Music picks

2 live music shows to see in Ottawa, Gatineau this weekend

Ottawa is saluting Nat King Cole, Johnny Cash, the British invasion and more this weekend.

Ottawa salutes Nat King Cole, Johnny Cash, the British invasion and more this weekend

The Johnny Cash Annual Birthday Bash @ The Rainbow, Saturday, Feb. 22

Lefty McRighty is performing at The Rainbow on Saturday. (
Johnny may not be around to celebrate his birthday every Feb. 26th, but Lefty McRighty makes sure he's not forgotten. Every year at this time Lefty puts on a hootenanny with Ottawa's country music folk. Much like Johnny himself, what Lefty lacks in vocal prowess he more than makes up for in performance ability. Lefty's own songs are melodically rooted in the rolling-train rhythms of Cash's country, though Lefty's lyrics have a more of a tongue-in-cheek vibe. The Rainbow Bistro will shine like a new pair of cowboy boots with a load of special guests from the city's country-roots scene, including members of Big Jeezus Truck, The Bushpilots, The Kingmakers and Wicked Grin. Lefty McRighty has convened a Johnny Cash birthday bash band called The Whiskey Standards. It promises to be a great party in celebration of the Man in Black's music, complete with prizes (there's an acoustic guitar raffle) and all proceeds go to Carleton Campus Radio station CKCU. $10, 9:30 p.m.

The final tribute of the weekend features The Four Heavies doing Stevie Wonder on Sunday night at Le Grange de la Gatineau. You can do dinner and a show, a perfect way to close off your weekend.

Jeremy Fisher @ The Blacksheep Inn: Saturday & Sunday, Feb. 22 & 23:

"It's cold and it's October here / but the leaves are burning red

 There's one still hanging on my tree / it just won't give in to the wind

 I had faith in one thing / And that was gravity

 But you take my feet from the ground so high / I don't know what that word even means..."

I'm a sucker for lyrics like that. It's easy to pen a love song, but what's not easy is avoiding all the usual cliches and saccharine metaphors. Jeremy Fisher is a masterful lyricist and his voice is huskily warm and easily listenable. He also happens to have the one-two punch of being utterly charming, which means big value for your entertainment dollar!

Jeremy Fisher plays The Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield Friday and Saturday. This show is the first for his new trio of Ottawa-area compatriots. Consummate professionals Phil Bova and Matt Ouimet will join Jeremy's acoustic guitar. The three will debut songs from Jeremy's upcoming May release. One of the songs on the forthcoming album is called, "The Bride Is Dead." Intriguingly morose, the song is based on a story Jeremy read online about a man in Thailand who married his girlfriend of 10 years at her funeral. She died unexpectedly in an accident, and the man's guilt at not having conceded to her wish to marry while she was still alive prompted him to marry her corpse at the same time as the funeral ceremony.

When life — or in this case the Web — hands you something that oddball, you write a song about it.

You can hear the full radio debut of "The Bride is Dead" on my show Bandwidth at 5 p.m. Saturday on CBC Radio One. After that, head to Wakefield and enjoy Jeremy Fisher's fine folk and even finer sense of humour. The Friday show begins with Andrew Vincent at 8:30 p.m. but tomorrow is all Jeremy, and he says it's a family affair beginning at 4 pm.

Advance tickets are $20.


Saturday, Feb. 22

  • Denzal Sinclaire w/ NAC Orchestra (Does Nat King Cole songbook & more) @ NAC Southam Hall, 7:30 p.m., $23+
  • Sidney York + Kashka @ Zaphod Beeblebrox, 8 p.m., $10
  • Galacticats + Metronome Jones + The Haig @ Pressed, 8 p.m., $7
  • Bet.e & Stef + Jay Atwill @ La Grange de la Gatineau, 8 p.m., SOLD OUT
  • Jeremy Fisher + Andrew Vincent @ The Blacksheep Inn, Wakefield, 8:30 p.m., $20 advance
  • Pat Lepoidvien + Field Museum @ Raw Sugar, 8 p.m., $8
  • Hornswater @ The Rainbow, 4 p.m., free
  • CKCU Benefit: Johnny Cash BDay Bash w/ Lefty McRighty @ The Rainbow, 9:30 p.m. $10
  • Swamperella + Ball & Chain's Mardi Gras Dance & Masquerade @ Irene's Pub, 9 p.m., $12
  • Chris Page + Yuma County @ Kaffe 1870, Wakefield, 9 p.m., $TBD
  • The Jivewires in "The Jivewires Roast Series" @ Le Petit Chicago, Hull, 9 p.m., $8 
  • Evening Hymns @ Almonte Old Town Hall (Folkus Series), 8 p.m., $30
  • Buckledown @ Valley BBQ, Carleton Place, 8 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 23

  • Open Blues Jam w/ River City Junction @ The Rainbow, 4 p.m., $3
  • Syd Perry's Dub-Step Party @ The Rainbow, 8:30 p.m., $5     
  • The Music of Stevie Wonder by The Four Heavies @ Le Grange de Gatineau, 7:30 p.m., $10
  • Jeremy Fisher @ The Blacksheep Inn, Wakefield, 4:30 p.m., $20 advance
  • Agnes Obel + Her Harbour @ The Blacksheep Inn, Wakefield, 8:30 p.m., SOLD OUT

Wednesday, Feb. 26

  • Justice RF + Run Coyote @ Raw Sugar Cafe, 8 p.m., $TBD