Cooler weather makes musical Medicine a welcome tonic
Summer is officially over and, as if watching the calendar, Mother Nature has begun offering a taste of the cooler weather to come. While many will cope with the change in part by getting flu shots over the coming couple of months (I’m glad I did last year, I can say unreservedly) other tonics are available that help bolster your mood as the temperatures fall —and few would dispute the beneficial health effects of that.
Even before he became newly health-conscious well over a year ago now, Roots songwriter, guitar ace andWinterfolk Festival founder/director Brian Gladstone was well aware of the salubrious effects of music on general well-being —in fact it was one of the reasons why he started his festival in February, at a time when many are direly in need of a psychic pick-me-up.
As if to emphasize that relationship between music, mood and well-being, Gladstone has long referred to the various open stages he’s run in a variety of venues over the past decade or so as “Dr. B’s Acoustic Medicine Show” —and that of course is the moniker he’s still using for his successful Saturday afternoon series at Free Times Café, now just about to enter its third year with its season kick-off today.
The series began November 1, 2014 and takes a break in the summer months —and also at the height of the winter festive season and for Winterfolk— but the 2-5 pm or so events have since the beginning, as we told you about this time last year, consistently been very busy and attract a particularly high level of talent. No doubt many see it as a chance to bring their material to Brian’s attention: while there is a committee that selects Winterfolk artists, the festival’s website acknowledges the fact that appearing at Brian’s Saturday open stages could help your chances.
(As the site says: “Although not considered a formal Winterfolk audition, nor an official festival activity, UNOFFICIALLY … Brian Gladstone runs an open stage Saturdays at the Freetimes Cafe in Toronto. All artists are welcome to come out and play some tunes. If there is any talent that he believes is ‘festival quality’, it will be reported to the Winterfolk Artistic committee. If there is any interest on behalf of Winterfolk, they will connect with the artist.”)
But whether or not you are a festival-calibre performer, it’s certainly of benefit and a fillip to both your mental and physical health, as well as your musical growth, to be associating with some of the finest of local Roots and Blues talents who regularly appear at the event. In addition to the joys of being able to perform on a stage where the sound settings are taken seriously and people actually listen, it’s a great weekly learning and networking opportunity.
And like the flu shots we can these days all get free courtesy of the government, there’s no cover charge to attend the event —though of course it would be rude to spend nothing given that it takes place in the rather small cozy back room of the club at 320 College St. a little east of Augusta Avenue. Buy a beverage and toast to your health!
-Gary 17, TorontoMoon.ca