Date: Saturday 21 November 2015
November 21, 2015, at 8:00 pm (doors open at 7:30)
Suggested donation (100% goes directly to the artists): $15-$20 per person
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP. We can then keep track of how many people to expect, and send you our address so you can find us for the show!
It’s pretty hard to believe we are at the end of our second full season of house concerts!! This year has been, to say the least, busy. Busy enough in fact that we even toyed with the idea of having only three official shows this year. Luckily, we came to our senses, because this show is going to be pretty special.
A while back, we met Toronto singer-songwriter Shawn William Clarke at the annual Folk Music Ontario Conference. After a couple days of running into each other in the hotel, we found ourselves in one of the late night (early morning, really) jam rooms. This room was, to put it lightly, filled to the brim with talent. At one point Shawn stood up, and with his guitar, began his song “In Conversation”. It started with a wonderful finger-picked riff, that lets you know a great song is on the way. I remember the conversations in the room quickly fading, so everyone could hear what was happening. It was a pretty great moment, the kind that makes it worth staying up till sunrise in hotel rooms with too many good people. We knew we were hooked when days later, in the sleep deprived fog that is the work week after the conference, we found ourselves humming his melody on our daily commute. We dug his CD, “William”, out of the large stack we came home with and it found itself a regular part of our life’s sound track. You know you like an album when you go out of your way to buy it on vinyl, when you already own it on CD. This is going to be a wonderful show, and we are very excited to have Shawn’s voice filling our house.
Last year, around this time, Leah said to me in passing “Mike, I want to record a CD in our house.” And I said “You absolutely should.”
Then she said “In the spring…”.
I don’t know why I was surprised. This is a woman who once said “I want to live in a church” and two short years later we were at our lawyers office picking up the keys to our new home. What I’m saying is, when Leah decides she’s doing something, that thing is going to get done. It’s an amazing thing to be part of, it felt like every day, there was a new song, and new ideas for the project.
Long story short (and leaving out the work of many talented people we are lucky to know) on July 30th, we released Leah’s second album, “Live At The House Of Harmony”. We took it on tour in our tiny trailer to Nova Scotia in August, and it was amazing.
When we bought the church, and decided to run house concerts out of it, we didn’t want to make it about us. Our goal is to give our friends, who’s talent and creativity knows no bounds, a place to play where they will find a great audience, get treated well, and have a good experience. When asked by people when Leah was going to play there, we would dodge the question, because we didn’t want it to be perceived as a vehicle for self-promotion. But as we talked to more people, especially after the new CD was released, we got the impression that it was something people wanted to see. It does sort of make sense, what better place to see a CD release concert than in the room it was recorded? So we decided to go for it. And here we are. As always we are excited to welcome you into our home, this time to hear Leah, and honoured to be sharing the stage with Shawn William Clarke.
You can find Shawn’s and Leah’s official bio’s below and some videos of them performing.
Shawn William Clarke
Shawn William Clarke has long been a sideman with acts like the gypsy-folk collective Olenka and the Autumn Lovers and Arts & Crafts recording artist Timber Timbre. But a few years ago, the Toronto musician branched out to pursue a solo career, putting himself squarely in the spotlight. His debut album “Like Birds Too Tired To Fly” was called “one of the best Canadian albums of 2010” by Snobs Music blog and now has a follow up, Clarke’s sophomore album, “William”.
“William” features the autobiographical storytelling found on “Like Birds Too Tired To Fly” and has a number of songs inspired by the tales of both cities and small towns, from Clarke’s travels across Canada. “Some Nerve” is a solemn tribute to unconditional love in a slowly progressing landscape, while “I Blame the Loyalist Ghost” is a tongue-in-cheek lament on being sick during an East Coast tour. “William” also contains the song “Tranzac Club”, which tells the tale of a new love blossoming in his current city of Toronto, Ontario.
Clarke sought out James Bunton (Ohbijou, Diamond Rings, Evening Hymns) to produce the album and they decided to record in Gravenhurst, Ontario at the studio space inside Currie’s Music and Collectibles. “Currie’s was a very inspiring location to record this album”, says Clarke. “The Currie brothers [who own and run the store] make you feel at home and their knowledge and supply of vintage equipment is unparalleled.” Good use was made of the instruments available at the antique shop including a number of vintage guitars like the 1969 Guild that was once owned by Canadian singer-songwriter Mendelson Joe, a 1962 Gibson that was used on the children’s television show Romper Room, and a 1967 Yamaha that resonated so much with Clarke he purchased it after the recording sessions.
As a songwriter, Clarke’s goal has been to simplify music and melodies, bringing the subjects of his lyrics to the foreground. Have a listen and see if you don’t agree.
By turns brash and beguiling, Leah Morise’s music is hard to categorize. When asked to describe her sound, she uses the term “genre crossing,” a mix of folk, contemporary, jazz and blues. “I never really know in advance what’s going to come out. The genre selects me, the songs appear in the style THEY want.”
A multi-instrumentalist, this soprano plays acoustic guitar & electric bass. Her mother played the guitar, and Leah got her first guitar at the age of 12. She talks about how life gives you lessons you often don’t want: “I used to sing with my mom, and I learned to play by ear. In 1988, my mom got cancer of the larynx. To combat the disease, she had her larynx removed, which meant she was unable to sing. So, in a way, her voice is carried on through me.”
But if you should think that this means that Leah’s playing sad songs, you’d be mistaken. The former self-described “Chatham farm girl” – now Londoner -is far more likely to laugh than cry, and her music reflects this sensibility. You can hear this laughter and joy in many of her songs; just try to listen to the infamous “Panty Song” without giggling.
She’s influenced by everything she hears, from the music at church to random conversations with friends. “When most people are dreaming, I’m writing,” Leah says; her muse makes late-night calls, often between midnight and 3 a.m. Inspiration also occasionally hits while she’s driving and her phone has more than a few snippets with road noise in the background. Like the artist herself, Leah’s music is filled with love, humour, honesty, and not a little bit of silliness.
Leah has released 2 CDs of her original music and played gigs from coast to coast. Her latest CD, “Live at the House of Harmony” is now available on iTunes as well as on websites such as Amazon.com. The new album is receiving radio play across Canada and the song “$2 Bill” from the new album was nominated for the Colleen Peterson Songs from the Heart Award in October 2015.