Hello Harvard

It’s truly inspiring when you get reminded that there will always be great lyrics, sweet harmonies and acoustic interplay in music. In the dog-eat-dog world of music there is always a hard row to hoe, and you’d better have your shit together if you’re going to take a serious stab at it. No use having your shank break before you hit the vitals, no second chance at a first impressions around here.

Hello Harvard is the pairing of Andrew Bontempo  and Johnny Pomykacz, their youth, energy and millennial eyed views and personalities working well in and out of the band. They make the kind of music that has a rich tradition of modern, poppy guitar rock ditties with a wry, urbane outlook – a refreshing familiar tonic to the overly processed crop of new talented so feted in the paid content media today. This is something you can sink your teeth in, assuage your appetite and not feel bloated. Clean and neat, there’s just enough stubble to make the difference between boys and men, between cynicism and wonderment.

Shimmering production accentuating the natural chemistry mark the six tracks of their debut EP Silly Things, a solid first effort that will surely get some notice. 

Playing live as an acoustic duo or plugged in and going full out, the guys show they’ve got the riffs and vocal strength to carry a room – and tonight they’re here with a coveted out-of-towner “ghetto pass” so that they might perform and pontificate at BOXO Studio on the last Wednesday in February.

Tune in for a real buzz on this classic episode of Barber Shop Podcast.




Drummer Show #1

The foundation of music is rhythm, and the drums have have been there since the cornerstone was laid at the dawn of mankind. For almost as long, drummers have had to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous stereotypes – the unkempt wild man, substance abuser, undependable, flakey, it’s all there. Goodness knows we have been guilty as anyone here on Barber Shop Podcast for spending too little time fleshing out the individuals who provide the heartbeat to the music, often getting little more than their names before returning to the front man or chanteuse, banishing them to relative obscurity.

Well, enough is enough. Drummers are real people – for the most part -and their contribution is very often paramount in any group, so crucial is their pace, feel, and toughness in the mix. It’s often said that the right drummer can instantly make a bad band good and a good band great, and that’s absolutely true. It’s also true that they are also often some of the most interesting and wonderful people you will meet in music. 

Our first Drummer Show features four guys who didn’t know each other at all before this night. The only thing they knew they had in common was the love of drums and drumming, and a willingness to open up a little and have some fun.

So kick back and give a little love to the time keepers and shuffle kings out there courtesy Nick Burson, George Kaloxilos, Adam Cannon and Billy Spencer – mixed perfectly by the skilled hands of Barber Shop Podcast.

-Editors note: George’s video selection of “As The Levy Breaks” was targeted by YouTube for copyright infringement and has been removed.


Terrance Mouth Harp Morgan and Marcus Starr

The Blues have a hold on so much popular music it’s impossible to not acknowledge its place as the granddaddy of a lot of offspring the world over. At some point, if you are a musician, you WILL play the blues. Based on patterns and sequences much like folk-art needlework, the blues are stories, told by the author, shared for eternity. Like a whispered sentence buzzing in hushed tones through the room, every connotation and interpretation seamlessly embodying a piece of every crier. Field hollers and call/response cadence served this form of uniquely American music, the deltas and juke joints and speakeasies serving as the churches for these believers. For a century the blues have traveled and morphed. Any music town worth its salt will have a vibrant blues scene, and Hamilton is no exception. There are many great deciles of the blues, each with its own unique flavour – accentuating those southern roots in our own way.

Terrance Harp Mouth Brown is a musician who went to school. Not Hard Knox, but Mohawk – which is close enough. His knowledge and chops run deep, but discovering the blues led to an immediate passion and lifetime commitment. Learning and mastering the tricks a Harmonica player needs to become a Bluesman takes time and good company – something weekly downtown jams with blues royalty served to hone to a sharp edge.

Marcus Starr has been here before as guitar slinger for Hamilton rockers Radio Free Universe, a gifted player with a wicked groove. His early days in Hamilton showed him that blues were a mandatory element and the boy went to school. Now they make music. New music, old music, timeless music – the blues.

Hunker down on this snowy February night for a little taste of the blues the way they used to serve it – on Barber Shop Podcast. 


Matty Simpson

We get all kinds here at Barber Shop Podcast, all kinds of beautiful, sustaining music and the real deal from our rich pool of real music and real musicians. 

Matty Simpson has seen and done quite a bit in his life as a musician, his natural curiosity and abilities on the guitar evident from very early on. Combined with the fact that his parents’ business was in importing, there were many different types of musical instruments to experiment with, helping to form the quiet, fearless attitude required to be both empathetic and bold in accompaniment. A great lover of the golden era rock and roll, Matty knows all the licks and has a few of his own to raise tired eyebrows everywhere. 

Those eyes eventually belonged to none other than Fred Eaglesmith, the undisputed king of DIY indie musicians. Fred and the Fredheads who follow him everywhere, have had the opportunity to see and hear what a remarkable player and harmonized sideman he has become, as have the millions who saw him on network tv a few years ago on The Late Show with David Letterman.

Of course a fellow with this skill set would also write beautiful songs and arrangements dripping with honest imagery, right? A full time immersion in music leads to the riffs and melodies, scribbled phrases and turn arounds, eventually melding together into a well crafted beauty.  Matty has been, and continues to compose, compile and collect these songs for an upcoming solo record that will surely hit the mark square in the feels.

On this beautiful summer night in early February (it was 16.5 degrees Celsius), we welcomed Matty and Justine Fischer along with Charlie Tirone for a good time with a side of insight. Light and easy with lots of laughter is the way to go, and we go hard at it with this bunch as the band all share stories and tracks from their earlier musical projects. 

Don’t touch that dial, or mouse, or whatever you touch in the future as you hark back to the days when Matty Simpson wasn’t a household name. Well, some houses anyway.

Another great show with great people on a great night at Barber Shop Podcast as we all watch the sunrise on the cusp of greatness. 




Sarah Beatty

We all remember the times in life where we experience growth, joy and the beautiful synergy of convergence. For us at Barber Shop Podcast, one that comes to mind occurred on October 9, 2013 when we met Sarah Beatty for the first time and saw and heard why she was so loved and respected amongst the Hamilton musical family. Honest and open, bright and articulate, the demure Beatty carries her fiercely defended sensibilities with silken gloves, delivering smart, catchy songs with a solid guitar hand and a voice at once both sweet and guileless, yet very much on point. 

Did we mention the girl is a scientist too? Seriously. Not only does she have the dedication and chops to hang with the best in this music hotbed, but she has the raw brain power and the work ethic to study and obtain a science degree, she’s still building her dream to change the world for better, no matter what hemisphere of grey matter she is in.

This show is short but sweet, kinda like her. A long overdue reunion and a genuine mutual admiration party all in less than an hour. Spinning a few tunes from her self-titled CD and performing a couple live, Sarah Beatty spends just enough time with us to ensure we won’t be forgetting her any time soon.

Lo and behold – Sarah Beatty on Barber Shop Podcast