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T.O. Twang: All Things Alt Country at Harbourfront Centre
(August 12-14, 2005)


TORONTO, July 19, 2005 - It's gonna be quite the shindig when folks converge down by the lake at Harbourfront Centre for the T.O. Twang festival! This brand spankin' NEW festival, presented by NOW magazine, celebrates countrified culture and music. A fine round-up of artists inspired by Country music and traditional Americana music such as Blues, Bluegrass and Western Swing take to the stages including a performance on the CIBC Stage by Texas country legend Billy Joe Shaver, and piles of Canadian talent including Victoria's Carolyn Mark, Winnipeg's Nathan, and Toronto's The Sadies, among others. Kentucky's Rob McNurin makes his first Toronto appearance. Perfect your two-step with free lessons from Tom King. Glance an eye at the weathered and leathered cowboy boot exhibition courtesy of those well-known wanderers at Liberty Boots. A sharply-focused photo tribute to the late Ray Condo, Canadian pioneer in the revival of Rockabilly and Western swing, from photographer Gayle Hermuses will be a feature exhibition throughout the weekend. Tom Bishop from the 4B Ranch brings cowboy cool to the city with his trick Pony and fancy roping skills. In the Country of Country film screenings take place in the Studio Theatre. All concerts and events are free admission! Full schedule and information at www.harbourfrontcentre.com or at 416-973-4000.

[See below for information on Music, Dance/Spectacles, Visual Art/Exhibitions, Film, Kids, Food and Complete listings]

MUSIC: A fantastic weekend of over twenty T.O. Twang music concerts cranks up the ol' and new tunes in all genres of country: from Honky-tonk and Hillbilly to Surf and Rockabilly to Blues, Bluegrass, Blackgrass and Western Swing. Hold on to your belt buckles, 'cause this one's gonna heat up fast!

Friday August 12
Toronto-based Mister Rick & The Biscuits plug in for the first twang concert at 6 p.m. on the Toronto Star Stage. World-weary, gravel-voiced singer N.Q. Arbuckle, straight off his recent release The Last Supper in a Cheap Town (produced by Luke Doucet) performs at 8 p.m. on the CIBC Stage. Much-loved Toronto group The Sadies, well-known for their work with Breeders/P.J. Harvey producer Steve Albini as well as more recent collaborations with Neko Case, headline the 9:30 p.m. concert on the CIBC Stage.

Late Night NOW
at 11 p.m. in the Brigantine Room opens its doors with the ever-gregarious Carolyn Mark & Friends.
Also at 11 p.m., letting their noise flow over the chaotic death-laden lyrics and banjo stylings, the sleepwalking and nightmare-inspired Elliott Brood perform in the Lakeside Terrace. Canuck-rock surfabilly group The Sin-Tones
bring in the night at 12:30 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)

Saturday August 13

Colonel Tom
hosts an afternoon bluegrass jamboree on the Toronto Star Stage with some top-notch all-Canadian talent and one renegade American picking up those string-based tempos. Colonel Tom joins his band The Backstabbers and warms up the Saturday stage at 1 p.m. The talented all-female quartet Roses In Snow fuse vocal harmonies, folksy banjo and violin into a well-tuned stream of heartfelt bluegrass at 3 p.m. Melody bending tunesters The Jeremiahs simulate a family-jam session at 5 p.m. Making his first Toronto appearance at 6 p.m. is dynamic Kentucky singer-songwriter/guitarist and harmonica player Rob McNurin who performs his unique Americana blend of Gospel, Folk-Rock and Hillybilly Blues. In addition to releasing four acclaimed CDs, McNurin has toured with Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Hot Tuna, among others.

Over on the CIBC Stage, Singer-songwriter Dan Kershaw leads a rousing set of upbeat honky tonk with The Brothers Cosmoline comprised of John Switzer (Jane Siberry), John Adames (Prairie Oyster), and Steve Briggs (BeBop Cowboys) at 2 p.m. Sure not to disappoint, and playing hit-you-in-the-gut hurtin' music that makes you want to shine up your shoes and pull your best girl onto the dancefloor, Luther Wright & The Wrongs lights up the CIBC Stage at 3:30 p.m.

