Category Archives: Podcasts

Piper Hayes

In the been-there-done-that world of music, it’s a difficult thing to be a vexing chanteuse AND Suzi Sixpack as these subdivisions seek to attempt to define what is a female recording artist in this, the most difficult litmus test we take. Piper Hayes might have some of the trappings, you can’t fault a girl for that. Showing off beauty with your brains, wit and banter, skills and direction all serve to win an audience, but she is a writer at heart with a mission statement as light as it is deadly serious, the de rigur state of the business sets her apart from those who can’t or won’t do the work. Sticking to your guns is what it’s all about, for if you believe it youre halfway there. The degree to which something unique in a sanctioned race for recognition and survival often mimics our own, it feels good to cheer for someone who is good to be seen as herself and live a life as close to altruism as possible.

On a chilly but lovely Wednesday in mid December, we had the pleasure of hosting Piper and you can get to join us as the songs and the stories tell another brand new story that you’ve heard the opening lines 1,000 times. How it goes and how it ends is going to have pretty much everything to do with the girl in the chair, for it’s her turn on Barber Shop Podcast

Barber Shop Four Year Anniversary Show

Every year since 2012 there is a celebration of music and brethren that takes place at BOXO Studio on Hamilton Ontario as Barber Shop Podcast celebrates another year of showcasing the truth and beauty of original independent music and original independent media. In a world where 80% of podcasts fail to last past 10 episodes, Barber Shop Podcast has been delivering the goods every week for well over 200 episodes and there is no sign of slowing down.

The opposite in fact is true, in that we co-ordinated a Go Fund Me campaign to assist in the upgrade of the cameras and lights to allow for 1080HD video content. Making sure the show looks as good as it sounds goes a long way to showcase the treasures we have around here in proper fashion and we chose this episode as the debut of these new systems. It would have been nice if things went off without a hitch, but that wouldn’t be a true representation of what we are all about at all – for our fans love us not despite the fact we are messy – but BECAUSE we are gloriously messy – at times.

So here we are, the mighty 4 year open house anniversary spectacular wherein we have no real idea as to who is going to show up and who is going to be playing what with who. This year, gremlins and glitches had Ryan going a bit nuts and Gary running for cover while I did my very best to entertain and consume beverages for the roughly 2 hours past show time on top of the 2 hours of the predicted and advertised start time of 8. We had a whole bunch of great folks who had to leave before the show even started and the ones who stuck around enjoyed the snacks and copious amounts of delicious booze…… kinda started late and went even later………

So here it is – farts, warts and all. I ramble and espouse for a good 12 minutes to start the show as it’s almost prophetic in its profane pronouncements but skip ahead to the first act and the host of sudden sidemen if you wish to skip the preamble – Here she be for all to see, the glory that is, and ever shall be,………… Barber Shop Podcast

Brenda Brown

Brenda Brown has both the style and chops to sing for a five star supper any day of the week. Comfortable in any style, Brenda has a knack for the smooth jazz, torch and smokey room sound that plays so well with smart and sharp set as well as a integral place floating in the ethos, just out of reach. Melody and lyrical integrity delivered with a certain convincing panache assures that nothing but good stuff gets thru. It’s a great set piece, each tune like a post card from yet another exotic stopover, thrilling on its own but so much more as a series. The whole album is a pleasure to listen to and having her live in studio was a real pleasure. Brenda is a lifer in the music business and teaches kindergarten at WH Ballard in Hamilton. She was born in the Hammer, lives in the east end with her wild and crazy family who aptly serve as her band tonight. Daughter Olivia is a graduate of Mohawk College Applied Music. Prior to that she attended U of T’s Music Undergrad program on piano, before making the switch to bass. She is now freelancing in music as a performer and is teaching at the Milton Academy of Music and Long and McQuade in Hamilton. She has played with Bump City, Grease Monkey, and is now working at Zyla’s with the jazz trio Easy Lemon.

Son Ian is in his third and final year at Mohawk College, in Applied Music. He performs with area singer-songwriter and former Barber Shop Podcast guest Ron Baumber, has played with the McMaster Jazz Band under the direction of Mike Malone. Ian at the present studies with Adrean Farruggia and is gigging and jamming with a variety of local groups. His real passion is composition and orchestration.

Finally, husband Glen aka Velvet is the drummer and a great friend of the show. He was given this stage name on a very early episode of the Barber Shop Podcast when playing with some local blues men. Glen taught public school music for 27 years. Glen is a graduate of Mohawk College Music (1984) and McMaster Music (1987). He plays drums for the Hamilton Bucket List Band, an eight piece genre-busting horn band that taps into Hamilton’s colourful history for many of its song ideas.

