Greg Simpson's Mindbending Friends

Tickets available at

Greg Simpson's Mindbending Friends

Sat, May 10, 2014

Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 9:00 pm (event ends at 2:00 am)

C'est What?

Toronto, ON

This event is 19 and over

Kenny Butterill - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Kenny Butterill
Before 2000, songwriter/producer Kenny Butterill was a virtual unknown. The release of Butterill's debut album, NO ONE YOU KNOW, changed all that and put him on the cutting edge of the progressive music scene. Indeed, Butterill's brand of radio friendly "rootsy, folksy, bluesy, Americana, feel good music" has endeared him to markets all over the world.

The release of Butterill's second album JUST A SONGWRITER caused his popularity to soar even higher. Filled with inviting melodies, masterful songwriting and engaging, earthy vocals, the self-produced JUST A SONGWRITER album is Kenny Butterill personified: compassionate, sensitive and diverse, yet singularly individualistic.

After being unveiled in Cannes, France at MIDEM, JUST A SONGWRITER caught the watchful eyes of the industry and reviewers who sung its praises. Not surprising the CD received many accolades including "Best Alt-Country/Americana CD" by True West Magazine in its 50th Anniversary Round up of the Best of the West.

Giving artistic expression to a poetic soul, you won't find Butterill chasing the bright lights - he prefers to let his music stands on its own - hence the title - "JUST A SONGWRITER". And stand on its own it does! The CD spent many weeks in the Americana Top 40 Chart and in the other leading Roots/Country/Folk music charts around the world.

More importantly, Butterill, a quiet rebel of grace, has done what he set out to do -- to prove the accessibility of his song catalogue on his own terms. In a world where everything seems mandatory or forbidden, his 'no-showbiz' approach to the music business has made him somewhat of an industry 'outsider', a badge of honour he wears proudly. That Butterill has avoided the trappings of showbiz while charting globally for five years in a row makes a clear-cut statement about how appealing and popular his music is.

Butterill began writing songs during his teens in Canada and his hobby soon became a challenging outlet for his inspirations. Early in the 1990s, Butterill began pitching his tunes and in the late 1990s his music received a very positive reception in the online world. Friends and fans encouraged him to do a CD. NO ONE YOU KNOW was the result and the rest, as they say, is history.

In 2002, his single, "How Far Can We Go?" became the first Americana-format song in almost two years to crossover and become a #1 Country hit in Europe after spending several months in the Canadian Country Charts. Sometimes compared to Dire Straits, Gordon Lightfoot and Tony Joe White, Butterill's music has garnered airplay on hundreds of radio stations and programs throughout the world and on the Internet and podcasts. Especially gratifying to Butterill has been the broad acceptance of his music at Public Radio in all markets.

While his songwriting and producer efforts consume a large portion of his time, Butterill does continue to be involved with the other entrepreneurial ventures he's long been associated with. He's also a "serious student of the universe" with fascinations for Eastern mysticism, mythology, social justice, politics and red wine - not necessarily in that order. Currently residing high in the rugged outback of the Santa Cruz Mountains in Northern California, Butterill thrives on the isolation and solitude that the wilderness offers. Though isolated, he is always connected. Friends can usually find Butterill on his back porch - noodling with his notebook computer, writing songs, surfin' the web, cutting deals or staying in touch with friends near and far.

The native Canadian who has lived in the USA since the 1980s has been praised as a songwriter of great substance and depth. His repertoire delivers on both counts. Richly textured but never overproduced, Butterill's music has the warm ambience of an intimate setting with an up-close, personal vibe. This is due in no small part to the creative control that Butterill, the producer, exercises from recording to mixing, a role he takes very seriously.

With true emotion and empathy, Butterill's music gives us a glimpse inside the man whose insightful, sometimes imaginative, perceptions about mankind bear the signature stamp of his personality. With a passionate, unwavering focus on creativity and quality, Butterill is more than JUST A SONGWRITER. He's one who has forged his own path, delivering musical magic that truly connects with Alt-Country, Roots and Folk music fans around the world.
Donna Creighton - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Donna Creighton
My name is Donna Creighton, and I was born mid-winter in the Ottawa Valley, the fourth of five kids in a family of Scottish/ Belgian/ English/ French heritage. My DNA is 100% storyteller and songmaker.

