When Worlds Collide


Last week, I had intended a post on today’s topic, which got put off because of the death of Chuck Berry. Here it is now.

Earlier this month, the band did a show at the Linsmore Tavern as part of the Indie Tuesday Series. After our set,  Mrs. Félix-and-the-Cats points out to me a nice young man the audience, whom she had recognized from earlier in the week, as she had spoken to him and his father at Canada Blooms, the biggest garden show in the country.

Mrs. Félix-and-the-Cats, a very dedicated garden writer/blogger and consultant (check out the linked sites!), had been at the show to hear (and later give) a presentation, and had spoken with the aforementioned young man, Ben Cullen, and his father Mark.

For those clueless about gardening, Ben Cullen is a horticultural consultant and presenter, and comes from an illustrious gardening family: his father Mark is a renowned garden writer, educator, broadcaster and Order of Canada  recipient, and his grandfather was Len Cullen, a horticultural pioneer in Ontario, who created Cullen Gardens & Miniature Village, a popular tourist attraction in Whitby, Ontario that was a favourite of families until its closure in 2006.

Embed from Getty Images


To top it off, just this past week, we both met Ben’s aunt, Sue Cullen Green, when she introduce Mrs. Félix-and-the-Cats as the keynote speaker at an event in beautiful little Brooklin, Ontario.

Anyway, after the Linsmore set, Ben came to say hello and pay the band some very nice compliments. He had just moved back into the neighbourhood and very much enjoyed the presence of the Linsmore in the area. We had a lovely chat.

So the point of all this? The world is indeed a small place (still wouldn’t want to paint it, though) and one can meet a lot of nice people travelling through. It would not have guessed until now that there would be an intersection of my “world” and my wife’s, but I’m glad I was wrong!

On to news: new show! Please mark your calendars for Thursday, May 25, 2017, when NeMo and I will be doing a special one-hour “acoustic” set at the iconic Eton House, on Danforth, just east of Pape, as part of its M Factor Redux Weekly Indie Music Series. Hosted by the brilliantly talented Elana Harte and her band, the show starts at 8:00 — good for a school night! This will be a good one to catch rarely performed material, given the special format.

Also, don’t forget I have my Birthday & Day-Job-Retirement Bash at Relish Bar & Grill this coming April 22 (a Saturday), starting at 9:30. A very special show!

Until next week, be well!



I had another topic in mind for this week, but that will be deferred following the news of Chuck Berry‘s death.

Image from blackpast.com

This one struck me harder than Bowie or Prince, no offence to these other artist’ legacy. Many of the headlines celebrate his accomplishments as a rock and roll pioneer and innovator in a musical sense. No argument there. To say he was more or less innovative than any of the great blues guitarists is an argument for another time. I honestly don’t care whether he originated those licks, but to a huge number of young rock guitarists growing up in the seventies, and even later, his aproach was the entry point and the home base. Any decent player could easily learn these songs and spin them in his or her own way. His music was both unique and completely malleable.

But it’s as a performing guitarist that I think he had the most enduring impact. Chuck Berry was the prototypical rock star guitarist, and created the template for the mad, lusty, joyful swagger of swinging that guitar around right in an audience’s face. It looks and sounds loud and crude, but man is it fun, and it hasn’t stopped.

All rock guitarists owe him a lot, perhaps everything. He will be missed.

Here he is featured in the movie “Hail Hail Rock ‘N’ Roll“.

So, it’s been a busy week.

Tuesday was the show at the Linsmore with friends Michael Sheen Cuddy and Arch Rockefeller sharing the bill. Thanks to all who came out (I thank you individually here). The show also brought about some reflection, and I may share that in a future post.

Thursday night brought the out to the Eton House tavern on Danforth near Pape to catch an unplugged set by friend Fraz Milne, whom I have spoken of previously. It turns out that they have an Indie Music night each Thursday, for which Fraz played the second set. The evening is hosted by Elana Harte, who you can watch and listen to here (sorry, the video won’t embed). Awesome singer! https://www.facebook.com/emma.oneill/videos/10158285300075580/
I’m sorry I could not stay for  Wendell Ferguson, but here is a bit of him below.

Instead, I finished the evening at the Peppery Cat for one of Mike Sedgewick‘s inimitable blues jams, where I rocked out some frustrations, doing originals which the band picked up fantastically!

