Ruth Moody in Review – Vinyl Cafe Live Show Review

Posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2012.

By John Arkelian for

Raconteur, storyteller, and humorist Stuart McLean is a mainstay on CBC through his weekly radio show, The Vinyl Cafe.  Many episodes of the show are taped on the road, on stages across the country.  On a very fortuitous Friday the 13th (in April 2012), it was Oshawa’s turn to enjoy the patented combination of engaging stories, good music, and folksy charm that are the hallmarks of McLean’s show.  The heritage Regent Theater (recently bereft of its ornate plaster ceiling, alas) was filled to the brim with enthusiastic listeners.  So enthusiastic were they, in fact, that sections of the show became interactive, to the apparent delight of McLean & company.  In a good-natured drawl, he treated the assembled throng to three of his beloved “Dave and Morley” stories.  The first was the ever-popular account of the waterslide to beat all waterslides that is assembled by neighborhood children at the urging of an elderly onlooker.  The second story recounted mishap-prone Dave’s visit to the carwash with his neighbors’ pride-and-joy Lexus.  Disaster ensues, of course; but, as McLean wryly noted, at least his hapless protagonist “was exceptionally clean” by the end of his ordeal.  The third story was, perhaps, still a work in progress, involving the struggles of Dave’s daughter at university — with her dreaded statistics class, an eccentric professor, and his metronomically-gifted cat.  The secret of McLean’s storytelling?  Why, no more or less than instantly likable characters (they feel as familiar as good friends), humorous, down-to-earth, and often gently poignant situations, and impeccable timing.

McLean’s music director, John Sheard, offered up a bittersweet Scottish ballad, “You Take the High Road,” on solo piano; there was amusing horseplay over the distribution of prizes to audience members on both ends of the age-scale; and the audience was treated to four songs by the exceptionally talented Canadian singer-songwriter Ruth Moody.  Moody is a founding member of the dazzling Wailin’ Jennys (the Juno Award-winning trio performed at a concert put on by Durham’s late, lamented Vital Spark Folk Society a few years back), but on this occasion, she sang selections from her solo album “The Garden.”  One, “Tell Me,” was inspired by Patsy Cline; another, “Closer Now,” was a love song in the style of a waltz.  Moody also sang Randy Newman’s song “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today” for the first time in public.  At the end of the show, McLean promised to be back in two years; but it will take the patience of the long-suffering Morley for Durham audiences to wait that long for a return visit from such old friends.
Source: John Arkelian for