During the second day of the Winterfolk Blues Festival, the Canadian branch of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) – the largest songwriters’ trade association in the world – showcased some of their songwriters at an afternoon show at the Globe Bistro in Toronto.
Kicking things off was Dan McVeigh, who is the lead co-ordinator for the Toronto chapter of NSAI Canada. His music featured keyboard standards more in the vein of soul than country. McVeigh’s lyrics are simple but meaningful, all of the tracks telling a story about life. Songs ranged from ‘Sometimes We Forget’, which is about experiencing the passing away of a loved one, in particular the memories of his dad, to ‘I’m a Fortunate Man’ an uplifting standard that preached about being optimistic through all the bad days.
Being a day after Valentine’s there were some love songs, like ‘You Are All I Dream About’, which McVeigh sung in beautiful harmony with his wife Cathy, who said it was the song where they met. Cathy had her own solo, ‘Flying Back To You’; she stumbled on the lyrics having not performed it since the summer and being pulled onto the stage by her husband! But, nevertheless, her vocals were very sweet and effortless.
The couple, not surprisingly, complimented each other very well, and started off the afternoon on a feel good note. Make sure to check out Dan McVeigh’s latest album Drove.
Not to take away from the other three musicians, but Chase Stevens really got the crowd moving with his performance of a very energetic song about winter blues and going southbound out of town. After the performance, complimentary whispering could be heard among audience members.
Some of the other highlights were Paul Malysa’s ‘Ten Days in Paradise’, which saw Beckett performing on cajón, a box-shaped hand drum, and Chase Stevens with a shaker. The performance was a foot-stomping, country-folk song about having a good time. Following that up was Beckett who slowed things down with ‘Without You’, a pleasant ballad with very clean and smooth vocals. Zac Wrixon, the youngest of the four, held his own like a veteran, in particular with ‘Want Me’, which involved some impeccable guitar playing, ending everything on a high note.
Following them was another four musicians – Barb Doran, Dean Stacey, David McLachlan, and Shaun Devlin. All of these four sung very pleasant folk-rock songs with the connecting theme of family. Highlights included Doran’s ‘Love Like That’ and McLachlan’s ‘Bless This House’ – which he sung following a plug of his poetry book Horses Running Free. Moreover, Dean Stacey got Barb Doran next to him singing along with him in a very sweet ballad.
The best of the four was Devlin who began his set with a very beautiful ballad that resembled ‘Starry, Starry Night’ in regards to intonations here and there. His last song, Two Friends’, which ended the afternoon, was very touching and heartfelt – talking about the love between two of his close friends. McLachlan sitting beside him seemed to enjoy that song more than any other song heard on the stage, nodding his head and calling for an encore.
Overall, the nine performers that stepped on stage on February 15 at the Globe Bistro really showed the diversity of all the artists signed by the Nashville Songwriters Association of Canada, and it was a really great showcase for those who were interested in songwriting.
For more on the Nashville Songwriters Association, visit www.nashvillesongwriters.com.