I can honestly say I would not be where I'm at in my career right now if it wasn't for John Scoles, Times Change(d), the musicians and the fans and friends there. It's the hub and heart beat of an entire massive music and arts scene.
—Romi Mayes, Winnipeg Musician
The tiny Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club, at the corner of St. Mary and Main, plays a big role in the Winnipeg music scene.
Blues greats like Etta James have graced the stage, and the club has also nurtured many a home grown up-and-comer.
the iconic 85 seat venue may be closing its doors, as the owner of Fortune
Block has accepted an offer on the building.
Owner John Scoles calls himself the janitor/president of Times Change(d). He's worried about the future of his club but he
is particularly concerned that Winnipeg will lose the unique quality and history of the downtown. "Character is as much value as progress," he pleads.
Ironically, Scoles is making a documentary on the famous Wagon Wheel Lunch restaurant
that will be closing up shop because that building has been sold as well.
Big Dave McLean on the stage of Times Change(d) (CBC)
Blues man Big Dave McLean has been playing Times Change(d) longer than anyone else. In fact, he's hosted the Sunday night blues jam on that stage for more than 25 years. Back then it was the Times Cafe, in competition with the Blue Note and the Windsor for best blues venue.
been absolutely wonderful for me," he says. "From bands that are just
starting out to the real veterans, it's been a great venue."
fondly remembers nights where touring musicians walked in off the street
and ended up jamming on stage. "There's no other venue in Winnipeg
where that would happen," he insists.
Roots musician Romi Mayes says she cut her teeth at Times Change(d). She met a lot of musicians that she ended up collaborating with, learning from, been challenged and inspired by.
"I can honestly say I would not be where I'm at in my career right now if it wasn't for John Scoles, Times Change(d), the musicians and the fans and friends there," she enthuses.
"Times isn't just a bar that serves beer that you can find on any corner in any town," she continues, "it's the hub and heartbeat of an entire massive music and arts scene. It's truly where an entire music scene over many years has been nurtured, supported, encouraged and pushed forward."
Scoles has been inundated with reaction from musicians and supporters. "There are many, many people in our musical genres that think of it as their favourite in the entire country," he concludes.
Scoles says nothing is final...and the building has a six-month demolition clause. Until a decision is made, the shows will go on. And that is music to many Winnipeggers' ears.
Listen to Big Dave McLean on Up to Speed: