PtboCanada Review: Snowblink And Eons At Cannery Art Centre

Snowblink with Eons
The Cannery Art Centre
Thursday, March 17, 2011

While the downtown core rocked with wild St. Patrick's Day revellers, there was a lovely respite of subdued rock and roll to be found at The Cannery. Two bands shared the stage for some inspiring
music. First up was new, Toronto-based outfit Eons (pictured at left), a splinter band of Bruce Peninsula. This three piece managed to evoke the best of British traditional with a modern pop sheen.

Headliners Snowblink, a two guitar attack, also from Toronto, though transplanted from Los Angeles, married layers of guitar and two part harmonies into a fit of bright rock and roll goodness. This band is on the brink of a run of North American shows supporting Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and Toronto indie darling Timber Timbre.

With a backdrop of wildly dressed bar-hoppers and periodic lightening shows, this was a night to remember.

[Text and pic by PtboCanada's Jeffrey Macklin]

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PtboPic: Snowman Dude Is Totally Ready To Hit The Slopes

Peterborough continues to bring it with the snow sculpture creativity with this one below on Bonaccord.

[Pic submitted by PtboCanada's Jeffrey Macklin]

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PtboCanada Interview: Jeremy Fisher (Who Plays The Red Dog This Tuesday)

Photo by Rob WaymenVancouver's Jeremy Fisher will be playing The Red Dog this Tuesday (November 30th) in support of his new album Flood. Fisher has spent the better part of the last decade building support for his hook-filled pop music. Recently, PtboCanada had a chance to ask Fisher some questions. Besides having the best hair in Canadian rock, Fisher is also a pretty good interview. Here it goes:

Help our readers get to know you a little by letting us in on what music gets you going. Tell us your vote for best album ever— one set of songs that from beginning to end makes you smile. Shake your ass. Inspire.

Fisher: I couldn't possibly choose one album, but the first one that comes to mind that is still fresh 25 years later and gives me all those things would be Paul Simon's Graceland.

Your new album,
Flood, was released last month. How have you found fans reacting to the new material? What tracks seem to get the best response?

Fisher: The reaction seems positive to me. I'm definitely starting to notice people are familiar with some of the songs on the road. "Laissez Faire" appears to be a stand out as well as "Shine A Little Light".

Speaking of "Shine A Little Light",
that's the first single from Flood. What do you think makes a good lead single? What made this track fit that mould?

Fisher: That's a tough question for me to answer. I usually leave it up to the wonderful team of people I work with to make that decision. I'm so close to the songs by the time I'm done a record that I feel like they all have potential as lead singles.  

You're on Wind-up Records in the United States, which is a label known to be heavily weighted towards the commercial alternative end of the spectrum. On Wind-up, you are label mates with the Canadian group Finger Eleven, which seems like a more natural fit amongst bands like Seether and Evenescence. How does Jeremy Fisher fit in with this mix?

Fisher: I don't know that I do, but I guess opposites attract for better or worse.

You just released the holiday single "Snowflakes". What made you want to release a seasonal track?

Fisher: Every year I do something around the holiday and this year with the record coming out and me being on tour, I couldn't really take the time to make a video or anything. I just wrote "Snowflakes" one morning and thought it would make a good winter/holiday song.

What seasonal/holiday tracks affected you when you were growing up?

Fisher: "Little Drummer Boy", "Carol of the Bells".  I used to like playing "Sleigh Ride!" in high school band because it uses a vibraslap in the percussion section.

Sticking with the holiday theme, how will you be spending yours?

Fisher: Rum and eggnog, tobogganing, hanging with family—never gets old.


[Q&A by PtboCanada's Jeffrey Macklin]

[Jeremy Fisher; The Red Dog]

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PtboCanada Interview: Candace Shaw, Artistic Director of Peterborough Folk Festival

Candace Shaw spreads the word about PFF. Photo by Evan HoltCandace Shaw is the Artistic Director and Executive Director of the Peterborough Folk Festival (PFF), a three-day music and arts festival which kicks off this coming Friday (August 27th) with a special gala concert at the Canadian Canoe Museum. The main festival day is Saturday and features events happening throughout the day at Rotary Park and Nicholls Oval. Sunday, things wind down with a few hours of music workshops happening at Trent University's Sadleir House.