Photo by Ray Cheung

The week ended at C’est What for T.C Folkpunk‘s newest CD, Hearsay Is 20/20, listening party. I wrote more at length about T.C. in an earlier post here; always the gracious host, he introduced me to RexySpice (self-confessionally not your average lyrically driven violently acoustic unintentionally comic singer songwriter), with whom we all share similar yet uniquely slanted approaches to songwriting. I look forward to the opportunity of hearing him at a live show soon.

Unless someone famous passes on next week, the planned-on post for this week will be covered then. Be well! I mean it!


Whatever Floats Your Boat

For people attending this Tuesday’s March 14th show at the Linsmore (and I hope a lot of you will), I have added one of my newer songs on the set list.

Frog in Lifejacket
Basic frog image from http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/looneytunes/images/e/ed/Michigan_J._Frog.png/revision/latest?

This one is called Waterline, and retells the biblical tale of Noah’s Ark, but from the animals’ perspective, and more specifically, a frog’s.

I found it interesting how this narrative of ultimate reset focused on land dwelling creatures. For anything living in water, it may have been a bit a “meh” event.

The first verse introduces the story, then the second highlights the anthropocentricity of the narrative. Finally, in the third, I draw to draw a parallel to climate change, set up by the bridge. Yeah, it’s heavy-handed, but it gets the job done. The breakdown before the bridge is silly fun, and an homage to the B52s Rock Lobster.

I hope you like this one, and look forward to your feedback at the next show.

Until then, be well!


Waterline ©2017 R. Pelletier/Félix and the Cats

Verse 1:
He is a mangy dog
She is a feral cat
It seems I am a frog
I guess that’s where it’s at
We’re on to see a man
Who’s building a big boat
Cause when it starts to rain
We’ll either sink or float

Verse 2:
The man chooses who’s on
And who to sacrifice
Creatures who’ve done no wrong
Will pay a heavy price
A good thing I can swim
I know I’ll last this out
For others it is grim
Unless you are a trout…

Breakdown: (ad lib)
…or a salmon, a herring, a pickerel, an eel, a whale, an octopus, a lobster, a crustacean of some kind, a squid, a mollusk, a bottom feeding invertebrate…(etc. ad lib)

The people did not heed the signs
They did not do what’s right
So now the rain keeps falling down
For forty days and nights

Verse 3:
Some call this story true
Some call it metaphor
I’ll leave that up to you
And what you’re looking for
What’s best for you and me
Keeping that tale in mind
We’re not to blind to see
The rising waterline

Fellow Travellers – Part 5

Portrait by Lisa Macintosh http://www.lisamacintoshphotography.ca

I have had the pleasure and privilege of meeting many talented people on this latest journey. Amongst the most broadly gifted is Rob Greenway. Rob is a voice actor by trade, but also a graphic artist, producer, singer and drummer. In his alter-ego personage of Brilliant Fish, he has performed many times at Relish assisted only by a looper pedal to paint broad sonic landscapes in improvised and highly absorbing vocal performances. Rob also sits in on drums on the rare occasions when Paul Brennan and Jace Traz are not available for Relish Bar and Grill’s Stir It Up Sundays, and is the full-time drummer for the “metaphysical blues” group Cadre, and ensemble of top-tier Toronto musicians. That aspect alone is worth it to catch Rob perform.

As Brilliant Fish, he has released a number of albums and singles that highlight an imaginative approach to songs, such as this brilliant(ha!) cover of Hank William’s Cold, Cold Heart, that spreads a layer of sinister anger over the original heartbreak of the original.

image from mixcloud.com/the-upstream-with-brilliant-fish

Just recently, Brilliant Fish has launched his own radio show, The Upstream on Mixcloud. I have admittedly not listened to radio for a long time, is this is the first time in ages something like this has drawn me in and held my interest. The songs are often new (to me anyway), and juxtaposed in a aural narrative that keeps you captivated. I highly encourage everyone to listen.


My only question remains, how does he find the time to do all this!


To close off, I want to remind everyone that we are very excited to be playing in just over a week at the Linsmore Tavern, and part of Indie Tuesdays, on March 14. This show finally gets the original FatC lineup back together, with Paul Brennan on drums, Neil (NeMo) on bass, and yours truly. Expect some new songs, some favourites and a high energy set, cause I picked  ’em that way. This is an outstanding evening to catch new talent as the second set will feature Michael Cuddy (who wrote a lovely invitation for the show here) and the third, Arch Rockefeller, two master songwriters whom I greatly admire. We start at 8, so don’t be late.

Until next time, be well,