Multiple musical genres showcased
Blair Mackay has a lot going on these days but it’s the chance to don the Hudson Music Festival’s artistic director cap for the 10th summer in a row that really has him jazzed up. The former April Wine drummer was one of several people who gathered at Auberge Willow Inn Thursday when HMF organizers unveiled the official lineup for the festival that will run at various venus in Hudson from July 30 – Aug. 7. “For me it embraces my ideal of what culture is,” Mackay, who recently completed a PhD in Music Interpretation from Université de Montréal, said of the festival he helped create a decade ago. Just don’t call him Dr. Mackay. “No, please don’t call me that,” he added with a self-deprecating laugh. The nine day musical celebration is unique in a province and region that loves its festivals. Rather than focusing on one thing only, the HMF brings established artists who’ve made a name for themselves together with youth, and the energy and exuberance that goes with just starting out. It shines a light on long established genres and those that might have been forgotten, or which are little known. For John Murray and Sandra Giguère, Hudson residents and members of the acoustic duo The Better Half, playing the festival for the first time this summer will be a chance to show their friends, family and neighbours what they do for a living. “It’s a beautiful thing to be able to reach out to people in our area,” Murray said. He and Giguère are also looking forward to debuting much of their original music when they play during the joint HMF/Hudson Street Fair weekend, taking place on July 30 and 31.
Terry Gillespie Blues Meets Reggae, a band The New York Blues and Jazz Society called “liquor soaked layers of Blues, Reggae, Country and Jazz,” will kick things off at 7 p.m., on July 30 with a ticketed event taking place at The Mews Concert Square, 422 Main Rd., Hudson. The two day Hudson Street Festival will also see a full slate of free musical acts at the Mews venue including: West Island youth band The Record Breakers (1:30 p.m., July 30), Toronto bands Common Deer (2:30 p.m., July 30) and The Wanted (5 p.m., July 30), Vaudreuil group Delaron (2 p.m., July 31), The Better Half (3:30 p.m., July 31) and West Island jazz band Bluzz (5 p.m., July 31). A ticketed show featuring the group Steve Payne, described as one of the UK’s most unique guitarists, and singer/songwriter Paul Hobday, will take place at 6 p.m., on July 31 at The Mews Square, while the Watling Short Band, a two man group comprised of Doug Short and Kelly Watling, both formerly of Big City Band, will play at The Mews at 8 p.m., on July 31 (ticketed.) The festival’s classic series, taking place at St. Thomas D’Aquin Church, will feature mezzo soprano Stephanie Marshall and pianist Pamela Reimer at 7 p.m., on Aug. 1, and cellist Elinor Frey at 7 p.m., on Aug. 2. An event Mackay is particularly excited about is a concert featuring renowned jazz vocalist Ranee Lee backed by a nine piece string quartet. The ticketed feature show will take place at 8 p.m., on Aug. 3, at the Hudson Yacht Club. And in a full circle moment hometown girl Megan Griffi, who won two previous HMF youth competition awards, will sing vocals with the Georges Doxas Le Big Band at 8 p.m., on Aug. 4, at Auberge Willow Inn. A full slate of music will run during the festival at Chateau du Lac bar, as well as at Hudson’s Cunningham’s Pub, while Didier Chasteau Jazz Project will perform a free concert at The Willow at 6 p.m., on Aug. 5. Meanwhile, an annual youth music competition open to artists from 15 – 25-years old will take place at The Mews from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., on July 30. Categories include solo, duo and group and will recognize best original composition, best interpretation and overall performance. Those interested must register by July 27. Up for grabs are prizes including lessons and the chance to record a demo, certificates and a professional photo shoot. For festival passes, $75, individual tickets, or info on artists, showtimes and more, go to www.hudsonmusicfestival.ca. Passes and tickets can also be purchased at Auberge Willow Inn, the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre, or the HMF office in The Mews building.