June 23rd @ Free Times Café

I have noticed a disturbing trend recently of people holding up their opinions as articles of faith and refusing to engage with those who hold differing opinions. I try my best not to fall into this trap. Let me give you an example…

Performance samples from the June 23rd live show at the Free Times Café

It is my firmly held opinion (as some of you know) that the song ‘Piano Man’ by Billy Joel is the worst song ever written. If I could condemn one song to the pits of hell and ban it from ever being played it would be Piano Man. I do understand, however, that this is just my opinion. Other folks might have a different song that they think is the worst ever (take a minute to give this some thought – if your answer is something other than Piano Man, feel free to email me). There are even some people, who quite like Piano Man. And while I don’t understand how this can be, I recognize that people are entitled to their opinions and it’s not as if I refuse to socialize with someone who likes Piano Man because, after all, reasonable people can differ in their opinions.

On the other hand, we must avoid a world that is so relativistic that there is no such thing as truth. There are things that are true and that are not matters of opinion. And let me give you an example of this; Poppy seed bagels are truly better than sesame seed bagels. This is not a matter of opinion it is the truth. Similarly, Montreal style bagels are objectively the best bagels in the world and thus superior to New York and Toronto style bagels (I realize that bagels can be purchased in places other than Montreal, New York and Toronto, but if for example you go to a bakery in Saskatoon they will not say they are selling Saskatoon style bagels, but rather Montreal or New York style bagels – and no one outside of Toronto talks about Toronto style bagels).

So, to review, Piano Man is the worst song ever written, but that is a matter of opinion, and your opinion is as valid as mine. On the other hand, Montreal style poppy seed bagels are objectively, truthfully and absolutely the best bagels in the world.

What relevance, you may wonder, does any of this have to Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room, the band of which I am a member, and who will be playing at the Free Times Café (on College just west of Spadina), on Sunday June 23rd starting at 8 pm. And the answer is, everything.

If you have seen the band live (or watched our videos on YouTube) you’ll know we are an ensemble of 8 – 10 musicians. During a show most of us will take turns singing songs that we like. As a result, we have a wildly eclectic mix of music, stretching from the 1940s (and earlier) to the present day. Some of the songs are originals, some covers, some well-known, some obscure.

During the course of a gig some members of the audience will like certain songs more than others, that’s a matter of opinion – and that’s fine because everyone has their own opinion. At the end of the evening, however, everyone will agree that they had a great time – and that is objectively true.

We’re going to be taking most of the summer off so this is your only chance to see us before our next show in September (on the 15th if you want to make a note) and so there will be no cover, just bring your opinions. Hope to see you there.


PS. Although it hardly needs to be said, it is objectively true that the bagpipes are the Piano Man of instruments.

June 23rd Set List:
Set #1: Set #2:
Mist Covered Mountains/Conundrum
First We Take Manhattan
Comes a Time (clip clop)
Carefree Highway
Wheel’s on Fire
Down Where the Drunkards Roll
A Dollar Short and a Day Late
What the Hell I Got
Glenora Ferry
5 Days in May
The Wanderer
Phone Company Rag
Breathe In, Breathe Out
Mary Said…
Mission San Miguel
Keep Me From Blowing Away
Try a Little Tenderness
Sucks to Be Me
Lay Down Sally
Someday We’ll Be Together

Robert Burns Night @ Free Times Café

Regular readers of these missives (I was going to use the term ‘aficionados’ or ‘devotees’ but I thought that might be pushing things) will know that they usually follow a particular narrative arc (I do like ‘narrative arc’ it sounds so much better than ‘formula.’) The emails usually begin with an interesting observation about popular culture, politics, or technology, then have some tangential strolls down fascinating alleyways, perhaps some very cursory Internet research (or just making stuff up), and then tying it all up in a nice bow by linking it to the latest gig from Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room. There is also often a postscript that pokes some light fun at the bagpipes (although some disagree about the term ‘light fun’ but we’ll leave that for another day).

