Saturday, 30 January 2016

Jory Nash at BobCat February 13

February 2007 was the first ever BobCat concert. We rocked the house with Suzie Vinnick and Tony D that night, and since then it's been an endless stream of great music gracing our sunroom.

February is also Cat's birthday, so she always gets the choice of who to have play her "birthday show." Following a sterling string of picks (Good Lovelies, Penny Lang, Jeremy Fisher, Peter Elkas, Amy Campbell...) she has chosen our friend Jory Nash as her 2016 guest.

If Izaak Walton was the "Compleat Angler", then Jory is the Compleat Songwriter. Over the last two decades, he's put out nine CDs that have charted his growth as a songwriter, arranger, musician and singer. 

He's learned the craft of writing and performing diligently, and now he spends a fair amount of time teaching that craft too. AND... he's taken his love and respect for the music of Gordon Lightfoot and turned it into a legendary series of "The Way We Feel" concerts, and now into a CD project that's in the planning stages. 

He's been with us before, but every appearance brings new songs and stories. Don't miss this opportunity. 

WHO: Jory Nash
WHEN: February 13, mingling at 7, music at 8
WHAT: Our SUGGESTED donation is $20; feel free to bring a snack to share and any booze you'd like to consume, and/or a donation to the Ottawa Food Bank  
WHERE: 214 Northwestern Avenue 

And keep these dates in mind for the rest of our spring season!

March 26: Manitoba Hal
May 28: The Donefors 

Thursday, 3 December 2015

2016 kicks off with Shawna Caspi January 23

We begin 2016 with an Ottawa girl who's making it work in the big city of Toronto.

Shawna Caspi's love of music goes deep, and was nurtured at the Ottawa Folklore Centre and Rasputin's. Since those beginnings, she's become a veteran performer, a tireless tourer, a constant contributor to the folk and roots music community, and much respected for her fingerstyle playing and her fine songwriting.

If you don't believe us, believe the folks who judged the 2015 "Songs From the Heart" competition, in which songs by Shawna were chosen in both the humorous and political categories. Here's her song Devil's Rolling Pin:

Shawna Caspi is our first guest of 2016, and we're dead chuffed she'll be performing for us and for you. AND she'll be bringing CDs and her own paintings for your purchasing pleasure!

WHO: Shawna Caspi and her fingers at BobCat
WHEN: January 23, 2016, 7:00 mingling and 8:00 music
WHERE: 214 Northwestern Avenue
WHAT: $20 suggested donation (all proceeds to artist), either by cash or cheque or via PayPal or interac e-transfer. We also accept non-perishable food donations for the Ottawa Food Bank and snacks for our potlucky enjoyment.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

BobCat is back: David Ross MacDonald November 21

A 2015 farewell show with David Ross MacDonald 

Our friend and one of our favourite ever BobCatters is coming back! 
David Ross MacDonald is living the bicontinental life, touring Canada in the best weather of our year, then heading home to Australia to tour there and work on his eco-friendly house. This summer, he’s also spent a lot of time doing tour dates in his alter ego, drummer for The Waifs
So we are pleased to send him off to Australia with a BobCat show. 
David will be playing old favourites as well as debuting (for BobCat at least) new songs from his limited-edition CD “Caravan”. 
Join us for amazing guitar playing, insightful lyrics, and wonderful songs. Don't believe us?
WHO: David Ross MacDonald at BobCat 
WHEN: November 21, arrive after 7, music at 8
WHERE: BobCat, 214 Northwestern Avenue, Ottawa, ON 
WHAT: (to bring) a snack to share, any alcohol you’d like to drink, money for CDs, and open ears and hearts. 

We love getting your donation in advance. $20 suggested, dropped off as cash or cheque or sent to us by PayPal or Interac e-transfer makes artists feel very secure. 
2016 is bringing a fantastic lineup of BobCatters
January 23: Shawna Caspi 
February 13: Jory Nash 
March 26: Manitoba Hal
May 28: The Donefors 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

May 30: Nancy Dutra is going to make you love her. Trust us.

If you're a fan of the Americana genre, you need to come to this show. Nancy Dutra is one of those musicians who deserves to be FAR better known than she is.

A deep, warm alto voice that sings clearly and without embellishment or overdone drama; guitar that supports the voice and the lyrics; and songs that take the diverse music Dutra grew up with (fado and early country) and find a new way of dealing with familiar subjects: love, loss, and hope.

Respected magazine No Depression said this about her CD Time Will Tell: "then there came this voice. The one that emanated from the speakers had gentle jazz guitar notes spilling around like brandy in a big sniffer glass. It was a smooth blues voice . It has just enough jazz in it to intrigue the untrained ear -- to turn toward the speaker and listen, listen, listen."

No less a songwriter than Ron Sexsmith says: “A clear and unaffected voice and songs that are soulful, unpretentious and timeless.”

See what I mean? Even a hissing expresso machine can't break that spell (observant viewers will notice BobCat alumna Amy Campbell in that video -- this was her series of shows).

I can't think of a better way to spend a fine spring evening that getting some of that in my ears. Can you?

Our opening act this time is The Hutchison Jammers, making their BobCat debut!

