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Old 01-22-2009, 05:52 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 15,595
Default Trip & Show report-Hugh's

Toronto – Saturday January 17, 2009
Hugh’s Room – The Way We Feel – A Celebration Of Gordon Lightfoot music
Year 7

2nd nite of 3

Well it seems like forever since I saw a ‘tribute’ show! Last year I was to attend but unfortunate circumstances prevented me from getting to Toronto. I’d been in attendance every year since they began in January 2003 until missing the shows last year.
I think I’ve seen at least 12 of 24 at Hugh’s and another 2 of the shows east of Toronto in Port Hope and Whitby.
It’s been fabulous to have Jenney and Dan and Nanci come in for the shows and Ron Jones and Kenyon too.
Hi-lite nights were when Lightfoot himself were in attendance of course. A whole new world of marvelous talent came into my life since that first night back in 2003. I adore Jory, Aengus and David – three of the sweetest young men in the world.
Every show had a different dynamic and energy. The amazing catalogue of Lightfoot songs allows for a huge variety of styles and interpretations from the artists every year so the evenings are full of surprises.
From these shows my music library has expanded and I have seen many of the artists performing their own songs in different venues around the GTA. I’ve even flown to CT and driven with Jenney to a beautiful cabin in New Jersey, meeting up with John, Susan and Billyboy to enjoy Aengus, Jory and Terry Tufts perform!

As always I am very proud of the initiative that Aengus and Jory took to start up these celebrations prior to Lightfoot falling ill back in 2002. These shows are a cherished annual tradition and a huge part of the Lightfoot legacy.

Lisa and I headed into the city on the GO train on Saturday afternoon. It was snowing a bit with a light spray of ice rain as we walked out of the subway station at Yonge/Dundas. We would be staying downtown after the show and dropped off our baggage, freshened up and headed back to the subway for the trip to Hugh’s Room.

There was a show the night planned for Friday night and I wondered if it had even happened as the whole area where Hugh’s Room is located had experienced a massive blackout and although some power had been restored I wasn’t sure about Hugh’s Room. I couldn’t stop thinking about poor Jory trying to sort things out with all the performers and 250 people with reservations for dinner and show if there wasn’t any power! Having yet another sleepless night I had e-mailed him at 5:00 a.m. and then gone back to bed. It seems sweet Jory was awake at that time as well and I found his reply when I awoke.
He told me that Hugh’s did have power even tho the places across the street were still in black! Jory was up at that time working on the set list for Saturday night and being the darling perfectionist that he is!

We entered Hugh’s and I immediately felt that all was well with the world! It is a great intimate space to see live music. We were seated, ordered our dinners and sat back to watch as some of the performers did last minute tunings and sound checks.
CBC radio was recording the evening for broadcast on March 31 so it was going to be an extra special evening for sure! (more details to follow)

The multi-talented David Newland came over to say HI and chat and as usual he was looking oh so handsome. Back in 2007 I mentioned in my report that he and Aengus were discussing fashion prior to the show and again this evening we talked of their foray out to the stores that afternoon to find the perfect tie for David to wear and some new duds for Aengus! Too funny and adorable!

David gave me a lovely gift as well..a full print out of all the 70th Birthday wishes for Lightfoot that were posted at the CANOE site last November. Also included was a copy of the cover letter he sent along with the same printouts for Lightfoot! So sweet and thoughtful…I loved it David!

I always look forward to David as emcee – he truly has a gift as a speaker with a command of the language that amazes me every year. He makes it look so darned easy to be up there.

After dinner I wandered up to the bar/front door area and there was Jory looking oh so adorable in his new hat! He loves his hats for sure and wears them well. He had on what he called his “John Hartford” look – hat, a dark vest with white shirt under it-tails hanging loose..cute, cute, cute! We chatted for only a short time because he was doing a million things including keeping watch for a special guest…

I had a chance to talk with Rick Fines as well and catch up on what he’d been up to and his Musicians In Schools programme that he participates in. Next week he heads off to the far north!

Then I had a few moments with dear Aengus..the last time I saw him his hair was VERY long and tonight it was shorter than I ever remember. He looked wonderful and said he’d be joining the finale so I was happy about that. Any time I can hear Aengus sing is a good time.

Finnan's songs remember what was forgotten, restore what was lost and redeem what might have been."
~ David Newland.

