Leslie Dawn Knowles
New adventures in music for me - I recently have joined up with longtime favourite Toronto band Whiskey Jack, at the Cadillac Lounge some Sundays as my schedule permits. I will be playing with them for sure at the Silver Dollar on December 15th, it will be great fun I am sure.
Lots of people have asked me about doing some Gypsy Jazz, it's a genre I love and have enjoyed for a long time. I am finally taking the plunge officially thanks to my good friend and extrordinay guitarist Tom Malone will be playing with the Hot Club of Corktown on Tuesday nights at the Dominion on Queen St. E when I can get there
Lahey and Co. Piratefest
I am actively working on what will be my first solo cd and looking at some more very interesting proposals for in front and behind the camera.
Fiddling's a hit at Roy Thomson Hall and the Toronto Symphony!
I performed "St.Anne's Reel" as part of the TSO school concert series, joined by Maestro John Morris Russell on spoons, Jeff Beecher on bass, Neil Deland on banjo and Etsuko Kimura on violin - making her fiddle debut ! We had a great time and the kids did also. I am lucky and proud to have such great colleagues to make music with.
At the Conestoga Bluegrass and Gospel Festival
Hometown Bluegrass - We now have a number of videos on YouTube -
Read where we are called "insanely talented" in this
interesting review of the recent Tottenham Bluegrass
Recording @ Jason's
Many thanks to Jason LaPrade at Crystal Clear Sound who is just wonderful in every way - including being very patient! It was very difficult to choose what to put on this CD with all the great tunes in the band's rep, but we have come up with a good variety which really represents the band well. My featured contributions are "Amazing Grace" plus "Doc Harris the Fisherman" (that's the one everybody calls a gypsy tune the way I do it :-) and a super sassy one I sing called "You Tried to Ruin My Name" I'm also singing harmony on some others. We are proud at Hometown to have developed into a very versatile band where everyone sings and plays also. It is definitely a plus to have the ability to choose from a lot of possible approaches for tunes and it's a very rewarding process finding out what feels right to us and working things out -
see Hometownbluegrass.ca for more
Hometown @ the Gladstone recently........
Eclectic is probably the best word to describe my rich, and quite varied artistic life. As a violinist, violist, mandolinist, singer, and actor, I'm excited to find myself an ever expanding variety of creative adventures.
Toronto Symphony Orchestra concertgoers will know me as one of just a handful of TSO violinists permanently seated in the first violin section, where I have been a fixture since joining the orchestra in 1975. On occasion I've also played in the orchestra's viola section, and have played mandolin for them as well.
Outside of the TSO, my music type activities include being concertmaster of the Brantford Symphony Orchestra, and on occasion I play violin and viola in the Amaro Quartet. On my own and with accordion or guitar I enjoy getting away from printed music and just playing by ear whatever the occasion calls for including jazz/and or "cafe" style type things for many varied events in various settings - private home concerts, garden parties, themed dinners - I've even strolled along the beach at sunset playing a couple's favourite song as part of a very creative marriage proposal - of course she said yes :-) The past few years I have seriously ventured into bluegrass and am very busy playing and singing in Hometown Bluegrass, one of several bluegrass/country bands that I belong to. Great music and people all around and a lot of outdoors to share with my family and friends.
Acting is something I almost fell into by accident, really. One of my sons is a very talented actor and in the course of looking into things for him I found myself intrigued. At the suggestion of his agent Anne Marie Perrault of AMP Talent Group, I went to a few on camera workshops to try it out and found it suited me. Anne Marie is now my agent and I have a good amount of tv and film work on my resume. I definitely am having a great time with this new part of my life!
Once in awhile I will be asked which type of music I prefer - classical or bluegrass and my honest answer is neither. I think we all have unlimited capacity to love, and for me the love I have for music just expanded to include bluegrass and country when I started in four years ago. The ability of all music to transport ourselves and listeners in time and space as a shared experience is wonderful thing, powerful whatever the genre, and I am pleased to be a part of it always.