The early part of the evening happens chez Gus & Mary. This is a snapshot of their 34th annual celebration.

But while that may be the narrative arc of most of these missives, that’s not what’s happening this time because I have a lot of important information to impart about our next gig and I need to get to it right away (and it is fair to note that if I really needed to get to things right away why haven’t I got to whatever it is I’m getting to, but bear with me, we’re there now).

Our next show is our wildly popular (I understand that ‘wildly popular’ is a relative term, but certainly, in relation to our other shows, this one clearly deserves the designation) Robbie Burns Night gig which, for the first time since 2020, will be returning to the live stage at the Free Times Café. That’s right, after three years of virtual Burns Night shows we’re going back live!

Please note that the show will be on Thursday January 25th because that is Robbie Burns’ birthday. We’re not sticklers for lots of things, but we do insist that Burns Night be celebrated on Burns Night – none of this ‘let’s find the most nearly adjacent Saturday to January 25th and call it Burns Night’ no, we’re going to do it right by celebrating on his birthday.

Over the years (and we started these shows in 2004 so it’s been a lot of years) Burns Night has evolved and so I think it’s necessary to set out what have become the three distinctive elements to our live Burns Night extravaganza (once you read all about it, I think you’ll find that ‘extravaganza’ may be too modest a term).

First, at around 8.30pm, a smaller subset of the larger Living Room ensemble will be playing tunes of the non-bagpipe variety. I refer to this part of the evening as the musical portion to distinguish it from what happens after the arrival of the bagpipes.

Second, is the arrival of the bagpipes and the other members of the band (and because it’s the arrival of the bagpipes you’ll know when that happens), followed by the bringing in of the haggis from the kitchen, where it has been marinating, fulminating, contemplating, and rusticating for hours. Following the arrival of the haggis there is the mandatory address to the haggis (and yes, the haggis does wear a dress but its preferred pronouns are ‘they’ and ‘them’). Finally, this portion of the evening concludes with the consumption of the haggis by the delighted guests – although we’re not forcing it on anyone and if you don’t want haggis there are still neeps and tatties to eat. This portion of the evening will start between 9:30 and 10:00 – it’s impossible to know for sure because bagpipes have a unique and quirky sense of time.

The final part of the evening consists of tunes, most, if not all of which, will feature the bagpipes playing in dizzyingly wide array of genres, as well as some highland dancing. The whole thing will probably wrap up a bit after 11 (but time will have no meaning by this point).

It’s been a while since we’ve done a live Burns Night, but if my recollection holds, there’s a lot of interest in the show (because you know, free haggis) and so you’ll probably want to get there early to get a good seat and also to hear the musical portion of the evening. There is another event at the Free Times before Burns Night so the doors won’t open for our show until around 8:00.

For those who may have forgotten, the Free Times Café is still located on College just west of Spadina, and to celebrate our return to the stage for Burns Night there will be no cover (all that and free haggis – wow!!!!)

Hope to see you there.


P.S. Not that any further incentives should be required to bring people out to the gig but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Bert Clarke, bass player number 3 of the 5 who have plied their trade with us, will be joining us for a one time only reunion and Stephanie Miletic, the first of our fiddlers, will be joining us for her first show since the birth of her child (the child of course will not be at the show because, well, bagpipes).

November 19th @ Free Times Café

William Shakespeare was an inquisitive guy. Think about it, “To be or not to be?” “Hark what light from yonder window breaks?” And the one I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, “What’s in a name?”

And before I get too into this last question, I’m guessing that little Billy Shakespeare probably bothered everyone around him asking tons of questions when he was a kid. Things like, “Prithee, why is the sky this particular shade of cerulean?” Or perhaps, “Verily if one doth burpeth and farteth at the same time is it true that one will die before the morrow, if not immediately?” He must have been a handful.

To get back to the “What’s in a name” question; the reason I’ve been thinking about it is because of an article I read recently. Apparently, the Queen’s Engineering Faculty received a $100 million donation. That’s right, $100 million or to put fully numerically, $100,000,000 – that’s a lot of zeros following the 1.

