New marketing business in town

Published on October 17, 2016

TRURO – A new marketing business launched in Truro on Monday.

Melanie Grant, former business development manager at the Marigold Cultural Centre, launched SplashPad Marketing, which specializes in creating strategic marketing plans, social media marketing, and internal and external communication documents.

“Working within our community, I noticed an opportunity to help small and medium sized businesses with strategic marketing, brand building and communication strategies,” Grant said in a press release.

For more information or to contact SplashPad Marketing, visit the website at www.SplashPadMarketing.com.

 
 Christine Campbell rocking it out at The Nook & Cranny

Christine Campbell rocking it out at The Nook & Cranny

Campbell’s range, power evident in her songwriting

Published on September 24, 2014

Music Lives in Truro, By Melanie Grant

Rocker cultivating a more intimate experience for her fans

In our house, the beginning of September brings back routines, creates new schedules and renews our family commitment to being involved in our community. For me particularly, September always begins with a fresh new pledge to get out into our town and soak in the vibrant musical culture of Truro.

With two young children at home, sometimes it’s tricky for my husband and I to go out on the town together, but our wedding anniversary earlier this month proved the perfect excuse for us to splurge on a babysitter.

When our sitter was booked, it was only a quick Internet search to see what kind of music was playing in town. We were delighted to discover that Christine Campbell was performing at the Nook & Cranny on Prince Street the night we planned to go out.

I had heard of Campbell through the Music Nova Scotia circle and remembered the buzz about her during the 2011 Nova Scotia Music Week, when her band Stone Mary took home the award for Best Loud Album. She was known for her excellent guitar skills and her strong and powerful voice.

Now, I’ve been to the Nook & Cranny (Cranny, mostly) a number of times since it opened earlier this year as my day job finds me next door and as I’m a little bit addicted to their fish tacos, but I had never seen a band there before and I had some reservations about a powerhouse like Christine playing in a 12-table restaurant.

Little did I know then that her sound and set were perfectly suited to the size and atmosphere of the Cranny.

So, Sept. 5 found my husband and I at the cozy restaurant at about 7:30 p.m. The packed patio had a lively and jovial atmosphere that was matched by the full restaurant inside. It seemed the party was well underway by the time we got there.

We were lucky enough to have Holly as our server, as she is efficient, polite and quick with helpful recommendations. My husband ordered steak and I had my usual fish tacos and we settled in to enjoy our evening.

As I was indulging in my desert (Brookfield Bakery cherry pie) my husband did a little background research on our performer for the evening. It turns out Campbell has recently broken away from the heavier rock sound and into a more bluesy country sound. While she’s still rocking out her guitar solos, it’s now on an acoustic guitar. She has a new self-titled solo album out that’s described as having “a more intimate and stripped down experience” for her audience.

We learned she received standing ovations when she opened for Chantal Kreviachuk and Lou Gramm, and she had well-attended sets at both the Dutch Mason Blues Festival and at the Stan Roger’s Folk Festival in 2013. She has also shared the stage with Matt Anderson, Charlie A’Court, Garret Mason and Carson Downey.

After reading this we were shocked when she walked in; she couldn’t be more than 23-years-old. The table in front of ours were obviously big fans as we heard them whisper, “There she is” and their excited delight when they realized her manager and brother were sitting at the next table.

We were equally delighted when she came in with Blake Johnston of The Stogies. They’re well known as an excellent rock and roll band from Halifax.

A bouncer from the Cranny came by our table for the $7 cover, which we were happy to pay and we got ready to enjoy the music.

Campbell and Johnston opened with a Rolling Stones cover. First, I was impressed with her tonality. A little raspy, but pitch perfect and with a power you could hear just under the surface. Johnston had the first guitar solo, which had the audience drawn right in and we were thrilled that Campbell picked an excellent guitarist to accompany her for this show. But then she had a guitar solo that blew us away; not only did she have a great tone and sound quality to her voice, but she could rock it on the guitar!

They did another tune that neither of us recognized, so we think it must be an original, and it was perfect for her. Her range is broad and this tune displayed the great tone on the low notes and knocked us over with the power and clarity of the top of her range. “Wow” was all we could muster as she finished up her second song.

She played a lot of covers and that suited the bar-like audience perfectly. She covered the Rolling Stones and Chuck Berry, the classic rock covers, but she also did a Matt Minglewood and a Beyonce. And we could tell when one of her own tunes was thrown in, she certainly writes for her range and her voice, but adds enough room to highlight her excellent guitar skills.

Overall, my husband and I left the Cranny with our musical souls touched and our tummies full. Campbell is definitely worth seeing when she’s in town during Nova Scotia Music Week on Nov. 8 from 4:30 to 5 p.m. at Champions Bar on Robie Street.