When I was a kid, our TV at home had two snowy channels. So I explored the dirt roads instead, leaned my back against trees, and played with the steady stream of instruments my older siblings brought home. With a few short instructions from one of my brothers or sisters, I was plunking, blowing and strumming anything that would make noise. Pretty soon, I was hammering boards together too, building fires, sewing patches into quilts, prepping the canoe for a paddle, planting, growing and canning tomatoes, making strawberry jam, or collecting sap from the maples in the yard. Whatever was going on, I had my hands in it.

That was my life in a big northern family. And, this is what they tell me. By age one, I was singing. At 18 months, I started to whistle and play the piano. I picked up my first recorder and Ukulele around age 8. By grade 9, my musical life was a diet of Chopin, Mozart, Bach, Mo Kauffman, The Pointer Sisters, Supertramp, Rush, Boston and Steely Dan. The flute was my next obsession, and boys. When I wasn’t skipping school to hang out with boys, I might've been catching the GO bus to Toronto and hanging out at The Edge, a new age / punk bar at Church and Gerard.

I loved the raw simplicity of the Ramones back then and Blondie's pop edge. My punk-rock boy friend taught me to play the bass part on “Nice and Sleazy” by the Stranglers. Punk was fun and a far cry from my classical piano and singing lessons, the high school choir and private girl’s choir, from the music festivals, the high school bands, musicals, and drama club. In the same way I wandered from genre to genre growing up, I suppose I've become a bit of a wandering minstrel musically.

It wasn't until my late 20s, while studying English and Drama at UWO, that I got involved in community theatre and started playing the guitar and writing songs. The spring that I completed my teaching degree, all of us faced a long-term hiring freeze. So I turned to theatre and music and embarked on the life I feel I was destined to lead. Between substitute teaching gigs, I started writing songs, recording music, and performing.

Life was like a game of snakes and ladders with marriages, divorces, children, and 12 years touring with the award-winning folk band, Sirens. I had wonderful moments onstage with great songwriters and performers like Bruce Cockburn, Valdy, Bruce Guthro, Parachute Club, Fred J. Eaglesmith, Don Ross, Philosopher Kings and Lisa Loeb in Canada, the US, and Scotland. My musical journeys have lead me to mentors, like Bobby McFerrin, who encouraged me vocally. They cheered my creative freedom and the diversity of musical styles in my work.

In the fall of 2005, I embarked on something new. The Northern Daughter project began as a song that I wrote and recorded as a demo. It was an autobiofictional account of my life as a northern daughter. In the fall of 2006, the idea for a one-act musical play emerged, and I contacted actress Lesley Andrew to develop a storyline based on the life of a young girl in the Canadian bush. In those early stages, Lesley provided me with weekly writing tutorials and feedback to draft preliminary wilderness narratives for the play.

Over the winters of 2006 and 2007, I performed public and private live readings of excerpts from Northern Daughter. In spring 2007, I compiled a collection of those excerpts and work-shopped the play for three days with artistic director, Louise Fagan. I completed a first draft of Northern Daughter while participating in the "Developing the One Person Show" weekend workshop at the 92nd St. YMCA in Manhattan with Louise Fagan and Molly Peacock. I returned to the theatre stage, performing with Orchestra London as Nora in their production of Hearts Made Great. In the spring of 2013, I joined the ensemble cast of COLLEENING: The Poetry and Letters of Colleen Thibaudeau under the direction of AlvegoRoot Theatre Company producer Adam Holowitz. A few months later I performed Pendas Production's one woman show, The Dream Life of Teresa Harris, playing all four characters, including Teresa Harris at ages 8, 20, 55, 89, and dead!

In June 2009, I traveled to Vada, Italy, for an exciting two week playwrighting workshop facilitated by Canadian playwright Vern Theissen to focus on character development (...but I still hadn't named my main character!). In April 2010, I travelled to Kitchener and met Lisa O’Connell at Pat the Dog, playwrighting development centre. I set up a series of dramaturge sessions with Lisa O’Connell and then presented excerpts from the play at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in Kitchener (June 2010), the Winnipeg International Writer’s Festival: Thin Air (Sept. 2010), and the Winnipeg Fem Fest, a Festival of Canadian Women Writers and Arts Creators (Sept. 2010).

