Aaaahh, June in Montreal. The time when you can’t walk around any part of the city without running into a local show or even a full-blown festival. There’s so much going on, we can’t possibly whittle it down to just a few listings, but that’s exactly what we’ve done, so let’s get started:

Folk Fest on the Canal

There are three things that make this festival stand out:

  1. It’s called the Folk Fest and the lineup is largely, wait for it…folk music. Sure, there are some acts that verge into somewhat less folky territory, like this year’s indie rock headliners Plants and Animals, but there is always a clear line back to folk. In a town where the (anything but) Jazz Fest reigns, it’s a refreshing change.
  2. It’s community-oriented and clean. It takes place entirely in the Sud Ouest Borough and mostly along the banks of the Lachine Canal. Also, the port-o-johns are spotless and so are the festival grounds. Like Osheaga but with people picking up after themselves.
  3. It’s Free! While donations are encouraged and there is a VIP area this year you can buy into, access to the festival and its three stages is free.

You have three options to head on down to the Canal and catch some tunes in the great outdoors. It’s a folk-ing great time!


Montreal Folk Fest runs June 15, 16 and 17. For complete schedule visit

Naghmeh and the Southern Shores

We’ve mentioned Naghmeh and the Southern Shores in this column before, but you can never get enough of this local band’s blend of Persian melodies with rock and folk and notably interesting lyrics. They’re playing again tonight, this time at Grumpy’s, so check them out in a very intimate though always rocking space.

Naghmeh and the Southern Shores perform at Grumpy’s, 1242 Bishop, Friday, June 15, 10pm. FREE

Queer Songbook Orchestra

On Tuesday, the Queer Songbook Orchestra will take the audience at Sala Rossa on a musical journey through the last century of uplifting queer narratives in popular music. It’s their mission to celebrate and perform obscured LGBTQ2S historical narratives, as well as tell the personal stories of members of the community and the songs connected to them.

Guest vocalists Safia Nolin and Beverly Glenn Copeland as well as storytellers Louis Negin and Gabe Maharjan will join the Toronto-based 12-piece chamber pop ensemble on stage. This event is part of the Suomi Per Il Popolo Festival.

Queer Songbook Orchestra perfrorm with Darren Creech as part of Suoni per il Popolo at Sala Rossa, 4848 St-Laurent, Tuesday, June 19, 8pm. Tickets are $10 and available through

Dennis Ellsworth

PEI native Dennis Ellsworth has been making music for over 20 years. He describes his sound over those decades as “dark, smooth, romantic alt-country-ish type songs” but he felt like he needed a change with his latest album, the aptly titled Things Change, produced by Joel Plaskett of The Emergency.

Here’s some of his latest sound:

Dennis Ellsworth performs with Esther Hazy and The Pangs at Barfly, 4062A St-Laurent, Tuesday, June 19, 9pm. $10 at the door

* Featured image via Queer Songbook Orchestra

* Know a band or an artist that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe a show FTB should cover, too? Let us know at Our week goes from Thursday to Wednesday, so let us know by the preceding Sunday, though not too much in advance, or you may get lost in the shuffle. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

In a Sud Ouest Special, panelists Andrew MacDonald and David DesBaillets discuss FolkFest, the changing face of SouthWest Montreal, Barack Obama’s visit and more with host Jason C. McLean. Plus News Roundup, Community Calendar, Lat Night’s Weather and Predictions!

News Roundup Topics: UK Elections, New Conservative Leader, RIP Adam West


Andrew MacDonald: Musician, Sud Ouest resident
David DesBaillets: Legal student, political pundit, former Sud Ouest resident

Host: Jason C. McLean

Producers: Hannah Besseau (audio), Enzo Sabbagha (video)

Production Assistant: Xavier Thomas

Matt Large/FolkFest interview by Hannah Besseau

Recorded June 11, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec



Microphone image: Ernest Duffoo / Flickr Creative Commons

This week Montreal plays host to the Folk Fest which, in my humble opinion, is the festival this summer that does the best job of combining music and sitting outside on the grass. The peanut butter and jelly of outdoor fests. FTB has already reviewed the fest as a whole last year, so in this post we will be highlighting five performances to look out for.

The main location for the fest is right on the canal, it’s a whole lot more than just music, it’s family friendly, they sell beer, the weather is supposed to be amazing and it’s free! I just planned your whole weekend for you, you’re welcome.

Street Meat

What better way to kick the folking weekend off right then to head down to the canal right at 5pm on Friday and check out Street Meat on the Main Stage. This local trio combines a gypsy-jazz style of music with a busker-punk rock attitude, which should lend a bit of clarity to their band name.

While the band’s roots might be in playing street corners and metro stations, it’s nice to see them get the recognition they deserve (and an actual stage)!

Street Meat play Folk Fest Main Stage, Centennial Esplanade (St. Patrick and Pitt), Friday, June 17th, 5:00 pm, free.

A Long, Strange Trip : Songs of the Grateful Dead

While the majority of the festival takes place outdoors on the canal there are a number of showcase events taking place in concert venues in the evenings. One such show is taking place on Friday where a whole host of artists will be paying tribute to the Grateful Dead.

So far the announced lineup includes Joe Grass, Andrew Barr, Brad Barr, Steve Hill, Katie Moore, Li’l Andy, Peter Mika, Colin Perry, Notre Dame de Grass as well as my favorite act “and many more” who seem to show up at every single big gala event I’ve ever heard of.

Tribute to The Grateful Dead plays Théâtre Paradoxe, 5959 Monk, Friday, June 17th, 9:00 pm (Doors at 8:30), $35, tickets available through Théâtre Paradoxe box office.