Over the years, Shaw has been involved in various aspects of the Peterborough Folk Festival, including her first exposure as a parking attendant in the late 1990s. During the intervening years, her tasks have changed, and her involvement has increased to the point of being the driving force for a day of music which is known far and wide as one of the best free music festivals our country has to offer.

PtboCanada contributor
Jeffrey Macklin found out more about Candace Shaw and the festival in this interview:

Can you tell me a little bit about the history of the Peterborough Folk Festival?

Shaw: Well, to be honest, there is not a lot known about the early days of the festival. Some of the history of the festival was washed away in the flood of 2004, when our offices were ruined. Originally the festival happened on a Sunday. That was because the organizers of the day were aligning with the Festival of Lights [now known as the Little Lake Musicfest]. Having the festival on a Sunday meant there was no competition for audience and the stage at Del Crary Park was available.

At the time (1989), it was a one day festival and starred folk singer Ian Tamblyn, who had been a student at Trent University and maintained a Peterborough connection as one of the original Festival organizers. How and why the festival moved to Rotary Park is unknown to me. There are lots of rumours and a lack of credible evidence of what went down during that time.

In the early aughts, it changed into a three-day festival and featured a club crawl. Also, Federal Heritage funding came into play which meant we were mandated to look outside of the local area for some of the talent we booked. Up until that time, the music was all local.

The Peterborough Folk Festival is a festival contantly in flux. Since it's beginnings, the event has seemingly always been changing.

Macklin: How does the PFF use Social Media? And has it had an impact on how you get your message out?

Shaw: We've got a great Facebook fan page that was just started a couple months ago. We have done little to spread the word. We are using Twitter and you can follow us @ThePFF. There is a great community on Twitter, who have helped us by spreading the word on anything we post. A great example is the Royal Wood concert. Tickets have been selling really well, all without any conventional paid advertising. Social media is to blame.

Macklin: Tell us about the musical lineup you've booked for this year's main stage.

Shaw: Well, we get about 1,000 submissions from musicians each year. As well, I hear things on my own. I do my best to get a nice balance when choosing artists. I work to have a gender balance and cultural diversity. The idea is to not have just a bunch a white guys with guitars singing about ships sinking. I try to pick good musicians—musicians who support an inclusive community, who are of a high quality and musically accessible. We steer clear of anything too avant guard like Peaches. Even though Peaches is one of my personal favorites, she may not be suitable for a diverse community audience.

I like to choose some of my favourite bands who will draw people in; sounds that are happening in Canada today, but maybe people need to find out more about. I like to choose music which might reach out to parts of the community who don't necessarily go out to bars and see bands.

Macklin: Give me some of your best memories from the past years of the PFF.

Shaw: A favorite memory would be from 2007. The first time I got to sit down all day that year was for Old Man Luedecke's set. As he was playing, all these little kids were dancing and circling around by the stage, singing "we love this", over and over again. That was gratifying.

Also in 2007, during and after Shad K's set, people were coming up to me thanking me for booking a rapper. Folks were expressing the fact that they didn't realize they could like hip hop music. That's the beauty of the festival: booking music people might not have otherwise encountered. It's a low risk environment for exposing people to new things.

Macklin: OK, what's your worst memory from past years?

Shaw: That would have to be a moment when setting up for last year's festival. The rain was pouring down as we were outside getting ready at 7 a.m. I had to decide to go forward or not. I decided to pull the trigger, making the decision to just go for it. That half hour of indecision was the hardest. Once we finally made the decision to go ahead, everything worked out.

Macklin: How about volunteers? Do you have enough?

Shaw: We are still calling for volunteers. Usually we have just under 100, with a core of 12 to 15 who have worked on the festival for years. Some work year round, planning and organizing certain aspects of the festival.

