The best of the best
In his annual year-end review out and About column, Guardian freelancer Todd MacLean gives his take on the entertainment highights of 2016 - everything from best fiddle solo and best trumpet solo to most emotional show and funniest show.
Do you know those “Earth at Night” satellite photos that display the amount of humanmade light being emitted from large population areas around the world?
If one were able to do the same kind of map that could display global live musical sound output instead, I would imagine P.E.I. would light up like one constant white beam of light, glowing there in the Gulf of St. Lawrence at the edge of Canada.
Indeed, as so many of us know so well, if you’re a lover of music, this is the place for you. And as we look back on another sensational year of Island music, this truth can be all the more clarified.
Thus, without further ado, it is with utmost pleasure I now present my annual Out and About Year in Review list for 2015 - a year of many musical highlights I took in:
Best guitar solo: Keith Urban, Cavendish Beach Music Festival, July.
Best drum solo: Yissy García with Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, P.E.I. Jazz and Blues Festival, August.
Best trumpet Solo: Neil Knudson, John Cain Blues Band, Annual Blues Bash, The Old Triangle, November.
Best fiddle solo: Kyle MacNeil playing Beautiful Point Aconi, The Barra MacNeils, Indian River, June.
Best oboe solo: Marc DesRoches, Kirk of St. James, November (admittedly this was the only oboe solo I heard in 2015 - and probably the first in years - so it does win by default...but hey, I’m giving him props for it nonetheless.)
Best group vocal performance: The Eastern Belles, Contact East at The Mack, September.
Best solo vocal performance: Keith Urban, Cavendish Beach Music Festival, July.
Best dance performance: African Children’s Choir, St. Paul’s Church, June.
Best storytelling: Patrick Ledwell, Frank Ledwell Storytelling Festival, St. Peters Courthouse Theatre, July.
Most emotional show: Memorable Todd’s picks 1. Got Blues Matinee: Muddy Waters Theme with special guest James Phillips - The Factory, today, 2:30-4:30 p.m. 2. Logan Richard - Old Triangle Pub, today, 6 p.m. 3. Christine Campbell - Old Triangle Pub, today, 8 p.m. 4. Goose River Dance - Goose River Community Hall, today, 9 p.m. 5. Adam’s Eve Reunion with The Royal North - Hunter’s Ale House, today, 11 p.m. Musical Memorial for Hal Mills, The Dunk, Breadalbane, October.
Best “rocking on through the elements”: Matt Andersen with The Mellotones, summer downpour at Rock the Boat Music Festival, Tyne Valley, August.
Most creative use of performance space: Because You’re Not presented by A.N.T. of New York City, Fishies on the Roof, Island Fringe Festival, August.
Best rock performance: Stars, Music P.E.I. May Run Festival, Delta Prince Edward Ballroom, May.
Best pop performance: Tim Chaisson, P.E.I. Brewing Company, May.
Best gospel performance: Kelley Mooney CD launch, Trinity United Church, May.
Best blues performance: Ripped Paper finale, The Guild, November.
Best instrumental performance: The East Pointers, 39th annual Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival, July.
Best electronic performance: Jenn Grant with debut of Aqua Alta, Hunter’s Ale House, March.
Best jazz performance: Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, P.E.I. Jazz and Blues Festival, August.
Best country performance: Keith Urban, Cavendish Beach Music Festival, July.
Best traditional performance: Vishtèn CD launch, The Pourhouse, September.
Best acting performance: Noah J. Nazim starring in Hamlet presented by ACT, Robert Cotton Park, Stratford, September.
Most engaging performance: Diana Panton with Don Thompson, Reg Schwager and Guido Basso, P.E.I. Jazz and Blues Festival, St. Paul’s Anglican Church, August.
Highest energy output: Alan Doyle, Cavendish Beach Music Festival, July.
Most unique performance: J.J. Chaisson, The Fiddling Fisherman fishing boat, Souris harbour, August.
Funniest show: Aladdin, Confederation Centre, December.
Most entertaining show: Mike Super, Confederation Centre, March.
Best show I saw that I wished I could’ve had the chance to write an article for: Paper Lions, P.E.I. Brewing Company, November.
Best overall performance: Keith Urban, Cavendish Beach Music Festival, July.
It was certainly a pleasure to present this “Island musical best of 2015” list.
And I must add, here in my 10th year of writing this column, that it is such an ongoing pleasure to report to you weekly on the remarkable music from our musically-filled-to-the-brim Island.
I’m looking forward to all the sweet sounds that 2016 will surely have in store for us - and for me it begins today at The Factory for the Got Blues Matinee with special guest James Phillips. I’ll tell you all about it next week.
Happy 2016 one and all!
Karisa Talen and Tiffany Talen lend their voices to the annual Sing Along Messiah this past Monday at the Kirk of St. James in Charlottetown. The festive event, presented by the Confederation Singers, encourages the audience to sing along with the choir as it performs parts of Handel’s most famous choral work.