07 May Songwriter Series May 5, 2015
Local music promoter Chas Hay is launching a ‘Songwriter Series’ next week in downtown Barrie which will feature three different artists every second week.
Hay fell in love with the format through ‘guitar pulls’ he’d seen in the past and wanted to recreate it in his hometown.
“The term came out of Nashville in the ’60s,” said Hay, adding that guitar pulls hosted by Johnny Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, were the most famous.
The term refers to a group of musicians who would gather informally and take turns singing, one “pulling” or passing the guitar from one person to the next.
It was later expanded to include more than one guitar and a variety of other instruments. A guitar pull is also known as a songwriters circle.
For the Barrie Songwriter Series, each musician will be bringing their own instrument to share their songs and stories. The series will include a variety of different genres: folk, blues, Celtic, indie, jazz, rock, pop, country and Americana.
On Tuesday, May 5, the featured artists are: Neil Quin, vocals, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with Zeus; Gavin Gardiner, lead singer of The Wooden Sky; and singer-songwriter Sam Cash. Making up the fourth on a consistent basis will be local singer-songwriter Brett Caswell, who will be joining Hay as co-host.
“I asked Brett to join me,” Hay said. “He has a good handle on local artists. It’s not a local singer-songwriter showcase (but) it is an opportunity to present some of them.”
“I’m here for the looks,” Caswell said with a laugh, adding he was looking forward to participating in the Songwriter Series with the other artists as well as serving as co-host.
Barrie will remember Caswell from his second album, A New Balance, which came out several years ago, resulted in tours to the east coast, and lots of performances, along with his band, Marquee Rose, at a variety of events from JunoFest 2011 to Canadian Music Week 2011, NXNE 2010, S.C.E.N.E., Mariposa Folk Festival, Kempenfest, Barrie Blues and Jazz Festival, Promenade Days, Barrie Arts Awards, Music on Main Festival among others.
He moved to Toronto, married, had a child and has returned to Barrie to raise his son, who is now three and a half.
Caswell performs every Wednesday at the Kenzington Burger Bar and now, every second Tuesday at Donaleigh’s Irish Public House for the Songwriter Series. He is also working on a new album, which he expects will be out by the end of the year.
Hay said the Songwriter Series will be informal and will produce some funny, touching and emotional moments. As one artist’s song can often trigger a different, unplanned song in the next musician, there will likely be plenty of spontaneity, too.
After the inaugural Songwriter Series on Tuesday, the next one is scheduled for May 19. It will feature Tim Chaisson, Andrew Austin and Lucas DiPasquale.
The Songwriter Series takes place on Tuesday at the Temple Lounge, Donaleigh’s Irish Public House in downtown Barrie.
Doors open at 7 p.m. Show starts at 8 p.m. The cost is $10 at the door.
Tickets are available in advance at the pub.