Thu, Aug 9, 2012.
If you can believe Facebook (well, gosh, of course you can!), Woodstock's Dooryard Arts Festival is off to a rousing start. I saw some excellent show reports from last night's Rose Cousins gig, as she headlined the opening night of the four-day event. The Dooryard is an event that celebrates not only music, but theatre, film, local art and crafts, and even food and nature, with an open-air market happening Saturday. The market is free, along with the music happening at it, and there are lots of other free shows each day as well. There's two-buck tickets to some, and even the main stages, with multiple acts, are $12 or $15, with only the final big night, Saturday, running $25. That's a great bargain, because the headliner is none other than local hero Matt Andersen, only the top blues musician in Canada, with the trophies to prove it. Also on the bill that night are the excellent Newfoundland R'n'B bunch Chris Kirby and the Marquee, and back from last year's Dooryard Festival, folk-blues artist Lonesome Jim. More on him in a moment.
You missed Rose last night, but the rest of the event is packed with good stuff too. Tonight (Thursday) you can catch a Mainstage show featuring Halifax Gypsy jazz groovers Gypsophelia, one of the best live acts in the region. Also on the bill is Ben Caplan and the Casual Smokers, and The Daredevil Christopher Wright. Other venues see The Mountain and The Trees, Paper Beat Scissors, Snailhouse and more. The rest of the weekend sees Cadence Weapon, Acres & Acres, Keith Mullins and many more. Check out all the venues, artists, tickets and times at http://www.dooryardarts.net
Back to Lonesome Jim. He wasn't always lonesome. That's because Jim Lawrence is one of the most-traveled and seasoned band veterans around. As lead singer, harp player and guitarist, he fronted rockin' blues bands, power trios, early rock and roll combos, you name it, stretching back decades. But Jim got lonesome back in 2010, when he gave up the band life, and went solo with this new persona. Of course, it's the stuff he was well-versed in anyway, acoustic blues and folk, traditional and roots sounds. He's a story-teller, a sometimes sad, sometimes funny, and he's a bit of a philosopher too. Jim's been doing lots of gigs around the Maritimes, so much so that he admits the whole Lonesome thing isn't working out, since there are so many people coming to see him. That's probably why he called his debut disc Not So Lonesome Anymore. It's pretty much what you'll hear on stage from him, and in fact several of the songs are recorded live, including his own Frank Zappa Blues, and I Wanna Be A Cowboy ("All I need is a hat and a horse, and some riding lessons of course"). It's all Jim, on guitar, vocals and harp, filling up the stage with a confident sound and character. Again, catch Lonesome Jim Saturday night at the Mainstage at the Woodstock Dooryard Arts Festival.
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).