MMN... All Roads Lead to Guelph... As I drove into Guelph Sunday morning with my son Owen and his friend and teammate Jack I thought we were just coming into town to play a couple of baseball games at Hastings Stadium against the Guelph Outlaws. But as we exited the 401 and headed through Aberfoyle, past the snowmobile shop with the metal roof that looks like it's been collapsing for the past thirty years, past the old mill that was converted into a restaurant that hosts monthly mystery dinner theatre nights, further on past the intersection that used to be the home of the Pergola driving range and is now a shopping mall, past the beautiful university and the stillness of the Speed River, we started up the hill with the imposing edifice of the Catholic Church on our left and the Albion Hotel on our right, it started me thinking about our first home away from home, Guelph.
The Albion was the first place we ever played outside of Toronto, and really, outside of the Spadina Hotel. And from our first show at the Albion, we fell in love with Guelph.
We played one of the first Hillside Festivals, the one where we met our friends Lewis and Tannis at a workshop where The Grievous Angels' Charlie Angus kept needling Lynn Miles, trying to get a rise out of her (and succeeding) and Lewis kept everything (and everyone) together with his fabulous pedal steel playing; the one where Bob's Your Uncle headlined and the hay bales meant to muffle the sound of the generator powering the sound system for the main stage caught fire, necessitating a bucket brigade from the lake to the melting generator, everyone pitching in (the way they do in Guelph), doing what needed to be done, working beside Grievous Angels' singer Michelle Rumball as we passed buckets along the line... Guelph has always been a source of inspiration and collaboration for us, and its influence on the band continues to this day - band members @jessybellsmith (check out Jessy's beautiful 2014 release "The Town" https://jessybellsmith.bandcamp.com/releases) and the always groovy @noelwebb are both proud Guelphites.