Macklin: The weekend kicks-off with a gala concert on Friday night starring piano/popster Royal Wood. Tell us about the venue.

Shaw: Last year, we had Ian Tamblyn play right in the gallery space of the Canoe Museum. It worked out really really nicely. People were sitting throughout the collection of canoes. This year's show features Royal Wood and the show will be in the Education room, which is a better place for a group of people to watch a show.

Macklin: Why should people come out to the Peterborough Folk Festival?

Shaw: People should come out because it is one of the sweetest, nicest community events we have going in Peterborough. It's free and you can see beautiful artwork, eat great local food, relax and meet neighbours and reconnect after a long hot summer. The Peterborough Folk Festival is one last summer weekend to recharge your spirit before we fall into the autumn routine of school and work.

For a complete list of performers and vendors and more info on PFF, click here.

[Peterborough Folk Festival; Peterborough Folk Festival YouTube channel; Peterborough Folk Festival on Facebook; Peterborough Folk Festival on Twitter]

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Great Beaches Near Peterborough

The view from Jones Beach. Photo: Evan Holt
One of the many sweet benefits of living in the Patch is the proximity to beaches. A hot day—and we've had a lot of those this summer—practically commands a trip to one of the many great swim spots that pepper the area.
While the beaches located within the city limits are nice for evening strolls, I can’t really condone swimming at them. Little Lake is a visual gem, but I wouldn’t dip more than a toe into it. As for the Otonabee River? Pretty much the same rules apply, especially south of Little Lake. Short of those taking part in the annual Peterborough Triathlon, you will not see many folks dipping beyond their waists.
My family talks about installing a pool each and every spring. Yet, we’ve avoided taking the plunge. Why would we go to that cost when we can jump into the car and in under 15 minutes be kicking off our shoes and jumping into Chemong Lake. Frequented by a selection of regular faces, a little known beach called Jones Beach is located at the north end of Bridgenorth (on Jones Beach Road), just as the road turns out of town towards Lakefield. Jones Beach is small, but features a nice sandy area, a gentle slope into the deeper water and a solid platform to swim and jump from. Yeah, people will say that Chemong is full of weeds, making swimming less than delightful. They are wrong. The weeds of Chemong Lake are present, but far enough out that most folks will not likely feel their tickling tentacles.
Another beach, Lakefield Beach, lies on the south-west shore of Katchewanooka Lake, within the town of Lakefield. It’s a larger beach than Jones, and far more populated. The swimming in my opinion isn't as good as Chemong Lake, but for kids and teens, this is a great hangout. A grassy park lies adjacent, giving shade to picnickers and those who prefer to be out of the hot sun.
Stray a little farther from town, and other wet, refreshing locations await. Sandy Beach, west of the town of Buckhorn, is a prized destination both for its Caribbean blue shallow waters and its people watching. Most people make a day of it and bring all the necessary gear to get them through their adventure.

We are all very lucky to have these beaches nearby. Now, get out there and take advantage!

Jeffrey Macklin, PtboCanada contributor

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The Peterborough Little Lake Musicfest 2010 Season Starts This Saturday

The Little Lake Musicfest (formerly The Festival of Lights) will soon kick off another season of music at Del Crary Park. What better way to while away a summer evening with like-minded music fans.

It would seem to be the focus of the Little Lake Musicfest to appeal to a wide audience. A rambling array of musical genres are on the lineup, with some tribute acts mixed in there too.

The festival kicks off the season with a concert this Saturday (June 26th), featuring Canadian country and western favourite George Canyon. From there on, the season continues with shows from the likes of Valdy (July 7th), Trooper (July 31) and The Blues Brothers Review (August 14).

Great local music gets dropped into the mix on Thursday, July 1, with a Canada Day show featuring The Weber Brothers. The second half of a local double whammy comes on Saturday, July 3, when the spotlight falls on blues sensation Jimmy Bowskill.

While the Canada Day show falls on a Thursday because of the holiday, most shows follow a Wednesday/Saturday rotation. The season comes to a close with former Monkee, Davy Jones, taking the stage on Saturday, August 28th.

