On a sunny but bone chilling January afternoon I found my way to the Raw Sugar Cafe on Somerset just West of Bronson. This corner cafe with all of it’s windows is a warm and welcoming spot in the heart of Chinatown. I found a bright spot to curl up with my notebook and a lovely chai latte (made by an infamous Ottawan).
Surrounded by eclectic second hand furnishings and great artwork I watched as the place maintained a continuous flow of people. Some on computers, others with their bags of yarn creating something warm and fuzzy; tea, coffee, & sweets close at hand.
Owner Nadia Kharyati was as busy as you would expect an entrepreneur to be, cleaning up and organizing the back of the cafe to prepare for one of their free workshops. I was there with about 12 other individuals to attend the “starting your own small business” workshop. Nadia and Christina (of the Workshop Boutique on Dalhousie) provided tips, info, and encouragement to those of us interested in the world of self-employment. Both women were very willing to answer our questions and give us as much help as possible and our not-so-little group lapped up all the information they could spill.
Make the effort to head down to the Raw Sugar Cafe in person and check them out on Facebook as well!
Support the locals!
Another fabulous video by Jay Smooth…
Saturday night… the best night of the week! Your previous week is a memory, most of us still have one more day before the next work week begins. My friends were reluctant to head back out into the cold weather but with the bribe of some Vietnamese food before heading to the show I got them out to Irene’s Pub. They were very pleasantly surprised by what they heard! The Soirée performed to a packed house and the great set allowed us to forget about the cold and enjoy the cozy pub and yummy beverages.
I’ve been out of town for every other show these guys have had in the past year so I was excited to finally see them live. Their set was a great combination of old and new and it’s obvious that they love to perform. It’s great to see a musician find their happy place! There was no shortage of talent on stage; musically and vocally they are very sound as well as relaxed and fun to watch. I’m looking forward to their next show! Matt you promised to keep me in the loop, I hope we don’t have to wait too long for another performance!
You can check out their music on Bandcamp:
As an aside… what is with the smallish music venues and their obsession with red stage lighting??
My heart did a flippity flop when I found out about this project!!
One song from this collaborative album will be streamed each day on MySpace. I missed hearing the Feist/Ben Gibbard tune yesterday but Bon Iver has a fabulous track streaming today!
Produced by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National this 2 disc album will be released on February 17th. The website indicates that “It will be available as a double cd/triple vinyl/download and will benefit the Red Hot Organization – an international charity dedicated to raising funds and awareness for HIV and AIDS.”
With artists such as The Decemberists, Feist, Iron & Wine, Arcade Fire and so many more I will definitely mark the release date on my calendar to be sure I get this the moment it comes out!
Friday night we bundled up in our warmest winter gear, hopped in the car, and headed out to Wakefield, Quebec. We were heading to the Black Sheep Inn which would be host to The Olympic Symphonium and Snailhouse for the evening.
The Olympic Symphonium of Frederickton, New Brunswick started off the evening and they were a pleasant surprise. I have never listened to them before and they were melodic and soothing. Definitely some similarities to Great Lake Swimmers. With the exception of the drummer their was an active game of musical chairs going on. The upright bass, electric, and acoustic guitars as well as the lead singer duties were shared between band members. Two of the whom joined Mike Feuerstack on stage to complete Snailhouse.
Mike Feuerstack is Snailhouse. He has played with a large number of musicians over the years and it certainly seems to work for him. He played a great set at the Black Sheep with a handful of older tunes and quite a few off his latest album “Lies on the Prize” (on iTunes & Zunior!).
I managed to get a couple of photos & videos of the night.
The Olympic Symponium:
Snailhouse opened with a quiet and haunting song called Mahogany:
One of my favourites off of “Lies on the Prize” is Tone Deaf Birds:
Check out the lovely Hagstrom guitar:
And the Snailhouse drummer…
There is much to look forward to in the world of music for 2009! There are a few highly anticipated albums coming out over the next few months. These will keep us alive until Spring can revive us!
Timber Timbre – 1/13/09 – The self titled album was released earlier this week. I’m catching the show in February and will definitely pick up a copy then!
Charles Spearin – 2/14/09 – The perfect release for Valentine’s Day… The Happiness Project is the latest creative endevour of Charles Spearing (founding member of Broken Social Scene and Do Make Say Think). You have to read about it to fully grasp the unique qualities of this album wherein Spearin attempts to “blur the line between speaking and singing”.
Neko Case – 3/3/09 – Neko added a great track from her upcoming album Middle Cyclone. The track is called “People Got A Lotta Nerve” which she has graciously made available for download! For every blog that posts the song they will donate $5 to the Best Friends Foundation. She is just too awesome!
Bell Orchestre – 3/10/09 – Their second album As Seen Through Windows will be released on Arts & Crafts Records. I’ve been hoping for a new CD since their first album came out in 2005! Their recordings are both inspired and inspiring and their live show is breathtaking!
Great Lake Swimmers – 3/31/09 – The dust of their last album tour hadn’t settled before they were hard at work on Lost Channels! They spent some time along the St. Lawrence River recording the new album and I can’t wait to hear the new material! We can expect to see them live in Canada this March!
Ohbijou – 4/??/09 – After a busy tour with The Acorn, Ohbijou has been working hard on their latest offering Beacons. We’ll be able to hear it in early April and don’t be surprised to see them performing at a venue near you!
Amy Millan – ??/??/09 – I don’t know how she finds the time but in between shows with Stars, Amy Millan has found time to work on her second solo album! I haven’t got any official dates yet but I am hoping it will be released very soon!
I’m sure we will see many other great albums this year and hopefully live shows as well! See you there!