Former Ottawa Magazine cover boy Kirk Ramsay, aka Giant Hand, may sing about ruts and non-achievement, but he’s secretly quite lucky. In a few short years, he seems to have attracted fast attention. When the Ottawa musician decided to start his one-man band a few years ago, he didn’t yet know how to play the guitar. He made up for lost time quickly and landed on the radar of Ottawa tastemakers almost immediately — his third gig wasn’t in some basement dive, it was at the crowd-swelling Ottawa Bluesfest in 2008.
Following Ramsay’s debut Coming Home, the folkie will release a six-song EP this weekend called Starting As People — which has the backing of pride-of-Ottawa songwriter (and frontman of The Acorn) Rolf Klausener. Friday, March 18. Raw Sugar Café, 692 Somerset St. http://rawsugarcafe.com/
WHERE TO BE THIS WEEKEND
Another release worth celebrating is called No Harm Done by Ottawa’s Jehan Khoorshed. The songwriter strikes many compelling contrasts on this, his second release. He’s got the innocent smirk of your friend’s kid brother, yet he can sing with a mean ol’ drawl. He can project sweet soul or hurtin’ country (often in the same tune) and his economical phrasing has brain-searing depth — those zingers are aimed at your heart and your head. Hear him with crack band comprising Phillip Victor Bova (bass), Phil Shaw Bova (drums), Steve Boudreau (keyboards) and Matt Ouimet (guitar and lap steel). Friday, March 18. 9:30 p.m. Clocktower Brew Pub, 575 Bank St. http://www.clocktower.ca
Unhinge from the corset of genre at Open Format 03. The monthly series features a roster of unnamed DJs who come together to spin music they love, regardless of its style. Indulge in a variety of sounds and “unfetter from the straightjackets of taste and habit,” as organizers Pleasure Through Sound puts it. Admission by donation with monies going toward food security group Just Food. Friday, March 18. 9 p.m. Shanghai Restaurant, 651 Somerset St. www.shanghaiottawa.com