Sharon and Bram

With Folk Fest being very much an event for the whole family what better act to have on Saturday afternoon than music legends Sharon and Bram. Starting back in 1978 with folk based children’s songs this Juno award winning…. wait what am I doing, if you don’t know who they are then I’m sorry I can’t help you this column isn’t long enough to write their bio let alone explain the significance their songs hold to many Canadians.

Here’s the super short version: skinnamarink. Old or young everyone will be singing along in the sun and for those without children let me just say that this is a show for children “of all ages.”

Sharon and Bram play Folk Fest Main Stage, Centennial Esplanade (St. Patrick and Pitt), Saturday, June 18th, 3:00 pm, free.

Bloodshot Bill

One of the best aspects of the outdoor performances at Centennial Esplanade is that for most of the day you have three different stages to choose from. While the Main Stage might be the big draw, some of the performances on the Montreal and Emerging Artist Stage or Lhasa de Sela Youth Stage are not to be missed.

One such example is local rockabilly one-man-band Bloodshot Bill who will be headlining the Montreal stage on Saturday night. Bloodshot’s music lends itself to getting up and dancing, so the fest did the right thing and put him on as the sun will be starting to go down. What a great way to keep the party going into the evening.

Bloodshot Bill plays Folk Fest Montreal and Emerging Artist Stage, Centennial Esplanade (St. Patrick and Pitt), Saturday, June 18th, 7:30 pm, free.

Lizzy Hoyt

If you’re at the fest on Sunday afternoon I highly recommend you check out Lizzy Hoyt. Fans of traditional music will be very delighted by this singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist’s combination of folk and celtic music with rich lyrics usually centered on historical themes.

Lizzy plays the violin, guitar and harp has released four albums, won numerous awards and will be playing for free on what is supposed to be one of the most beautifully warm days of the year. Seriously, what are you waiting for?

Lizzy Hoyt plays Folk Fest Main Stage, Centennial Esplanade (St. Patrick and Pitt), Sunday, June 19th, 5:00 pm, free.

Check out the full schedule at

Know a band or an artist that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe a show FTB should cover, too? Let us know at We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

Panelists Samantha Gold and Enzo Sabbagha discuss Jian Ghomeshi’s  second trial, the latest bathroom laws in the US and the Montreal festival season at its start. Plus the Community Calendar and Predictions!

Host: Jason C. McLean
Producer: Hannah Besseau
Production Assistant: Enzo Sabbagha


Samantha Gold FTB Legal Columnist

Enzo Sabbagha: Musician, Podcast Production Assistant

* Ghomeshi and Bathroom Law Reports by Hannah Besseau

*Festivals Report by Enzo Sabbagha

* CLARIFICATION: The Peace Bond Ghomeshi signed doesn’t preclude other victims pressing charges. It only applies to Kathryn Borel.

Microphone image: Ernest Duffoo / Flickr Creative Commons


CORINNA ROSE  – Northeast Southwest (April 2013)

Folk / Rock 

Corinna has a surprisingly soft voice. Still, this softness is not a weakness as it strongly moves the heart. When I first heard of Corinna Rose’s debut album, I had imagined something completely different since I knew her to be a banjo player. I had imagined a hybrid of Gabrielle Papillon, with whom Ms. Rose has toured, and Sarah Jane Scouten, whose songs beckon a hoedown.

However, Ms. Rose delivers something unexpectedly heartbreaking in the kind of way I had thought only Sufjan Stevens could do with a soft whisper. There is an edge to her words, which remain calming and beckoning despite. The lyrics are a poetry to music.

There are distinct rock elements to Northeast Southwest and the lyrics seem to pull in different directions, “between two cities and two hearts”, between melancholy (“There is Darkness, There is a Light”) and joy (“Northeast Southeast”). Recommended for reflections. Perhaps, picnics for one with a fountain pen and a blank page.


SEE HER: At the Montreal Folk Fest On the Canal when she opens for Tim O’Brien on Thursday, June 13. Centre Culturel Georges-Vanier, $40.


The Franklin ElectricTHE FRANKLIN ELECTRIC – This Is How I Let You Down (June 2013)

Folk / Pop / Brass

The Franklin Electric recently won a songwriting competition for their wonderful tune “Old Piano”. Their debut album, This Is How I Let You Down is undeniable proof of their talent and musical mastery. This debut album, recorded live off the floor, is solid and moving, echoing some Coldplay but with a warmer orchestral sound.

Since the band has strong musical background and education, they can easily re-arrange their songs and play them in various ways live as well as improvise. Jon Matte, the frontman, has worked with groups like Patrick Watson, Bad News Brown, and Jaffa.  Fans of Mark Berube and the Patriotic Few and The Wooden Sky will most likely find something to like with The Franklin Electric.

Our favourites are “Unsatisfied” and “Watching From A Rooftop.” Recommended for humming while riding your bicycle and thinking about important things in the sun on a blanket.


SEE THEM: Launch this album at the Montreal Folk Fest On The Canal on Sunday, June 16 at 3 p.m. Îlot Charlevoix, free.


theotherbirdsTHE OTHER BIRDS – Sounds from Space (DEMO)(April 2013) 

Rhythm & Blues / Rock’n Roll

We recently reviewed a demo by Elder Sister Plum who is part of the Moon Melody community rooted in Riverdale, Toronto. The Other Birds are also part of this emerging community and recently released a four song demo entitled Sounds From Space.

The Other Birds are a three-piece rock band from Toronto. Sounds from Space showcases the combined talents of Evelyn Hall (vocals, drums), Kaleb Hikele (vocals, bass, keys), and Jeff Hughes (vocals, guitars). There are recognizable popular rock’n’roll and blues influences in this record but The Other Birds manage to tease out a voice of their own with strong harmonies and smooth tracks.

Our favourites are “Sign on the Road” and “Don’t Mean Much”. Recommended for road trips with the windows down and the wind in your hair.