Tanglefoot brings it home
For some twenty-five years, this band has delighted audiences with their funny, invariably quirky, yet often moving songs based largely on true stories from Canadian history.
The band’s final performances, matinee and evening shows, at Owen Sound’s soft-seat Roxy Theatre, made for an amazing and emotion-filled day.
The shows started off with a duo taking the stage: Joe Grant and Bob Wagar were the band’s first members.
They sang the traditional tune: “The Banks of The Don,” which contained the line “taking tanglefoot whisky and getting drunk in the street” which gave Tanglefoot its name.
By the end of the song, the five current members of the band had taken the stage and launched
with ‘full throated abandon’ into a stirring rendition of “One More Night,” one of Tanglefoot’s most memorable pieces.
A string of the terrific story-songs followed, resulting in a three hour love-in with the audience at each show.
Throughout each performance, musicians who had been in the band over the years were invited onto the stage to sing and play with the current band: Steve Ritchie (guitar), Al Parrish (double bass), Terry Young (mandolin, banjo, guitar), Sandra Swannell (fiddle, viola), and Rob Ritchie (keyboard).
What an amazingly talented group.
Songwriter Joe Grant, the creative force behind much of Tanglefoot’s material, performed with the band as if he’d never left.
Pianist/guitarist Bryan Weirmier fit right back in, as did fiddler Terry Snider and mandolin player Bob Wagar. The band even found space for Robert Graham who had played brilliant keys on several of the band’s tours of England.
In all, ten musicians were on the stage during the very moving finale, and there were few dry eyes in the house.
There was lots of meet and greet time between shows and during the reception afterwards. The band sold a record quantity of CD’s, tshirts, posters and DVDs. It seems no-one wanted to go home without something signed. One young gal from England gamely bought a copy of every one of Tanglefoot’s seven CD’s and fought the adoring crowds to get each and every one autographed by all of the band members past and present.
It is a great testament to Tanglefoot’s popularity that there were literally loads of people in the audience from across the USA and England. Imagine crossing the Atlantic or flying in from Minnesota just for a concert!
Musically, the repertoire selected for the playlist was just about perfect. It was the right mix of favourites: there were the stirring anthems with rousing five part harmonies, but then there were also the contemplative pieces that make you think about how wonderful life is and how thankful and lucky we are. The very final tune “Song for the Road,” co-written by bassist Al Parrish and Holmes Hooke, was sung by Al with the other nine musicians supplying harmonies and choruses.
Quite an image it was, all those amazing musicians on stage together.
A huge thank you to Steve Ritchie, Al Parrish, Rob Ritchie, Terry Young & Sandra Swannell, along with Joe Grant, Bryan Weirmier, Bob Wagar, Terry Snider and Robert Graham.
It’s been a slice, guys!