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15 stellar artists recording Tony Quarrington songs tonight

Tony-Quarrington-150505-1w-277x300Reprinted from Toronto Moon – I’ve written a few times now about the remarkably diverse talents of Tony Quarrington, a composer, arranger/producer, guitar virtuoso, singer-songwriter and ubiquitous musical sidekick to highly regarded artists like Noah ZacharinBrian Gladstone and Soozi Schlanger among many others.

The Juno-winning “renaissance artist” —as I described him in an article about his unique six-song operatic Jazz composition “Emily’s Songs” in October 2014— is about to see his public profile get another much deserved boost tonight as fifteen powerhouse artists come together to record a selection of his songs live in concert.

Despite winning the Juno in 1999 for his production expertise on the late Willie P. Bennett’s album “Heartstrings” and his own remarkable creative achievements such as the “Emily’s Song” opus and its progenitor “Group of Seven Suite” in 2001, until recently Tony has largely remained an understated presence on the scene.

Perhaps that in part is due to a somewhat taciturn or shy nature or maybe it’s just that he doesn’t suffer fools gladly —many of his songs display a sardonic, ruthless wit that appeals to the likes of Sebastian Agnello and Joe Hall, both of whom do covers of his tunes.

Tony’s seeming reticence to take the spotlight may also have origins in how for many years he was somewhat overshadowed by his much better known and more outgoing brother, multi-disciplinary author and songwriter Paul Quarrington. Since Paul’s untimely passing in 2010, however, whether by coincidence or a change of focus, Tony’s own talents have been getting more attention.

In 2014 he was feted by his musical peers (assuming it’s true to say that he actually has any!) at an Honouring Our Own concert toasting him staged by Pete Otis and SongTown as part of that year’s Winterfolk Festival. At that time I wrote that Tony’s “days of being part of the background may be ending” and tonight’s concert, at which fifteen stellar artists will be recorded as they perform covers of his tunes, certainly seems to bear that prediction out.

The list of performers is a kind of all-star team of Roots and Jazz songwriters, many of whom were also involved in the Honouring Our Own show, held, like tonight’s event, at Black Swan Tavern at 154 Danforth Ave. The roster includes: Laura Fernandez, HOTCHA!, Stuart Laughton, Wayne Neon, Isabel Fryszberg, Soozi Schlanger, Wendell Ferguson, Fraser & Girard, Jon Brooks, Joe Hall, Glen Hornblast, Brian Gladstone, David Storey, Howard Gladstone and Sebastian Agnello.

The result of the recording will be released as a live album at next year’s fifteenth edition of Winterfolk, so if you can get into tonight’s show (arrive early as capacity in the room is only around 100 and it should fill up fast) you may hear yourself on the disc as you applaud, cheer or sing along in the background.  Doors are scheduled to open around 6, with the show slated to start at 7:30 and tickets are $25 at the door or may still be available in advance.

Here’s the set list:

1 Glen Hornblast  “Blue Cadillac”
2 Brian Gladstone  “Lightning Man”
3 David Storey  “When Townes Sang Em Down”
4 Howard Gladstone  “Big One on the Way”
5 Seb Agnello  “Full Moon and Welfare Cheques”
6 Laura Fernandez & Noah Zacharin  “Frida and Diego”
7 HOTCHA!   “Jubilee”
8 Stuart Laughton   “Heartstrings”
9 Wayne Neon   “I Wanna Be a Blues Guy”
10 Isabel Frysberg   “Broken”
11 Soozi Schlanger   “Gee But It’s Drunk Out Tonight”
12 Wendell Fergusson   “Jimmie’s Last Blue Yodel”
13 Fraser and Girard   “Hell Hound on My Lawn”
14 Jon Brooks   “Love Has Left the Building”
15 Joe Hall    “How Many Miles to Babylon”

-Gary 17, TorontoMoon.ca

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