February 7, 2009

The McDades

The McDades
a Canadiana Celtic romp


Three years ago The McDades electrified our stage with a thrilling concert, and we described it then as:

"The McDades delivered on their promises and gave our audience a rollicking rolling evening of musical pleasures that covered a range of styles from traditional Celtic to classical Jazz with solo gigs on soprano sax or on a vintage bass with the eloquence of Charlie Haydn. The musical adventures and arrangements moved from bowed bass and violin parts that remind you of George Martin's Beatle Productions to Horn improvisations in the style of Oregon or the Paul Winter Consort. Percussion sounds range from frame drums to sounds more modern."

A s part of out 40th Anniversary Year celebration, The McDades was one of the hits returning to our stage this year, and we expected this show to be as exciting as their last...   It was.

Our audience reveled in the rollicking romp. Throughout the evening, each performer had an opportunity to showcase their chops in an extended solo: Solon on the double bass, Shannon on the fiddle, Jeremiah on the soprano sax, flute, whistle and his own throat, Simon on the guitar and Bucky on the drums. For the finale, they all joined together as all hell broke loose and there was a helluva lot of good Celtic sounds.

Punching through the walls of tradition, The McDades' celtic rooted music fuses the spontaneity of jazz improvisation and infectious global rhythms. Their cutting edge sound is the perfect complement to their fiery performances. "It’s hot stuff and very entertaining." (Tom Nelligan, Dirty Linen)

TheA t the heart of the group are siblings Shannon, Solon & Jeremiah who grew up playing Canadian folk music alongside their parents and among artists from around the world, a unique upbringing that led to a love and respect for all music. Their groundbreaking compositions and innovative arrangements are characterized by stunning virtuosity and a near-telepathic interaction on stage. Shannon’s lyrical fiddle, Jeremiah’s searing winds and Solon’s smooth bass create the rich foundation for this adventurous band. Rounding out The McDades’ sound are dynamic driving guitar and magnetic hand-drumming. The musical diversity of this tight five-piece celebrates the very idea of what it means to be a Canadian musician.

With vocal harmonies that can only come from a family, and an obvious love for each other and their music, The McDades' sound is immersed in the spirit of improvisation. Featuring both energetic instrumentals and sensitive vocals performed in English and French, this compelling and dynamic group "find their groove somewhere between a down-home kitchen party, a jazzy after hours club, and a folk festival." (London Free Press)

With these talents, The McDades are the 2007 Juno Award Winners for Best Roots/Traditional Album Group, and are winners of the 2007 Independent Music Award for Best World Album Traditional (and others). FYI, the Juno Award is the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy.

SHANNON JOHNSONShannon Johnson began studying violin at the age of three and has progressively gained a reputation as one of the finest fiddlers in the country. Shannon’s fiddle, vocal and production skills can be heard on great recordings by artists such as Bourne & Johnson, David Wilkie, Terry McDade, Captain Tractor, Luann Kowalek and Maria Dunn. While keeping a busy live performance and touring schedule, Shannon is also emerging as a leading composer & arranger and well on her way to becoming one of the top record producers in the country.

SOLON JOHNSONSolon McDade has been performing professionally for most of his life. He began playing the cello at age 4 and by the time he was 9 he was playing the violin, double bass and doing shows with his family in the McDade Family Band on the washtub bass. By the age of sixteen he was already a veteran of the Canadian folk festival circuit and had performed in shows for many members of British Royalty. From smoky blues bars to international festival crowds Solon has wowed audiences with his musicality.

JEREMIAH McDADEJeremiah McDade, Shannon & Solon’s younger brother, is a virtuosic multi-instrumentalist and composer, playing Whistles, Saxophones, Fiddle and Flute, to name a few — and now his own throat (tuva throat "singing"). Performing at festivals, concerts and major events since he was five years old, Jeremiah has grown into a sought after studio musician. Due to his rich musical upbringing, Jeremiah flows freely between musical genres, equally at home with Celtic, World and Jazz stylings, while keeping his own original voice. Jeremiah recently graduated with High Distinction from the Jazz Performance program at McGill University in Montreal; he is also a busy composer and arranger.

SIMON MARIONSimon Marion comes from a well-known and well-respected musical family, and is a multi-faceted guitarist whose influences range from Madonna to traditional Quebecois music. Simon has played with many artists of different musical backgrouds — from folk to rock through traditional jazz and pop. Simon has performed with Le Vent du Nord, La Vesse de Loup, Les Matapins, Les Petits Pas Jacadiens, Hommage au Aînés, Line Cadieux, Kharma, Luc Cousineau, Raoul Dugay and Eric et Simon Beaudry.

BUCKY WHEATONHandling the percussion was a long-time road warrior Mark "Bucky" Wheaton, a magnetic jazz based drummer that keeps on rockin’ the free world, formerly from the Montreal-based band Land of Talk.

Praises by others for their performances:

  • "... one of the most innovative Celtic-rooted bands I’ve heard lately — they’re both adventurous and mischievous as they play with tempos and experiment with unconventional — and very successful arrangements. "
        — Dirty Linen

  • "Cool tunes with a celtic root, but much wider inspiration ... Spot-on playing, keen band production and a spirit of adventure ... This Kicks!"
        — Folk Roots Magazine

  • "This is one family that works and plays together extremely well. On stage is where their intimate connections combine with immense talent to provide the audience with an incredible musical experience"
        — The Horses Mouth

  • "The McDades find their groove somewhere between a down-home kitchen party, a jazzy after-hours club and a folk festival ... blazing and soothing."
        — London Free Press

  •   Link to their music on YouTube:   Video: The Whistle Blower    

            or on MySpace:  

    or visit their web site:  

  Opening tonight were our featured open mike performers:

Our host tonight was Ira Perlman, and our open mike featured performances by:

  • Richard Cashman
  • John Taylor
  • Todd Evans
  • Susan Cohen
  • Andy Romanoff
  • Maria Fairchild
  • Ken Bongort
  • Larry Moser & Mary Nagin
  • Gary Schoenberger
  • Claude Margouleff
  • ...and Denise Romas

  • If you weren't here tonight, you missed yet another of the very best programs of the year ...