The person who gave this donation got the right to name the entire Engineering Faculty. Yep, not just naming a building, or a lecture hall, or a bunch of study carrels, or washroom stalls, but naming the whole darn faculty. And this is where my concern arises. You see the person who made this massive donation is named Stephen Smith, and when given the opportunity to rename the entire faculty he chose the name Smith Engineering.

Now I’m not suggesting that there’s anything wrong with the name Smith, it’s a perfectly fine name but it’s hardly unique. Not only is it not unique, Smith is, in fact, the most common last name in all of Canada. As it turns out, slightly more than 1 in 200 people have the last name Smith (and I know that’s true because I looked it up online and Google would never lie to me). And this is where the problem arises.

There are 5,000 students currently enrolled at Smith Engineering. That means, if 1 in 200 has the last name Smith, then there are 25 current students in the program who can all pretend that they or their father or their uncle or their aunt or someone related to them made the donation and created Smith Engineering. And there are over 28,000 students at Queens altogether meaning that 140 of them could plausibly claim that the faculty was named after one of their kith or kin. And that’s not counting all the alumni.

Even more problematic, when the real Stephen Smith, or his relations, walk along the grounds of Queen’s to Smith Engineering and proudly say “I (or my dad, uncle, bubbe, whatever) gave this donation to the Engineering Department, people would be right to be skeptical. “Sure, Mr. Moneybags, how do we know it was you – it could have been anyone, or at least anyone named Smith.” And since there are 38,000,000 people in Canada that means the donor could credibly be any one of 190,000 people.

This “What’s in a name” conundrum makes me glad that we settled on Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room as our name when we started out in the music biz 53 years ago. Now it’s true that we have not accrued $100 million in earnings, but on the other hand, no one is going to confuse us with any other band on the planet (and that seems like a fair trade off).

We will next be treading the boards at the Free Times Café (College just west of Spadina) on Sunday, November 19. There will be at least nine of us on stage, so pretty much the full band (at our September show there were five of us and a special guest so we were perhaps more Gordon’s Acoustic Mud Room than Living Room). And by “full band” I do mean that the bagpipes will be back – just thought I should warn you.

And as a special treat, there will be no cover because our very own flute, saxophone, and guitar playing singer Wayne Smith (no relation to Stephen Smith – or maybe he is related to a Stephen Smith but not that Stephen Smith – or who knows, maybe he is related to that Stephen Smith) has asked that it be waived. He’s not covering your food and drinks though, he’s not made of money (or maybe he is, after all he’s a Smith).

Hope to see you there.


P.S. I thought I should remind/warn folks that January 25 – Robbie Burns Day – is on a Thursday this year and we are planning to celebrate it back at the Free Times. So as that all-bagpipe night creeps ever closer let us remember the words of the immortal Bard “Hark, what caterwauling doth emerge from that café, it is the bagpipes, and they make a truly unholy racket” (or words to that effect).

September 10th @ Free Times Café

Despite the ubiquitous references in all manner of TV shows and movies, I was never asked, on my first day back at school, what I did over my summer vacation. In fact, I don’t ever recall a teacher ever showing the slightest interest in any aspect of my life outside of school. Perhaps others of you actually had a “what I did on my summer vacation” experience but not me. I don’t think I missed anything, but I thought I’d use this occasion to tell you, dear readers, one of the things I did this summer.

Over the past few months, I spent some time contemplating the difficult and challenging question of determining the essence of Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room – the band that I am a member of. One of the reasons that I had this opportunity was that the band took a hiatus over the summer and so I could ponder these bigger questions as opposed to how to play an A7sus chord on the mandolin, the sort of practical question that often take up time as we prepare for our gigs.

