Charles de Lint, MaryAnn
Harris & Don Fletcher
at Patty's Pub, Ottawa, ON
(25 April 2002)

It was an appreciative audience that filled the back room at Patty's Pub on a Thursday evening, when three accomplished folk musicians provided a relaxed evening of music.

The lead singer is better known to the world for his writing. But Charles de Lint has never hidden his love of music, which has been woven deeply into his stories. Those lucky enough to live in the Ottawa area or find themselves passing through the neighborhood can often find de Lint leading a show at Patty's.

I've been fortunate enough to catch a few of his jams at previous Ottawa venues, first at Mick's Pub in Ottawa's Byward Market and a few years later at the nearby Tin House Pub on Sussex. But now it's a show, not a session, tucked into a cozy corner at Patty's just south of the Glebe.

Charles shares the stage with his wife, artist MaryAnn Harris. Both of them can play a variety of instruments; on the night in question, they kept the lineup fairly simple. Charles handled most of the singing and played some mean guitar and harmonica (and, briefly, the fiddle), while MaryAnn supplied backing vocals, mandolin and a bit of bodhran. Joining them on stage was Don Fletcher, a Kingston native who refused to let an aching back take away from his light touch on the fiddle. They also invited friends Neville and Kenny up for a few songs.

The evening offered plenty of variety, with several lively traditional tune sets and songs from sources as diverse as Fred Eaglesmith, Tommy Makem, Steve Earle, Eric Bogle, Bob Dylan and Kasey Chambers. The real treat, however, was a collection of de Lint originals, a host of songs on a variety of subjects, including a sad song of love's parting and a rowdy homage to Highway 105. Foremost among them was "Cherokee Girl," an exceptional song written for friend and editor Terri Windling about a Native American view on religion. (Follow the link below to read Charles' lyrics for the song.)

Add my voice to the chorus of fans clamoring for Charles and MaryAnn to get themselves and their friends into a studio so they can share this music with a wider audience.

The evening was made more special through a bit of personal involvement. It was with no small amount of pride that I accepted Charles' invitation to join the music, first by playing bodhran on numerous songs and tune sets, and later leading a pair of traditional fiddle sets.

The show by Charles, MaryAnn and Don was, by itself, a treat. Joining them onstage made it extra special and memorable indeed. It was well worth the trip to Ottawa.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 11 May 2002

To read the lyrics to Charles de Lint's original song "Cherokee Girl," follow this link to Terri Windling's excellent Endicott Studio website. All rights to the song lyrics are reserved by Charles; all rights to materials and images found on the site belong to Terri.