The show started just after 8:30 with David recounting how they came to be and that Jory and Aengus conceived of them before Lightfoot fell ill in September 2002.

The first performer was Jason Fowler (also a member of the house band) who does a most sublime rendition of “I’ll Tag Along.” (and we all know what THAT song means to me!)
Jason has the most beautiful collection of guitars and plays and sings so effortlessly. He recounted the story of working in a Toronto music store where Lightfoot bought strings and how Lightfoot would boil strings to clean them back in the old days. Jason had given Lightfoot his CD and a few days later he got a call from Lightfoot asking him to transfer it to cassette because he didn’t have a CD player! Jason did that and Lightfoot returned to the store with a page full of notes about the CD that Jason wishes Gord had given to him.
His next song “In My Fashion” was poignant to Jason who now finds himself being a parent/homeowner/adult.

David introduced the band – Anne Lindsay on fiddle,
Brent Titcomb – percussion - http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.c...=U1ARTU0003429 ,
David Woodhead on bass,
and David Matheson on keyboard,
with Jason Fowler on guitar.

The next performer was the son of Brent Titcomb.

Liam Titcomb met Lightfoot while working at the same music store that Jason Fowler once worked. He sang Summer Side of Life – always a song that makes me listen to every word as if I’ve never heard it before.
After the song, Lightfoot, Bernie Fiedler and his lady friend came in and sat down a few tables from me and Lisa. It was heart-warming to know that he had once again felt compelled to attend one of these wonderful shows.
Liam continued with Sundown and the audience sang along. I really enjoyed his two songs and the choices were perfect for his voice and style. He stayed pretty true to the Lightfoot versions. You can see videos of Liam Titcomb songs at his website to get an idea for yourself.

David then did a ‘re-do’ of the house band intro because of a tech problem during the first take..

David Matheson sang “Talking In Your Sleep.” He has such a great voice and like Liam he didn’t stray from the Lightfoot version.
He told us of listening with headphones on to Lightfoot’s “Lightfoot” album as a 5 year old.
Song number two was “Steel Rail Blues.”

Cadence – a 4 man a cappella group. Marvelous harmonies and some amazing sounds during their songs!
Their first tune was a real oldie – “Oh Linda”
The crowd clapped along – including Lightfoot.
I’m sure it was something he took great interest in seeing as he used to be in a Barbershop Quartet as a young fellow.
One of the members told the story of how Lightfoot very nearly ended his parents’ relationship in its early stages. It seems ‘mum’ was a huge Lightfoot fan and had only Lightfoot records. For their first Christmas together his father gave his mum a Moody Blues album and a Don McLean album with a note that said ‘there’s more to music than just Lightfoot!” Happily they stayed stayed together!
They asked us to guess which song they were doing next as they stretched sheet music across the stage..of course it was CRT!! and the next several minutes was one of the most astounding acts I’ve witnessed at any of the Tribute shows. Cadence sang, they became trains with whistles and harmonicas, the voices and sounds they made were amazing and it was certainly the most unique version of CRT any of us will ever hear.
I’m sure, like me there were audience members who were amazed yet ambivalent about their take on CRT.
They changed ‘navvies’ to ‘ploughboys’ but I have no idea why.

David mentioned the link of barbershop singing to Lightfoot and his award from The Barbershop Society in 2006.

more to come..
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:52 PM   #2
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Up next in their third visit to the shows was DALA.
Two young ladies with the sweetest voices and harmonies.
With one on guitar (almost as big as she was) and one on the keyboard they broke our hearts with “Home From The Forest”.
They said of the next song that they had come to love the lonely person in it. They performed “Go Go Round” with just keyboard and vocal. And again they took our breath away. And it certainly seemed that Lightfoot was entranced.

Ken Whiteley is a Canadian gospel/blues performer who is well known with the Hugh’s Room patrons.
He was having a ‘cable’ issue so he told a quick story about seeing Sly and The Family Stone way back in the day up at Mosport, north of Toronto. 50,000 stoned out people. Years later he saw Sly again and Sly had been having some big problems in his life and a cable problem he now calls his own technical problems his “Sly Stone Syndrome”.
Back in the mid to late 60’s he saw Lightfoot at a place in Toronto called Gates of Cleave. He also got an autograph and a flatpick that he taped into his scrap book. He remembered David Rea and his guitar licks as well.
And then he launched into a blues version of “That’s What You Get For Lovin’ Me”. omigoodness it was fabulous.
The ladies of DALA and Brent Titcomb came onstage to assist with “Cold On The Shoulder.” It was a lot of fun to watch Ken become so immersed in the songs..Wonderful!
And again it seemed that Lightfoot was really enjoying it too.