Together, tonight, they’re a great reminder of just what’s so great about music, what’s so great about family and what’s so great about Barber Shop Podcast.

Katey Brooks

What Can I say about the power and reach of music that I haven’t said in 210 weeks? How can I attempt to convey the binding and bonding power music has to bring people of different persuasions and personalities to a common place of peace and understanding? Music is the meat and potatoes, the hot sauce, the powdered sugar in life make no mistake about it, and tonight’s guest is a very good example of that my friends. Her Name is Katey Brooks, and most of you yobs around here don’t have a clue as to she is….Hailing from Bristol, I somehow caught a missive – a message from her on an area Facebook page whilst on a tour of Germany, that she was coming to Southern Ontario for a week and was looking for gigs to fill some dates between her booked dates. Being no fool, I asked if she would be interested in doing a show and she – not knowing any better said sure. I couldn’t get her a gig because everyone noone has heard of had ever heard of her,…..funny thing that. Not that it matters because many, many people in Europe love her and quite a few Canadians have a soft spot for her now – and I’m sure one of them.

Sometimes you just have to trust your gut – she did, I did, we did – and here is the result in high definition and high fidelity – from us to you.

Marc Pettigrew

Everyone has a story to tell and musician’s stories just sound the best dammit…. Marc Pettigrew is someone who beat the odds and defied the numbers in music and life itself. Most of us have a “before” time and an “after” time centered around a life changing event – and Marc’s event just happens to be a double lung transplant. As fate would have it, he is thankful and reflective about life now in a way the “before” Marc could never fathom.

We all have a story, some are just better told than others so I’ll just let this guy tell you his. We don’t spin fairy tales or shill widgets on this show – we tell real stories thru real people and we do it really well… If you keep the faith and keep a candle burning you will never know what you can’t do.

Love, life and loss gets real – on Barber Shop Podcast


The Folk Sinners

There is a special place in Hamilton that serves perfectly to exemplify the cause and effect of greatness on the music and youth of a generation – Westdale High School and the late 70’s. Thanks to a bunch of friends who formed Teenage Head, the sound and fury they so aptly channeled became a siren song for many contemporaries in the following decades, including a few of the fine gentlemen featured in tonight’s episode of Barber Shop Podcast.

Ralph Nicole was and is a West Hamilton boy, perhaps not as ensconced as some other of the denizens who were part of the musical milieu of that era, but he was hungry for a piece of that dream. When the likes of Kerr, Lewis, Mahon, De Roches and Stipanitz fused the New York Dolls with Eddie Cochran, the world took notice one street at a time – and Ralph was one of the very first on board. Developing and defining his own sound thru all the trials of time and life saw the man and his music write his own story – one that continues to this day with The Folk Sinners, a rag-tag band of brothers who paint a swirling image of notes and lyrics in a colourful homage to the stories he’s telling now. Laying somewhere between the blooming fields and the cold ground, the moods are a familiar but unique take on the classic themes of world beats and local sensibilities, an effective and powerful carpet to magically ride over the lands below.

This fine Wednesday night sees Ralph in fine form, leading the band of brothers in a special performance that you’ll only see here. Featuring Ed Kopas on guitar, Bruce Mallory on bass, Rob Jarovi on keys and the venerable Michael Keena on drums, we get the scoop on the early days, the crazy nights and the path that has led us all here today. You’ll get to see and hear the band perform live as well as hearing some of the great tracks from their self-titled CD as well as the great insights and magic moments you won’t find anywhere else out there.

Ralph Nicole is the real deal and as with all things, being real and perusing excellence will see you arrive where you belong and all the fakes in the world predicting your demise will be damned to whisper your name like Rosebud in a snowstorm.

Long live independent media.



Halloween is a special time of year, a night that adults can be kids and kids can be anything they want. Add to that a big ol bag of candy and you’ve got the makings of a pretty potent party.

Well, we’ve gone one better this year – bringing you the spookiest and crushingly macabre sights and sounds of Kryptcreeper, a ghoulish punk rock outfit from the Hammer that has risen from the grave in the nick of time to claim your soul.

Music in this town takes on all shapes and sizes but the bricks of this group are solid, each player an MVP in this game, each sharing a love for that hyper-aggressive, pentatonic punk that doesn’t shy away from melody and musicality while still legitimately raging at anything that moves.

Bringing that bullshit filter to bear isn’t a pray-and-spray affair but more a targeted affair, the politics of rage alive and well in 2016 – and we are pretty happy about it.

