Amy Campbell (centre) and friends - photo: Alice MacLachlan

 

What with abstinence resolutions still freshly in mind, Christmas bills arriving daily and those recent temperatures of mass destruction, a Toronto venue seeking a January audience for an event of musical significance, is as rare as…well…what is that idiom again…?.

Nonetheless, A Month Of Sundays, at The Mascot on Toronto’s Queen Street West, is managing to draw together the faithful many for an ongoing all-star mini-festival of original song, curated by Amy Campbell and starring a galaxy of the best and brightest local song-crafters, including Annabelle Chvostek, Evalyn Parry, and Nancy Dutra, amongst a dozen others.

“So much talent winters in Toronto,” Amy explains, “We’re all in this cold city together, and out at the festivals in the summer we always say the same thing – we ought to play a gig together sometime. So these are people I have always wanted to make music with.”

In the tradition of Canadian song, winter months provide an inspiring time for writing and reflection as creative minds go into hyper-flourish. “Songwriters have so much new coming, so even if you’ve heard them before you won’t have heard any of this.”

Amy is now able to spend time doing what she enjoys most – writing new songs, learning her guests’ tunes, and sharing them with interested listeners and the other members of her core trio. “It’s meant to have the spontaneity of a playground. There’s a freedom in the program to allow impromptu collaboration and introducing new songs and interpretations of older material and covers. You’ll still hear your favourite songs, but we’re also creating a platform for the artist to explore new avenues of creativity.”

Bass player Carlie Howell took advantage of this last week when she suddenly owned the show with a song called Higher You Climb. (You can hear it here with other samples)

“We’re focusing on the joy of making music,” says Amy, ”but I’m also consciously community building, making an effort to create connections and unite different audiences. So far we’ve had a complete range of ages, and friends and family have a chance to come together while we draw in the locals and passersby. As it grows, we’ll be able to come out from under the radar, but for now we’re staying busy, experimenting and truly being ourselves onstage.”

And if the last few weeks are any indication of the musical joy and camaraderie this community can produce, it’s only a matter of time until a second run of concerts is organized. A Month Of Sundays, with a proposed admission fee of $10 / $5 for students, artists and unwaged, continues at The Mascot, 1267 Queen West on the south east corner of Elm Grove, just west of the Dufferin bridge, every Sunday from 2:00-5:00 until February 17th.

 

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