Jory Nash was next, looking adorable and telling us that he usually allows all the performers to pick their songs first and then he chooses his two. This year his first song was one that hasn’t been done at any previous shows. In this song Lightfoot swears and Jory, as a young lad listening to it was amazed that there was swearing in a song. He thought that was what the schoolyard was for! ”Lightfoot taught me to swear!” he exclaimed.
And then he sang “The Watchman’s Gone” while we all listened for ‘washing the bullshit down’.
oh yeah – Jory sang ‘twenty one coaches THIN’ for those who are wondering about that lyric.
He told us that he put his foot down about his next song, proclaiming it as ‘his’ to perform.
Then while Lightfoot cupped his chin in his hands and listened, Jory sweetly sang “If You Could Read My Mind.”
As usual, I wished that he’d go on singing…

And then Jory told us that Lightfoot was in the house and was going to sing a song..oh my.
The place went crazy as Lightfoot made his way to the stage, picked up Jory’s guitar and sang “Song For A Winter’s Night” as a light snow was falling over Toronto.
I managed to get almost all of it on video.
When it was over he dashed back to his seat as we all stood for a prolonged ovation.
It was beyond amazing.

The first half of the evening was over, the lights went up and I headed over to say HI to Lightfoot and Bernie Fiedler.
As I walked to their table Lightfoot looked up and saw me. He did a little double wave with both hands and smiled. He showed no fear. LOL
There were hugs and hello’s for me and Lisa from Lightfoot, Bernie and his lovely ladyfriend who we’ve met several times over the last few years. I asked Gordon about seeing him in Niagara Falls this year but alas he will not be rolling down the hiway to the Fallsview Casino. Darn! We chatted for a short time only as there were others wishing to speak with him and after a quick picture we spent some time with Bernie. Gordon did tell me that he was in receipt of the medium sized T-shirt I sent along after discovering in Buffalo last September that the large was indeed too large for him!
At previous shows when he showed up he didn’t spend time with any of the folks in the audience so it was great that he did this time and he seemed to be really enjoying it.
The break went quickly and the lights soon dimmed.

David Newland was back on stage and before resuming the emcee duties he sang “Carefree Highway” in a slower, more melancholy way that made me feel how lonely and down the traveler was.

Anne Lindsay (plays with Blue Rodeo/Jim Cuddy) performed a violin solo of “Softly.” As lovely and romantic as it was I couldn’t tell it was Softly.
She then sang “The Way I Feel” in a soft, slow blues tempo. It was really quite lovely. Everyone was entranced.

Another young fellow was up next – Royal Wood sat on a stool, played guitar and sang “Sit Down Young Stranger.” It was so quiet as he sang the words that sadly are still so poignant after all these years. He received a huge ovation and said “thank you, I didn’t write it.”
His next song was one I hadn’t heard at the shows before (or at least I don’t remember) - “Cobwebs and Dust.”
Royal has a wonderful quality in his voice, perfect for performing Lightfoot songs.
I’ll be watching for any shows nearby that I can get to.

A duo was the next act.
The Undesirables.
Apparently they have been banned from returning the U.K. for 10 years. It seems they are two young lads who enjoy life to the fullest!
One of them said that Lightfoot music made him think of breakfast because his mum would always put on Lightfoot albums on Saturday mornings while making breakfast of eggs and bacon. “Lightfoot reminds me of bacon! – BACON!”
And then Lightfoot himself yelled out from his seat - “Canadian!”
Everyone broke up laughing..
The boys then sang Shadows. One on guitar singing background and the other singing lead. They were both very emotive with body language and facial expressions.
Before singing “Cotton Jenney” the guitar player told the story of his grandmother who always told him that Lightfoot wrote it about her.
Her name was Jenney Cotton.

Oh Susanna came up with Ken Whitely on banjo and Anne Lindsay on fiddle and performed “Old Dan’s Records” and then “Early Morning Rain.”
She had a lovely voice and the songs were definitely country/bluegrass in style.