As regular readers of these missives will know, and as those who have actually seen us live or on video can attest, we are, when we are at full strength, a 10-piece ensemble. But we are also nothing if not flexible, and so on occasion we have operated as a nine, eight, seven and even on occasion, a six-piece group. During my contemplative time I pondered the question “Is there a number below which the Living Room would no longer be the Living Room, and if so what would that number be?” To take it to the extreme, if one member of the band was doing a solo show, could that be seen as a Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room show? What about if one member of the band did a show with nine other people, none of whom were members of the band, could that 10-piece group be the Living Room or would it be something else entirely? These are weighty questions.

One reason I was thinking about these issues is because at our upcoming show on Sunday, September 10th, yes the second not the third Sunday of the month, we will be performing as a six piece with a special guest. And no, the special guest won’t be Sting, even though he is playing in Toronto this week. I don’t want to get into the complicated history we have with Sting, there is a non-disclosure agreement in place and I may have said too much already.

The other reason I’ve been thinking about the essence of the band is because one of the people who will not be present is Rory Gus Sinclair – our bagpipe player. As far as I know, this will be the first gig in our 53-year or so history where Gus will not be present. Don’t worry, he’s perfectly fine, he’s just decided to take a few months to travel across Canada and the US with Mary, his partner. It’s kind of an Easy Rider thing but with a camper van rather than motorcycles and also a happier ending. Gus’s current exploits are further proof, if any was needed, that 70 is indeed the new 20.

What this means is that there will be no bagpipes played at our show, which will be a first for the Living Room. I want to reassure folks that there will be at least one pipe tune played, but it won’t be played on the bagpipes (something that I personally think is a great leap forward).

There are a couple other things about the show that I want to alert people to. It will, of course, be at the legendary Free Times Café (College just west of Spadina). Due to a film festival event being held at the Free Times, doors for the show won’t be opening until just before eight. We’ll get started around 8:15 and don’t worry, it will all wrap up before 11. And because of all these changes, there will be no cover.

Hope to see you there.


P.S. For those who feel a Living Room show isn’t really a Living Room show without the bagpipes, Gus has agreed to play a medley of pipe tunes on Sunday at 8 pm Eastern Time wherever the hell he is, just as if he were at the Free Times – and it’s possible that if he’s a only five or six hundred kilometres away, and you listen real hard, you might be able to hear them.

September 10th Set List:
Set #1: Set #2:
Setting Course For Lewis
Barometer Soup
I Go To Pieces
Word For Sky
Something Stupid
Slow Dancer
Pair Of Brown Eyes
Carefree Highway
One After 909
Lucky Now
Night Rider’s Lament
Hank Williams Tonight
Country Squall
Girl In The Transparent Dress
Sucks To Be Me
California Stars
Down Where The Drunkards Roll
Yellow Submarine

May 21st @ Free Times Café

Spring is finally here!

One of the lovely markers of spring is hearing the whistling of birds in the trees. I will admit that there are occasions when birds start whistling at ungodly hours in the morning, and this can be annoying. I also recognize that the term “ungodly hour” does not describe a precise time of day. For some it might be 5 in the morning, for others 9 in the morning, and for others still, it might not even be the morning at all but rather the afternoon. Whenever your ungodly hour, the whistling of birds at that time can be a drag. On the other hand, it is still birds whistling and that sound always has its charms. While I’m on this topic, that topic being whistling birds, because I’m going to be pivoting a bit on the topic in the next few paragraphs, it is important to distinguish between birds whistling and other sounds that birds make – for example the cawing of crows. Crows cawing is not a soothing sound at any time of day. This may be why a large aggregation of crows is sometimes referred to as a murder of crows because murdering the crows is what people might want to do after hearing them cawing.

But back to whistling. Birds are not the only animal that whistles, people whistle too. I think whistling is great. There are folks who are professional whistlers and can amaze you with their skill, but you don’t need to be one of those people to enjoy whistling. I often find myself whistling as I’m walking down the street, running errands, or doing whatever.

I will admit that I didn’t begin whistling regularly until 10 or 15 years ago. Rather than whistling, I used to just sing snippets of songs that came into my head – and I can tell you there are a lot of those snippets hanging out in my head. In most cases I had no idea those snippets were even there and then suddenly I’m singing some tune that I hadn’t thought of in years. And then I had an epiphany.

