Sunday, June 01, 2008

Mike Ford
formerly of Moxy Fruvous
Hugh's Room

Today's the day Mike Ford's Canada Needs You Volume 2 hits the stores. Run right out and buy it! Last night he hosted a CD Release party for a couple hundred (paying) fans at Hugh's Room in Toronto. Mike's found a niche in the Canadian music scene as the custodian of curiousities Canadiana. This guy is so Canadian I bet he bleeds red. If you have children in school struggling with the history curriculum then drop the textbooks and pick up Mike's catalogue. The kids will come out with a renewed interest and a novel way at looking at the world...with eyes wide open to wonder. Hugh's Room is a decent enough little would be perfect without the food. They assign the best tables to those who have a dinner reservation, making for a pricey night out if you want a close seat but aren't up for dinner. Their interest in serving food (and drinks) takes precedence over your interest in listening to the artist, so it can be distracting. On the other hand, the concert special is only $30, choices are varied and it's more than filling. If you don't mind the ambient noise it's worth a visit just to enjoy the cozy confines.

Mike Ford's act is a 'feel good' night. He's got considerable talents; lively guitar work, strong vocals and witty lyrics, combined with his 'boy next door' demeanor, it makes for an enjoyable evening. The past couple times I've seen him it's been at the cozy Renaissance on the Danforth, usually helping fill out the bill for his friends Mike Skliar and Ken Ficara who visit from NYC periodically. Tonight he's enlisted the help of, ex-Fruvous now Great Big Sea, bassist Murray Foster. Along on drums is Mark Mariache, currently backing Ron Sexsmith on tour. Jennifer Bush, who appeared with Mike on "Canada Needs You" is along to help with some backing vocals.

We arrive in time to catch part of the soundcheck and I'm real torn about turning on my mic. When we were here for Steve Forbert he played a great song at soundcheck (which I missed recording) but didn't play it during the show. I decide to be discreet. I'm able to corral Mike for a moment and pass along the DVD my son created from his last night at the Ren in 2007. We also tried to get our reservation changed from a table for two because it looks like there'll be six of us along tonight. The show is sold out though and those accomodations couldn't be made...we were able to get two tables close to each other so we were set for the show.

When we see Mike at The Ren we're usually with a large group of Toronto-area Dylan fans and he spices up his set list with the odd Bob-cover or roots classics. Not tonight. Tonight we get a deep look into Mike's passion for Canadian history and the works he's created, and played for many a Grade 10 student, over the past few years.

Here's the set list, with links to some evening highlights.

Disc 1

Mike Ford (vox, guitar)
T01 Talk - Red Kelly/Giants intro
T02 The Giants (Clayoquot Trials)
T03 Talk - Giants outro
T04 The Story of The Fraser
T05 Talk -Voyageur camp
T06 Les Voyageurs
T07 Talk - Arthur Meighan to D'Arcy McGhee
T08 Darcy McGhee
T09 Talk - Frankenfood
T10 Monsanto(?)
T11 Talk - Thank the teachers
T12 I've Been Everywhere
Mike Ford (vox, guitar), Murray Foster(b.vox, bass), Mark Mariache (Drums)
T13 Talk - Band Intro
T14 Saskatchewan
T15 Talk - Saskatchewan Outro/Intro
T16 In Winnipeg
T17 Talk - EXPO '67 Handbook
T18 Expo 67!
T19 Talk - Jennifer Bush intro
Mike Ford (vox, guitar, piano), Murray Foster(b.vox, bass), Mark Mariache (Drums) Jennifer Bush (b.vox)
T20 I'm Gonna Roam
T21 Talk - $50 bill
T22 Tea Party
T23 A Woman Works Twice As Hard
T24 Talk - Vimy
T25 Creeping Barrage

Disc 2

Mike Ford (vox, guitar, piano)

T01 The Seaway
T02 Talk - Laker Music Project
T03 The Eastern Gap
T04 Talkin' Ten Lost Years
T05 Talk - chorus training
T06 Jacques Cartier
T07 Talk - stree bike racing
T08 Canada Doesn't Need You
T09 Talk - band intro
Mike Ford (vox, guitar, piano), Murray Foster(b.vox, bass), Mark Mariache (Drums)
T10 Crossroads
T11 Maurice Richard
The Cocksure Lads: Reg Topping (vox, guitar, piano), Dusty Fosterville(vox, bass), Mark Mariache (Drums)
T12 Admiral Trafalgar
T13 A Case of the Dropsies
T14 Talk - Arrogant Worms
T15 Late of October
T16 Talk - towel boy
T17 Tank
T18 Talk - Brian Mulroney Sold Out Canada
T19 Open For Business
T20 Heat-Seeker Boy
T21 (encore break)
Mike Ford (vox, guitar, piano)
T22 stars shone on toronto
T23 La Mer

World Debut of Open For Business from a 2007 performance at the Ren. (filmed, edited and rendered by MrMikeL Productions

For a review of Mike's 2007 show at The Ren, click here.

To see where Mike Ford is playing this summer, click here.

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