Month: August 2012

Eaglewood Festival: Sweet Summer Music

Once again, Eaglewood Folk Festival provided a place to engage with live music in many ways. In addition to 2+ days of concerts and workshop stages (Susie Vinnick, The 24th Street Wailers, The Strumbellas, The Bombadils, Danny Michel, and Steve Poltz just a few of the inspiring artists who performed) there was a songwriting tent and two open stages.


In the songwriting tent, I gleaned some good advice from Steve Poltz and Keith & Renee about the songwriting process. Knowing you are writing for, knowing yourself, discipline and banishing the spectre of writer’s block were just a few of the themes that performers and festival-goers explored.

The Saturday acoustic open stage was hosted by the oh-so-welcoming Shaman Ayerhart. It was such a popular event that there was only time for one song each and it still went half an hour over time. There were familiar faces from other years (including Shaman’s parents) as well as some lovely surprises. I wish I knew who the spoken word performer was – he only went by the handle “IF” – he blew our socks off with his poetry and presence. A second opportunity to play the little stage in the woods was offered on Sunday afternoon.


The icing on the cake for an already full and fulfilling Saturday was the late night campfire. Hours slipped by like minutes as we went around and around, sharing old favourites, originals, accompanied by the occasional train passing through (often at very fitting moments). It was hard to pull ourselves away from such great company and music, but the promise of one more day of music at Eaglewood was the incentive to get a few hours of sleep. As we wove our way back through the dark paths we heard strains of music playing, saw glimpses of other fires through the trees.

Thanks, Eaglewood, for weaving some musical magic.

Callisto with Shaman Ayerhart on the dobro

Venue: Trane Studio, Toronto

I ventured into the big smoke for some food and fun and thought I’d check out “Liberty Wednesday” at the Trane Studio on Bathurst. The Trane Studio  is better known as a jazz club, but Wednesday evenings are dedicated to an open mic and songwriter jam hosted by Noah Zacharin.







I was surprised at the number of cover tunes for something billed as a songwriter jam. Alex (who was very helpful and kept the room supplied with beverages) explained that this jam has been at the Trane Studio since January when it moved from the Liberty Café; start time is 8 pm and it keeps going until they run out of performers. Seek out host Noah to get your name on the list. You can perform alone but I would recommend availing yourself of the very proficient house band (bass, drums, accordion, keyboard, guitar).

I liked the feel of the place, the exposed brick wall, the larger than life picture of John Coltrane (who is the inspiration for the venue’s name); however, how to sign up or join in could have been a little clearer for those of us visiting for the first time.

[Liberty Wednesday at the Trane Studio, 964 Bathurst St, Toronto; every Wednesday 8 pm – ?]