My epiphany came one day when I was walking into the copy room at work. I had in my head a song by a local Toronto band called Frank Atom. They were a great band but don’t bother looking up their tunes on Spotify or looking for their videos on YouTube because it’s as though they don’t exist, which is a real shame because they did exist, and they wrote some really good songs.

The song in my head that day was a catchy ditty of theirs called ‘Porn Star’. Now don’t get the wrong idea based on the title, the song actually was a sensitive portrait of a man who lived alone in his apartment and was uncomfortable with people. And, as with a lot of really good songs about loneliness and anguish, the tune itself was kind of upbeat providing a contrast between the music and the lyrics (see for example ‘I’m A Loser’ or ‘Help’ by The Beatles, but there are thousands of examples). The chorus of the song, as I recall, went something like “There’s a porn star in my pants/and he’s dying to get out.”

Now I can give you all the context for this song, but I know that if I walk into the copy room singing “There’s a porn star in my pants/and he’s dying to get out” there is no way to justify or explain things because there is no justification for walking into a copy room singing those lyrics. And that was my epiphany. I realized that if, rather than singing the lyrics to that song, I whistled them, nothing bad could happen. If someone asked me what I was whistling I’d just say “Oh a song I can’t remember the name of” and if they asked what the lyrics were I could say “I forget them. That’s why I’m whistling.”

When the members of Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room get together, we don’t do a lot of whistling. We don’t need to whistle because we play a wide array of instruments, some of which make whistling type sounds – come on down flute and tin whistle – and some that don’t. And we can explain songs that need explaining because we play in clubs where people gather to hear the songs that we’re playing (and no, we don’t have ‘Porn Star’ in our repertoire yet because it’s actually not an easy tune to play).

Speaking of playing in clubs, we will be at the Free Times Café (College just west of Spadina) on Sunday, May 21. The show starts at 8pm and since Monday is a holiday you can stay until the end of show around 11pm. We’re going to be taking the summer off from playing at the Free Times (though we may have other gigs, we’ll let you know) so you’ll want to see us now or you’ll have to wait until September 10th. And if you need yet another incentive to come to the show, in honour of spring there will be no cover.

Hope to see you there.


P.S. In case you were wondering, bagpipes do not sound like birds singing, they don’t even sound like crows cawing – indeed the sound of bagpipes has been found to be very effective in keeping crows away from gardens and farms, unfortunately, it also keeps the gardeners and farmers away too.

April 16th @ Free Times Café

You may have heard that the federal government has decided to prohibit their staff from using TikTok. This move by the Canadian government mirrors decisions made in many other countries around the world. You may be wondering, as I was, why? What harm has TikTok wrought?

My first thought was that it was all about the songs. You see, TikTok is apparently responsible for the fact that the average length of songs, particularly singles, has dropped by almost 30 seconds over the past few years. That’s right, if you listen to pop radio you will have discovered that songs are getting shorter and shorter. No more Hey Jude, no more Stairways to Heaven, no more Fight the Powers, long songs are dead and short songs rule the airwaves and cyberspace (and I know you probably don’t trust my take on pop culture but it’s not just me who has noticed this trend, check this article from Billboard.

As it turns out however, the federal government was not at all concerned about song length when they decided to ban staff from using TikTok – which just goes to show that they have no interest in the real issues that matter to hard-working Canadians. Apparently, their concern was that TikTok, which is owned by a Chinese company, could be an agent of the Chinese government.

It’s not necessarily that China would use TikTok as a springboard to gather confidential information about Canada. What might that information even be? Why Nanaimo bars are named after a city on Vancouver Island? Why the Leafs suck decade after decade after decade? These are big questions, but somehow I don’t think China particularly cares about the answers.

Perhaps China’s interest in Canada is not so much about our secrets but rather the secrets other folks share with us. You see, Canada is a member of what are called the Five Eyes. The Five Eyes consist of the United States, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, and we share a lot of information between these countries and that could be why China is interested in us.

