August in Ontario (and briefly in Quebec)
We scampered across the vast lands of Ontario and Quebec a month ago with our dear friend Logan McKillop (and later Miss Kitty) playing some tunes for a whole host of amazing people. Here are some memorable moments:
We met a Llama named Barack OLlama.
We ate a lot of fudge. There was some kind of bet going involving hockey and a brick of maple walnut fudge. One of us didn't give a rat's patootie about the hockey.
We sang Logan's "Goddamn the Government Blues" in four-part harmony on Parliament Hill (it's a very non-partisan song, don't worry kids).
We sang and played on a patio in the rain until the Last Possible Moment, because the vibe was just so good.
While in Montreal trying to figure out the parking situation in extremely broken French, Lucas said "ci" instead of "yes" and we'll never let him forget it.
We kidnapped our other dear friend Kitty Gosen in St Catherines to bless us with her beautiful songs, and make us cry-laugh in the car all the way to Montreal.
How on earth, you may wonder, did we fit 4 people, 4 guitars, 7 suitcases, 4 little backpacks, 4 sleeping bags, one tent, and about 6.5 pairs of shoes excluding the ones on our feet in the back of the Subaru? We're really not sure.
Amazingly, two incredible humans in Kemptville, Ontario gifted us with a roof rack! For our car! For all of our things! For the sake of wiggle room! For the sake of finding stuff when ya need to find it! For the sake of how'd-we-get-so-lucky?! Thank you Jesse and Emily!
We had so much exquisite, meandering, sun-kissed, volatile FUN that we're going back.
Here are our August in Ontario (and Quebec) and September in Manitoba show dates! Please pass them along if you've got pals in the area!
You can hear an interview about it with Folk Roots Radio host Jan Hall HERE if that's yer cuppa tea.
August 5 - 7 - Live From The Rock Folk Festival - Red Rock ON
August 10 - The Red Brick Cafe - Guelph ON
August 11 - The Local - Toronto ON
August 12 - The Branch - Kemptville ON
August 13 - Bar Pub St-Pierre - Montreal QC
August 14 - Pressed - Ottawa ON
August 16 - House Concert - Perth ON *
August 17 - Mussikki - Kingston ON
August 18 - House Concert - Peterborough ON *
August 19 - 21 - Summerfolk Music & Crafts Festival - Owen Sound ON
August 24 - The Cornerstone - Kenora ON
August 25 - 27 - Shine On Festival of Music and Art - Kerry MB +
August 31 - The Cube: The Exchange Summer Concert Series - Winnipeg MB +
September 9 - University of Winnipeg "Roll Call" - Winnipeg MB
September 10 - Sherbrooke Street Festival - Winnipeg MB +
September 16 - 18 - Harvest Moon Festival - Clearwater MB +
September 23 - West End Cultural Center : Kevin Roy Album Release - Winnipeg MB
* Contact us at email@example.com if you'd like to come to one of the house concerts!
+ With the band.
Lastly, here are a few words by Murat Ates, written in response to a show in Winnipeg a few months ago:
“The last time we were here, we had to look up some of our own lyrics,” laughs Lucas Roger from the stage of Gordie’s Coffee House in Elmwood’s Gordon-King Memorial United Church. “Does anybody here remember that night?”
His twin sister Madeleine is the first one to laugh – she’s caught in the same pickle now as then. While Lucas entertains the audience, Madeleine is tinkering with the opening to “Cover of Night”, a song so new to Roger Roger that she can’t remember exactly how it’s supposed to begin.
On a lot of stages, this would be a stressful moment. Here at Gordie’s, there are so many musicians in the audience that the crowd is laughing knowingly along with the band. The second half of tonight’s event, as is the case every Thursday night, is an open mic where everyone is free to play.
It also doesn’t hurt that we have spent the last hour so entranced by Madeleine and Lucas’ folk storytelling that we’re more than happy to wait for more of it. This is my first Roger Roger concert and to me, their music feels like a perfectly harmonized series of campfire stories. Every song bursts with heartfelt narrative – indeed, each one comes with an engaging backstory told alternatively by Madeleine or Lucas – and this is exactly the sort of music I’m drawn to.
Suddenly: success! Madeleine has found the chords she has been looking for. She nods to Lucas who soon joins in and the two of them play their new song as flawlessly as if it were an old staple. The crowd cheers emphatically, the rest of the show goes off without a hitch, and the community gets one more night of heartwarming music for an affordable pay-what-you-can price.
When Lucas and Madeleine left the stage and the open mic began, I had the chance to meet Lex Jefferson, the event’s thoroughly welcoming host. Lex is one of the founding members of Gordie’s Coffee House, a treasured piece of Elmwood heritage since 2007 when Lex and a group of other community members saw the need for a small, accessible music venue in the area.
Lex is a warm and engaging individual, so much so that upon seeing a newcomer like me she made a point of saying hello. She had seen me pawing at one of the many books in the coffee house’s lending library and welcomed me to take it home.
I declined her literary offer but Lex’s next suggestion was too good to refuse – she invited me to come back to Gordie’s anytime I’d like.
As welcome and entertained as I felt all evening long, this is an offer I most certainly plan to accept.
Gordie’s Coffee House runs on Thursday evenings from September to June with a short break for Christmas. You can find it at 127 Cobourg Avenue from 7-11pm.
- Murat Ates is the author of Life Fire Prose, the little-book-series-that could. Read in 20+ countries and on all 7 continents (even by penguins!) Ates' work is personal, touching, and - most of all - engaging - as he wholeheartedly goes about the business of figuring out what it means to be human."