Talented West Coast Music Award winner, singer/musician and producer Luke Doucet has worked with an impressive roster of artists from Sarah McLachlan to Holly McNarland, Blue Rodeo, Veda Hille, Danny Michel and more. At 8 p.m. on the CIBC Stage, he brings his acoustic guitar and honest storytelling vocals and performs a warming set of raw Rivoli-inspired music. Luke opens the evening for Texas Country legend Billy Joe Shaver, whose songs helped define Outlaw Country/Honky Tonk Country music. Billy Joe makes a rare live appearance with a full band at Harbourfront Centre. Artists like Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Allman Brothers and Elvis have all recorded Shaver's songs while Waylon Jennings famous album Honky Tonk Heroes is composed almost entirely of Shaver's songs.

Striking a chord with their six-piece set up, Joliet Illinois' Stone City Stragglers have carved a niche in the Americana and alt-country scene. Hailing from what many North Americans call "the prison city" has not hardened their souls; rather, it has inspired a layered musical style filled with references to rock, twang and of course, lovin' and learnin'. The Stragglers perform in the Late Night Now series at 11 p.m. in the Brigantine Room.

Tom and Tara, the couple behind the success of four-piece London band The Rizdales ramp up some ol'-style country at 11 p.m. in the Lakeside Terrace. Their music is reminiscent of and inspired by Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe.

Sunday August 13
Audiences will have their toes tapping on the green grass of Ann Tindal Park when the purveyors of fine Western swing - Toronto's BeBop Cowboys - take a pause from their regular gig over at Parkdale's Cadillac lounge and turn it on at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on the Toronto Star Stage.

A twang fest is nothing without a few classics thrown in for good measure and the trio from Ancient Chinese Secret do just that at 2 p.m. in the Brigantine Room. ACS guitarist, Brian Connelly is best known for the TV theme from The Kids in the Hall.

The highly acclaimed, hard-to-describe in a few words, Winnipeg band Nathan creates a delirious hybrid music with varied and exciting musical influences coming from pop, classic waltzes, two-beat reggae and more. One thing's for sure, their 3 p.m. show on the CIBC Stage will be filled with their signature stage presence and ultimate passion for prairie music. Austin, Texas band the Derailers have also been making their sweet sweet Country-Rock and Honky Tonk mark since forming in 1994 and will be making their first live appearance in Toronto at T.O. Twang at 4:30 p.m. on the CIBC Stage.

DANCE/SPECTACLES:
At 1 p.m. in the Lakeside Terrace, strap up those dancin' boots and learn how to two step with your honey to some Country Swing with Californian Tom King. Then, put your dance steps to the test at the Lakeside Barn Dance with live music from Scotty Campbell & His Wardenaires. (These events run from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Lakeside Terrace.)

At 4:30 p.m. in the Lakeside Terrace, Company Blonde, a vital part of Canada's independent dance scene, perform their newest piece Binder Twine! at Harbourfront Centre. Blending comedy, theatre and modern dance, they perform a western story about outlaws, line dancers, tumbleweed and baked beans!

All this talk of cowboys and country leads us to ridin' things, and trick rider Tom Bishop's Trick Pony and Fancy Ropin with his bullwhip and horse will entertain crowds all weekend. This talented cowboy has more than 40 movies and TV shows to his credit. The yeehaw-inspired event happens at the Ann Tindal Park on Saturday August 13 at 2:00 & 4:00 pm and Sunday August 14 at 3:00 & 4:30 pm.

VISUAL ART/EXHIBITIONS: Simple boot or work of art? An exhibition of Canadian made custom cowboy boots from Liberty Boots saddles this question. Filtering their way onto the feet of Hollywood celebs like Kid Rock, Jessica Biel, Naomi Campbell and more, the boots have a definite place in North American cowboy culture. (West Arcade)

A photo exhibition titled I Wish That It Had Been A Dream is a tribute to the late Ray Condo, Canadian pioneer in the revival of Rockabilly and Western swing from photographer Gayle Hermuses. (All weekend, Marilyn Brewer Community Space.)

