Toronto artists join benefit for flood victim, guitarist Amos Garrett

A distinguished and varied group of Toronto area musicians are coming together to perform at a benefit concert at Hugh’s Room on Wed. August 14. They are volunteering their talent to raise money to help guitarist Amos Garrett rebuild his home in High River Alberta, severely damaged by the recent flooding.

Garrett, now 71, lost at least two guitars and many other personal possessions (including his fishing gear) when seven feet of water cascaded into the basement of his long-time home in High River. Like other affected Alberta residents, his insurance does not cover flood damage; clean-up and repairs will reach a six-figure total.

Hugh’s Room has hosted Garrett on a number of occasions in the acoustic music venue’s thirteen years. Garrett, who has several albums of his own on the Edmonton-based Stony Plain label (including the newly-released JazzBlues record) is still remembered for his ground-breaking solo on Maria Muldaur’s 70s hit, “Midnight at the Oasis”, but he has recorded with literally hundreds of other artists since.

Taking part in the benefit are:

Kevin Breit — Session and touring guitarist with numerous international artists, including Cassandra Wilson, Norah Jones, Hugh Laurie, k.d. lang and dozens more, and leader of his own group, The Sisters Euclid. His recent recordings have included three albums of duets with Harry Manx.

Russell deCarle — Lead singer, and major songwriter, of the award-winning country group Prairie Oyster, Russell has a growing solo career, accompanied by guitarist Steve Briggs and accordion player Dennis Keldie, who will perform with him at the benefit.

Luke Doucet — One half of the duo Whitehorse (which recently sold out Massey Hall), he’s a spectacular player and artistic director of the annual Toronto guitar festival. Sleepwalk — named after the song that has become, in recent years, Amos Garrett’s signature tune.

Ariana Gillis — Accompanied by David Gillis (guitar), Russ Boswell (bass) and Ben Rollo (drums), she’s a 22-year-old singer-songwriter who brings a fresh approach to her own unusual material, as well as cover songs from the likes of Dylan, Tom Waits, and The Killers. About to move to New York for a year-long residency.

Michael Laderoute — A singer-songwriter steeped in the Texas music of Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt and Ray Wylie Hubbard, Laderoute spends half the year living in Mexico, the other half singing, playing and making friends at the Cameron House, The Tranzac and other local music venues.

Ben Waters — A powerful boogie woogie/barrelhouse piano player from the UK, Waters is touring Canada, and coincidentally is in Toronto for this event. His latest CD, Boogie 4 Stu, includes appearances from Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, P.J. Harvey (his cousin), Charlie Watts, Jools Holland and Ronnie Wood.

Chris Whiteley and Diana Braithwaite — Multi-instrumentalist Chris and his partner Diana tour consistently throughout North America and Europe. Based in Toronto, they’ve won multiple Maple Blues Awards; Chris has appeared on more than 200 records, in addition his own projects with his partner.

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