For more details on the festival, click here.

Jeffrey Macklin, PtboCanada contributor




[Peterborough Little Lake Music Festival: website, on Facebook, on Twitter]

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Peterborough's Music & Arts Scene Rocks (Exhibit A: Bear Trees)

Bear Trees are a new local pop band, spreading their collective wings across the local music scene. The band is lead by Mike Duguay, a multifaceted scenester who seems to display an unending energy to explore all facets of his creativity. On any given night, you might find him and his band opening for any number of touring musical acts passing through town. Then again, you might find him taking the stage for a play or performance piece as part of a local, improvised theatre troop.

It’s people like Mike Duguay, and projects like Bear Trees, which are forever springing out of the local arts scene. The lush arts community we are blessed to witness here in Peterborough on a daily basis would be nothing without people like Duguay and dozens just like him.

This town is ripe with folks wanting to collaborate, organize, promote and spread the gospel of the talented folks who create here. Peterborough's vibrant arts scene is a known calling card across this country. This town has long been a draw for artists of all disciplines, bringing great music, leading edge visuals and dynamic performance to venues across the city.

Renowned painter David Bierk and a team of like minds put Peterborough on the visual arts map when they initiated Artspace in the mid-seventies. Artspace was and remains a cutting edge nest of creativity where local and touring visual ideas brew. Recently, the much lauded debut album by roots-centric band Evening Hymns was born from a series of recording sessions within those same art covered walls.

You needn’t look very hard to discover music in this town. The Peterborough Symphony Orchestra, choral groups, and singer-songwriters alongside punk and metal bands carry on a thriving existence here. Welcoming venues are peppered throughout the city, hosting live music on a nightly basis.

It’s this tangible, communal, supportive nature which benefits both the artists and performers as well as the audiences who have witnessed the spoils of this for decades.

--Jeffrey Macklin, PtboCanada contributor

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Peterborough's Art Supply Stores (We Are Pretty Lucky To Have Some Gems)

I must confess to being a bit of a sucker for an art supply store. When I was a kid, growing up in Peterborough, I wasn't aware of any art supply stores. In those days, you picked up "art supplies" at Towers on Lansdowne Street. They were hardly art supplies as you might think of them, but to me, being 10 years old, I guess they fit the bill. Construction paper, scissors, bottles of glue with the red rubber squishy top—they were all readily available.

When I left Peterborough to go to art school in Toronto, that is when I discovered what a real art supply store could be. While the college where I went to school had some art supplies, they had nothing on Curry's, downtown on Yonge Street in Toronto. Walls of tactile papers, markers, paints and pencils, all taunting money from my pocket. In the years that followed, I found stores like Gwartzman's on Spadina and Aboveground Art Supplies that seemed to have a impossibly comprehensive selection.

These days, here in Peterborough, we are pretty lucky. Things have changed. We have more than department stores now as a resource when it comes to art supplies. If I suddenly run out of Yellow Ochre oil paint, lino-block or those nice small bottles of black india ink, I’ve got choices. Sure, I could go to Michael's on Lansdowne—they've pretty much got anything you might be looking for. But the ambiance is not really in keeping with the artsy feel I’d become used to. I like to go where like minds meet.

The Blue Tomato Art Shop on Hunter Street has art supplies. They also have gallery space, where they show and sell local art. Finding art treasures alongside lino-block and a lovely selection of Japanese paper makes for a nice experience. There is a gallery upstairs, too, which pretty much demands a visit. Local art is a top priority at the Blue Tomato.

Victory Art Supply, located in the Cox Terrace on Rubidge Street, has most anything you will need, sans the gallery space of the Blue Tomato. Here you will find a compact space, filled with everything from ready stretched canvases to fine pencils, and a wide selection of watercolour papers and frames. While the space is not large, there is still a lot of poking around to be had, which is all part of the fun.

If I were a young artist growing up in Peterborough, the resources are aplenty for creating and experiencing visual art. Make it.

Jeffrey Macklin, PtboCanada contributor

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