Friday, July 12, 2024

February’s Range of Great Music at Meaford Hall

Bill Monahan

There’s something for everyone’s taste this coming month at Meaford Hall, from Canada’s Queen of R&B, Jully Black, to Grey County’s famous step-dancing fiddlers, the Beckett Family.

The Opera House will be filled with fun on February 16, when the audience gets to Sing Along With Grease, that most sing-able of musicals. Before the movie you’ll be put through a vocal warm up, props to use will be handed out, and costumes of anyone who chooses to dress up will be judged. You end up singing through the show with the whole crowd. I got chills, they’re multiplying, and I’m losing control just thinking about it.

Classic Albums Live is bringing a note-for-note reproduction of the first Led Zeppelin album. This album was completely recorded by the band before they approached a record label with it. Jimmy Page and their manager paid for it, in order to have complete artistic control. Atlantic Records signed them for the largest advance ever paid, for the first time straying from their focus on American R&B to take on a British band. The record was on every turntable within my earshot all year in 1969 when it came out, with Robert Plant’s keening voice unlike anything we’d ever heard.

The Classic Albums Live company, created by Craig Martin, is comprised of world class musicians, many of whom augment their solo careers with these demanding reproductions. They regularly fill Meaford Hall with their note-perfect re-creation of albums, taking on the most challenging of records, from Sgt. Pepper to Rumours.

The album will take up the first half of the show and greatest hits from the Led Zeppelin catalogue will fill the second half.

Jully Black is a Canadian icon, listed in 2013 among the 25 Greatest Canadian Singers Ever, winner of several Junos. In the late nineties she won her first Juno for a collaboration with rapper Choclair and she went on to work with Kardinal Offishall. Signed to a Warner Chappell publishing deal, she wrote for artists like Destiny’s Child, Missy Elliot, and Sean Paul. Her independent solo releases earned R&B Juno nominations and Rally’n won Best R&B/Soul Video at the MuchMusic Video Awards in 1999. She’s had a long and multi-faceted career, including her role as The Preacher in a sold-out 106 show run of Trey Anthony’s ‘da Kink in my Hair at the Princess of Wales theatre.

All these accomplishments and more pale next to the energy and excitement of her soulful live performance.

The final show in February brings the local step-dancing fiddlers, the Beckett Family. From grandfather Stan, a well-respected fiddler in the Owen Sound area, through father John on bass and vocals, the family talent is carried on by brother and sister Tyler and Linsey. They combine a healthy respect for tradition with their own music, both playing fiddles and step-dancing. The siblings toured across Canada in 2001 with the Don Messer Tribute Show. Tyler has worked with The Chapmans, with Jason McCoy on a Canadian Service Tour in Afghanistan, and with Jason Blaine and Tara Oram. Since 2009 Linsey has worked with the international string production Bowfire, which among other gigs included Sean Connery’s 80th birthday celebration.

A Beckett Family show showcases traditional music from Western Swing to Bluegrass, mixed with step dancing, down home humour, old time fiddling and special guests.

Here are the dates of the shows (all shows start at 8 pm):

  • Sing-a-Long Grease – Friday, February 16

  • Led Zeppelin 1 – Classic Albums Live – Wednesday, February 21

  • An Intimate Evening with Jully Black – Thursday, February 22

  • The Beckett Family – Sunday, February 25

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