BY FATEEMA SAYANI
“Ottawa’s longest running and least shady country music festival” kicks off tonight. The subtitle of the O-Town Hoedown is a provocative nod and lightly veiled reference to another country festival that used to take place in these parts.
A while back, O-Town Hoedown head-man Greg Harris (who goes by nom-de-twang Lefty McRighty) took to the blogosphere to detail his concerns with the Capital Hoedown, which made headlines during its existence. The man who runs that festival read Harris’ blog and took umbrage, which led to a libel claim and much consternation between the two parties.
The lawsuit has been settled out of court and Harris says he’s glad he can get on with his life and that he wasn’t bankrupted by the ordeal. Settlement details mean that’s pretty much all Harris can say about the matter, which is uncharacteristic as anyone who follows his lively Twitter feed will know (He’s rather open about everything in his life, i.e. read OTTAWA Magazine’s Sex Issue April 2014.)
With the legal matter settled, Harris is back in the saddle as head Hoedowner. Not only does he organize the festival, he’ll perform in various bands and he’ll DJ the closing party on October 5.
There are a dozen of alt- and country-etc. shows in each of the two weeks of the Hoedown. Get tickets at the door for each gig. Cover ranges from free to $10.
We picked our Top 5 Gigs for the O-Town Hoedown:
- We love the sound of Danny Duke & the Northern Stars. It’s their first time playing Ottawa. Oct. 3. Rainbow Bistro.
- Toronto’s Doghouse Rose is a rebel country duo that blends sweet and sorrow. Oct. 3. Rainbow Bistro.
- There’s a newish country band in town and we like their style. Cooper MacLaren and the Mean-Eyed Cats is led by a fellow named Jason Anderson who took a country-esque handle from two well-known Ottawa city streets — a la Greenfield Main. Sept. 30. Rainbow Bistro.
- Tilda submitted their tunes to the O-Town Hoedown festival this year. Harris dug their songs and put them on the bill. We’re glad he did. We like their atmospheric take on folk. Oct. 4. Atomic Rooster.
- The kick-off! A big ol’ Hoedown get-down party takes place tonight (Thursday, Sept. 25) with Uncle Sean, Lefty McRighty, Ray Harris, Standup Steve, Peter Pritchard, Karolyne Lafortune and Ryan Barwin. 9 p.m. Lunenburg Pub.
The O-Town Hoedown runs Sept. 25 — Oct. 5. Visit here for the full lineup.