Another Wednesday, another show, another great band you won’t find on the Uncle Grumpy comedy hour or anywhere else but right here – on Barber Shop Podcast.


Famous Framus

Songs are stories told by angels and sung by mortals. Some are light breezy distractions and some are profoundly visceral, the most brutal singular moments fashioned into a necklace of emotions, memories and discoveries. Famous Framus had been one of our favourites going way back and his first appearance fleshed out the blue collar origins and uniquely Canadian flavoured delta blues and Ozarkian tinged songs. Within the person was a humble and genuine man who had a the knack for wordplay and thrust in a deliberate two step.
For all of us, life writes it’s own script, and we don’t get to edit it when things go bad. Bad doesn’t come close to describing losing a child, every parents worst nightmare and what Famous Framus faced when his beloved son was taken suddenly – a chasm deeper than any before and a very real threat to the life and vitality of parents who together feel the weight of such a thing. Healing from that trauma is a long process that is necessary when fighting to honour a life and accept the inevitable acceptance to go forward.
Writing and recording an album about the boy, the man, and the spirit he knows, the therapeutic benefits of getting those ragged emotions somehow to evolve into a universal story to such a personal journey led to the inevitable result – something as real as it gets in the way only a song from the heart can deliver. It’s his pride, his pain, his son who is honoured in this record, and showcases in this very special episode of Barber Shop Podcast. World class music all comes from the same place, the heart and mind of the artist who lays it all out for us.

Ron Baumber

Sometimes in life, our true loves come and go more than once – the fire smouldering but never truly extinguished. Such was – and is the case with Ron Baumber, a singer-songwriter who was right there, a key player in the heyday of the craft in the Canadian epicentre of Toronto. The burgeoning scene in Yorkville and the other bohemian boroughs were rife with the words and music that defined a generation. Ron Baumber certainly lived that life, and when time and life undercut the stability of that rock he built his life upon, the guitar and the pen were put down – for a while at least.

Years may pass but the need to create never does, so when the desire to pick up where he left off grew too strong to ignore, the creative flow started anew and a new journey was underway.

The various pieces started fitting together bit by bit and the songs began to pile up – good songs full of the lessons and perspective that only life can offer. Teaming up with like minded musicians who shared the desire to perform paid dividends and that passion and commitment has yielded a remarkable testament to the dreams that never die.

Ron Baumber & Friends have captured that feel and feature up to eight musicians whose individual voices combine brilliantly with the spacial awareness that comes with time and experience, the notes swirling and turning without stepping on toes.

On this fine night we feature Ron with but one of these band mates, another chap who had stepped away from the stage for years before teaming up and rediscovering the passion that started this raging affair in the first place. Gerry Mayor sits in, playing the very same saxophone he’s had since high school. The focus is on the songs, the context is in the story, and it’s all right here on this episode of Barber Shop Podcast.


Episode #200 – Tim Potocic/Supercrawl 2016

Something really cool is going down in The Hammer this weekend – something that is like steroids for the music scene in this town, something remarkable called Supercrawl. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past eight years, Supercrawl is an amazing overdose of art, music and fashion crammed into a few closed-off blocks of James Street, transforming the concrete canyons into a real-life stage like no other. 

The dude at the helm of this mighty ship is Tim Potocic, the home town visionary who has parlayed his experiences of 90’s powerhouse Tristin Psionic into a key partnership with a band-mate and longtime friend, cohorts who took everything they knew and all they believed in – and formed Sonic Unyon, a small label with big dreams and the killer work ethic that makes ideas transform into a sublime reality.  Residing in the heart of downtown, the little record company that could began to develop and promote concerts and festivals, real life stages onto which the creative visions of the artist can be delivered to a receptive audience – from the lips to the ears of the next generation of folks to whom real, original music is the crucial ingredient. The hard scrabble of James Street North began to transform and evolve due to the monthly happening on the second Friday of every month – a little thing called Art Crawl that made that mean street suddenly inviting and comforting in a bohemian fashion, cool, trendy but somehow untainted by the monetization and fiduciary concerns that exist when art and commerce collides. In 2008 the idea of a street festival took flight with the first Super Crawl and  every year since the spectacle had grown in size and impact. Hamilton has always been known as a music town. We have always had a remarkable core of steadfast artists who could invest in their world on a street, in a neighborhood, uniquely their own. Now it seems everyone wants in, a sure signal that the little idea is now the blueprint on how to take a bit of skill, a deep passion, and a whole lot of community to create the most exciting three days in all of Ontario. Yup, it’s not rocket science but it’s close – let’s call it rock science and Tim Potocic is the mad genius we get to know tonight, on Barber Shop Podcast.