jazz
*8am-1pm> buskers @ Cambridge Farmers’ Market, 40 Dickson St., Cambridge
*6-8:30> ukulele jam @ Idea Exchange, 5 Tannery St. E., Cambridge
7> Madison Ing @ Arena Bar & Grill, 96 Gordon St., Guelph
7:30> Celtic Session @ Penny Whistle, 2 Quebec St., Guelph
8-12> Song Circle acoustic jam @ Anaf Club 344, 32 Gordon St., Guelph
8> Foreign Resort; Glass Apple Bonzai; Slutmother @ Silence, 46 Essex St., Guelph ~indie; $
8> Matt Weidinger Band @ Lancaster Smokehouse, 574 Lancaster St. W., Kitchener
*8:30-11:30> The Gaes @ Churchill Arms, 355 Erb St. W., Waterloo ~Celtic
9> Kayla Luky and Marshall Veroni @ The Cornerstone, 1 Wyndham St. N., Guelph ~songwriter; $10
*9> jam with Mike Meacher & Nathan Bulla @ Argyle Arms, 210 King St. E., Cambridge
10> Scott Cairns @ Doogie & Pablo’s, 37 Wyndham St. N., Guelph
*10> Mike Todd @ The Duke, 33 Erb St., Waterloo
7> Kira Isabella; Old Dominion @ Peterborough Memorial Centre, 151 Lansdowne St. W., Peterborough ~contemporary original; $
*7-11> open jam with The Freacon Band @ The Beacon, 146 45th St., Wasaga Beach ~ Blues, Jazz; $5
8-12> Trent University student bands @ Black Horse Pub, 452 George St. N., Peterborough
8:30> S-Ka-Paid; Koty Kolter; King Create; MF Kujo; Kachinga @ The Spill, 414 George St. N., Peterborough ~original Hip Hop
*9-12:30> Josh Morgan & Mike Francis @ Donaleigh’s Irish Public House, 28 Dunlop St. E., Barrie ~acoustic Pop covers & originals
10> Denis The Night; The Panic @ The Garnet, 231 Hunter St. W., Peterborough
7> Doug Dale @ Simcoe Blues & Jazz, 926 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa
*8> open stage and karaoke with Eddy Culjak @ Boston Pizza, 20 Taunton Rd., Whitby
8-12> open mic night @ Fionn MacCool’s Ajax, 32 Kingston Rd. E. Ajax
*8-11> open mic @ Frank’s Pasta, 426 King St. E., Cobourg
*8-10:30> open mic jam with Marty Hepburn @ Ganaraska Hotel, 30 Ontario St., Port Hope
*10> Two For The Show @ Tartan Tavern, 555 Rossland Rd. E., Oshawa ~Pop Rock
*10> Emerson Ireland hosts open mic jam @ The Gryphon Pub, 114 Dundas St. E., Whitby
*7> open mic night with Tanya Joy Senior @ Col. McGrady’s Pub, 44 Brock St. W., Uxbridge
?*7> open mic with Matt Whittmann @ Red Door Gallery, 69 Main St. S., Georgetown
*8-12> open mic with Kevin Ker @ Unionville Arms, 189 Main St., Unionville
8> acoustic jam with Frank Logue @ Shepherd’s Crook, 86 Main St. S., Georgetown
*8:45> open mic jam with Matt Zady @ Magnums, 21 McMurchy Ave. N., Brampton
*9-1> open mic jam with Whiskey Birds @ Sweetz Lounge, 5289 Hwy 7, Woodbridge-Vaughan
*9:30> open mic with The Villagers @ Main’s Mansion, 144 Main St., Markham
*10-2> jam night with Switchbeat Trio @ Maguires, 284 Queen St. E., Brampton
7> Gina Horswood; Karen Morand @ Artword Artbar, 15 Colbourne St., Hamilton ~songwriters; $10
7:30> open mic with Keith Toms @ Staircase Bistro, 27 Dundurn St. N., Hamilton
*7:30> open mic with Brant Parker @ Donnelley’s Pub, 54 Front St., Thorold ~eclectic
**8-1> Boogie N Blues jam with Ian Andrews & Friends @ Corktown Pub, 175 Young St., Hamilton
8> The Astromen; The Skiffs @ This Ain’t Hollywood, 345 James St. N., Hamilton ~indie; $
*8> Brad James @ Thirsty Cactus, 2 King St. E., Dundas ~Country
8> Terrie Petrie & band hosts Country Wednesdays @ Pub Fiction, 1242 Garner Rd. W., Ancaster ~Country
*8:30> Something Country @ The Endzone, 1900 King St. E., Hamilton ~Country
9> Singalong with Judy Marsales @ Coach & Lantern, 384 Wilson St E., Hamilton ~Rock/Top 40
*9> open mic with Alfie Smith @ L’Etranger on James, 109 James St. N., Hamilton
8> Dead Boys 40th anniversary of Young Loud and Snotty album performance; guests Arson; The Noble Savages @ Casbah Lounge, 306 King St. W., Hamilton ~Punk; $25
*10> Jazz jam @ Cat N Fiddle Hamilton, 174 John St., S., Hamilton
10:30> Adam Cooke & Adam Ostrosser @ Gallagher’s Bar, 69 Augusta St., Hamilton
*4:30> Adam Cooke @ SB Prime, 380 Brant St., Burlington
*7> open mic with Gillian Nicola @ Copper Kettle Waterdown, 312 Dundas St. E., Waterdown
7> Rob Reed @ Max Resto Lounge, 2180 Itabashi Way, Burlington
*8> open mic with Jim Italiano @ Club 54, 3345 Harvester Rd., Burlington
8> jam with The Grindstones @ American House, 324 Dundas St. E., Waterdown
*8:30> The Carson Freeman Diversion @ Shore Grill, 71 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~Pop Rock
9-1> Kevin Reid and the Dedbeats @ Roc’n Doc’s, 105 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~Rock/Pop; $
9-1> Shelley Budd & Friends songwriters showcase @ Moonshine Café, 137 Kerr St., Oakville ~songwriters; $5
*9> open mic with Michael Zane @ Shakers Oakville, 589 Kerr St., Oakville
9> Pineapple Girls; Dog Cops; Rival Town; The Jesse James Medicine Show; Jake Heise @ The Dickens, 423 Elizabeth St., Burlington ~indie
Listings 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.
Copyright © 2017 Gary “17” Webb-Proctor & TorontoMoon.ca. All Rights Reserved