Cozy cafe concert with Mike Evin

Piano pop songwriter stops at The Neighbourhood on his cross-Canada tour

Canadian piano-pop songwriter Mike Evin has released his fifth album, Life As A Lover

Born and raised in Montreal, Evin now calls Toronto home. He has toured eastern Canada promoting his albums, but never headed west beyond Ontario. 

This year, he has embarked on his first cross-Canada tour. Evin says he’s excited to tour western Canada as he hasn’t been west since he was a child.

Evin will be travelling in a hatchback with his small wooden piano, drummer Ian McKay and McKay’s drum kit. Evin says McKay will also be helping out on vocals.

Evin’s latest album, produced by Howie Beck, took about two years to put together. 

“The album is very autobiographical,” Evin says. It deals with both past and new loves. 

“When we were doing the synth-bass with Howie, we were trying to make it sound a bit like Stevie (Wonder),” Evin says.

Some of Evin’s main influences have been Paul Simon, Elton John, Billy Joel and Stevie Wonder, and he says he loves Motown. Indeed, there is certainly a toe-tapping, finger-snapping, clapping-along vibe to his songs

Evin started the tour on Sept. 10. in Kitchener, Ont. and will be playing at The Neighbourhood Bookstore and Café (898 Westminster Ave.) on Oct 13. 

The café has been hosting concerts regularly on Thursdays since its inception 10 years ago. Owner Bill Fugler accommodates some travelling musicians by letting them play other days of the week as well. 

“Music brings people together so there’s no better glue than hearing live music in the midst of the community,” Fulger says.

Some pretty big names have played the quaint little bookstore over the years, including Ian Tyson, James Keelaghan, Sierra Noble, the Mariachi Ghost and Dan Frechette. 

The musicians usually pass a hat around the room during the performance for patrons to drop money into. The performers keep the money as payment for the show. The café benefits because the musicians brings in people who will buy food and drink.

Weather permitting, the concerts are sometimes held on the outside patio and Fulger recalls one time that they shut down Westminster Avenue because of the amount of people watching a performance. 

“This is a great example of a community oriented café and the concerts are great,” barista Beth Giesbrecht says.

Published in Volume 70, Number 5 of The Uniter (October 8, 2015)

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