Month: February 2012

Venue: Campfire Sessions at the Cornerstone Café, Guelph

Nothing like a campfire singalong to chase away the winter blahs. This particular campfire consists of a tray full of candles in the middle of a café in downtown Guelph. As the name suggests, the songs are mostly of the 2 & 3 chord variety, well known lyrics or a chorus that everyone can join in on – and plenty of CanCon (Neil Young & Stan Rogers alongside Dan Mangan & Rheostatics) This event seems to attract more than your average musicians and boasts a good range of instruments – banjo, mandolin, ukulele, trumpet all joined the ever present guitar choir.

This is the 6th year of the Campfire Sessions. Hosts Greg and Mark set the relaxed, friendly tone. Players included visitors from Nova Scotia and a lovely cameo from two of the café’s staff. This appears to be a well loved local event – the place was packed and everyone was there for the music.


Not a sleepy summer campfire, this is a high energy acoustic jam. Be prepared to really belt it out to be heard over the enthusiastic accompaniment – or sing a song the guitar players don’t know : )

[Campfire Sessions, Cornerstone Café, 1 Wyndham St N, Guelph; 3rd Sunday Nov – April; 9 pm – 1 am]


Take the Mic: What Brings You Here?

Here is a post from songwriter and music publisher Jack Cooper from a songwriting social media group:

“Hey, here’s a songwriterly question I though I might throw out here. What do you go looking for when you visit song circles/open stages? When I first started going out to open stages regularly ’bout twenty years ago, it was mostly for the performing experience- how to perform under a ton of different conditions and before both supportive and non-supportive audiences.
This evolved over the years to where the main benefit I derive from doing originals at circles and open stages is for editing. You know those twinges you get when you sing something that doesn’t feel quite right? I would note those and revise parts of the lyrics/music that makes me flinch.”

So – where are you on the spectrum of reasons to come out and play? What’s your motivation? What do you take away with you?

Laura Bird at the Elora Acoustic Café

This week’s Elora Acoustic Café was a real treat! An open stage full of talent, a birthday celebration and Orangeville singer-songwriter, Laura Bird, topping the evening off as featured performer. Despite the snow there was a great line-up an appreciative audience.

Here is a highlight of the open stage captured on video: Pam Davies singing Misty Blue with Nick Gush and Rein Rutnik

[Elora Acoustic Café, 75 Melville St, Elora; once/month on a Friday 8 – 11 pm, sign up 7:15; $5 cover; check FB page for schedule:]

Venue: Mill Race Folk Club Singaround, Cambridge ON

Needing an antidote to a weekend filled with minor sports and arena vibes I headed to Cambridge for the Mill Race Folk Club Singaround. The Singaround is just one branch of a thriving tree full of music events supported by the Mill Race Folk Society. Every August Cambridge draws thousands of guests to the Mill Race Festival of Traditional Folk Music. There is a concert series at Café 13 (up next is the Saturday Saints on February 24th) and English Music Sessions at the Golden Kiwi.

Although the Mill Race Folk Society is primarily interested in traditional folk music, the Saturday night Singaround welcomes any (acoustic) genres. Ballads, Beatles and blues all had their time in the spotlight with a few original compositions for good measure. Barry Cull was our host for the evening, a responsibility that has rotated through different members since the group began meeting in January 1994. The atmosphere is low key and relaxed.  For more info about the Mill Race events and upcoming Singaround dates visit their website:

[Mill Race Folk Club Singaround, 4 Veteran’s Way, corner of Ainslie & Walnut, Cambridge; usually every other Saturday 8 – 11 pm, $3 cover]

House Concert: Annabelle Chvostek

Using mandolin, fiddle, guitar, percussion and her captivating voice, Annabelle Chvostek delivered a fabulous evening of music and stories. Listeners braved snow and ice to be a part of this exquisite experience.  As a treat, instead of just describing the music I have a video clip of one of the songs she performed. Enjoy!

To learn more about hosting a house concert visit Acoustic Roof.