FILM: What’s better than hearing about the cowboys than hearing it from the cowboys themselves? Three documentaries screen multiple times during the In the Country of Country film screenings in the Studio Theatre.

Legendary producer/musician/writer Cowboy Jack Clement sure loved shooting his own home movies. Here the footage is lovingly assembled into an engaging documentary aptly titled Cowboy Jack’s Home Movies by Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon. This cowboy has accomplished much through his career and the documentary takes you on a tour of the highlights and then hits the road as he takes a road trip to A.P. Carter's grave with good friend Johnny Cash; we hear a reunited Porter and Dolly; and listen to Waylon and Jesse Colter in an intimate studio setting singing "Let's All Help the Cowboys Sing the Blues." We watch, too, as Bono, John Prine, and numerous others pass through Clement's Nashville home, a popular hangout for decades. Cowboy Jack’s Home Movies screens on Saturday August 13 at 2 p.m.

Portrait of Billy Joe
,
a gem of a documentary from Director Luciana Pedraza, who herself was a product of careful direction by Robert Duvall, presents a true picture of a man who Willie Nelson called "maybe the best songwriter alive today." The film unearths Billy Joe Shaver's tragic life story: an abusive father, marrying his wife three times and then her eventual death, his son's drug overdose, and through it all, his music and his message. Portrait of Billy Joe screens Saturday July 13 at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday July 14 at 3:30 p.m. Billy Joe Shaver joins audiences for a free Q&A session led by The Globe and Mail's Carl Wilson following the Saturday screening.

Hank & Jimmy: A Story of Country, from Gemini award winning Director John Martin (who is well-known for his acclaimed documentary on legendary Canadian jazz guitarist Lenny Breau), brings a powerful and startling 60 minute glimpse into the life and music of Nova Scotia’s most famous contribution to country music, the late Hank Snow. Often dark, the lens lands on the sometimes tenuous relationship between Hank and his only child Jimmy Rodgers Snow. Hank & Jimmy: A Story of Country screens Saturday August 13 at 4 p.m. and Sunday August 14 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the Studio Theatre. Director John Martin joins audiences for a free Q&A session following the Sunday 2 p.m. screening.

KIDS:
Kids are invited to come down to the Kidzone Tent and participate in the Make & Take activities at T.O. Twang. This weekend, kids will be making arts and crafts on the theme of Bucking Broncs and Snakes. (
Kidzone Tent: Saturday August 13, 1:00 - 5:00 pm and Sunday August 14, 1:00 - 5:00 pm)

Some junior twang for the young folk is provided by Colonel Tom & The Loose Cannons. Having released a kid-inspired album, Songs For The Young'uns, this family-friendly twang thang happens at 2 p.m. on Sunday August 14 in the Lakeside Terrace.

FOOD: Put some sizzle in your life and perfect your grillin' technique at the free BBQ Cooking Classes, running through the T.O. Twang weekend in the Lakeside Terrace Tent. (Saturday August 13 at 2 p.m. & 5 p.m. and Sunday August 14 at 3 p.m. & 5 p.m. in the Lakeside Terrace Tent)

MEDIA SITE:http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/summerfestivals/media.php

High res JPEGS are available, we are currently confirming interviews.

T.O. Twang
(presented by NOW magazine)
Complete Event Listings - Friday August 12 to Sunday August 14 2005
NEW Harbourfront Centre 2005 summer festival
235 Queens Quay West, Toronto, Canada
Info: 416-973-4000 or www.harbourfrontcentre.com

Friday August 12
Visual Arts - I Wish That It Had Been A Dream (A Tribute to Ray Condo) photo exhibit by Gayle Hurmuses (6 p.m. - Marilyn Brewer Community Space)
Visual Arts - Cowboy Boots presented by Liberty Boots (8 p.m. - West Arcade)
Music - Mister Rick & The Biscuits (6 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage)
Music - N.Q. Arbuckle (8 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
Music - The Sadies (9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
Music - Carolyn Mark & Friends (11 p.m. - Brigantine Room)
Music - Elliott Brood (11 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace)
Music - The Sin-Tones (12:30 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace)