In 2011 and 2012, I attended more writing workshops on storytelling and the importance of women’s stories and dramatic literature at Brescia College, UWO. In 2012 and 2013, I wrote a total of seven songs for Northern Daughter, recorded three of them, and performed all of them live at Aeolian Hall in my latest show, Donna Back From the Dead. That was last November. And, it was about that time, my character finally got a name, Mary Mud from Mud Creek. Northern Daughter is a co-production with AlvegoRoot Theatre Company, and I'm in the final stages of creative development with director Louise Fagan now and looking ahead to the premiere on October 22-25, 2014, at The ARTS Project in London. Mary Mud's autobiofictional story has been many years in the making. Come out to Norther Daughter in October, and please hang around after the show to say hello.
David Blair - (Set time: 11:00 PM)
David Blair
Classically trained in piano since the age of 3 David Blair joined his first band at the age of 17. He has performed all over North America, holds 3 honourable mentions for the Billboard songwriting awards, won CFox's Demo Listen Contest and has opened for Nickelback and Barstool Prophets. From his new album, Things Left Unsaid, he has a current radio single with "Hurts So Hard" which is starting to gain ground on stations across the nation and will be touring Canada and the USA during June and July of this year.

“…Canadian singer-songwriter David Blair holds nothing back….Endearing and affecting, [Things Left Unsaid] provides listeners with an unforgettable soundtrack for any occasion.” - Performing Songwriter Mar/Apr 2009
Michelle Joly - (Set time: 12:00 AM)
Michelle Joly
Michelle is releasing her second record "Cold Home in the summer of 2014. She has been working on this album for the past 2 years and it features all of her close musician friends. Michelle's vocals are raw yet sweet. She has the sultry sound of Norah Jones with a rawness like Adele. Her songs are heartfelt and have a touch of jazzy blues, with an edge of soulful folk. Michelle has two Music Diplomas and has been performing, teaching, writing and recording music for the past 8 years. In the summer of 2011, Joly toured Canada fom coast to coast with the release of her first album “You’re Not Alone”. She is currently working on her second album and plans to release it in the Fall of 2013. She recently moved to West Vancouver from Red Deer Alberta looking for more opportunity and meeting new connections. She currently teaches from two different Music Schools, Long & McQuade and Creativ Music both located in North Vancouver. She has been gigging regularly around Vancouver and she was recently singing and performing with the VOC: Sweet Soul Gospel Motown Choir. Michelle writes purely from life experience and has truly carved a unique path in her musicality.
Michelle Joly grew up in several small Northern Alberta towns and sang from a young age. Born in Edmonton Alberta in 1980, however she calls St.Paul, Alberta her hometown. She is a true Canadian being part Metis, Ukrainian, Polish and Scottish. She was never involved in musical events as a child but was always surrounded by music as most of her family sings and plays a musical instrument. In 1999 when she was 19, Michelle auditioned at Red deer College as a Vocal major having had no previous experience singing in lessons or choir. She was delighted when she was accepted having no idea of the hard work that was in store for her.
Michelle spent the next four years dedicated to studying her voice and building her technique as she had incurred several “bad habits” along her 19 years of her bedroom/bathroom stardom! She graduated from Red Deer College with a Diploma in Music Merchandising and a minor in Vocal Performance and continued her studies at Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton Alberta where she graduated with a diploma in Vocal Jazz Performance. She was awarded the “Big Four” Music Scholarship from Red Deer College and also the “Highest Academic Achievement” Scholarship at Grant MacEwan College.
In 2003, Michelle moved to Antigonish Nova Scotia and had her first experience performing in a musical. She snagged the star role in “Swing!”. This is when she realized that performing was her true passion. She began to practice piano and guitar daily and started writing and recording songs. In 2005, Michelle auditioned for Canadian Idol and made it to the top 40! She had a wonderful, fulfilling experience with several words of encouragement.
Michelle Moved back to Red Deer in 2006 and began to teach music privately at the local music store, 53rd Street Music. She started with voice and then soon was teaching guitar and piano. Over the last 6 years Michelle had been working hard, honing her musical chops on both guitar and piano, teaching herself from several educational books and materials. She has been teaching and performing in several local venues including a regular friday night gig at The Sheraton Garden Terrace Lounge in red Deer, Alberta and was also a booking agent for a couple music venues in Red Deer.

