If you need proof that roots music knows no borders, look no further than Toronto's Dakota Tavern, which hosts a four-hour bluegrass brunch every Sunday. Today's band, Badly Bent, played classics by Buck Owens and Bill Monroe while families and friends chowed down on the all-you-can eat eggs, pancakes and sausages.Across town, the 8th annual WinterFolk festival is filling the clubs on Danforth Street with over 100 (mostly local) acts singing folk and blues. Yesterday's highlights included Vancouver's Sillken (Michele schmidt guitar& Ken Cade, electric violin), Toronto's William & Polly (actually Andrew and Denise) and Ottawa's Marc Charron, who played guitar and drums (with his feet.) Best of the lot was Shawn Brush ("The Krooked Cowboy") who, despite being only 4 feet tall, played one of the best guitars I've heard in a long time. (For those into specs, he plays a Martin 728, originally manufactured for the Japanese market.)
And, then, there's the legendary Rex Hotel, which today hosts the Excelsior Dixieland Band, blues with Dr. Nick and the Rollercoasters, and jazz with Run Stop Run. Its nice to know the Canadians can hear all this music without their passport - though this weather makes me wish I was in Nashville or Memphis right now.
(More pics over at the Fan Page.)