Even non-smokers like Big Tobacco when it’s packaged like this
Although the “Big Tobacco” group of companies who produce and sell cigarettes have been much reviled over the years from the consequences of use of their vile and addictive product, you won’t hear too many people denouncing the band that’s given the brand a very different face.
For the past six years Big Tobacco & The Pickers has been delighting fans of Country music with its lively, very dance-friendly versions of classic Country tunes interspersed with originals that make you want to own a Stetson and spurs.
The six-piece band, which has mostly very working class and rural roots, and includes a member, pedal steel player Anne Werbitzky, who actually picked tobacco leaves in the fields of Tillsonburg in her younger days, has a legion of fans who throng to hear them the second Saturday of every month when they appear at Cameron House.
They also regularly fill the joint when they perform at Dakota Tavern (249 Ossington Ave. a spit north of Dundas St. West), as they do tonight starting at 9 p.m.
Two high-energy vocalists and guitar players (Jamie Oliver and Jason Blanchard) are augmented by Werbitzky and keyboardist Blaine McKenzie and anchored by ace rhythm section Jay Mallany on bass (and backup vocals) and Derek Simpson on the kit. All those voices and strings make for some pretty interesting musical colourations and ensure that Big Tobacco delivers rich, smooth flavour every time.
With tunes by Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, George Jones and many other Country legends in their repertoire, as well as clutch of originals that have been recorded on a 2010 self-titled album, this group will satisfy longtime fans of the genre as well as giving a pretty good first impression of it to young folks who’ve never heard it delivered with such force and delight.
The night I went to check them out for myself, when they appeared at Rock ‘n’ Horse Saloon back in March (as a 5-piece, since there was no room on stage for the keyboard) I overheard one young lady at a nearby table say to her friend, “I never realized Country music was so much fun!” She and her friends were among those who also jammed the dance floor both during the set and as a dj spun similar tunes for the avid line dancers in the house.
There will be a cover for tonight’s show and while the club’s website doesn’t specify how much it shouldn’t be more than $10 –well worth it to be in an intimate space with such a lively group of Country Boogie players.
-Gary 17, www.torontomoon.ca
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.
3pm> Kevin Jollimore stars as Elvis in “Elvis and Dick” @ Tarragon Theatre Mainspace, 30 Bridgman Ave, Toronto, TO ~musical theatre; $10
*4-6> Hogtown Syncopators @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz
4-8> Glen Gary & Three For Four @ Flying Beaver Pubaret, 488 Parliament St., TO ~Bkyes/Jazz/Folk; $
*5-8> Kensington Kitchen Party with host Kevin Jollimore of Sin City Boys & guest musicians @ Graffiti’s, 170 Baldwin St., TO ~Pop Rock with heart
*5-7> open mic with The Foolish Things @ Tranzac Club (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave., TO ~original Pop
*5-7> Ronnie Hayward Trio @ Castro’s, 2116 Queen St. E.. TO E. ~Blues/Roots
5-8> Elizabeth Martins Jazz Trio @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Jazz
5:30> Rick & Gailie @ Black Horse Pub, 452 George St. N., Peterborough
6> Ken Yoshioka @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO ~Blues
6-8> Melissa Payne @ The Red Garnet, 231 Hunter St. W., Peterborough ~Country songwriter
6:30> Sara Dell @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz
7:30> Taste of Lawrence with Still Sunday (outside) & The Hip Kings (inside) @ The Loaded Dog, 1921 Lawrence Ave. E., Scarborough