Michelle's “Debut” album “You’re Not Alone” was released in June 2011 which is available on several music sites including iTunes. With 55 dates booked across Canada, Michelle and her talented best friend Carrie Sadler by her side, toured Canada from Coast to Coast for 93 days in the summer of 2011. June 1st to September 2, ending the tour on Michelle’s 32nd birthday. Together they travelled all the way to St.Johns Newfoundland and then all the way back to Tofino, Vancouver Island. She sold almost 800 albums and performed in several different types of venues from festivals, bars and coffee shops. This was the most amazing and eye opening experience of Michelle’s life. She realized she needed to get out of Red Deer and make a career for herself. She decided to move to Vancouver in 2012.
Michelle toured again in the summer of 2012. Once again booking her own 26 date West Coast Tour from June 27 in Medicine Hat, Alberta to August 6 in Tofino, BC with another talented musician Melody Stang from Red Deer, Alberta. Once the tour was finished Michelle then decided to make her home in West Vancouver, British Columbia.
Since living in West Vancouver, Michelle has been teaching at two different music studios, Long & McQuade and Creativ Music in North Vancouver and has also had the privilege to sing with the VOC Sweet Soul Gospel Motown Choir who is directed by Chico Tohomaso. He is an influential mentor in Michelle’s life having toured with Motown Legends such as Marvin Gaye, The Commodores and Earth Wind Fire. She has been actively gigging, writing and recording music with a couple music producers from the area.
XPrime - (Set time: 1:00 AM)
Xprime /eks-prīm/ verb
to express, pure musical joy

Are they pop? Are they Duwop? Are they classic, or modern, or all of the above? Attempting to classify Xprime into one genre is fruitless: theirs is a kind of sound meant to be enjoyed by anyone and everyone. With songs crafted to draw in every type of fan, from lovers of pop, embracers of blues and the hardest of rockers, there is literally something for everyone when it comes to Xprime. Their latest recording, The Album, speaks to that, and speaks -- or sings -- for itself. Produced by Chris Perry at the hitmaking Pocket Studios, Xprime’s follow up to Here We Are shows a sonic evolution that’s not at all surprising for a band of Xprime’s calibre. The Album shows Xprime delving into more complex songwriting, more vibrant harmony and more mature subject matter, while still holding true to the uplifting and mood elevating sound and style that they are known for.So let your inner and outer music lover express itself, and hit the dancefloor with Xprime.

Exprime-toi! Expressing themselves comes so naturally to Xprime that they put in right out there in their name, with a twist to honour their French Canadian roots. It’s hard to believe that a band so polished could come from such inauspicious beginnings. Drummer Phil Taylor, the most dapper of the bunch, got his start with sticks with none other than the Niagara Symphony. He banged on the books until a drum set made its way into his home, and a love of funk took over. Gab Mercier, an expert at both creativity and thievery, turned his first keyboard into a keytar, and stole his first guitar, making him the band’s resident badass. Steph Mercier, clearly the more polite of the brothers, borrowed his father’s guitar to teach himself the King of the Hill themesong, before deciding that shredding speedmetal tunes all night long was the best path to future rock stardom. And Neil Carson, the coolest cat to ever grace a stage, let his inner Star Wars nerd start him along his own musical path – by learning John Williams’ score from The Phantom Menace, before moving onto to melding his mind with the entire Beatles’ catalogue. High school classmates and brothers in arms (and genes), Taylor, Carson and the Merciers finally came together to make actual musical magic.

Often compared to a box of puppies for their happy go lucky and undeniably adorable demeanor, don’t let Xprime’s vest, bowtie and…whatever Neil decided to wear that day, fool you. As much as their appearance invokes gasps, giggles and “aws”, it’s their talent that truly intimidates. The greatest evidence of that fact came from their many Mondays spent as the houseband for the Bobcast podcast, where musical guests could often be heard muttering to themselves and their bandmates “man, these guys are AWESOME. Wait, we have to go on after them?” Such statements were usually followed by much shaking in boots, no matter how punk, hardcore, heavy metal, or famous these aforementioned acts may have been. But that’s what makes Xprime so charming; they’re unassuming, modest and quiet in their confidence, never fully revealing the true height of their talent until they take the stage. But once they do, their technical skill, infectious energy and innate ability to create pure, beautiful music is undeniable. Instrument switching, dancing while playing, singing while drumming: there is nothing Xprime can’t do when it comes to music. Add to that already amazing mix goosebump inducing, Beach Boys and Billy Talent inspired harmonies, and the ability to craft catchy, uncheesy (is that even a word?) and totally addictive pop songs, and you have the wonderfully winning combination that is Xprime. Sounds too good to be true? All it takes is one Xprime show and even the most cynical music snobs end up converted into lifelong fans.
Venue Information:
C'est What?
67 Front Street E.
Toronto, ON, M5E 1B5