And while we’re on the topic of the Five Eyes, can I just say that it’s a stupid name. I’m sure a bunch of “intelligence” folks came up with it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t dumb. If there are five countries wouldn’t there be ten eyes not five?

Now I realize that I’m being a bit anthropomorphic – if you can be anthropomorphic about a country – but if you hear that Canada is ignoring a threat – and that seems to be something we’re pretty good at – isn’t the allegation that Canada is keeping its eyes closed. You’ll notice that it’s “eyes” plural, no one says Canada is keeping it’s “eye” closed. So the name for this five-country thing should be the Ten Eyes, not the Five Eyes. Plus, what’s the logo for this group, five individual eyeballs, that’s just a bit creepy frankly.

And this then brings us back, as it always does, to Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room. You see, I’m kinda old school, not really, really old school, like pen and paper old school, but old school like e-mail old school. I’m not creating cute little TikToks about the band, largely because I don’t know how. But even if I bothered to learn, I get so rambly that I suspect whatever I rambled on about wouldn’t fit on a TikTok – which apparently is about 15 seconds. And one more question about TikTok – how much Tik could a TikTok Tik if a TikTok could Tok Tiks?

Anyway, back to the Living Room. We will once again be gracing the stage at the legendary Free Times Cafe (still on College just west of Spadina), on Sunday April 16th. The show will start, as it always does, at 8 pm and there will be lots of great music, good food and plenty to drink. And to celebrate the actual arrival of spring, there will be no cover.

So please join us if you can. Hope to see you there.


P.S. While I haven’t looked, there are probably lots of TikToks with bagpipes (and please don’t send them to me) and while that would be the bad news, the good news is that they’d all be really short.

April 16th Set List:
Set #1: Set #2:
Bridget Oppenheim
Diamond Girl
Lucky Enough
Walk Away Renée
Saskatchewan Sky
Wild About My Loving
Double Wide Blues
A Prayer
Sooner Or Later
Pencil Thin Moustache
Whatever Normal Was
White Bird
Pretzel Logic
Word For Sky
City Of New Orleans
Silver Wings
Alabama Jubilee
New Speedway Bogie
Get Us A Billion
Transparent Dress
Wedding Bells
I Mean It When I Say
Barbara Ann
Yellow Submarine

March 19th @ Free Times Café

There was a period of time when Toronto was obsessed with being seen as a “world class” city, whatever that means. Fortunately, that almost pathological desire to be recognized by people outside of Canada’s borders (because within Canada’s borders hating Toronto is pretty much the order of the day) seems to have faded away. It does need to be acknowledged however, that there’s a lot about Toronto that has legitimately led to international recognition – if not notoriety. Two particular examples leap to mind.

First, are there the many outstanding musical venues in this city. There is, for example, the much venerated and newly renovated Massey Hall as well as the lovely Koerner Hall. The neon palms of the famous El Mocambo are lit up again and there are many smaller clubs and bars opening up regularly (also sadly closing regularly). One of the real jewels of the bar/club scene is the legendary Free Times Café (located on College just west of Spadina). The Free Times regularly hosts international, national, and local artists of great repute. But more about the Free Times later.

The other international claim to fame Toronto possesses is electing mayors who flame out in scandal. I could go back in history and set out all the various scandals that have beset the mayors of this city over the last 150 years, but that would require research and I’m too lazy to do that. So, let’s just look at the last two mayors the city has had shall we.

Barry Pausey and G.A.L.R. performing “Pretzel Logic”.

First there was Rob Ford. What can be said about Rob Ford that has not already been said or depicted in a really bad movie? A blustering, crack addicted alcoholic whose life always seemed on the verge of collapse and who lived in a state of denial. Ford’s antics or exploits or whatever term you want to use became regular fare on news shows across the globe. It got so bad that Toronto City Council had to essentially take away his mayoral duties.

