Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Ellen McIlwaine was the epitome of an adventurous spirit: fierce and independent, the flame-haired artist took her musical gifts in surprising directions, defying expectations at every turn. As a virtuoso slide guitarist with a seismic voice, she excelled in a male-dominated field, leading her bands with a bold musical style that transcended genre and culture.
Loud, powerful and flamboyant onstage, Ms. McIlwaine was kind, gentle and open-hearted offstage, and made friends easily wherever she went. After getting sober in 1982, she moved to Canada, living in Montreal and Toronto before settling in Calgary a decade later. There, while pursuing her career and teaching guitar and voice (including Arabic scales and yodelling), Ms. McIlwaine volunteered at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. For the past eight years, she drove a school bus – as much for her love of children as the steady income. When she died at 75 in a Calgary hospice of esophageal cancer on June 23, after a diagnosis only six weeks earlier, many mourned the loss of a revolutionary artist and generous soul.
The only adopted child of Southern Presbyterians, Frances Ellen McIlwaine was born in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 1, 1945. When she was two, her missionary parents, William and Aurine, took her to Kobe, Japan, where she lived for the next 15 years, attending the Canadian Academy international school. She started playing piano at the age of five and later snare drum in the marching band while singing in the school choir. Ms. McIlwaine credited listening to the American Forces Network radio with her discovery of Ray Charles, Fats Domino and Professor Longhair.
With no surviving family, Ms. McIlwaine leaves behind a large circle of friends.
Monday, June 28, 2021
mystery of the root, in its mud and manure, with all its worms and groundwater working away, the blossom appears, and draws us, with all of its beauty and fragrance, into the realms of a particular magic. What attracts us is a gorgeous expression of the complex and invisible spirit of that one spot.
Michael Laderoute (Dec. 29, 1947 – May 29, 2021)
Glen Hornblast:“Michael Laderoute and I go back a long way – we found each other at Norm Hacking’s open mic at various places. Norm was a good host and his open mic was almost like a workshop. He was the hub. He was the center of songwriting in Toronto. He had the best open mic.
We cheered each other on as we attempted to make our one and only CD https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_msNWoSmzg_LSl8qOZ8M0D5pi4cExDUVwY < (listen here on YouTube) that would do justice to our music. It was a very expensive process if you were to do it right. He sure made a good one – should have won a Juno – but hey, little guys don’t win Junos. He was a great songwriter – “A River I Know” being one of the best songs about dying ever written – a perfect song – Michael knew all about “crossing that river” – he was always full of beans and full of great stories. Always sitting at the bar with a Molson’s in front of him – he always made fun of my drinking Coronas. He actually met Townes and Guy and John Prine during his travels – now that’s pretty cool, and it was fitting, since his music always had that inflection of Texas Blues. He should have lived in Austin, not Toronto. He used to talk about playing in Dallas at the Sons of Herman bar – sort of like a Legion in Canada – sitting in a song-circle guitar pull with Guy Clark and the boys – that’s I think how he accidentally ended up with Guy Clark’s capo. I’ll have to get there someday. Maybe he’s somewhere right now playing with those guys, taking turns playing tunes. He was a great songwriter and despite his sometimes cranky demeanor, he really had a heart of gold. See you along the way Amigo – you brought a lot of love and laughter to the world – you will be sorely missed – but always remembered in our hearts.”
Steve Paul Simms:
“I met Michael Laderoute sometime in the late ’80s at the Free Times Cafe. He was a friend of Norm Hacking’s, and he always seemed like a very cool dude. A magnetic performer and great storyteller in song, he seemed to have fully lived the life he wrote about. An English major, he had a deep knowledge of literature. He loved Moby Dick and Cormac McCarthy. He loved old movies too, and whenever I tried a line of obscure dialogue from some Bogart or Cagney flick on him, he’d know the comeback line right on cue. Michael seemed to know a lot more than he said. Most of the time, he was joking around, occasionally grouchy, but never pompous or self-important. I learned a whole lot from watching him onstage and off, and I never spent an unpleasant hour in his company. He’ll be missed for a long time.”
Pat Chessell:“I’m a singer-songwriter from out in Vancouver, BC. Michael was actually my cousin (my mother’s first cousin, so I guess that makes him my first cousin once removed). We sure had some great times over the years, and I’ll sure miss him. I learned about life and music from him. He was a fine singer and songwriter and has left some great music behind. He always had a cool story to share about meeting a country singer, or catching a giant fish, or about his travels in Mexico. ”
Saturday, June 19, 2021
Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Saturday, June 5, 2021
Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby