Tom Power has appeared at the Crossings Pub in Sharbot Lake as a member of the Dardanelles, an energetic young Newfoundland band that, among other things, is devoted to keeping traditional Newfoundland music fresh and modern.
One thing has led to another for Power, and last year he took on a high profile radio job as the host of the daily culture show Q, on CBC Radio 1. The Dardanelles went on hiatus after, although there are rumblings of a limited return, and Power found himself talking more on the radio and playing less music than he normally does.
He then took to sitting in with Toronto based bluegrass/old timey fiddler John Showman who has a standing gig at Queen Street’s Cameron House on Mondays. It turns out Showman has a background playing Irish Fiddle tunes from his days in Montreal, and enjoyed paying with Power, who provides a driving beat on guitar and foot stomp that gels well with Showman’s inventive and tuneful fiddle playing.
The duo has played around Toronto a bit as well as at the Cameron House, and when they wanted to book a show on the road it was easy enough to arrange by calling Frank and Sandra White in Sharbot Lake, who were more than willing to provide the venue.
Some of the crowd at the Crossings on Saturday Night were CBC fans looking so to see the face behind the radio voice, and others were John Showman fans, since he has played locally with a number of alt-country combos, including a show a few years back at Blue Skies Music Festival with New Country Rehab.
The show last Saturday was an excellent opportunity to hear the range and facility of John Showman. Power took the opportunity to sing two songs, a rarity for him. One was Ron Hynes’ No change in the Weather and the other a traditional Newfoundland tune he learned from his grandmother. He also provided support for Showman, who played tunes from the east coast as well as Appalachian and bluegrass tunes.
Showman not only demonstrated his great facility to inhabit tunes from different cultures, he has the inventiveness to make them his own. Power pushed the music on, sometimes adding pace and sometimes just keeping the music grounded, allowing Showman to stray into new territory within some of the old tunes and new tunes that sounded like they were from a bygone era.
All in all it was a dynamic show.
There are no shows currently scheduled at the Crossings Pub, but shows will be announced in the coming weeks. Look to their site sharbotlakeinn.com for details.