Melanie Grant is a music enthusiast supporting local artists. She lives in Truro.

 
 The Good Time Country Band

The Good Time Country Band

It’s all about the dancing at the Good Times Club

Published on April 16, 2014

Music Lives in Truro, By Melanie Grant

Goodtime Country Band knows its stuff, but dancing steals the show

I arrived at 7 p.m. just as the band was loading in. The group has been playing together for five years, but they’re all lifetime musicians. They call themselves the “Goodtime Country Band” and they play on Tuesday nights at the Royal Canadian Legion in Truro.

First to arrive was Kathy MacDonald. She plays keyboard and does some back-up vocals. She has been playing with this group for about 10 years. As she helps the volunteers set up the stage, you can tell she’s a pro.

Next to come in the loading doors are Wayne Elliott and Franklin Fulton. Elliott does lead vocals and plays bass, and Fulton plays the fiddle. Elliott is the newest member of the group at five years, while Fulton is the veteran, playing this gig for more than 20 years.

Lorna Letcher comes in next with her drum kit and starts setting it up on stage. Letcher grew up in a musical family. Her dad, Wallace Letcher, was a well-known local fiddler and her first gig was when she was barely a teenager with Carl Elliott (from Economy) and his two boys. Still heavy into the local music scene, she has been passing on her knowledge to music students in Valley and Bible Hill for 30 years. Letcher has been playing with the Goodtime Country Band on and off for about 15 years.

The last band member to arrive is Andy Crossman, who handles lead guitar and helps out on vocals. Crossman is also a gigging musician and plays all around town, including some of the seniors homes.

The Goodtime Country Band was good enough to pose for some quick pictures before they got to the task of setting up the equipment.

While they were getting ready, I had a chance to sit with Gloria Elliott, president of the Good Times Senior Citizens Club, and wife to the band’s lead vocalist.

“The club started in 1980 in the Salmon River Fire Hall, but it wasn’t long before the crowds got too big and we had to move to the Legion,” Gloria says.

The Good Times Senior Citizens Club has been all about dancing for almost 35 years. They started in the 1980s with 150 members coming out once a week to dance to ‘classic country.’ The highest membership was in the early ’90s with 299 members and there were many years with waiting lists to join. The club now stands at 159 members. The yearly dues are $10 and its $6 per person to dance and the club is restricted to people ages 55+.

I came to this gig for the music, to learn about the band and what kind of music they play, but then Gloria starts to explain the dancing and I realize there’s a whole culture here I had no idea about.

“There are four main dances,” Gloria explains. “The Waltz Quadrille, the Fox Trot, Round Waltzes and the Polka. The Fox Trot, Round Waltzes and the Polka are all done with partners, but the Waltz Quadrille is done with four couples in a set.”

I ask if the band will announce what dance is coming up, but the dancers know by the first chord.

“All the dances have their own steps, but you can do what you like,” Gloria says.

 In fact, in April, providing there’s enough interest, the Good Time Senior Citizens Club will offer Waltz Quadrille lessons from 7 to 8 p.m. before the Tuesday night dances.

As Gloria and I are talking, a woman goes by shaking a grainy powder on the floor.

“Dancers wax,” Gloria explains. These folks are serious.

Promptly at 8 p.m. the music starts. The band is tight; you can tell they know these songs like the backs of their hands. They play Merle Haggard, Gene Watson and Ray Price, Hank Williams Sr. and Ernest Tubb. Classic country, old time music. Fulton is awesome on the fiddle, with the notes clear and right on target, moving through the melodies with ease. He knows his stuff and it’s obvious.

The whole band is like that — no one misses a beat as they play through the classic tunes. And Gloria was right, her husband IS Gene Watson.

I’m loving the band, but I’m blown away by the dancing. When 8 p.m. hit there were 75 people in the legion. By 10 seconds into the first song, there are only five people still sitting. Maybe some people come on Tuesday nights to be social, but at that moment, it was all about the dancing. The shuffling of their feet was like a sixth instrument.

By the fifth song, a gentleman by the name of Fred MacDonald asked me to waltz. I think I waltzed once with my dad at my wedding, but not before or since. I warned him, but he assured me we’d do fine. And we did, thanks to his expert leading and my fierce concentration to listen to the band and count to three. MacDonald is well into his 80s and I’m confessing he had me winded after the second waltz.

I left the Goodtime Country Band’s gig with a renewed appreciation of classic country and a plan for the day I turn 55.

Melanie Grant is a music enthusiast supporting local artists. She lives in Truro.

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