Ron Nigrini started playing as a teenager in 1965 with a duo called The Coachmen from Toronto. Two years later, Ron was a member of Dan’s Heard. In 1970, Nigrini went solo, touring the coffee house circuit through the American Midwest,Texas, Mexico, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
In 1972, back in Canada, he wrote commercials for TV and radio with Michael Hasek, a singer on A&M Records. In 1974, Nigrini signed a contract with Attic Records and recorded his first single, Letters.
Two years later, he recorded his own version of the Oscar-winning song, I’m Easy, from the movie Nashville.
Catching up with Alexander Mair he had this to say, “Ron was the first artist signed to Attic. He's so laid back that his nickname is "Flash". We were fortunate to find the right song for him with I'm Easy, and had a Canadian hit with it. RCA released it in the US, but the songwriter's version had already charted. Ron is a wonderful guy, and a joy to spend time with...”
Alexander Mair was President and Tom Williams was Vice President and the person who discovered Ron Nigrini. Al and Tom and I partners and cofounded Attic.
It had been over three years since Tom Rush had performed at Hugh’s Room in Toronto and the overflow crowd was a testament to how well loved and missed the man had been. When long time friend and former waitress at the iconic Riverboat in Toronto, Jane Harbury, introduced him and Tom ambled, yes ambled , to the stage you could almost feel the room smile with love and loyalty. Tom acknowledged how he happy was to be back in Canada although not without some trepidation, “ I’m 75 now and that’s about 99 Canadian!”
Tom and accompanist Matt Nakoa (more on Matt later) started the night off with a tune that gave an idea as to what was in store, “It’s Gonna Get Hot Tonight” and the party had begun. For his second song Tom explained,“I’m going to do a new song and the reason I’m doing it so early in the set is cause if it sucks I have the rest of night to redeem myself.” After he finished “Come See ‘Bout Me” the crowd let him know “it didn’t suck.” Next up was a song by The Austin Lounge Lizards, “How can you not like a band that has a song called ‘Jesus Loves Me, But He Can’t Stand You” called “Old Blevins.” Needs to be heard to be fully appreciated but is perfectly suited to a Tom Rush set.
While Old Man Luedecke spent last winter in his backwoods cabin recording studio working on his latest record, Domestic Eccentric, this winter he left the confines of that cozy shelter for the highways of Canada, playing a string of tour dates. Spring is here and he is once again touring a JUNO Award nominated album, returning to Toronto for two dates on April 13 and 14 at Hugh’s Room with Tim O’Brien. To give viewers a glimpse of all that he leaves behind, Old Man Luedecke recently revealed a video for “Chester Boat Song”, filmed at his Chester, Nova Scotia cabin, in the heart of a cumbersome East Coast winter. “Let this video be a warning about how much snow we had in Nova Scotia when we made the album!” he claims.
Since then, “it's been a great year of touring and album making.” Recently, Luedecke was the recipient of a Music Nova ScotiaAmericana/Bluegrass Recording of the Year Award for "I Never Sang Before I Met You" and got invited to go play banjos and have dinner with Steve Martin, “which I haven't recovered from."
Josh Harty is a mid-West, singer-songwriter with a keen eye, observant lyrics and a fine, driving guitar-style that pulses with feeling and fire. "Holding On" is his fifth or sixth offering, full of sly takes on life, love, the trials and pleasures rare of a journeyman musician's time out on the road, and just about everything in between.
Harty's fretwork is crisp, zingy and always compelling, catching you unawares almost, at times, with hints of traditional country in the mix; Chet seems to hang in the background balance at times, followed by ole Doc Waltson before he twists the tail, snapping free with a trace of Knopfler at his best and a clear grip of the very fundementals of good quality modern country music/Americana.
His lyrics cast a thoughtful eye on all the usual themes with a laconic feel that at times conjures up the spirit of Hank Williams Jnr or Kris Kristofferson mixed with John Prine. Whatever the theme, whatever the thought, he always hits the spot in "Holding On" with deliciously rhythmic drive and melodies that linger in the mind long after the disc has reached its close.
Harty is one of those genuine guys, a jobbing musician who travels almost constantly, chasing a dream, a rainbow, a whiff of challenge or change, always with one ear open for the next passing lyrical train that he might just pull into. "Holding On" is an album well worth discovering if you've yet to catch this guy. For the rest of us, it's simply a very nice release indeed.
Vocal music will take centre stage at SING! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival, taking place for an expanded 12-day run from May 4 to 15, 2016. More than 30 performances and workshops will take place at venues across downtown Toronto, including the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts and The Distillery Historic District. Tickets are on sale now at singtoronto.com.
Now in its fifth year, SING! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival showcases the best Canadian and international vocal talent. The festival will feature the last Toronto touring show by Canadian a cappella legends The Nylons, who will be performing at SING! as part of a farewell tour wrapping up more than 35 years of performances around the world. Other headliners include Naturally 7, masters of a distinctive a cappella sound known as “vocal play”, and O Canada: Our Nation’s Greatest Hits, hosted by Canada’s funniest couple, Colin Mochrie and Deb McGrath and featuring Latin-inspired jazz artist Amanda Martinez, Dave Matheson from the satirical pop band, Moxy Fruvous and the Toronto Northern Lights barbershop All-Stars.
Festival performers span a wide range of genres and cultural influences, including pop, rock, jazz, classical, barbershop, world, gospel, folk, live looping, beat boxing and more. Canada’s premier a cappella festival educates as well as entertains, with industry veterans leading vocal workshops and mentoring sessions for singers of all ages and levels of experience.