Blustery weather and a new location might have kept people away from the Elora Acoustic Café this week – but that’s not what happened. A room full of attentive listeners turned up for the monthly event on February 13th. Thanks to EAC founder and host, Steve Royall, the tradition started at the Elora Centre for the Arts almost six years ago continues at the Centre Wellington Museum & Archives.
I still can’t say what predicts the success of an open mic, but the Elora Acoustic Café has a loyal following, a welcoming host, a good sounding room, and a great feature performer to round out the evening. There were many Elora-Fergus regulars, but audience members and performers also came from further afield, driving through the snow from Guelph, KW, Georgetown and Toronto.
The calibre of the open mic is definitely a draw. The majority of those who performed two songs at the open mic would clearly have been able to do a feature set. In fact, most of the performers left me wishing I could hear more of them.
This month’s feature was Frog & Henry, aka Rich Burnett and Dave Neigh. Both are multi-instrumentalists and seasoned performers. Rich (also a songwriter par excellence) played resonator guitar and percussion while singing tunes from the 1930s. Dave played fiddle/banjo while simultaneously providing a tuba bass line (valves operated with his feet). In addition, Rich called for “intermittent Rein” in the musical forecast, Rein Rutnik joining them on harmonica for several songs.
A bonus for last night’s crowd was the show “My Story My Tattoo”, currently being curated at the Museum. At the break, folks could peruse photographs and personal stories of local inked skin artistry.
The one drawback of such a popular event: it’s sometimes hard to accommodate all the potential open mic participants. If you don’t arrive early, the list is likely to be full.
[Elora Acoustic Café, Wellington County Museum & Archives, 0536 Wellington Road 18, Aboyne; usually the 2nd Friday of the month – check the EAC website to confirm; $5 cover]