Craig Cardiff, Pépé et sa guitare top music picks in and around Ottawa this weekend

Check out CBC Otttawa music columnist's picks for the best live shows around the capital region this weekend.

Jessa Runciman's live music picks include Sunshine and the Blue Moon, G. Grand

Sunshine and the Blue Moon will be playing a free show at 4 p.m. this Thursday, Oct. 8, at The Record Centre. (Laura-Lynn Petrick)

Sunshine and the Blue Moon, Thursday @ The Record Centre

While Sunshine and The Blue Moon could provide the steamy soundtrack to some dimly-lit dance floor on the wrong side of the tracks, you'll find them turning up the temperature in a family-friendly retail environment on Thursday at The Record Centre.

The grooved-out band hails from Toronto by way of Thunder Bay, and derives the bulk of its sensual, smoky weirdness from frontman Kai Davey-Bellin, who — as evidenced with Sunshine and former band Spectre — knows how to command an audience.

Fresh from a show the night before at Pressed, Sunshine and The Blue Moon headline Thursday's show alongside their friends Beds, who are accompanying them on a handful of dates heading east. Ottawa's own Trails is on the bill, too. One of the coolest perks of the show? It's all being recorded on The Record Centre's reel-to-reel, so you can listen to it after the fact on the store's website. 4 p.m., free.

Craig Cardiff, Friday @ Rainbow Bistro

While we're on the subject of shows that keep on giving, the door charge at the Rainbow Bistro on Friday night will be money well-spent.

Craig Cardiff plays the sixth annual Acoustics for Cancer Awareness fundraiser Friday at Rainbow Bistro. (Craig Cardiff)

That's the locale for the sixth annual Acoustics for Cancer Awareness concert, meaning that — in addition to catching performances by a wide range of local musicians — showgoers will also be supporting the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.

Headliner Craig Cardiff is a perfect fit for the event: his double-album Love Is Louder Than All This Noise is an upbeat affirmation of the value of hope, even when times get tough. Cardiff will be joined by local duo Goodnight Boy, along with the Carla Hartsfield Band.  Even if you can't make the show, you can always make a donation in lieu of being there. 10 p.m., $20, with proceeds going to the cancer foundation.

Pépé et sa guitare, Saturday @ Le Petit Chicago

Let's take a quick run through Saturday night in town and around the region. The Black Sheep Inn expects a hefty crowd for former Great Big Sea member Séan McCann on Saturday -- and for the Sunday matinee as well, before Thanksgiving dinner obligations start coming into play.

Pépé et sa guitare, aka Philippe Proulx from Becancour, Que., plays Le Petit Chicago in Gatineau on Saturday night. (Facebook)

Meanwhile, there's a great show in the works at Live on Elgin, where Jonathan Becker & The North Fields headline a five-act show that'll feature diverse musicians like Steamers, Andre Bluteau, and Saffron St. James.

Then, you've got Hull, where Le Petit Chicago hosts a campy, Quebec cult favourite: Pépé et sa guitare. That's the moniker used by Bécancour, Que. songwriter Philippe Proulx — a veteran musician who's struck a delicious balance between folk-punk and humour over the years and done it with obvious sincerity. Leigh Hans opens the show. 8 p.m., $20.

G. Grand, Jim Bryson and Malak, Wednesday @ Babylon

With a long weekend ahead of us, Wednesday seems all the more distant — but the Ballads for Ballots event planned for Oct. 14 deserves the spotlight.

G. Grand plays the 'Ballads for Ballots' event on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at Babylon. (Facebook)

A free, non-partisan initiative by local music promoters Ottawa Showbox, Beau's All Natural Brewing and Gallery Recording Studios, Ballads for Ballots reinforces the importance of voting — especially for those who haven't cast ballots before.

A long list of local organizations and shops have pitched in for the event, which will provide information about the upcoming election and have Elections Canada volunteers on-hand to answer questions. Of course, there's a great musical backdrop as well, with sets by G. GrandJim Bryson, and Egyptian-Canadian vocalist Malak — proof that civic engagement and music belong together. 8:30 p.m., free.

About the Author

Jessa Runciman

Associate Producer

Jessa Runciman is an associate producer with CBC Ottawa, and an avid music fan and show-goer. You can follow her on Twitter @jessarunciman.