WHEN: May 30, 2015, 7:00 for mingling; 8:00 music
WHO: Nancy Dutra
WHERE: BobCat, 214 Northwestern Avenue
WHAT: bring your own booze, and if you want to, a snack to share with the crowd or a food donation for HighJinx!
HOW: suggested donation $20 (all funds to artist); drop off cheques or cash or use Interac or Paypal to transfer money via email.

Friday, 6 March 2015

March 28: A roaring end to March with The Young Novelists

The folk and roots music world can sometimes be seen as synonymous with the singer-songwriter genre. But there are those who forge a different path, like Graydon James and his bandmates, the Young Novelists.

This six-piece group (alex dodd, graydon james, shawn jurek, john law, mike paddags, and  laura spink), take full advantage of the richness that extra people, voices, and instruments provide.

Their music is full of joy and intensity and tenderness, and these musicians bring a wonderful grasp of their instruments and how to play together from the softest pianissimo to thunderous crescendos.

So far, they've produced their debut EP, a small town eulogy, and a full-length recoding, in the year you were born in 2012. And later this spring, their latest project made us strangers will hit an unsuspecting world with the rich harmonies and great songwriting that is now expected, but with some new textures to the sound.

And you can preorder this new record RIGHT now. Just go to their PledgeMusic site to get in on the fun, with anything from the record to a dress-shopping excursion with vocalist / percussionist Laura Spink up for grabs.  

Don't miss them! Here's a taste of the Young Novelists from the Wood & Wires video series:

Graydon James & The Young Novelists- Hear Your Voice from Wood & Wires on Vimeo.

Send March out like a lion! See you then.

WHO: The Young Novelists
WHEN: March 28, 7:00 mingle, 8:00 music
WHERE: 214 Northwestern Avenue, Ottawa (Directions:
HOW: Buy Tickets: Suggested donation $25. Drop off cash or a cheque, or e-transfer using Interac or Paypal to

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Jeremy!

We're just waiting for Santa to arrive tonight, but Cat already knows what her belated birthday 
present is going to be: our first house concert of 2015 will feature the inventive and deceptively entertaining Jeremy Fisher!
Jeremy is a recent returnee to Ottawa, and 2014 saw him release The Lemon Squeeze, his seventh album. What makes Jeremy an ideal BobCat performer? He's got a distinctive voice (he says "sounds like Simon, looks like Garfunkel"), he's got considerable skill on guitar and piano, and his songs range over a broad range from pop-inspired tunes to broadwayesque story songs with a mix of sincerity and sly wit that is captivating. 

He's toured the country by bicycle and by less fun means of transportation, he's toured with such notables as Xavier Rudd, Sarah Slean, Peter Katz, and Danny Michel, Cat loves him (Bob too), and if you haven't discovered him yet, you will be a fan by the end of the night. 

WHO: Jeremy Fisher in concert at BobCat House Concerts 
WHEN: Saturday, February 21, mingle at 7, music at 8
WHERE: 214 Northwestern Avenue, Ottawa 
  • BYOB and a snackish dish to share if you like (soft drinks always available) 
  • Food bank donations are gratefully accepted and passed on 
  • Suggested donation $20, all proceeds always go to the artist. You can use Paypal or Interac to send money directly by email to bob dot ledrew at gmail dot com, or mail us a cheque or drop off cash at the house.  
See you next year!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Recognition for BobCat alumni makes us grateful

Saturday night marked not only a house concert for us with the fantastic Jory Nash (the songs from his new album are among the best I've ever heard of his, and he is a fine writer indeed), but the end of Canadian Folk Music Awards Week in Ottawa.

10 years ago, a small group of some of Canada's most important people in the world of folk music created these awards, and since then have put in countless hours (and probably more than a few of their own bucks) to keep the CFMAs vital and to put on great events across the country.

This is the place where Canada's folk community can celebrate the richness of our music creators and the achievements of those who've recorded over the previous year, handing out 19 awards.

As house concert presenters, we occupy a very privileged position. We get to welcome some of Canada's and the world's most skilled musicians into our homes and introduce them to our friends, neighbours, colleagues, and acquaintances in a uniquely intimate environment. And over our 37 concerts,  we have become friends with a lot of the people who've come to perform at our house. So seeing some of our musical friends get nominated or win a CFMA is a reminder to us of just how lucky we are and a source of great happiness.

This year, six BobCat alums were nominated for a CFMA: Quique Escamilla, Gathering Sparks, Jadea Kelly, Amanda Rheaume, Shari Ulrich, and Jill Zmud. Three of those nominees were chosen by a jury as the best in their category this year:

Quique Escamilla: 2014 CFMA for World Solo Artist

Amanda Rheaume (with cowriter John MacDonald): 
2014 CFMA for Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year

Shari Ulrich: 2014 CFMA for English Songwriter of the Year 
and for Vocal Group of the Year as part of the High Bar Gang 

We've been lucky to walk away from every concert feeling as if we've experienced and shared something very special. And if this sort of recognition helps spread the word about our folk scene to new audiences and pushes performers to do even more striking work, then I'm all for it. 

Congratulations to the CFMAs, to all the nominees and the winners, and especially to our BobCat friends. And (this will be the only time in history where I will quote Abba) thank you for the music.