Cormier tackles J.S. Bach
‘Summertime Revue’ at Savoy Theatre is another winner
First, I admit I’m no expert on classical music. My main expertise comes from watching Bugs Bunny cartoons over the years. Second, I admit I’m a huge fan of the musical skills of Cheticamp’s Maxim Cormier.
Cormier can do justice to anything he plays so I think it’s safe to suggest that his treatment of the works of J.S. Bach would be superb.
He does things a bit differently. You don’t normally hear Bach on the guitar and you certainly don’t hear it flat-picked on steel strings on a Weber arch top, but this is what he gives us.
The sound is clear, with nothing to distract you from the player’s ability. As I listened to this I was struck by the intensity of the playing and the skill level required to pull this off.
It’s just one guy with one instrument. There’s no orchestration, no extra musicians, just that one guitar handled by a very talented young man.
The only guest on the recording is Aurélie Cormier, whose beautiful voice adds so much to “Ave Maria.”
Short, sweet and to the point, this recording is an EP with only six cuts. This project was done at Lakewind Studios. Classical music may not be your cup of tea but Cormier’s approach to Bach makes for an interesting recording that crosses the formal boundaries and makes it enjoyable for everyone. Check it out and see what I mean.
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There was so much music happening over the past few weeks that it was hard to keep track of it and impossible to get to everything. But I tried my best.
On July 29, I hit the Doryman for an afternoon of tunes with Colin Grant and Joel Chiasson.
As expected, there was a full house, a mixture of locals, home-from-aways and tourists. I sat with a couple from Vermont who were touring Cape Breton before travelling to Newfoundland. Before they left home they were told that they had to stop at the Doryman. A little promotion goes a long way.
Later I made a trip to West Mabou and enjoyed the music of Howie MacDonald, Hilda Chiasson, Mary Beth Carty and Joe MacMaster, who played for the solo stepdancers.
The music was brilliant but the dancing was something else. The sets had dancers that ranged from their 80s down to three years old. And everybody was included, whether they were a veteran dancer or a beginner. The solo dancers — all 19 of them — went from nine to 76 years old. Talk about an exercise program.
Last Wednesday I caught the “Summertime Revue” at the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay. Well worth the trip — the music was wonderful, with a nice combination of old and new songs, and the comedy was sharp and funny, just what you would expect from the Revue.
Highlights included The Coaltones and their punchy song versions that stuck it to politicians in general. They even took a poke at Donald Trump with an interesting twist to Rockin’ Robin. Jenn Sheppard and Peter MacInnis as two old ladies were hilarious. The Revue is on tour this week but returns to the Savoy on Aug. 16-17.
Last weekend the tall ships were around and CBC hosted shows on the waterfront. Matt Minglewood was on stage on Friday. He has been making music for more than 50 years but he still knows how to rock as he served up a nice combination of new and old familiar music. On Saturday Port Cities performed, showcasing tight harmonies and great writing skills.
Saturday afternoon I stopped at Governor’s in Sydney for a double helping of fiddle music.
Dwayne Côté and Jason MacDonald were entertaining outside while Gillian Head and Mary Beth Carty were playing inside. I heard some great music and got a chance to exchange stories with some friends, including a member of the first band I ever booked 49 years ago.
I finished off the night at the Dobson Yacht Club in Westmount at a lovely wedding reception where I enjoyed the music of Chapter One. This trio
impressed me with great vocals and a great song selection that had folks on the floor from the first song. The power of live music. Dan MacDonald has been involved with the Cape Breton and East Coast music scene for over 40 years.
He can be reached at email@example.com.
Dwayne Côté and Jason MacDonald performed recently on Governor’s street-level deck in downtown Sydney.
Maxim Cormier’s newest CD “Play J.S. Bach.”