Songs for the Haunted Hillbilly

A couple years back (sweet Jesus, but time flies) I took my first ever major theatrical roadtrip to Toronto, to hit up the SUMMERWORKS festival.  I had a blast, and saw some amazing shows indeed.  Few were as amazing as THE HAUNTED HILLBILLY, a big-cast musical production from Sidemart Theatrical Grocery.  The show, based on the novel  by Derek McCormack, was a killer fun romp of a show, with amazing music and songs provided by a gent named Matthew Barber (with help from Graham Cuthbertson and Joe Grass). Barber a Toronto lad himself, won a Montreal English Theatre Critics Award (MECCA) for his work, and the show itself won a MECCA for best production in 2012.   Not too shabby.  His latest album is a compilation of songs from the play.  Here’s a short writeup gakked from Barber’s official website:

Songs For The Haunted Hillbilly brings all the numbers from the darkly comedic show together on record for the first time, sung by Barber and backed by multi-instrumentalists Joe Grass and Julian Brown who also make up the live band.  In addition to the core musicians, there are some notable guest vocalists including Julie Fader, Doug Paisley, Justin Rutledge and Oh Susanna.  The result is a rollicking trip through the back alleys of Nashville circa 1950 complete with cautionary tales about booze, religion (lost and found), love, lust, betrayal, fame and fashion.  In the stage show, the songs weave in and out of the dialogue and are sung by the actors who play the various characters which include the hero Hyram Woodside, his rival country star Erskine Mole, the villain Nudie, Hyram’s wife Audrey and his girlfriend Bobbi.  The album simply presents the songs all sung by the songwriter and thus plays out like a country concept album with recurring characters and a unifying narrative.”

Barber will be at the NAC 4th stage promoting the new album on the 19th (with special guest Ben Wilkins), and 20th (with guest Joe Grass). And through circumstances passing understanding, yours truly has tickets to give away to BOTH SHOWS!  So if you’re interested (and you should be), rush on over to my Twitter Page, where I’ll be asking a trivia question for a pair of tickets to the show on the 19th.  And over on my Visitorium Facebook Page (links to both on the left side, and possibly also the right, of this page), I’ll be putting the tickets for the 20th up for grabs.  First correct answer wins the pair for the day in question (a different winner for each day, if you please).  Free tickets, fools!  Why are you still here??  Oh, and if someone could pick up a CD for me at the show, I’d be grateful…I can’t even go myself!  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

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