Vinyl Café Christmas Concert Tour

Posted by Dani on December 12, 2011

Lifeovereasy had the pleasure of attending the Vinyl Café Christmas Concert Tour yesterday at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, our third annual visit to Stuart McLean’s feel-good live show geared toward all ages. This show has become a holiday tradition in our family, and the season doesn’t really kick off in our house until we hear Stuart telling his Dave and Morley stories.

Stuart McLean, a “rock-star story-teller” according to talented guest musician Hawksley Workman, brings his Vinyl Café CBC radio show to life in a magical mix of stories and music. Heart-warming, funny, and quintessentially Canadian, his stories about Dave and the gang can be outrageous but believable, and sentimental but not excessively so. They remind us to take delight in some of the simple social interactions in our lives, and best of all, they make us laugh – long and loud.

Our family was first introduced to “Dave stories”, as the kids called them, years ago when a friend loaned us some Vinyl Café CDs for a long car trip. After travelling a while, I thought it might be time to shut off the movies and ipods and give the stories a try. You can imagine the moaning and groaning from the kids! But it took only a few minutes of McLean’s classic “Dave Cooks The Turkey” for the family to become captivated, and we have been hooked since. The Vinyl Café CDs have become a staple for any long road trip, and one of the few forms of entertainment that can easily have our entire family of three generations in stitches. Cross-generational laughing – now that’s a rare thing these days!

One of the great things about Stuart McLean’s show is that he highlights great Canadian musical talent. This year the special musical guest was Hawksley Workman who offered his unique take on the Christmas album, singing songs about making soup, Christmastime with the common cold, and three generations of a family singing Blue Christmas together. Quirky, fun, and poignant all at once, Hawksley’s diverse sound and powerful voice is a compelling mix and his passion shows. Hawksley told his own rambling stories as he introduced the songs, providing context to a charmed audience. I think his new album, Full Moon Eleven, is set to become a Christmas staple in our house.

If you missed the Vinyl Café tour this year, you can check out the show on CBC Radio in Canada. Better yet, subscribe to free podcasts through ITunes, where they were just chosen as Best Audio Podcast of the Year. Try some stories out with your family – maybe heat up some apple cider and make an event of it. Because, as Stuart McLean reminded us today, family is what it’s all about.

top photo from the vinyl cafe facebook page, taken by James Dean Photography
bottom two photos from hawksleyworkman.com

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