Rick Fines then stepped up and recounted the story of his mum taking him to see Lightfoot when he was a young boy at home in Peterborough, Ontario, about an hour east of my place here in Whitby.
Mum took Rick backstage with a couple of albums she wanted autographed but they were stopped by security telling them that Mr. Lightfoot was not seeing anyone or autographing anything.
To which Mrs. Fines replied, “Oh don’t be silly! We’re family!” And they were then led backstage to meet Lightfoot who did indeed sign both albums. Rick’s mum said to Rick as they left “I should have brought all the albums!”
Rick said his mum taught him not to lie but at times it was okay!
He sang his amazing version of “Bossman” and then did “Ribbon of Darkness.” He has recorded ROD on one of his own CD’s.
As many times as I’ve seen him he still astounds me with not only his take on these Lightfoot tunes but all of his own material. And he’s a hell of a nice guy.
This time around I was happy to meet his very pretty wife. I’ll be watching for a Rick Fines show near me in the future.

Lori Cullen has one of the happiest personas in the world. She’s recorded a couple of Lightfoot tunes on her own CD’s and makes them her own. She told us that Lightfoot was making 25 bucks a play off her CD’
Before she started singing she exclaimed “Gord did my song!” She then spoke to Lightfoot telling him that he had done ‘her’ song! But she would still do it and that she had changed some of the melody and that he was gonna make a lot of money tonight! Lightfoot was laughing at it all.
Before singing that tune she sang a jazz styled “Rainy Day People” and then she did SFAWN that Gord had done earlier and was accompanied by DALA.

David issued Thank you’s to all at Hugh’s Room, to all of the performers, to all those behind the scenes in Lightfoot’s career and those who have left us and especially thanks to Gordon Lightfoot!
The finale of the show included Aengus Finnan and all performers singing “Rich Man’s Spiritual” with the audience in full voice as well.

Throughout the whole show Lightfoot was completely engrossed in each performance, clapping along, laughing and applauding after each song. It was amazing to sit only a few tables away and see him enjoy the love and respect that filled that room.

Most of the performers then lined up as if at a wedding reception to speak to Lightfoot, shake his hand, get an autograph. It was lovely to watch. He was having a grand old time!

I got a chance for good-byes with Gordon and Bernie, snapped some pics with Jory, Aengus and David and then headed out in the early morning snow to the subway around 1 a.m.

Lightfoot was still inside Hugh’s Room listening to people tell him “the way they feel.”
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:07 PM   #3
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pics:Sat.Jan.17,09 (NOT 2008 as noted in subject line)
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:15 PM   #4
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pics:Sat.Jan.17,09 (NOT 2008 as noted in subject line)
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:25 PM   #5
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pics:Sat.Jan.17,2009 (NOT 2008 as noted in subject line)
NIGHT TWO report to come!
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:09 PM   #6
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link to Lightfoot singing SFAWN:
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Old 01-23-2009, 12:19 AM   #7
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videos are taking forever to load onto YouTube!
here's the "Rich Man's Spiritual" FINALE from Saturday night..
the last two videos will be posted tomorrow!
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Old 01-23-2009, 12:21 AM   #8
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Old 01-23-2009, 02:53 AM   #9
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Default Re: Trip & Show

Nice report.

I love the Lightfoot SFAWN video. The modifying of the melody line to fit his current vocal range and the guitar interlude show a master at work.

Great stuff.

Thank you very much.
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:26 AM   #10
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Thank Gord for your memory and notes Char! I'd forgotten who sang what, just remembered how much I enjoyed the evening. Can't wait for the Sunday night report!
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:34 AM   #11
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Wow, what a memory! I'm proud of myself when I get a setlist right!

Thanks for the awesome report...
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:04 AM   #12
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it has nothing to do with memory! I take notes!
altho the last pages are harder to decipher after I've had a few glasses of merlot..
Here's Jory:
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:07 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by RM View Post
Nice report.

I love the Lightfoot SFAWN video. The modifying of the melody line to fit his current vocal range and the guitar interlude show a master at work.

Great stuff.

Thank you very much.
that's what Sparky and I said..well kinda like that..

Lightfoot had a bit of a time with the guitar being tuned a little higher than his - it was Jory's, but as you say he certainly worked it out.
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Old 01-23-2009, 02:28 PM   #14
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Kick, kick, kick, and kick one more time.