Saturday August 13
Visual Arts - I Wish That It Had Been A Dream (A Tribute to Ray Condo) photo exhibit by Gayle Hurmuses (12 noon - Marilyn Brewer Community Space)
Visual Arts - Cowboy Boots presented by Liberty Boots (12:30 p.m. - West Arcade)
Kids - Make & Take arts & crafts: Bucking Broncs and Snakes (1-5 p.m. - Kids Zone Tent)
Music - Colonel Tom & The Backstabbers (1 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage)
Dance/Workshop - Two Step Dance Lessons with Tom King (1 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace)
Music - The Brothers Cosmoline (2 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
Dance - Lakeside Barn Dance with music by Scotty Campbell & The Wardinaires (2 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace)
Food - BBQ Cooking Class (2 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace Tent)
Spectacle - Tom Bishop's Trick Pony demonstration & fancy roping (2 p.m. - Ann Tindal Park)
Film - In the Country of Country film screening: Cowboy Jack's Home Movies (2 p.m. - Studio Theatre)
Music - Roses In Snow (3 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage)
Film - In the Country of Country film screening: Portrait of Billy Joe w/ Q&A of Billy Joe Shaver led by the Globe & Mail's Carl Wilson (5:30 - Studio Theatre)
Music - Luther Wright & The Wrongs (3:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
Spectacle - Tom Bishop's Trick Pony demonstration & fancy roping (4 p.m. - Ann Tindal Park)
Film - In the Country of Country film screening: Hank & Jimmy: A Story of Country (4 p.m. - Studio Theatre)
Dance - Company Blonde present Binder Twine! (4:30 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace)
Music - The Jeremiahs (5 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage)
Food - BBQ Cooking Class (5 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace Tent)
Music - Rob McNurin (6 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage)
Music - Luke Doucet (8 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
Music - Billy Joe Shaver (9:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
Music - Stone City Stragglers (11 p.m. - Brigantine Room)
Music - The Rizdales (11 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace)

Sunday August 14
Visual Arts - I Wish That It Had Been A Dream (A Tribute to Ray Condo) photo exhibit by Gayle Hurmuses (12 noon - Marilyn Brewer Community Space)
Visual Arts - Cowboy Boots presented by Liberty Boots (12:30 p.m. - West Arcade)
Kids - Make & Take arts & crafts: Bucking Broncs and Snakes (1-5 p.m. - Kids Zone Tent)
Music - BeBop Cowboys (1 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage)
Music - Ancient Chinese Secret (2 p.m. - Brigantine Room)
Kids/Music - Colonel Tom & Loose Cannons (2 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace)
Film - In the Country of Country film screening: Hank & Jimmy: A Story of Country w/ Q&A with Director John Martin (2 p.m. - Studio Theatre)
Food - BBQ Cooking Demo (3 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace Tent)
Music - Nathan (3 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
Spectacle - Tom Bishop's Trick Pony demonstration & fancy roping (3 p.m. - Ann Tindal Park)
Film - In the Country of Country film screening: Portrait of Billy Joe (3:30 - Studio Theatre)
Music - BeBop Cowboys (4 p.m. - Toronto Star Stage)
Film - In the Country of Country film screening: Hank & Jimmy: A Story of Country (4 p.m. - Studio Theatre)
Music - Derailers (4:30 p.m. - CIBC Stage)
Spectacle - Tom Bishop's Trick Pony demonstration & fancy roping (4:30 p.m. - Ann Tindal Park)
Food - BBQ Cooking Demo (5 p.m. - Lakeside Terrace Tent)

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Media Contact:
Rebecca Webster, 416-973-4518, rwebster@harbourfrontcentre.com
Shane Gerard, 416-973-4655, sgerard@harbourfrontcentre.com
Bill Bobek, 416-973-3442, wbobek@harbourfrontcentre.com

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