It’s not every day I’d drive a 4-hour round trip from Montreal in freezing rain to catch a show! But this ain’t no ordinary show, folks. As part of a tour dubbed “The Longest Road Show” this felt like a truly unique concert celebrating some of the finest female musicians Canada has to offer, including Hamilton singer-songwriter Terra Lightfoot, Lindi Ortega and Begonia. It also included a performance from local Ottawa artist, Kathleen Edwards, who has spent most of the past few years away from the spotlight.
The evening began with a new name to me, Evangeline Gentle, introduced by Lightfoot herself, who instantly won over the respectful audience with her beautiful songs and easy-going manner. She thanked Terra for taking her under her wing and acting as a mentor, and on tonight’s brief appearance the future looks very bright for this rising star.
After receiving a Juno nomination for her latest album New Mistakes, Terra Lightfoot deserves to be in a celebratory mood and tonight she seems to be revelling in the chance to share the stage with musicians that she clearly has a lot of respect and admiration for. She’s brought along Anna Ruddick (Randy Bachman) on bass and Michelle Josef (Prairie Oyster, Lori Yates) on drums as her backing band, with the addition of Kelsey McNulty on keyboards.
Pinball King, a song about “our nation’s capital” gets a particularly rowdy reception as Lightfoot sings “just kiss me on the river canal” and Two Hearts’ “Love in vain” refrain results in one of a couple of moments of audience participation.
Lightfoot, Ortega and Begonia (Alexa to her Mom) take turns to bask in the spotlight, accompanied by their fellow artists, rather than having the stage to themselves for their own material, and it works fantastically well. Parts of the show feel slightly unrehearsed but that almost adds to the unique atmosphere of the event. Begonia’s vocal capabilities leave the crowd awestruck and her hilarious stories between songs just make her all the more likeable. Lindi Ortega plays in a wide-brimmed floppy hat that almost obscures her face when she plays
There’s a brief intermission, giving everyone the chance for a quick beer (alcohol is not permitted inside the theatre) and then Lightfoot returns to introduce Kathleen Edwards. Five years ago, Edwards posted a message on Facebook saying “I’m pretty sure I don’t want to make music anymore,” leaving fans worried that she was about to retire. Thankfully, following a few years away from the world of touring, she seems to be ready to bring new music into the world and her all-too-brief set tonight gives her the opportunity to debut two new songs.
Edwards jokes about looking forward to releasing one of the songs in the US as it namechecks Canadian Tire in the lyrics. Both new songs sound sublime and it’s a pleasure to see this underrated artist back on stage. The only song from her back
The rest of the evening sees the stage host to a rotating bill, where the artists once again share vocal duties and are obviously having a blast playing together. Each has
Was it worth the the trip from Montreal? Absolutely!
Review & photos – Steve GerrardShare this :