7:30> Ginger Grey @ Tranzac Club (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave., TO
8> Patrick Brealey @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen Street West, TO
*8-1> karaoke @ RCL #312, 112 Hunt St., Ajax
8> The Weber Brothers @ Moonshine Café, 137 Kerr St., Oakville ~modern/original Blues; $15
8:30> Ralph Clarke & Jonesin’ @ Free Times Café, 320 College St., TO ~indie Rock; $6
8:30> Dave & Phil Alvin with The Guilty Ones @ Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. W., TO West ~Blues; $30/-
9> Diesel Dog album release @ Linsmore Tavern, 1298 Danforth Ave., TO East ~original Country/Bluegrass
9> Big Tobacco & The Pickers feat. Anne Webitzky on pedal steel @ Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave., TO W. ~Country with a twist
9-1> open jam with Kimberley & Co. featuring Dave Girdlestone of Soul Funkshun @ Gator Ted’s, 1505 Guelph Line, Burlington
9> Stonetrotter @ C’est What, 67 Front St. E., TO
9-1> Tevlin Swing Band @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Jazz
9> Root Magic @ Dora Keogh, 141 Danforth Ave., TO East ~
9-1> Topper @ Monarchs Pub in Eaton Chelsea Hotel, 33 Gerrard St. W., TO ~classic Rock
9-1> Fleetwood Mix @ Legends On The Queensway, 1184 The Queensway, Etobicoke South ~Fleetwood Mac tribute; $5
9> Cutler Boyd Band @ The Corral, 433 Simcoe St. S., Oshawa ~Country
9-1> Out Of Date Website @ Oscar’s Roadhouse, 1785 Queen St. E., Bramp. ~stupidity Rock
*9:30> The Trollblazers @ Relish, 2152 Danforth Ave., TO East ~alt Pop originals and covers
9:30> Strictly Sabbath @ McGradie’s, 2167 Victoria Park Ave., Scarb. ~Black Sabbath tribute
9:30> Nancy B Band @ Timothy’s Pub, 344 Brown’s Line, Etob. S. ~Pop Rock/Top 40
9:30> Fleetwood Nicks @ Seven44, 744 Mount Pleasant Blvd., TO North ~tribute to Fleetwood Mac & Tom Petty
9:30> Taste of Lawrence The Hip Kings (inside) @ The Loaded Dog, 1921 Lawrence Ave. E., Scarborough
9:30> Keynotes @ Stone Cottage Pub, 3750 Kingston Rd., Scarborough ~Pop Rock
9:30> John Ferreira @ Shore Grill, 71 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~Pop Rock/Top 40
9:30> David Love Band feat. Darrell McNeill @ Jake’s Boathouse Brampton, 59 First Gulf Rd., Brampton ~60s Pop Rock
9:30> Dueling Divas @ Shakers, 580 Kerr St., Oakville
9:30> Train Wreck @ Black Swan Pub Burlington, 4040 Palladium Way, Burlington
9:30> Scott Malachi Greenidge @ The Sip Club, 91 Wyndham St. N., Guelph ~Blues
9:30> Lindsay Barr @ Black Horse Pub, 452 George St. N., Peterborough
9:45> Duncan Hopkins Group @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz
9:45> The Dirty Martinis feat. Alana Bridgewater @ Reservoir Lounge, 52 Wellington St. E., TO ~Jazz/Blues
10-2> Cameltoe @ Southside Johnny’s, 3653 Lakeshore Blvd. W., Etobicoke South ~classic & contemp. Rock
10-2> Rockin’ A Hard Place feat. Andrew Walsh & James Alcock @ Centro Pizza, 3406 Kingston Rd., Scarborough ~classic Rock
10> Ken Yoshioka Band feat. Dave McManus on bass @ The Hole In The Wall, 2867 Dundas St. W., TO West ~Blues
10> Dave Murphy Band @ Orbit Room, 480 College St. TO ~R&B/Funk/Rock
10> Kayla Howran @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen Street West, TO ~Country
10> The Bonus Numbers; Hollow Hills @ Tranzac Club (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave., TO
10-2> Jackhammer @ Fionn MacCool’s Ajax, 36 Kingston Rd., E., Ajax ~Pop Rock/Top 40
10-2> Hot Rocks @ Roc’n Doc’s, 105 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~Stones tribute
10> Rod Standish Band does Led Zeppelin II and Black Sabbath’s Paranoid live @ Taps Brewery, 4680 Queen St., Niagara Falls
10:30> tba @ The Hideout, 484 Queen St. W., TO ~indie Rock
10:30> Alun Piggins and the Pidsadneys @ The Press Club, 850 Dundas St. W., TO ~indie Roots-Rock
10:30> Killin’ Time @ The Dickens, 423 Elizabeth St., Burlington ~Pop Rock
Copyright © 2014 Toronto Moon Magazine. All Rights Reserved