Sound Seekers

SOUND SEEKERS: O-Town Hoedown promises Blues! Rockabilly! Twang!

The Shakedown Combo
The Shakedown Combo plays rockabilly at Irene’s Pub as part of the 10-day O-Town Hoedown.

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani

Expect a more prominent rockabilly flavour at this year’s O-Town Hoedown music festival, as upright bass player “Standup” Steve Donnelly takes the programming helm from founding producer Greg “Lefty McRighty” Harris, a CKCU host, who isn’t shy to doff his belt buckle to promote his festival, as he did in 2011.

Harris wanted to cool his heels for a year, but will still be involved as an MC with the self-described “Longest Running and Least Shady Country Music Festival.” (A reference to that other festival with the similar name). “My creativity has been suffering due to lack of motivation,” Harris says, “and the only way it was coming back was for me to relax.”

And so he handed over the reins to Donnelly, who plays in a band called The Kingmakers and has been heavily involved with the two-weekend festival as both a musician and a graphic designer for the past number of years. (At one of the previous Hoedowns, he played in four of the scheduled bands.)

Donnelly is a fan of rockabilly and a nerd for Nashville history and it shows in some his programming choices, including:

* The Shakedown Combo, a rockabilly band from Amherst, N.B., playing Saturday, Oct. 5 at Irene’s Pub.

* Ottawa’s Dang Guilty has a new EP out and will play a free show Friday, Sept. 27 at Atomic Rooster.

* Ottawa songwriter Lynne Hanson will play a full-band show this Saturday, Sept. 28 at Fatboy’s Southern Smokehouse in the Byward Market.

* Some festival favourites return, including The Bushpilots (Oct. 4 at the Rainbow Bistro), Christian D & The Hangovers (Oct. 5 at Irene’s Pub), The Bible All-Stars (Oct. 4 at the Rainbow Bistro), and Ninety Pounds of Ugly (Oct. 5 at Irene’s Pub).

In total, there are 14 bands playing at six venues in the city. Hear music from some of the acts here.

No Kinds of Love recreates a Velvet Underground record cover in this promo pic. The cover band gets everyone dancing with their renditions of the famous art-rockers’ back catalogue. Photo by Steve K. Donnelly

In addition the above-named bands, I’ll also throw to the Velvet Underground cover band No Kinds of Love. They played a set for the neighbourhood locals at the Hintonburg Public House during the last Wellington End festival and had the place turned around. Tables were shoved aside and everyone was two-stepping in the low-light, beer-buzzed haze of a cover band that doesn’t have that whole cover band stigma.

The band will play at the HPH again as part of the Hoedown on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. Expect to hear the rockin’ “Foggy Notion,” the vocal harmonies of “Who Loves the Sun,” the mellow strains of “Sunday Morning” and the blissfully noisy “I’m Waiting for The Man.” Entry is by $2 donation.


Hiding in the annals of the internet is this band. They’re a six-piece Ottawa group called Pony Girl and they play sweet, breezy pop tunes that sound loungey without veering too far into chillwave. The songs — which were written as compositions for imaginary films — are grounded in vocalist Pascal Huot’s passionately achy call. Stream the album called Show Me Your Fears at the link above and see the band Saturday at La Petite Mort Gallery on Cumberland for a CD release party. 9 p.m. showtime, $10 cover.