After returning from an extended weekend in Montreal, Team GDW would once again head back north just one week later. We learned last year that The Jim Cuddy Band performs annually at Tawse Winery in Vineland, ON for their “Summer Solstice” event, and the decision was made several months ago to check this out in 2017. The idea and location made perfect sense, given that Jim Cuddy has collaborated with Tawse Winery to create his own brand of wine.
Wondering how we could spend our time in the surrounding area prior to the evening performance, we quickly learned of numerous local shows taking place in Hamilton that featured free live music. With some quick online searches and notifications from social media, we quickly decided to check out both the Hamilton Francofest in Gage Park, and then an event in Durand Park that would feature a performance from Laura Cole and her band. Arriving at Gage Park, we happened to spot Les Poules à Colin (whom we saw just last week in Montréal), and stopped by to chat prior to their set. With an early afternoon slot, we enjoyed the full 45 minute performance from this talented quintet, who once again demonstrated their great mix of traditional folk with modern influences. For anybody unfamiliar with this band, we strongly recommend that you check them out soon.
After heading out of Gage Park, we made our way across the city and up the hill to Durand Park. One of the first things to greet us was the wonderful aroma of hot dogs from a local vendor, and our taste buds were very grateful that we got to sample this local fare (delicious – just perfect on a sunny afternoon in the park). Laura Cole and her band would arrive shortly afterwards, and after some brief time setting up on-stage, would crank out a 45-minute set of great music. Never one to disappoint, Laura would perform several cuts from her “Dirty Cheat” album, including not only the title track, but “Sweet Escape,” “The Only One,” and “On My Own.” She would also give props to Harvey Summers, and reference her collaboration on his “Human” album, before launching into “Risk Love” from that release. Closing her set with an Etta James cover, Laura wrapped up the party by taking time to chat with fans and pose for photographs. It was wonderful to meet with both Laura and Chris Chiarcos again, and we eagerly await both the new album scheduled for later this year, and the chance to catch up with them live again very soon.
Heading out of Hamilton, we pointed our car east towards the wine country peninsula and arrived at Tawse Winery for the main event. As the sun descended onto the horizon, The Jim Cuddy Band would take the stage and launch straight into “Second Son.” As the song ended, “Coaches Corner” co-host Ron MacLean would step on stage as the Master of Ceremonies to formally welcome The Jim Cuddy Band to Tawse Winery (jokes aplenty about how he was late, but had rehearsed his introduction and really wanted to fulfill his duties). Introductions over, the band would continue with “Still Want You,” and continue all evening with a further 16 tracks that mixed both solo tracks and Jim’s popular Blue Rodeo hits. Missing a couple of lines during “Still Want You,” Cuddy would laugh at his ability to get something wrong so early into the set.
With rumors of new material coming soon, Jim Cuddy did add one new song into the set list (we believe it may be titled “When I look at you”), with Jim informing those in attendance that this was the first time they had played this one live. The track was well received by all, and left us thirsty for some long awaited new material. There were no unexpected surprises with this show, but everything we had hoped for was there. Bassist Bazil Donovan would be given the spotlight to demonstrate his amazing musicianship with a brief solo during one track. Colin Cripps would not only fulfill all lead guitar duties, but embraced a much larger role with the vocal duties. Anne Lindsay always dazzles with her mastery of the violin, and never ceases to amaze with her extended solo during “Five Days in May.” For the best part of 90 minutes, the band kept the pace up-tempo, with “Bad Timing” and “Try” being the only real slow songs in the set.
Closing with the always popular “It Could Happen to You,” the band would return for a two-track encore before giving way to the traditional Tawse Winery fireworks display. We headed to our hotel with the sounds of Jim’s music still playing in our heads, and look forward to seeing both his band and Blue Rodeo for several more dates later this year. On a side note, we greeted Colin Cripps in the US this past Thursday, as he took the stage as guest guitarist with Kathleen Edwards at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA (recap coming soon).
The Jim Cuddy Band set list:
- Second Son
- Still Want You
- All I Need
- Too Many Hands
- Married Again
- I Could Never Be That Man
- When I Look At You ***New Track***
- Five Days in May
- Regular Days
- Water’s Running High
- Bad Timing
- The Light That Guides You Home
- I Can’t Hide This Anymore
- Maybe Sometime
- Til I Am Myself Again
- It Could Happen To You
- What Is So Wrong