Article by: Lee Fraser
The keys to success at Hugh’s Room, the layout, the repertoire, and the musicians, all come together for tribute shows.
Hugh's Room in Toronto, ON
Bob Dylan April 7, Neil Young May 4 & 5, Woody Guthrie June 2,
John Lennon June 13, Buddy Guy & Junior Wells June 21,
Johnny Cash June 22, Bob Dylan July 21, Pink Floyd Aug 31,
Etta James Sept 13, Sonny Boy Williamson Oct 5,
Willie Dickson Oct 27, Robert Johnson Nov 23, Tom Waits Nov 24
A sizeable stage in the back corner, stepped levels of tables and chairs, and a bar that is just a few steps up from that ensure that everyone in the place has a good view. The sound is always clear and balanced.There are excellent beers on tap at reasonable prices and the food is great, if you opt to get a good seat for the show by making reservations for dinner.
The repertoire of Hugh’s Room is unlike any other venue in the city. There are frequently folk musicians, blues shows and gospel singers. But the jewel of Hugh’s Room is the tribute show.
On a regular basis, the best musicians in Toronto perform tributes to the greatest song-writers of our time. There have been tributes to Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters and Burt Bacharach. Coming up in early April is a tribute to Bob Dylan and in early May, two nights of the music of Neil Young.There are tributes to Woody Guthrie and Johnny Cash in the works for June.
The caliber of musicians cannot be out-done. The host for the Dylan tribute show is Ariana Gillis, causing a stir in the indie folk music scene at the age of twenty-one. The "special guest" line-up for this show is pretty stacked. Kevin Breit has more recordings on his resumé than any other Toronto guitarist and witnessing him live, you can see why he is in such high demand. Shakura S'Aida is a commanding voice with plenty of attitude on a snazzy pair of heels; her performances are always goose-bump inducing. And the icing on the cake: Paul James, a legend of the Toronto music scene, is a good friend of Bob Dylan and has accompanied the man himself on many occasions.
So treat yourself to a tribute show for an artist you've always loved. You're sure to learn something new about them with the story-telling between songs and chances are, you'll discover another Toronto musician to start following.