Dad’s Guitar

Dad’s Guitar Bookmarks: $5.50 each
Available at Norton’s Cove Studio or in the online shop!

This Yamaki guitar hangs in my office, but has been owned by my dad, and all three of my brothers at some time.  It was purchased new in 1980/81 and has been lost in poker games, travelled near and far, and finally came to hang out with me. All four of us kids learned to play guitar on this instrument, and it’s pretty special to me, even though I’m the least talented musician in the family by a loooooong stretch. I love it when my guys pick it up to play when they visit me at work.

Growing up in a family of musicians didn’t rub off on me in that I’m a great musician, but it did teach me to appreciate music; and the difference between someone like me who can strum a few chords, to professionals who can make their guitars talk and send shivers down your spine. What I really love the most about live music, I think, is that when you listen to the same songs later on a CD or a streaming service, I am reminded of the same wonderful feelings that the live show gave me, and I remember the back stories the artist tells between songs. It just makes me fall even deeper for the music in general.

How about you? Did you grow up with a musical family? Do you play any instruments?



Josh Fewings and Benj Rowland, aka MAYHEMINGWAYS, swung by yesterday to perform their ‘Fuzz Folk’ Live @ Norton’s Cove.  The guys (from Peterborough, Ontario) are in the midst of an Eastern Canada tour with their album SKIP LAND.  We had a very small group of listeners, but we all enjoyed it tremendously.  We’re so lucky to get these musicians coming to our shore!

Josh’s dad made this tour banner- wicked!

What a perfect symbol for a on-the-road tour!

Top 10 reasons I love to go see/hear live music in a small venue like Norton’s Cove Café:

  1. The sound is just so good. Crisp, clear, detailed.
  2. I get to meet the musicians which makes for a personalized experience.
  3. I can buy merch’ directly from the artists, and have them signed just for me!  Also good Christmas shopping ideas…
  4. I’m putting my ticket money directly into the pocket of starving artists.  Making a living as an artist is sketchy at best- I know this too well!  It’s a great feeling to know that my little bit of money will make a difference to someone.
  5. Every time I listen to the CD I bought, it brings back great memories of the live performance and the excitement of meeting the band.
  6. It’s so easy to stay home and not bother the fuss of getting ready to go out, save a few dollars… but it’s just a few dollars, and that ‘good times’ feeling is so worth the little bit of effort and money in the end.  Like a tonic or antidepressant.
  7. Hearing the stories behind the songs.  Artists usually tell you little bits between songs- what inspires them to write, places they’ve toured and people they’ve met along the way- it’s like getting the inside scoop, knowing something special that the general public aren’t aware of.  It’s simply special!
  8. Duke’s nachos.  (that only applies to Norton’s Cove, I know.  But still.  So good!)
  9. Hanging with other folks who appreciate the same things.  Even if you show up alone, you can sit with others who are there to enjoy the evening as a larger group.
  10. With just 33 available seats (or similar numbers) there isn’t any trouble finding your place, there are no ridiculous line-ups for bathrooms, and pretty quick service at the bar.

Check out my YouTube channel to hear the band!

Aunt Virtue Kean She Wrote This Song, Aha Me B’ys…

Virtue & Captain Job Kean moved to Norton’s Cove around 1879.  They had eleven children, and ran a business together for many years.  Virtue had been raised at Middle Bill Cove, a part of Cape Freels, in Bonavista Bay, just a 15-20 minute drive from Norton’s Cove on modern(ish) roads, and met Job on Flower’s Island where she’d held the position of Schoolmarm.

As far as I can tell, Virtue was in charge of the shop where I sit typing this right now.  It’s known as Kean’s General Store by the Heritage Foundation, or Job Kean Shop, and it has J. KEAN in wooden lettering over the door outside.  I’m thinking of changing the J. to a V.  Maybe even V. HANN.

Virtue Maria (nee: Hann) Kean 1858-1929

But keeping the J. Kean outside the door reminds me how far women have come in the world, since Virtue’s beginnings.  What a strong woman she must have been, to run a very successful business and raise a family (with plenty of tragedy- only 45% of her children reached adulthood) with her partner gone to sea for months at a time.  She was a host to doctors who stayed at her home while working at the clinic that had been set up very nearby.  She kept horses, helped to run the telegraph office (where my woodshed is now), taught Sunday school, and played piano.  And she still made time to write silly folk song lyrics to be sung at community concerts and raise money for charity.

Lukey’s boat is painted green, aha me b’ys
Lukey’s boat is painted green, the prettiest John Dominey ever did see
Aha, aha me riddle I day.

How Good is M’ Life?

My head is still filled with the music of last night’s stellar performance by Jim Payne and Fergus O’Byrne.  Their toe tapping tunes and heartfelt storytelling blended beautifully to warm the room with happy people.


Someone stopped me to say, “We’re so lucky to have this place here”, and I’m incredibly happy to know that local people are pleased with what we’re doing.  Setting up a new business is a very risky and stress-laden venture, and local support means the world to me.

Thank you Jim & Fergus, and thank you to everyone who came to our latest Live @ Norton’s Cove event!  I’m very grateful to all of you!