That's me kicking myself for missing out on that show and not being there to see all the friends together. I just can't believe it!

No nay never, no nay never no more will that happen again. Life is just getting too short for losing out on these kind of opportunities.

But Char you came through as you always do with bringing it to us here, and now with the added sweeties like being able to see it for real on the videos. Very well done and a thousand thank yous.

Adding to the post by RM it was so cool seeing Gord up there strutting out his ultimate professionalism in the way he negotiated his way around those high notes in "SFAWN" and bringing them out in perfect harmonic ones. He just turned that into gold. It's really a thrill to see that happen.

Guess the next project along the journey will be the Massey gigs in November, all being well. Cheers, RJ.
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Old 01-24-2009, 09:26 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by charlene View Post

The place went crazy as Lightfoot made his way to the stage, picked up Jory’s guitar and sang “Song For A Winter’s Night” as a light snow was falling over Toronto....It was beyond amazing.
Wonderful stuff, char!

I do imagine Richard was there and must have thought how his brother would have loved this moment

thank you Gord, thank you Jory, thank you Richard, thank you HUGH....thanks char

"Hugh was a lover of music, life and good friends. For many years he and his brother Richard talked about starting a folk club in Toronto. "Where can Connie Kaldor play in Toronto?!" was Hugh's lament. In the late 1990s Hugh and Richard started to get a little more serious about the possibilty of starting a room in Toronto. Unfortunately, Hugh was diagnosed with cancer in the fall of 1999 and passed away just 4 weeks later. His brother, Richard persevered and opened a club in April 2001. He named the club Hugh's Room, after his brother."

"In late November, we at the Mill Race Folk Society in Cambridge mourned the loss of one of our favourite visitors to our monthly sing- around. Hugh Ogilvy Carson passed away at the age of 49.

It's seven years ago now that we held our first Folk Club Singaround in "The Pit" at Ernies Roadhouse in Hespeler. We organizers were a little anxious and had no idea what to expect. Happily it was a good turnout and things were going well, when John Campbell and I announced that we should now sing Stan Roger's "Barrett's Privateers", and would anyone like to take the lead? Instantly from over in the corner a voice belted out "Oh the year was seventeen-seventy-eight..." Someone shuffled the words down to the singer, which apparently was unnecessary, the roof was raised and we all applauded ourselves heartily. This for most of us was our first introduction to the man who took the lead, Mr. Hugh Carson.

Turns out Hugh, who was a folkie from his youth, was a regular at Ernies and couldn't believe his good fortune when he heard that a folk-club meeting would be convening in his favourite pub. In the subsequent months and years he became a beloved regular and introduced us to many funny and poignant songs, most of which became legendary to us all. He seemed like a bit of a jester at first but as time went on we came to realize that this generous, friendly man with the big smile had an Honours B.A. in Anthropology from the U of T and was somewhat of a scholar of '60's folk-music. Also, he was a board-member and promoter of the Eaglewood Festival, which was the baby of his life-long friend Tim Harrison whom he of course introduced us to.

Our Hugh was there only for the joy and love of music and I'm sure that we never heard him say a negative thing about anyone, but was always lavish with his praise of other musicians. After a couple of years his lovely wife Mallory and two beautiful young daughters would often accompany him to the folk club, doing the occasional tune themselves. It was all very sweet.

In the last couple of years Hugh found himself working often on Saturday nights and we didn't see him enough. This past fall he was notably 'not there' and it came as a great shock to us all when we finally heard that he was in a losing battle with cancer.

We shall forget-him-not but release him from our lives, as we must, but he will stand as an inspiration to us all: that music is love; that folk music is for folks; that decency and kindness do not go unheeded; that we should live life to it's fullest for who knows what awaits us.

Farewell you Mudpuddle Sailor.
Thanks for the music and thanks for touching us with your joy of living."

ps) I used to go to Hugh's...but nobody goes there's too crowded (Y.B.)
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Old 01-24-2009, 10:26 AM   #16
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I read that story once in a while on the Hugh's Room site and think how thrilled he'd be about how the place has become such a gem for live roots/folk/blues music in the 8 years since he died..
thanks to Hugh and all who keep the dream alive.
missed ya JJ - I was hoping I'd see ya standing in the back..
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