Month: February 2016

Venue: The Ridge Social Eatery, Roseville

Some of the nicest venues are tucked away in little hamlets. The Ridge Social Eatery is in Roseville, a The Ridge Songwriters nightcommunity about 10 minutes south of Kitchener. It boasts a gourmet menu, a roster of craft beers, and friendly staff to serve you.


The Ridge Open Mic has a relaxed atmosphere, hosted by Dennis Napper, who is also willing to collaborate if you happen to need some bass or guitar. If you arrive at 6:00 pm (the time on the poster) you’ll have time to settle in, eat, have a drink before the music gets started sometime between 7:00 and 8:00. And although it is billed as a Songwriters Night, covers are welcome.


Watch for news from Dennis about his new live music venue opening in Kitchener this spring: Rhapsody Barrel Bar.

[The Ridge Social Eatery,3215 Roseville Road, Ayr; Tuesdays 6-10 pm]

Venue: Acoustic Song Circle at the Orange Bistro, Orangeville

IMG_7853I had the opportunity to visit a brand new acoustic jam in Orangeville. Nando, owner of the Orange Café, seemed to really enjoy the music and his son was the by far the youngest (and bravest) participant. Hosted by Mark Ostrowski, the format is that of a song circle: everybody gets a chance to lead and this moves around the circle evenly. Once a song gets going, people join in with harmonies, instrumental breaks, whatever the song calls for. There were plenty of proficient musicians there, making it a lot of fun.

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The menu includes a fresh pasta bar and local brews on tap.

This was just the second time the group had come together. The plan is to have an acoustic jam the third Thursday of every month; check the Orangeville Live Music Scene website to confirm the next date.  And – one good thing leads to another – I learned about an open mic that will be happening in Acton starting this spring/summer. Details to follow!

[Acoustic Song Circle, Orange Bistro, 20 Dawson Road, Orangeville; third Thursday of the month (usually); no cover]

Elora Acoustic Café at the Wellington County Museum

IMG_20160212_212502Blustery 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.

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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.

Frog & Henry

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.IMG_20160212_190149

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]