And then, following Rob Ford, John Tory was elected mayor. Tory was often touted as the anti-Ford – his antithesis if you will. But John Tory and Rob Ford had an awful lot in common for two people who were considered opposites. They were both white men whose families had a long history with the Conservative Party and had also amassed significant amounts of wealth before they came on the scene. They also both had four letter last names. Sure, Tory is thin and Ford was rotund, but other than that they’re pretty similar. If you were asked to imagine the anti-Rob Ford, it probably wouldn’t be just a slightly taller white guy who is also a life-long Conservative and who too is heir to a family fortune.

The big contrast that was touted between Tory and Ford was, apparently, that Tory’s personal life was above reproach – he might be boring, he might be bland, but he wouldn’t get put the city in the spotlight in the same way the previous mayor did. Well guess what, after being elected to his third term as mayor just last year, Tory had to resign because of an affair he had with a junior staffer just before it was revealed in the press. So, as it turns out, that’s one more thing he had in common with his predecessor.

If we look at the Toronto ledger then, on the negative side we have recurring mayoralty scandals, on the plus side we have wonderful musical venues, so let’s focus on the positive shall we. And in particular, let’s look at the Free Times Café (I did say where it was located, didn’t I?).

I’m very pleased, indeed honoured, to let everyone know that on Sunday March 19th, Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room, the band that I am proud to be a small part of (I’m not being modest here, there are 10 people in the band so I’m just 1/10th of the whole) will be returning to the legendary Free Times Café to once again provide a wildly eclectic evening of songs in many genres delivered by musicians who would love nothing more than to play for you. Because we are so happy to be back at the Free Times after a couple months of being away, there will be no cover. The show starts at 8 and we hope to see you there.


PS. If you didn’t catch our virtual Robbie Burns show on January 25th, please go to our website – www.galr.ca – and you can watch the whole thing. Just a warning, as if you didn’t expect it, there are a hell of a lot of bagpipes in that show. And as an additional warning, those same bagpipes – along with the person who plays them – will be at Sunday’s show as well.

March 19th Set List:
Set #1: Set #2:
Mist Covered Conundrum
Bad Hand
Navajo Rug
All My Tears
It’s A Sin
Faces In The Frames
Golden Ring
Big Rock Candy
I Don’t Look Good Naked
Barbara Ann
Glenora Ferry
Pretzel Logic
Better Be Home Soon
Sucks To Be Me
Where Does Love Go
Word For Sky
People Get Ready
I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight
Golden Ring
Give Me Love
Bitter Green
Lay Down Sally
There Stands The Glass
Have I The Right
Midnight Choir

Robert Burns Night – Live on YouTube!

YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFsGmS7PgPE

Note: In the event of a stream interruption, please check back here for updates!

We are doing Burns again this year, and again it will be remote– but with a twist. Instead of all the performers linking in virtually with all the risks of dropped connections (sigh), the performers are all joining Rory and Mary at their house for a more fulsome and enjoyable experience.  

The show starts at 8 pm. Come back here before then for the link to the live broadcast!

We will have:

  • A Highland Dancer from Highland-in-6 Dancers
  • Bagpipes
  • 8 musicians with Scottish themed tunes or other tunes including pipes.
  • Poetry by Julian Goss
  • The address to the Haggis with neeps and tatties
  • Singer Heather Morgan to close off the night with Auld Lang Syne. 

There will be a live comments function so tell us what you think and where you are on the planet!

Looking forward!

Rory And Mary 

January 15th @ Free Times Café

You’re invited to attend a musical performance featuring a diverse group of musicians!

Come and experience the unique sounds of bagpipes alongside a variety of other instruments and styles. The performance will take place Sunday @ 8pm at the Free Times Café. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear the fusion of different cultures and traditions in one concert.

And remember, if you’re feeling down, just remember the bagpipe player’s motto: “You may not be able to play well, but you can always play loud!”

We look forward to seeing you there!

The above was written by ChatGPT with this prompt: Write an invitation to a musical performance that features a very diverse group of musicians, including bagpipes, and finish with a joke about the bagpipe player.