Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani
The O-Town Hoedown started last weekend with a full roster of shows at Irene’s Pub. It continues this weekend at the Rainbow Bistro with performances by eight acts representing the alternative spectrum of country music (think death-country, bluegrass, cowpunk, etc.).
Greg Harris, who goes by the stage name Lefty McRighty, programs the hoedown which has become a beloved part of the annual fall calendar for music-loving types since its 2007 inception. Ottawa Magazine asked him for his observations from week one of the festival.
You Can Dance If You Want To
“Irene’s was jam-packed on Friday night, we nearly sold out,” Harris says. “Slo’ Tom played nothing but stuff from his new album, which isn’t even out yet. Ray Harris and the Bastard Sons of Bitches had the whole place dancing as he closed out the night — and here’s the important part: no one ever dances to Ray Harris. His words.”
It’s Not a Canadian Country Music Festival Without a Shakey Reference
“There was a slightly smaller crowd of about 70 people on Saturday. John Allaire killed with his version of Neil Young’s “Are You Ready for the Country.” Uncle Sean & The Shifty Drifters packed the stage with oodles of guest musicians, including Nick Pickins (of Liquorbox, Kingston) on banjo, his brother Jamie (Big Tobacco and the Pickers, Toronto) on rhythm guitar and harmonies, and Jason Andersson (Mystery Pill, Ottawa) on mandolin. By the end of the night there were over a dozen people on stage to finish the show.”
Who to Follow
“My personal highlight of the weekend: Brian Simms, who opened on Friday, was slotted to play solo, but he brought along Ottawa music scene fixture Adam Fogo (now living in Hamilton) to play bass and sing backup vocals. The two of them together were absolutely magical, and they blew me and the entire bar out of the water. Peter Pritchard from Mystery Pill (who played next) said to me, ‘Who is this guy? He’s blowing my mind. How am I supposed to follow that?’”
The O-Town Hoedown’s full schedule can be found at www.otownhoedown.com.
DJs Hobo and Sweetcheeks host the Kitchen Partybash at the Rochester Pub on the second Friday of the month. On off-weeks, they head to the Hintonburg Public House for a pop-up DJ set. There’s one happening there on Sunday night.